BDP masterplans its own office out of existence, Banyard’s managing director gets himself into trouble on the domestic front and who knows what QSs will do to themselves in the name of pop art?

Turnering in his grave

Crack open the formaldehyde! Inspired by the recent retrospective of the Turner prize in London, Gardiner & Theobald has decided to trawl the corporate world for the next Tracey Emin or Damien Hirst. Apparently, the aim of the Most Artistic Employee award is to “unearth creative talent from underneath the sea of emails, presentations and client deadlines from which we all suffer”. Stirring stuff. However, add to that former RIBA president Jack Pringle’s talk at the launch party, entitled “More than just a turd on the plaza”, and you do wonder whether they might be setting the bar rather low. The queue for Eminesque messy office desks starts here.

Best supporting washbasin

Guests at Friday night’s PCKO party were treated to a short film made by employee Chris Bishop and his girlfriend, filmed at the architect’s office and featuring several members of staff. The film was a casual tale of office romance spliced with some surreal weirdness involving whispering washbasins, talking graffiti and a boss whose every word flashes up on a screen behind his head. What a shame partner Andrew Ogorzalek hadn’t invited his pal Anthony Minghella, director of The English Patient and The Talented Mr Ripley, or we might be seeing more of the talented Mr Bishop.

Credit: Scott Garrett

A flaw in the plan

Occupational hazard of the week. Building Design Partnership’s Sheffield office was commissioned to create a masterplan for an area of the northern city. Slap bang in the middle of an area earmarked for a new department store was … the Sheffield office. Architects reportedly tried to convince the client that the department store could fit around their workplace, but to no avail. Is BDP the only firm out there to masterplan its own office out of existence? Let me know at the usual address …

Confessions of an M&E contractor

The managing director of M&E contractor Banyard may have been with the firm for each of the 20 years it was celebrating last week, but it certainly hasn’t slowed him down. Speaking at the rather swanky do held above the Thames on Tower Bridge, Nick Till confessed to a catalogue of party-going misadventures over the years. These included frequently returning home in the early hours, singing through the catflap and stripping naked while regaling his wife with Fly Me to the Moon. Unfortunately, Mrs Till is clearly a hard woman to impress. Her response to her husband’s candour was to heckle: “Get on with it – the guests are hungry.”

A slow burner

Octavia Housing Association proudly boasts that its west London headquarters has the largest photovoltaic system installed by a UK housing association. You would be forgiven for thinking this amounted to a radical departure for the venerable organisation, established in 1889. Well, that’s not how Octavia sees it. It points out that its formidable Victorian founder, Octavia Hill, campaigned for new smokeless technologies, with the slogan “economy combined with smoke prevention”. Only took a hundred years or so to catch on …

Not a lot of zloties

Generosity to those less fortunate abounded at the Construction Products Association autumn lunch last week, when the charity raffle raised £4,500, *150 and $10. Compared with previous years, there was a notable absence of zloty – could this be a warning that Polish workers are about to desert us?