Meet Your Designer: Dave Chamberlain

Dave Chamberlain

Fun fact: I am Arkiplan’s founder and Director but designing is still my passion

Worked at Arkiplan since?

June 2009

Most challenging project?

A modern, detached newbuild dwelling in the Cotswolds where every single person on the street objected to the proposal!

How long have you been making clients’ lives more beautiful?

I went to university at the age of 21 and was promised work at an Architectural Practice when I graduated. I graduated in 2008 with a First Class Hon Degree in Architectural Design right at the peak of the economic recession. With nobody hiring I spent my last student loan payment on a website ( and spent the next four years learning, developing and honing what was, at that time, the first fully online architectural design firm in the world.

Since then, the business has grown to a small team of core full-time design staff and customer service agents along with many, many world-class contractors.

I did the CEO thing and took a full step back from the design work but it just isn’t fulfilling to me. I enjoy designing people’s houses and coming up with solutions to make their lives better.

Why did you get into architectural design?

I have always enjoyed tinkering, building, decorating, demolishing, rebuilding since a very young age.

After what could best be described as a ‘quarter-life crisis’, I left the financial industry and followed a whisper inside that said design work of some kind would bring me joy.

Also I figured there was a reason Grand Designs brought me so much pleasure so I took a gamble and here we are!

Previous work experience?

Almost nothing in the architectural industry. A short summer job producing detail drawings where steel beams met cladding on a proposed office block. Yawn.

Everything I now know was hard-earned through on-the-job learning (and failing!) since 2008.

Running Arkiplan has given me the experience of working on literally thousands of building projects whereby any other architectural designer could have only worked on a fraction of those projects in a traditional practice.

It’s taught me to be a great architectural designer for sure, but running the whole company has taught me problem-solving skills that reach all areas of my life.