Our Studio

About us

At Russian For Fish*, we have been rethinking space since 2006. Established by third-generation architect Pereen d’Avoine, initially as a means of entering a competition** (which the practice won), we have gone on to become one of the most successful small architectural studios working in London and the southeast.

Now led by Pereen and co-director Nilesh Shah, Russian For Fish has acquired a reputation for delivering elegant, playful and innovative new-builds, extensions and renovations for residential and commercial clients at every scale. Known for simplified and sustainable material palettes and sympathetic integration with surroundings, our work is frequently shortlisted for awards and widely featured in the architecture and design press – earning us a particular reputation for realising bold and imaginative visions in compact spaces.

Although we pride ourselves on our creativity and ideas, relationships are at the heart of what we do. We work with a tried and trusted network of consultants and contractors, who we know can deliver on time and to budget; and we make a point of getting to know every client, working with them collaboratively to ensure the result meets – and, often, exceeds – the demands of the brief.

Russian For Fish is a RIBA-chartered practice and a RIBA student mentor in architecture for the University of East London’s undergraduate course, as well as a practice mentor for the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture.

* The Russian word for Fish is ‘pыба’ or ‘RIBA’, which happens to be the acronym for the Royal Institute of British Architects.

** The competition was part of the London Biennale 2006; Southwark Council requested proposals for some former public toilets in Bermondsey. Russian For Fish won with a design for an underground hammam. We’re oddly proud that our studio began life in the toilet.

Our People

Pereen d'Avoine

Founding Director | BSc Hons DipARCH ARB RIBA

A graduate of the UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture, Pereen worked with practices in London and Mumbai before founding Russian For Fish in 2006. The daughter of two generations of architects, she grew up immersed in the discipline, and often collaborates on research and speculative projects with her father Pierre d’ Avoine, with whom she tutors a diploma unit at the Cass.

In the past, she has been a visiting critic at the University of Greenwich, the Bartlett and the University of Cambridge; taught architecture at Oxford Brookes, Kingston University and London Metropolitan University and lectured on interior design at the University of Kent. Her academic and research interests include adaptation and the role of materiality within the built environment.

Nilesh Mahendra Shah

Director | BArch Hons DipARCH MArch ARB

Since graduating in architecture from Edinburgh College of Art and completing his master’s at the University of Edinburgh, Nilesh worked with several practices in London (including Russian For Fish – twice) before joining Pereen as co-director in 2015.

A natural problem-solver with a flair for turning pipe dreams into practical realities, Nilesh has wide-ranging experience of projects of all sizes, ranging from bespoke furniture design to complex large-scale restorations and redevelopments – including schools, hospitals and other public buildings. His interests include urban regeneration and contemporary public architecture.

Edoardo Zanchetta


A graduate of Università Iuav di Venezia, Italian-born Edoardo first joined Russian For Fish in 2017, as part of an Erasmus-operated internship programme while pursuing his masters’ degree in interior design. He made quite an impact on the team during his time here, and has since become a frequent collaborator, bringing his wide-ranging skills as an architect, graphic designer and art director to numerous Russian for Fish projects.

Edoardo divides his time between Russian For Fish’s London HQ and his home in Padova, Italy. Alongside architecture and design, his interests include photography and art.


  • Grand Designs Magazine January 2021
  • Living Etc. December 2020
  • Wallpaper* October 2020
  • Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms August 2018
  • OnOffice June 2018
  • Essential Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom May 2018
  • Dwell February 2018
  • Divisare December 2017
  • Dezeen December 2017
  • Grand Designs Magazine November 2017
  • Domus November 2017
  • City A.M. November 2017
  • Wallpaper* September 2017
  • The Times July 2017
  • Renovate September 2016
  • New Architects 3 [Architecture Foundation] March 2016
  • Small and Chic Interiors [Loft Publications] February 2015
  • World Interior News October 2013
  • Design Milk October 2014
  • The Independent September 2013
  • The Evening Standard Homes & Property September 2013
  • The Telegraph July 2013
  • The Sunday Telegraph: Life May 2012
  • E- Architect March 2012
  • Future Arquitecturas December 2006
  • RIBA Journal June 2006

Awards, Exhibitions & Events


  • New London Architecture: Don’t Move Improve! 2016 Special Prize
  • New London Awards 2015 Shortlisted
  • AJ Retrofit Awards 2015 Shortlisted
  • WIN Awards Residential Interiors 2015 Longlisted
  • New London Architecture: Don’t Move Improve! 2012 Shortlisted


  • New London Architecture: Don’t Move Improve! 2018
  • New London Architecture: Don’t Move Improve! 2016
  • New London Architecture: Don’t Move Improve! 2012
  • London Beinnale 2006


  • New London Architecture: Surgery 2018
  • AJ Specification Live 2018
  • Architect in House 2013
  • New London Architecture: Surgery 2012
  • Architect in House 2012
  • Architect in House 2011