Student Profile

Photograph of Thadian Pillai

Thadian Pillai

Graduated: BSc (Hons) Landscape & Garden Design
Nationality: British
Occupation: Principal & Lead Artist, Thadian Pillai Studio

My Writtle University College
The College was recommended to me by a former lecturer at another landbased institution as having a good reputation for its design course. It was important to me that my course should be at honours degree level, and Writtle was one of the few institutions offering this qualification. The location of the College was also a bonus as it made visiting family and friends reasonably easy.

During my studies we were periodically introduced to industry contacts throughout the course and this was useful in enabling us to contextualise our learning.

Professional development aside, I shall always be grateful to the College for having enabled me to meet the most fantastic bunch of people, many of whom have become close and important friends in my life, who continue to be a source of inspiration, support and fun!

My Career Path
My educational and professional background prior to Writtle was in fine art, design and horticulture, and the course showed me ways I might be able to exist and work within all three disciplines simultaneously. After graduation I worked for the Essex-based chartered landscape architecture and urban design practice, LiZLaKe.

Following my first job, post graduation a series of important fine art commissions enabled me to leave LiZLaKe, and establish my own studio. Thadian Pillai Studio has a portfolio of work that engages it in environmental art and the design of landscape and gardens; in the last year alone we have been commissioned by a range of national and international arts’ organisations including the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Southbank Centre in London. The Studio has continued to grow throughout the recession, and now finds itself creating employment not only for myself, but for associate artists, designers and horticulturists, some of whom I have met through my ongoing professional relationship with Writtle College.

The great legacy of my degree at Writtle is the hunger it has left me with, for continued learning, development, and meaningful engagement with the environment.

My Current Job
Detailed below is a breakdown of my job and responsibilities: My role as Principal and Lead Artist involves the creation of artwork for exhibition and to commission, the design and management of landscape and garden projects, the day-to-day management of the Studio, and its strategic and sustainable development.

What do I particularly enjoy: The stimulus and creative challenge of our commissions, and the great privilege they offer us to engage meaningfully with the environment.

The only downside is: The constant professional demands on my time.

Future Plans
My own creative practice is the foundation for Thadian Pillai Studio, therefore the next few years will see the continued development of both my fine art practice and design work. This will involve both me, and the associate practitioners I commission in further formal and informal learning in order to consolidate our achievements to date, and to ensure our continued success and sustainability.

Hints and tips for Writtle students
Work hard to play hard – your time at Writtle will be over in a minute!