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Sep 1988

Adam Hills and Maria Speake meet at Glasgow School of Art whilst studying for a degree in architecture at the Mackintosh School.

Sep 1989


Meet key influencer, Gavin Stamp, History of Architecture professor who gives a strong historical perspective and later becomes an enthusiastic advocate of our efforts. 

For nearly 40 years Stamp's column in Private Eye under the pseudonym Piloti waged war on property developers and planning authorities who disfigured British towns through needless destruction and demolition.

Jul 1993

Retrouvius is founded, initially as a vehicle for working with the Glasgow conservation world and local demolition firms. Early jobs include several redundant churches. 

Sep 1993

Retrouvius commissioned to salvage architectural elements for the Brooking Collection from Sir Basil Spence's Queen Elizabeth Square Flats, aka  “The Queenies”, in Glasgow’s Gorbals, prior to demolition.

Feb 1995

Retrouvius supply items to Trainspotting film set including a pair of reclaimed toilets from the tax office of East Kilbride. 

Mar 1996

1995 - 1997

Maria does two terms of maternity cover for Liz Davidson at Glasgow Building Preservation Trust.

Aug 1996

First interior design project.

Newmilns Tower, a C16th house in the heart of the traditional lace making area in Ayrshire, furnished for rental. 

Aug 1995

Retrouvius acquire Edinburgh Police Boxes originally designed by Ebenezer McRae circa 1931 

Apr 1997

Adam and Maria move to London for family reasons and begin to re-establish Retrouvius.

Sep 1999

Warehouse bought on Ravensworth Road in Kensal Green for trade storage.


Dec 2001

Retrouvius acquire silk screen archive from Cole & Sons and work to reinterpret them with Genevieve Lilley.

Mar 2002

Swiss Cottage Library designed by Sir Basil Spence & Partners in 1964 refurbished; Retrouvius save all original bespoke furniture.

May 2002

Retrouvius begin series of collaborative projects with Nicholas Helm architects.

Sep 2002

Collaborative art based project with Martino Gamper, Reiner Spehl and Timorous Beasties to explore re-use and materiality. We stage a show in our Kensal Green space.

Jan 2003

Collaboration with Race Furniture

Retrouvius commission reissue of Ernest Race's Rocking Chair (originally designed 1948) from Race Furniture.

We source period fabrics by Lucienne Day and others for upholstery.

Jul 2003

Purchase of entire facade of Westmorland slate from Blackfriars office building. An article in The Independent traces the distribution to many clients.

Aug 2007

During the demolition of inter-war coastal bungalows Retrouvius salvage several Victorian train carriages.

Oct 2007

Retrouvius work on salvaging elements from Norman Foster's Great Court development at The British Museum.

Feb 2009

The World of Interiors Cover Story

Complete house for Sam Roddick of Coco De Mer fame with architects Stiff & Trevillion.
photographs by Henry Wilson © The World of Interiors

Nov 2007

Rescue entire facade cladding of granite from World Trade Centre in Canary Wharf — damaged by IRA bomb years before.

Apr 2009

Second building in Kensal Green purchased for storage, display and as a showroom to tell the Retrouvius re-use philosophy

Oct 2009

Retrouvius involved with design of George in Rye boutique hotel with Katie and Alex Clarke.

Jan 2010

Wingfield Priory in Suffolk refurbished according to its grade I SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) listing

Apr 2010

Introduction of National Lottery funding stimulates many museum renovations. Retrouvius get involved in large scale salvaging of museum cabinets.

Jul 2010

Demolition of Heathrow Terminal 2, 1951 by Sir Frederick Gibberd.

Retrouvius purchase entire concourse floor of 2,000 square metres of rare Hopton Wood fossil limestone.

Sep 2010

Four projects in Suffolk for organic food champion William Kendall using best ecological practice.

Sep 2010

V&A pop-up café for London Design Festival using mahogany cabinets from The Natural History Museum

Nov 2010

Off The Floor Exhibition

Exploring 3 salvaged materials; oak drawer bottoms, parquet and fossil limestone with designers Daniel Heath and Fabien Cappello.

Oct 2012

Our first book Reclaiming Style published with Ryland Peters and Small

Jan 2013

Mahogany display cabinets are salvaged from a variety of famous museums in London, they become a regular stock item at Retrouvius. 

Apr 2013

Patent Office on Chancery Lane yields a quarter of a km of Victorian adjustable shelving as it relocates to Cardiff and becomes The UK Intellectual Property Office.

Mar 2014

Retrouvius begin the construction of a new build house on a local back-land plot. Intended as a showcase for the Retrouvius philosophy of re-use.

Jun 2014

Significant demolitions arise from CrossRail construction. Retrouvius salvage many copperlight panels and doors from University of the Arts building.

Sep 2015

Complete bespoke space for Lyn Harris & Pefumer H on Marylebone's Crawford Street

Nov 2015

Complete Bella Freud's first shop and flagship store on Chiltern Street

Jan 2016

Retrouvius complete refurbishment of Kingdom Come — a 60 metre plus 1970's Feadship Yacht for Matthew Freud

Jul 2018

25 Years of RETROUVIUS

Nov 2018

Working along side Bella Freud, Retrouvius completes an apartment in former BBC Television Centre.

Mar 2019

2nd Edition of Reclaiming Style: Using salvaged materials to create an elegant home, is published. 

May 2019

Maria Speake, Creative Director of Retrouvius Design - is House & Garden's Designer of the Year 2019

Oct 2020

Adam and Maria's home is featured in The World of Interiors