As the company marks its 30th anniversary, we look back at the company’s interesting origins and discover more about what sets them apart.
With their fine detailing, low profile frames and authentic features, rooflights from the The Rooflight Co can be seen on the roofs of some of the UKs most historic and architecturally significant buildings.
Known over the years as The Metal Window Company and latterly the Rooflight Company, the business has an interesting origin; being founded by Architect, Peter King, who used his artistic interpretation to respond to environmental necessity.
The story begins a few years before the company was formed, in the late 1980s. Peter was plying his craft and practicing in the Conservation Area of London’s Hampstead Garden suburb. Conservation Areas at this time were still a relatively new concept having been established under the Civic Amenities Act of 1967 with planning legislation evolving around them. Many of Peter’s clients wanted to extend into the attics of their Victorian period properties. The challenge was how to bring both light and ventilation into these loft spaces when the prudent planning regulations made modern roof windows and dormers out of the question. The only permissible option was a cast iron single-glazed rooflight based on the original Victorian design - beautiful but falling short of modern performance standards.
Peter had always used natural light in his designs. His projects often explored how light can influence the ambient atmosphere of a space. He was naturally drawn to explore how to overcome the conundrum of bringing natural light into period property loft conversions. Using many of the same principles he explored through architecture, such as a focus on details and appreciation for scaleable aesthetics, Peter set about designing a modern day rooflight that incorporated the fine detailing and authentic features of the Victorian model yet met modern performance standards.
His iconic original design included a steel frame, double-glazing, draught stripping and a thermal lining, and came in a range of sizes taken from original Victorian patterns. The Original Conservation Rooflight was born, marking the start of a new era for natural top lighting solutions through a range of high-performing rooflights, roof windows and skylights. In 1993, Peter formerly established The Metal Window Company and set up a manufacturing workshop in the Cotswolds.
The Conservation Rooflight was given wide approval by planners, conservation officers and fellow architects who appreciated its low-profile, glazing bar and slim sections. Over the last three decades, The Original Conservation Rooflight design has evolved to deliver on the ever more stringent performance requirements whilst still retaining authenticity to the original design. As such, it is still the de facto choice for planners and architects to preserve the heritage of historic buildings whilst ensuring they are fit to perform for generations to come. The Original Conservation Rooflight is known to grace some of the country’s most prestigious properties including palaces and National Trust properties as well as residential homes.
Their product collections feature rooflight solutions for both pitched and flat roofs. Whilst their Bespoke Design Solutions provide alternative rooflight options that include designs for orangeries and garden rooms as well as unique designs for bespoke projects, to realise an architect's vision.
At home in both conservation and contemporary settings, it is the heritage sphere where the company has its roots. These days, it is not only their Conservation Rooflight that is a common sight on listed buildings and in conservation areas or AONBs, but their frameless and minimalistic Neo Rooflight can equally be seen.
The highly acclaimed Neo Rooflight combines high modern performance standards with edge-to-edge glazing technology, originally devised for skyscrapers. Architects, designers and planners are increasingly specifying the Neo Rooflight on conservation and heritage projects where agricultural or industrial buildings are being converted to residential. There is no precedent for a conservation style rooflight in such cases but there is a need for the glazing to be unobtrusive and to blend with the building as much as possible. The Neo Rooflight, with its frameless design, has the appearance of a single sheet of glass and as such is a popular choice for award-winning projects such as Wraxall Yard and Cuddymoss.
The cutting-edge innovation melds seamlessly with tradition at their state-of-the-art studio in Bourton on the Water where they hand assemble all of their rooflights, including the glazing units.
As the business looks forward to the future, there is a clear focus on innovation and developing their passion for planet, place and people. Not only do they continue to innovate with products and manufacturing technology, ensuring every small element of detail is fully considered, they continue to develop their commitment to long-term sustainability through employee-ownership, PlanetMark certification and most recently BCorp status.
To mark their anniversary, they have launched a new visual language that reflects the company’s heritage and provenance for superior quality. From the refined company name - The Rooflight Co, to the branding that pays homage to the Victorian rooflights that inspired founder Peter King.
Since 1993, The Rooflight Co has led the way in rooflight design innovation and has forged an enviable reputation for fine detailing, low profile frames and authentic features. The antithesis of disposable culture, they are committed to doing business ‘the right way’ and delivering a level of quality that is rare. The Rooflight Co solutions are frequently included in the designs by award-winning architects and this endorsement is a testament to the quality and attention to detail these elegant rooflight solutions provide.