'The Nest is a climbing wall, workspace and gym in Hayes, West London.'

IDK were commissioned by start-up climbing wall operator, The Nest, to design and build a combined climbing wall, workspace and gym in Hayes, West London. The project began in 2017 with feasibility studies of potential sites. Finding the right space and completing the design and build was carried out to a tight budget and took just under 18 months. Throughout, IDK collaborated closely with designer and fabricator Tom Clowney to deliver a quiet, robust and functional setting for the climbing wall. Since opening to the public in October 2019, The Nest has found a firm foothold in the local area, attracting a loyal and diverse community in the bright and welcoming space.

As a sport, climbing both rewards individuals and nurtures collaboration. With an open mezzanine, raised walkway, and wall profile of moveable bolt-ons that offers wide faces for vertical routes as well as corner overhangs for tricky bouldering moves, The Nest provides space for beginners and experienced climbers alike to challenge themselves and learn from each other. By locating a climbing wall in Hayes, a heavily South Asian part of London, The Nest is opening up climbing to people in neighbourhoods that previously lacked facilities and positively contributing to changing the face of the sport.  

During the day, north-facing double height windows let in natural light while at night, up-lighters provide even, reflected illumination. This way, climbers looking for their next hold never squint into a lamp. Spotlights which target shadowed areas are carefully angled to avoid their eyes.

Working to a tight budget, we used cost-effective materials to provide durable, hardwearing surfaces that need minimal maintenance and are cost-effective to replace. This allowed us more budget for features that would make a difference, such as a cork floor which would be warm on bare or socked feet. Throughout, the neutral palette draws attention to the custom-made wall around which we based our entire design.

Fit out / Community & well-being
Collaborators: Tom Clowney, Choice Electrical, Belfar