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Ripple Retreat

Sep 18, 2018

Ripple Retreat is a unique holiday house designed by Kettle Collective Architects which offers a haven for Scottish families affected by cancer.

Opened in May 2017 the Ripple Retreat, on the shores of Loch Venachar, joined the ranks of one of the most amazing buildings in Scotland in location and design, but its purpose is impressive too.

How did Stansons blinds help Ripple Retreat control nature

An important aspect of the design at Ripple Retreat is the control of natural light. We spoke to Guy Stanley (Managing Partner at Stansons) about the challenges involved in providing the blinds for the project.

How did Stansons become involved with Ripple Retreat

“We were invited in by the architect (Kettle Creative) and were very keen to be involved to support Lynne McNicoll and her charity It’s Good to Give.”

What were the main considerations?

“Technically, the Ripple Retreat posed a challenge in how to fit the blinds discreetly and they wanted programmable, remote-controlled mechanisms. The units we fitted are operated by the remote and wall switch. From an aesthetic angle, we wanted to add something special and uplifting, which is how the suggestion of creating a rainbow effect with coloured blinds came about.”

How much input did you during the build?

“We’ve been close to this project throughout. We were on-site with the contractors to survey, co-ordinate installation, then to commission the blinds. We’re now providing support going forwards. We were there for the opening ceremony and we’ve been actively supporting the charity by providing Ripple Retreat branded bottle of water and sharing links to the donations site.”

Why do you think Stansons won the contract?

“We’ve developed a strong understanding of biophilic design- incorporating nature into the built environment- and can help specifiers maximise and manage the natural element, daylight, intelligently. Biophilic design has tangible benefits: for example, studies show an 8.5% acceleration in post-operative rates of recovery and a 22% reduction in pain medication. At Stansons we want to ensure our clients harness these improvements to health and wellbeing, which is a unique way to approach the window blinds on projects.”

Interview featured in Premier Construction issue 25.7

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The Ripple Retreat was the brainchild of the Edinburgh based charity It’s Good 2 Give, run by Lynne and Ian McNicoll, but for such a spectacular building the charity had relatively modest beginnings. Lynne McNicoll began fundraising for the Teenage Cancer Trust as something different to do for her 50th birthday, but in 2010 started It’s Good 2 Give specifically to provide practical help to families with children undergoing cancer treatment. McNicoll had a dream of building a retreat where affected families could take a few days out of the grind of treatment and spend quality time together. Seven years on, she says that the Ripple Retreat is beyond anything she could have envisaged but the success has owed a large part to serendipity.

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In planning the Ripple Retreat it was important that our design was to complement the local natural surroundings, enhancing the atmosphere of relaxation while being sympathetic to the stunning location. Tony took his design from the wonderful local environment, creating the iconic imagery of the Ripple Retreat, a building inspired by the soft ripples of water on the loch and rolling hills that frame it. The space itself has been designed to offer a connected, shared area of relaxation, with a family-friendly environment that offers easy access for individuals of all abilities. Wide expanses of glass connect the interior of the house to the tranquil setting, while providing vital visibility to the available indoor and outdoor play areas. The building itself is clad in a pigmento blue zinc, which captures the shifting beauty of the changing light, creating an amazing relationship between the building itself and the shifting ripples of the loch and open skies above.

The visionary design was approved, and so the Ripple Retreat was born. Work began in September 2015, and the Ripple Retreat was officially opened on 12 May 2017 by Queen of Daytime TV, Lorraine Kelly, alongside Charity Patron, Grant Stott.

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