View this email in your browser
Haxted Thinking is a monthly newsletter for anyone interested in how buildings and spaces are designed, made and used.

Edition No. 5: January 2021

“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” 

Henry David Thoreau
Walden; or, Life in the Woods


Something a little different this month.

I've been thinking a lot about boundaries recently. I'm working on the finishing touches to a project that will get launched in a few weeks time. It's all about space and how we use it. I mentioned last month how important it is that we focus on maximising wellbeing and creativity in the spaces we inhabit. This became increasingly evident as the events of 2020 unfolded. Covid has stressed us in so many ways. 

We benefit from boundaries in many aspects of our lives. Space is no different. How well we divide it between functions can prove to be the catalyst for really great creative work. And the corollary is true. I've found it increasingly difficult to separate writing from dealing with business issues as they arise. So I converted a tiny little garret space in the roof to a writing room last week. It's got nothing more than an old bureau, a tattered IKEA desk chair, a bookshelf, and a favourite Anglepoise lamp in it. It's cold. But it's a little refuge from all the drama that is happening everywhere else.

Sometimes all it takes to release a mental handbrake is a sense of separation. The garret has provided that. And that's what got me thinking about boundaries. In Ancient Greece they had the Temenos - an area reserved for worship of the gods. It was a place isolated from everyday living spaces, a sanctuary of sorts. Maybe that's what my little garret has become. And maybe that's why it supports my creative endeavours in a way that my office set-up never can. A place to call upon the Muses for inspiration.

I like to go to Dungeness to escape. It became my Temenos for a couple of years when I was studying photography. It's a liminal place that has attracted artists for decades, and particularly since Derek Jarman bought Prospect Cottage in the late 1980's. His garden has become almost as famous as his films. It is a sublime example of breaking down boundaries. But then that was Derek Jarman in a nutshell:

“Understand that sexuality is as wide as the sea. Understand that your morality is not law. Understand that we are you. Understand that if we decide to have sex whether safe, safer, or unsafe, it is our decision and you have no rights in our lovemaking.”

Dungeness is a uniquely fragile landscape in the South East of England. It has no boundaries. It is a desolate, internationally significant cuspate foreland on the coast of Kent. It is one of the largest expanses of shingle in Europe and is classified as Britain’s only desert. 
What I find so persuasive about Dungeness is its strange hinterland nature. Still a working fishing beach, Dungeness is home to two massive nuclear power stations. These brutish structures dominate the skyline, feeding hundreds of megawatts of electricity to a phalanx of pylons that stretch endlessly to the horizon. The shingle features a collection of architecturally diverse huts, structures and artists homes - a melting pot of what Stewart Brand would call "low road buildings." The beach is littered with all sorts of archaeological artifacts which reflect its manifold histories. Full of mystery and wildness.
Dungeness is suffused with a brooding sense of mutability. I love it. I've been working on a little photography project down there for a while. It's a project that I've been promising myself I should complete this year. But who knows. Now is not the time to make firm commitments about anything that involves travel.

Anyway this month I'd like to suggest that you find your Temenos and treat yourself to some time for reflection. I think we all benefit in subliminal ways we never really understand by crossing into these sacred spiritual spaces.

We'll get back to business as usual next month. For now here's some of my reflections on Dungeness.

Thank you for joining me.

Carlo Navato
Who is Haxted? 
Haxted is a real estate development company passionate about creating beautiful homes and workspaces at a fair price. Our business is grounded in the visceral belief that well-designed and crafted buildings can massively enhance the quality of peoples’ lives. Haxted came into existence during the 2008 global financial crisis, a time of great turmoil.  Our thinking was that property needed less business-as-usual and more imagination. Less stuff and more soul. A little less conversation, a whole lot more action.  It felt like the tectonic plates of how to do development were shifting. We needed to be nimble and ready to change shape at short notice. 
The next few years are going to test us all. The decisions that we make about the buildings we choose to live and work in have never been more important. At Haxted we are fueled by curiosity and the art of the possible. If you’d like to see what we’re up to, or discuss doing something together please email me at I’ll generally respond within 24 hours.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Haxted · Unit 2 Charnwood Edge Business Park · Cossington , Leicestershire LE7 4UZ · United Kingdom