Born to Architect parents and spending much of his upbringing on construction sites, Gunnar Groves-Raines has an intrinsic passion, drive and curiosity for creative exploration across multiple disciplines. He studied architecture at the University of Stratchlyde and École Nationale Supérieure D’architecture De Paris-La Villette, graduating with Masters with Distinction in Advanced Architectural Design. In 2006 , one week after graduation, he co-founded the design studio GRAS, and in 2009 qualified as an Architect. He is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.
GRAS was conceived as an avant-garde division of the renowned Architectural practice, Groves-Raines Architects, which had developed expertise in the conservation and restoration of historic buildings. Working at-arms-length from its parent company, GRAS developed a portfolio of ambitious, progressive and often controversial projects exploring the fringes of design, architecture, place-making and future sustainability. In 2012, Gunnar became a director across both studios and in 2018 became the practice principal, overseeing their merging into GRAS.
Recognising an urgent need to focus, support and galvanise dynamic emerging creative practice in Leith, and with the support of GRAS, Gunnar established Custom Lane in 2016. Custom Lane is a non-profit centre dedicated to the advancement of design and making in Scotland which has grown to become a cultural landmark hosting a vibrant and diverse community. A public café, store, gallery and events spaces provide an ever-changing cultural programme of exhibitions, events, talks and workshops, while the studio space is an enriching environment for multi-disciplinary professionals.
His work has been recognised with awards and nominations from the Glasgow Institute of Architects, the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, the Royal Institute of British Architects, Archiprix International, the Royal Scottish Academy, The Architects’ Journal, the American Institute of Architects, The Scottish Design Awards and The World Architecture Festival. In recognition of his services to the community Gunnar was elected a High Constable of the Port of Leith in 2018.