Q&A | Aidan Mortimer, Group Director
Can you tell us about your career thus far?
I have always had a keen interest in building and architecture and having studied construction at Oxford Polytechnic in the late 1970s I set up and ran my own building business in the 1980s restoring and altering traditional buildings in Oxfordshire. Following this I joined Oxford based construction group, Symm, managing projects in Oxford Colleges and on country houses.. I went on to run the group and, as CEO, extended its geographical reach, exporting bespoke joinery to America and Europe. After stepping down from my post in 2016, I joined the Hertfordshire based construction group, Jarvis, as a non-executive director and I also joined the Advisory Boards of Bulley and Andrews, a family owned construction group in Chicago, and the specialist consultants, the Redbook Agency in London. Most recently, I am delighted to have joined the team at Knowles Construction as Business Development and Historic Building Advisor, supporting their Heritage division.
(Photo: Aidan Mortimer)
Can you name some of your favourite projects and explain why they stand out?
I have been lucky enough to have worked on many fascinating projects and with amazing clients over the last 40 years. My longest standing client is the chef, Raymond Blanc. I met Raymond in the early 1980s when he established “Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons” and I have worked closely with him ever since on a series of building projects creating his world renowned restaurant and hotel. His energy and the passion he has for his work is infectious and every project that I have worked on with him has been exciting, challenging and fulfilling. Working on high-end residential projects in America over the last 30 years has been equally exciting; the “can do” attitude there, creates an energy and momentum on projects which is great to be part of. Some of the logistical challenges are testing; fitting out panelled rooms manufactured in the UK, 20 stories up in a Manhattan apartment block demands a lot of planning, but with that comes great satisfaction when the work is successfully completed.
(Photo: Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons)
What expertise and skills are essential when working within the prime residential and luxury commercial sector?
Bringing together the right team of people, meticulous planning and good communication are the keys to success on any building project, but particularly so in the prime residential and luxury commercial sector. Here, every project is a one-off and there are typically a vast array of different trades involved and very high quality finishes. Managing these projects requires a good practical knowledge of building techniques, details and specialist finishes and the experience and skill to keep a team together and focused through good times and challenging times.
What excites you about Knowles Heritage?
There have been many changes and challenges in the prime residential and luxury commercial market over the last few years, particularly over this last year. However, there remains a strong demand for builders with the range of skills and experience needed to successfully deliver well managed, high quality projects. I am excited about the future and the role that Knowles Heritage can play in this important part of the market.