Last in a series of interviews with three of our very first Look Out For interviewees, we catch up with Hugo Bugg to see how his career has changed since.
What’s changed for you since 2011?
Apart from getting older and more wrinkly, the structure and the size of the business has changed quite a lot. When we last spoke it was just me, that’s evolved, I merged with Charlotte Harris nearly two years ago so now to become Harris Bugg studio. There are seven of us in the studio. Over the last few years it’s changed a lot from being a sole trader to running a company with charlotte and having a much wider and more experienced team with us.
Different types of projects too. We’ve got lots more clients, and clients that reflect our ecological and sustainable outlook on the landscape and on projects which is fantastic and we’re really lucky to have that.
Working on quite a wide range of clients, we’ve got a large historic grade I listed landscape, the largest gardening project in Europe with RHS Bridgewater, we’re working with endangered plants and endangered landscape in Jordan and a wide range of private clients and clients that really understand the importance of their gardens within the wider landscape and wider ecosystems which is great.
And is it different to what you imaged you’d be doing in 2011?
It’s probably exceeded my expectations, time has raced by. Competing in two Chelsea gardens, meeting the queen was a massive highlight and again exceeded expectations. And just having such a happy and supportive team and working with really great people. we’ve got two studios now, one in london and one in exeter. hadn’t really come into my radar back then. the spread of projects, international projects again is much wider than i’d ever assumed or anticipated.
And what would you say are some of your biggest achievements?
Probably, it’s quite simple but probably working with fantastic horticulturalists, designers, artists and contractors. We work with such great people, and that’s always rewarding. It’s nice that we’re always learning, so working with people that have such experience and knowledge, it drives us to continue learning. As a studio we try to encourage that and we always want to keep learning.
Doing Chelsea was a massive achievement.
And just growing the business. Again I think, right at the very very begining i had no intentions to start my own company let alone go into the show garden world solo and then setting up with charlotte so i think even growing the business has been a massive achievement.
What do you hope will happen in the next few years?
Hopefully we’ll continue to work on an evermore exciting and interesting portfolio of projects but also we just want to remain quite a tight practise, getting the quality of life social life and work life balance right with everyone in the studio being happy and everyone to have a very healthy balance between life and work. And working on projects that are meaningful and are benefiting people and the natural world. We want to work on projects which are going to be there for a long time, projects which encourage different habitats, projects which are sustainable but also for us to be happy while we’re working on those projects.
Do you feel like the landscaping industry has changed over the last few years?
So our clients are becoming more aware of it which is great. i think it’s imperative that us as a profession help drive that or restore or create more hard working landscapes, we need to be doing that. As a studio we went to the climate march, it’s really important that we take it seriously and i think any small steps can make a difference. I think it has changed but it’s still got a long way to go, we haven’t even scratched the surface.