August 2021 Issue - Designer Magazine

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designer Smart Homes

High-tech Hospitality

Technology must-haves

Virtual Reality

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Healthy Buildings


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Connect from Boss Design |

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Welcome to the August issue of Designer. One of many recurring themes over the course of Designer’s two decades has of course been technology. We have seen huge changes in the function and application of tech in all its forms within many aspects of our daily lives. From the smart fridge that monitors its contents to help you create your shopping list, to home automation systems that streamline everything you use, from lighting, to heating, to running a bath. However, even against this backdrop of steady, long-term innovation, we currently stand at a particularly interesting crossroads. Working patterns and locations have changed drastically since March 2020 – with many of these new approaches potentially here to stay – rapidly accelerating the need for new home working solutions and enhanced communications technology. Across society, people have found themselves re-evaluating their work/life balance and the new possibilities that the pandemic has inadvertently highlighted. This is all likely to be just the tip of the iceberg for what could one day be looked back on as ‘the great reset’. How will technology respond? Can it further enhance a hybrid home/office working future? Will our homes become high-tech hubs to facilitate our ever more integrated and sophisticated communication needs?

M ar t in Martin Allen-Smith Editor, Designer

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@designeratiUK designeratiUK @designeratiUK


We don’t claim to have all the answers, but in this issue we do try to touch on some of the possibilities, and we ask architects, designers, and other industry professionals for their take on the likely direction of travel. One thing’s for sure, both at work and play, technology will continue to have a leading role to play in our post-pandemic future.



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54 60 DESIGNER AWARDS 2021 Introducing this year’s judges for the industry’s top honours

08 SOURCE Our monthly round-up of the people, products and events that matter from across the design sector

Property Federation and Chairman of Genesis Property, talks about the challenges and opportunities for creating healthier buildings

20 SHOWROOMS Cooker hood brand Falmec showcases its diverse product range at its striking new showroom space in Warsaw, Poland

42 SWITCHED ON From rubber factory to contemporary loft apartment, this stunning conversion shines a light on Germany’s industrial past while embracing a technologyfilled future for home design.

62 LET THERE BE LIGHT Internationally renowned architect and designer Jean-Philippe Nuel speaks about his work at the Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese hotel in Rome, where the latest bedroom technology is afforded at every turn

48 TOP TECH Our pick of some of the latest innovations that are pushing the technology boundaries

66 EXIT A creative collaboration brings a splash of extra colour to Wigmore Street

26 TECHNOLOGY PERSPECTIVES With technology all around us both as tools at work and embedded into our home lives, we ask architects and designers about the ways in which they bring the benefits to bear on their projects 36 FUTURE-PROOFING THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT Liviu Tudor, President of the European

54 COLOUR POP Bold, colourful choices enabled an exciting transformation of an endof-terrace house in south London…


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Designer Magazine is published monthly by The DS Group 7 Faraday Close, Oakwood Industrial Estate, Clacton-On-Sea, Essex CO15 4TR Tel: 020 3538 0268

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Piqué Performance History and technology come together for a new ceramic concept José Manuel Ferrero of estudi{H}ac studio has created for Harmony. The project sees a combination of the texture and feel of textiles with the material versatility of ceramic to create the Pique collection. In the late 18th century, the Lancashire cotton industry developed a mechanized technique to weave double


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cloths with a heavy weft included, giving rise to Piqué fabric. The textile textures and the search for geometry that could be broken down by layers to produce a study of three-dimensional volumes have been the basis for analysing this type of fabric and interpreting it as an elegant and contemporary ceramic collection. The Pique collection is divided into three parts.

Piqué Waffle is the purest version and aims to convey the real texture of the fabric and is available in four colours. Piqué Mosaic features a three-dimensional reverse mosaic effect in anthracite or white, while Piqué 3D is based on a contrast of fabric types create light and dark effects depending on the play of light to boost the reliefs. This option comes in four colours all made of 10x10 and 10x40 cm porcelain.

estudi{H}ac / Harmony /

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Sun Shine

Ceramique Internationale has added three hexagonals to its encausticstyle floor and wall tile ranges with the launch of its new Sun collection. The Sun collection comprises an eight-point star pattern and a simple but striking hexagonal inlay design, both offered in soft sage and grey, and an intricate floral pattern depicted in subtle brown and grey. The distinctive honeycomb effect created by grouping together the five-sided 250 x 216mm Italian glazed porcelain tiles is a key trend, enhanced by three highly individual patterns in a neutral matte colour palette. Thanks to modern printing technology, the tiles – by Italian manufacturer Marca Corona – embody the worn-looking effect of medieval hand-printed encaustic cement tiles, while offering the durability and easy maintenance of modern porcelain.

Ceramique International /

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RAK Ceramics has introduced its RAKPlano countertop surfaces to add new versatility to its range of bathroom vanity units. Available in three different ‘Techwood’ finishes and in the manufacturer’s matt white RAKSOLID material, RAK-Plano is a one-piece vanity top without joints, that can be drilled and cut if needed directly on site, giving added freedom in positioning the washbasin and mixer.


RAK-Plano is available in a range of colours, including matt white, grey elm, Scandinavian oak and mokka walnut.

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The tap that does it all 100°C BOILING, CHILLED AND SPARKLING WATER With a Quooker in your kitchen you always have 100ºC boiling water alongside regular hot and cold. Add a CUBE and you will also have chilled, filtered sparkling water – all from the same tap.

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Scan the QR code to book a live virtual experience with a Quooker expert. You control the appointment and what you see. For further details and to book your own personal appointment visit

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Small but Mighty The design duo behind kitchenware for clients including Joseph Joseph and Jamie Oliver is aiming to shake up the kitchen smart tech market with the launch of an innovative, pack-away smart cooker. The Njori Tempo aims to offer the precision necessary to craft restaurant-standard dishes at home but with smaller kitchens in mind. The unit can be easily packed away when not


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in used and stored on a standard bookshelf. The project has been funded through Kickstarter and is the brainchild of Jack Raison and Nick Orme who have been developing this precision cooking tool for over three years after bonding over a shared love of great design and a quest for perfectly cooked fried chicken. The Njori Tempo, which is

expected to retail later this year, comes in a compact unit that enables the user to set and maintain a precise temperature for sous-vide, deep-frying, shallow-frying or slow-cooking; integrated scales for weighing ingredients before and during cooking, as well as enabling users to reduce by a specific weight. There are also a range of probes to test the temperature of the food itself, and an ergonomic, magnetic dial to

make delicate temperature adjustments. Njori Co-founder and Product Designer Nick Orme, said: “Every aspect of the user experience has been considered in the design of the Tempo, from the on-screen interface to the feel of the magnetic dial. This product has been a long time in the making and we’re so excited finally to be able to share it with fellow food lovers.”

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Seating Evolution

Furniture brand Arper has updated its Kinesit office chair – designed by Lievore Altherr Molina in 2014 – with a new version for 2021. Kinesit Met is a new evolution of the original chair, now available in a new choice of colours. Created as Arper’s first regulatory-compliant office chair, Kinesit Met is available with metallic finished armrests and in new materials, colours, and textures. Inspired by a contemporary style and the changes in our workplaces and spaces, the new design is light and minimal, and features builtin mechanisms hidden discreetly under the seat. An invisible, adjustable lumbar support is concealed within the backrest’s frame to give additional flexibility and comfort. It is available in a low or medium back option, customizable in a range of textured and shaded fabric options. Aluminum armrests and base are available in metallic finish options of copper, light grey and anthracite.

Arper /


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The new Brazn suite from Kohler takes inspiration from the Modernist movement with pieces that combine the simplicity of minimalism with elegant, functional solutions available in honed black as well as white. An asymmetric design adds purposeful details to the collection, which includes a freestanding bath, vessel basins, undercounter basins and three toilet options: a one-piece toilet which integrates tank and bowl for a seamless and easy to clean design, a two-piece toilet that offers a sleek profile and a wall-hung toilet that enhances the clean aesthetic of the piece. The freestanding bath is designed to support the curves of the body for a relaxing soak while the vessel basin is designed with an asymmetric front for both form and function. The onepiece toilet benefits from an elongated seat for additional comfort while occupying the same space as a round front bowl, ideal for when floor space is at a premium.

Kohler /

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Cooker hood manufacturer Falmec has opened a new showroom in Warsaw, Poland. Located close to the city centre, the space was created by local architecture and design studio JMW Architects. From an architectural point of view, the peculiarity of the building lies above all in its facade, for which perforated glass and aluminium panels have been used to reproduce the metal filters of the hoods. Piotr Osowski, CEO of Falmec Poland, said: “We wanted to create prestigious new headquarters – not a simple commercial building, but a unique building, in accordance with the excellence of the products we sell. The external architecture speaks the Falmec language and represents the essence of the brand: design, technology and uniqueness.” The 150 sq m space is developed on two levels, connected by a large staircase with a glass parapet that leads to the upper floor, where contemporary


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styled meeting rooms are located. On the ground floor, the showroom opens up to allow visitors to experience Falmec’s product range. The showroom hosts a selection of hood models from the Circle.Tech, E.ionTM System, Design, Silence NRS and Professional collections, to downdraft extraction solutions integrated into the hob, arranged in chromatic order for greater impact. The exhibition room features settings dedicated to the most important models, with various arrangements of colours, shades and materials. Here bright finishes, such as the yellow and copper of the Polar hoods, are combined with the cobalt blue of the wall units. Osowski added: “We didn’t just want to create an exhibition of products but a lively, dynamic and comfortable environment in which our customers can feel good and fully immerse themselves in the Falmec world.”

Falmec Poland / Rzemieślnicza 4, 05-082 Blizne Łaszczyńskiego, Warsaw, Poland /


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4-in-1 Tap, 3-in-1 Sink, 2-in-1 Organisation, All-in-ONE UNIT! The beauty of a BLANCO UNIT is its simplicity. On average, we spend around 60% of our time in the kitchen at the sink, and the most used items in the kitchen are the sink, tap and bin. Common sense then, would be to create a multifunctional hub at the heart of the kitchen that combines these items. Simplifying everyday tasks, adding practicality through innovative features, and keeping all those messy tasks contained in one easy to clean space. So that’s exactly what BLANCO has done. BLANCO has a truly extensive range of sinks, taps, drinking water systems, in-cabinet organisation options and an array of ingenious accessories. So, you can be sure there is a UNIT combination to suit your customers style and features that speak to their lifestyle, all designed to make their kitchen life easier, every day. This particular combination of sink, tap and organisational system, is their fully featured flagship UNIT. Each item, besides being attractive, is totally focussed on multi-functionality. 4-in-1 Tap – EVOL-S Pro Smart, safe and stunning! The only semi-professional 4-in-1 true-boiling tap on the market with a measuring function that delivers precisely the volume of 100°C filtered or perfectly balanced cold filtered water that you want. Instantly and safely. The EVOL-S Pro has been engineered to be better, with safety at its core. Innovative features include dual spouts that can be used simultaneously, dual spray options, a super-strong and ultra-hygienic titanium boiler, an intuitive digital control system and a custom BWT multi-stage filter system. All this high-quality kit comes as standard – no addons, ensuring the whole system operates perfectly, the tap above and the system below.

3-in-1 Sink – ETAGON, the standard in multi-function Three is the magic number when it comes to the ETAGON range. Three working levels, three material options in a variety of colours and three installation options to choose from. The cleverly designed ETAGON bowls turn a kitchen sink into a space-saving, time-saving, creative hub that lets you reclaim the worktop. Rinse, drain and prepare food. Wash, soak and drip-dry crockery and utensils, all at the same time. The innovative rails and built in ledge design, keeps all the water and clutter contained within the three working levels; the bowl level, the rail level and the surface level. Specifically designed cutting boards in wood or glass and colanders that fit perfectly on the ledge, add practicality and simplicity of work-flow at the sink. 2-in-1 Organisation – SELECT systems Bring calm to the chaos under the sink, with two products in one. A pull-out organiser and the drawer itself. Perfectly created for intelligent use of space, a SELECT organisation and waste management system integrates into the sink cabinet. Infact the SELECT is actually the drawer runner mechanism, attaching directly to the inside of the unit fascia. Under the sink is traditionally a no-go area, full of stuff and clutter. Storage for cleaning products and staging area of recycling awaiting separation. The SELECT organiser creates a place for everything, improving the flow of movement within the kitchen, simplifying daily tasks, and enhancing everyday use of the sink-space. All-in-ONE – The BLANCO UNIT Everything you need, all in one place. Get in touch with your Regional Sales Manager or contact our sales desk on 01923 635 200 to find out about our drinking water system and BLANCO UNIT combination display deals.

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With technology all around us both as tools at work and embedded into our home lives, we ask architects and designers about the ways in which they bring the benefits to bear on their projects…


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TOM ALLEN, Co-Founder of sustainable furniture retailer Grain What are the technology essentials you use in your day-to-day work? Which could you not live without? My phone, my tablet and my headphones are the pieces of technology I can’t leave home without. Having said that, recently I got myself a smart watch so I can leave my phone at home while I exercise, which has been a game changer for being able to switch off from work. What are some of the technology must-haves that make the biggest difference to the end client experience? I think, regardless of your profession, having a tablet that you can write, draw on and use for day-to-day communications really helps organise your life. I even ditched the TV and use mine for streaming services. What technological trends are you seeing in the home, workplace or hospitality? In the home space, we’re seeing a lot of augmented reality and tools to help you design your space. I think the technology is early and is on the side of gimmick rather than useful tech right now, but I don’t think it’ll be long before that changes. What kinds of emerging technologies do you anticipate will be making a difference in the next few years? AI will play a huge role in how the customer experience is managed. However, successful businesses of the future need to make tough decisions on how much they rely on AI to run their business. Soft skills and humancentric thinking will still be vital, maybe even more so than today. Success (in my opinion) comes from learning how to balance the two correctly for you and your customer. Grain /

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ARIF BHALUANI, Showroom Manager at the Kohler Experience Centre, London What are the technology essentials you use in your day-to-day work? Which could you not live without? My smartphone, tablet and bluetooth wireless earphones are staple tech. Day to day, they give me ability to respond and communicate with the business and our associates internally, as well as our external stakeholders. We are now able to integrate business applications on smartphones to manage activities without the need for traditional desktop computers. This provides all of us much more agility in our day-to-day work while supporting the need to be working on the move. On a personal level, I love my Apple Watch as it allows me to keep track of how many steps I’ve done throughout each day to help keep my activity levels up – in addition to tracking my gym routine. It’s easy to allow yourself in this day and age of technology to become sedentary, so this helps balance my work and activity levels to remain actively on the go. What are some of the technology musthaves that make the biggest difference to the end client experience? Anything which makes life easier is high on the list of a tech-savvy consumer. Whether that is digital controls, voice activation, touchless controls and automatic functions, we all lean towards this technology to allow our morning and evening routines to run smoothly. While we aren’t as familiar with intelligent toilets in the UK as our overseas counterparts, there is definitely a growing awareness of the impact these toilets can have on hygiene control and we expect to see more specification for intelligent toilets coming into high-end residential design and hospitality as consumer demand grows. What technological trends are you seeing in the home, workplace or hospitality? Firstly, hygiene – this was prevalent before the pandemic and it’s no surprise that this has strengthened as we all look to products which keep

spaces clean and sanitary. The increase in touchless technology on taps and WCs is answering this demand and allowing people to have confidence in cleanliness. As hospitality continues to open up and we move out of the pandemic, there is huge benefit to specifying this technology for consumer peace of mind – especially in hospitality and public areas. There there is also intelligent tech – products that seem to get to know us and know our preferences are making life easier and more enjoyable. Customising settings and having our daily bathroom routines exactly as we need them to be leads to the ideal way to work into our day or the best way to wind down. Intelligent toilets offer hygiene and comfort with an experience personal to each user from the temperature of the seat to lighting and pressure and temperature of bidet functions. What kinds of emerging technologies do you anticipate will be making a difference in the next few years? Voice automation will become more commonplace in the bathroom, and we will find that we are more accepting of this technology in a place of relaxation and retreat. As water consumption and planet-friendly manufacture continues to be a focus, we’ll see this automated tech used to control water flow and manufacturers having access to advances which affect manufacture in a planet-positive way. We are already using waste and dust from manufacturing in our US factory to create beautiful tiles for our Ann Sacks brand as part of our WasteLab project. As technology in design and manufacture advances, these possibilities will become larger and the scale of what we can produce from what would otherwise go to landfill will grow. Kohler /


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DAVID CONLON, Founder of En Masse Bespoke Interiors What are the technology essentials you use in your day-to-day work? Which could you not live without? Communication is key and being a small bespoke company means I need to speak to everyone from suppliers to the client to reps, daily. I couldn’t be without my iPhone. I use it to communicate, help run the books, take photographs and it’s vital for measurements. I use an app called ‘My Measures’, which lets me overlay measurements onto pictures which is great for when we’re working up a design. For our design work we use AutoCAD. It’s a great bit of kit that really helps us make the design come to life. Being bespoke and a small business allows us to have more freedom with our designs; we’re not tied into set cupboard sizes and finishes. This means no drawing is ever ‘standard’, everything is made to measure and different for each individual client. Therefore, it’s vital we have a design programme, apps and – above all – communication with our clients to ensure their vision comes to life. Everything we draw is one to one and we manufacture directly from those drawings. The final things I couldn’t live without are a wireless charger and wireless speakers. Music is a huge source of inspiration to us all when we’re working – it’s also vital everyone can reach me at any time so running out of battery isn’t an option. What are some of the technology musthaves that make the biggest difference to the end client experience? Wi-Fi appliance tech is becoming part of nearly every design we’re creating. With apps for most appliances, from the robot hoover through to heating and security for the home, we need to ensure we have ports where they need to be, charger points that don’t inflict on the design and space for cameras, speakers and seamless signal throughout the home.

Ovens can now be controlled through a wireless connection, but this itself needs to be thought through and on a secured separate network to ensure no one can accidently turn the oven on when a property is unattended. Security is a big consideration for any tech within the home and we work with a great team that can ensure clients know how to safeguard their tech and keep the space safe and secure. Wireless charging for phones within a worktop in the kitchen is also a key ask. No one wants cables sticking out or on show so having a wireless charger built into the worktop is great. Or even including charging points in drawers so the kids can use the island space for homework. Out of sight design, so that tech is functional but not impacting on the overall design of the space, is vital for any new project. What technological trends are you seeing in the home, workplace or hospitality? Hidden tech is key; everyone wants tech to function, but they don’t want to see it, and this was only accelerated by so many of us working from home. We really started to notice how un-tech friendly our current homes are and sought out ways to ensure wherever we are in the home, the tech will follow and work. The key is ease and this will be more important as people go back to offices and workplaces. Where you’re used to being able to pop something in the oven in the day, you’ll now be able to leave it in before you leave for work and set it to start from the app on your phone. The same for the heating and hot water – everything can now be controlled remotely.

What kinds of emerging technologies do you anticipate will be making a difference in the next few years? Smart homes are already here, using apps to control the home are readily available and often integrated into new builds on high-end developments but will become commonplace within new builds to help with the government’s carbon targets. Having smart controlled heating and replacing standard gas boilers with renewable technologies will all help to reach sustainable targets. Sensor taps and appliances will also start to become more common in domestic design. Their function is now being met with design which no longer looks out of place in a standard home. Outdoor office pods and garden rooms which link through to the main home will stay popular with many now not wanting to go back to the standard 9-5 and long commute. Our homes will evolve to become far more practical with tech we usually see in commercial spaces becoming part of our everyday lives. Sustainability will also play a huge role in integrating tech and ensuring it’s not disposable. Even things like wireless charging ports which don’t rely on wires which easily break and end up in landfill, all help to drive the future of tech forward. Using less energy for when we’re not at home, smart appliances that know to turn on just from our location pinging and fire down controls to save and store energy when it’s needed the most. En Masse /

We’ve seen wireless charging points in cars and restaurants for ages, but now they’re coming into our home designs, especially within kitchens. The same for screens, tablets and connected devices, especially for being able to view a recipe rather than relying on a cookbook.


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JACOB DE MUIJNCK, Director at Gira What are the technology essentials you use in your day-to-day work? Which could you not live without? Personally, I find my smartphone is essential nowadays, especially as it gives me another tool for managing my work and appointments remotely, as well as enjoy some down time and more social activities. I am also very proud of our Gira app, which can control all functions within a smart home like lighting through to heating and security, so it’s like having my ‘house in my pocket’ everywhere I go, and it has provided me with a level of personal assurance and home security I can no longer be without. What are some of the technology musthaves that make the biggest difference to the end client experience? Our core philosophy is all about inclusivity and we are very proud to partner with premium brands to offer wireless solutions so that families can have even more ways to control and manage their homes, which will make life easier for everyone, especially with trends shifting towards multigenerational living and futureproof design solutions.

The homeowner has the freedom to add and subtract to the system as the family’s needs change, and everything from lighting to heating and air conditioning can be tailored to the individual’s needs. With the right home technology in place, the homeowner has the power to prevent potential accidents, such as limiting water temperatures to avoid the risk of scalding in the kitchen and bathroom, as well as installing stove safety devices which will prevent ovens and hobs being left on accidentally. As today’s consumers really embrace the democratisation of design with the latest technology, they want fixtures and fittings which support their lifestyles fully. For the grey market, this might mean an extra emphasis on clearly configured controls and call systems and for a young family – ensuring that controls can be child-proofed would make sense. The sheer variety of switches and components available is triggering all sorts of ideas in terms of future integration so the smart home possibilities that we see today are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of having a highly-individualised living space, which intuitively knows exactly what we like and when we like it.

We are finding that combining functions like lighting, heating and blinds in one discreet control panel, as well as enabling new opportunities for remote control and app control technologies is giving people more freedom to create a comfortable environment with minimum effort.

What technological trends are you seeing in the home, workplace or hospitality? Integration is a key word for interior design in 2021, as consumers come to understand that well-designed lighting systems can enhance their quality of life, as well as help to save energy and contribute to a more sustainable future.

The rise of the Internet of Things means that consumers have endless possibilities to link devices from different manufacturers so that every household can have a uniquely personalised environment. This means that a variety of different devices can all share one single, simple network (known as a KNX system) and work together as required.

The fusion of high functionality with simplicity is a massive trend, so having a range of user-friendly options to manage heating, lighting, blinds and door communications in the home will be paramount. Voice control, smartphone or tablet apps and Bluetooth will give everyone in the household more freedom to alter settings to suit their preferences,

especially if they are multi-tasking or out and about. Environment enhancement is another must-have across the board with stylish switches, easily adjustable lighting and smart, connected workstations for workplaces and the home office. What kinds of emerging technologies do you anticipate will be making a difference in the next few years? We think that ‘future-proof’ will be key for interior design in 2021/2 onwards as the industry and the building sector rise to the challenge of creating a more sustainable world for future generations. The long-term trend towards using renewable energy in both manufacturing and in domestic supply will focus attention on how we live and the greener choices consumers can make. As we look to use energy in our homes more efficiently, investing in reliable, intuitive and design-orientated smart technology will not only enhance critical rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms but will also be more costeffective in the long run. I think the greater desire for personalisation and bringing spa-like experiences into the home will bring in a new wave of luxury and comfort to bathroom environments. This has led to the health and wellness market continuing to dominate consumer spending, and so design suggestions like chromatherapy as a lighting option and the impact of varied colour temperatures can completely transform the user experience for the better. Gira /

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ANDREW MARTIN, Founder of AMD Architecture What are the technology essentials you use in your day-to-day work? Which could you not live without? I think pretty much everyone is lost without a phone, but my iMac would be the thing I most miss. Pretty much my whole working world is on there – CAD and design software, and all my correspondence – as well as it being a main source of information. What are some of the technology musthaves that make the biggest difference to the end client experience? I am an analog type of guy, but I love it when technology can enhance or work seamlessly along with analog. The must-have for the end user is seamless connection between the physical and the digital parts of the business. So, if the customer can see, try on, look at colour options, sizes, the back story and check availability, order and have it delivered the next day if required, with little hassle, then technology is working well. There must be a human element to a serviceled experience. What technological trends are you seeing in homes/workplace/hospitality? Remote control of your house or work services – lighting, heating and cooling, window blinds etc. But, also the integration of work facilities and home, and the more homely approach to a work environment.

What kinds of emerging technologies do you anticipate will be making a difference in the next few years? The move forward to 3D modelling software from photographic input has been amazing in the last year or so. So, bringing environments or product experiences to the customer has become a new way of bringing information to life. AMD Architecture /

“The must-have for the end user is seamless connection between the physical and the digital parts of the business... there must be a human element to a service-led experience”


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0800 345 7788 1. HEPA filter tested to EN1822-5, by an independent testing laboratory, under prescribed test conditions.

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TONI HORSFIELD, Interior Designer What are the technology essentials you use in your day-to-day work? Which could you not live without? I am not a tech-for-tech-sake kind of a designer. I am all about keeping things as simple as possible and sometimes technology is the way to do that. Video calls are one of these developments. Teams, Zoom and Google Meet are now an essential part of every workspace. Love it or hate it, it has made the awful conference call a thing of the past…and is single-handedly saving the planet by cutting our mileage. It’s a fantastic use of tech. What are some of the technology musthaves that make the biggest difference to the end client experience? Automated controls. I worked with Siemens when they launched their Smart Homes automation in 2005. I remember thinking some of the ideas were fantastic; lock your house like your car – amazing! Turn the lights and heating on and off from anywhere in the world (pre-smart phones) – fantastic! But turning your oven on and running the bath was a bit much. These home innovations have now become normal to a huge amount of us and they save us energy and money. Win, win. The large corporate office world has long been using very complicated (and expensive) building management systems to control the energy usage and safety systems of the building. These systems are now getting easier to operate, install and add to making them more affordable. The technology has also been scaled for the smaller businesses too helping us all to reduce our energy usage whilst also keeping the inhabitants safe.

What technological trends are you seeing in the home, workplace or hospitality? Automation is definitely growing. The world has changed post-COVID. I think there is now a responsibility for all businesses to be able to provide greater access control and data of movement around their estate. It won’t be needed at all times, of course, but I think questions will be asked of those in the future who can’t deploy greater control when required. It is now possible through facial recognition to set building, office and meeting room access. Apps have long been used to book meeting rooms, but they are also a fantastic way to help control hot desking. We are using interactive plans of the office space and the employee can simply click on the desk or room they would like to book. Great for busy offices and it allows the business to maintain and monitor their capacity to suit the changing obligations – currently useful for COVID-19 restrictions. The Zoom room – a feature that is here to stay. Looking up someone’s nose on a laptop camera is not always the best! We are installing cameras, microphones and speakers into meeting rooms to allow more natural hybrid meetings to take place. These do not have to be a boring, corporate glass box though. They could be a shed, living room or tree house! The only limit is your imagination…and maybe a bit of budget.

use of and monetising the masses of data harvested over the past decade. It is mind blowing. AI has been used to reduce staff levels already by learning the rhythms and habits of employees. One example is the recording of help centre calls, a standard message I have heard for years. AI uses this data to identify when a call centre employee may be fatiguing or needs additional training in certain areas etc. This has already started to help companies cut back on middle management, which in turn means fewer HR staff; less head count means less physical office space and facilities are required. It can make a large saving. I think this will be a huge area for growth. Domestically, we are all getting used to AI through the use of voice recognition devices. These devices are listening and learning. I think in the future rather than asking for a certain song, the lights up or to order a product, the device will anticipate that action and it will happen automatically. We will never again run out of dishwasher tablets! Toni Horsfield /

What kinds of emerging technologies do you anticipate will be making a difference in the next few years? Artificial intelligence without a doubt. I have been talking with some of the companies making


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“Apps have long been used to book meeting rooms, but they are also a fantastic way to help control hot desking. With interactive plans of the office space, the employee can simply click on the desk or room they would like to book”


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Lock makers since 1889 34

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As a specialist UK manufacturer of locking systems, Lowe & Fletcher supplies a wide variety of locks for any application. An extensive product range includes everything from simple mechanical locks to the very latest electronic smart locks – as well as bespoke solutions. The future of smart locking How people use their spaces is changing. Smart locks or intelligent locker systems deliver more than increased convenience and security, they dramatically improve user experience. Far more than simply storage, they open up an opportunity to reshape the way you work. No keys, no fuss The Access Code Managed system from Lowe & Fletcher is a simple and secure way to manage access without the need to be on site. All that’s required to unlock a compartment is a simple code generated on our secure website. No need to handle keys. No need for on-site reprogramming. No need for a supervisor to be there in person.

Managers can see at a glance which locks are free and ready to be allocated to new users. The same system can manage multiple sites, simply and conveniently, all from one place. Using our proven Remote Allocation System (RAS) technology, new user codes are generated online. When the user enters it into their lock it immediately replaces the old code. This ensures safe and secure access for new users without the added cost of a dedicated internet connection or an administrator needing to be present. Talk to us Contact us today and see how much more flexible and efficient Access Code Managed systems can be.

Contact / 0121 505 0400 35

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Words: Anna-Marie Casas

Future-proofing the Built Environment We speak with Liviu Tudor, President of the European Property Federation and Chairman of Genesis Property, who has pioneered the world’s first immunity standard harnessing science and technology to help companies bring back workers safely after the COVID pandemic and boost resilience for future health risks

DESIGNER: Tell us about your role and remit as President of the European Property Federation. Liviu Tudor: I have been the President of the European Property Federation (EPF) since 2019. The EPF is an Economic Interest Grouping (EIG) established under Belgian law and is open to real estate associations and major companies representing a significant proportion of real estate interests within the member states of the EU, academic members, real estate associations within the EU and from outside (as associate members) and legal entities in the real estate sector with interests in the EU. We represent property interests for property development

companies, property investment companies, trusts, REITs, shopping centres, housing companies, property brokers, property managers, residential landlords, banks, insurance companies, pension funds, major corporates with important property interests and historical estate owners. EPF, with its national association and direct-company membership, has been the European forum and policy vehicle for real estate since 1997. Our mission is to foster a European real estate leadership with a handson culture and vision for EU real estate policy, through networking, socialisation, and solidarity among its association and company CEO Board members; foster the development of

real estate activities and associative life in new and candidate EU accession countries, putting at their disposal the experience gained from the more established and experienced members; attempt to reform and optimise national property markets and planning law using EU law where progress is not possible in the national political context; and promote and/or propose EU initiatives supporting the real estate industry. DESIGNER: You’ve developed the IMMUNE Building Standard – how did it all come about, what did you discover in your research, and what are your aims? Tudor: When news of the pandemic first arose, it soon became clear


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that life as we knew it would change. Over one year on, that early interpretation has proven to be accurate, with the virus radically changing the way we live, work and interact. Excepting hospitals, clinics and ‘clean rooms’ dedicated to scientific research, no commercial building was prepared to face a pandemic challenge of the COVID-19 magnitude. Therefore, it became apparent we needed a strong scientific solution to help society get back safely into work and office environments – if we were ever to return back to a pre-pandemic normal. The IMMUNE Building Standard was the product of this endeavour, developed in Romania in 2020,

mid-COVID-19 pandemic, together with an international team of experts in health, technology, architecture, constructions, engineering, and facility management, as a blueprint to improve the immunity of office buildings against health risks. As the world’s first standard to purposefully address the immunity of our built environments, IMMUNE redesigns and reengineers buildings for the post-COVID world and beyond. Inspired by technologies and procedures grounded in science, this innovative standard that better prepares people, businesses and communities to withstand health threats has the power to transform the future.

DESIGNER: What are some of the advanced technologies that have inspired this global standard, and its 135 measures? Tudor: The IMMUNE Building Standard, through the Healthy by Design Building Institute (HDBI) in Brussels, is an evidence-based, third-party certified rating for the built environment, focusing on providing building operators with the tools and strategy to monitor, communicate and adjust the health of the indoor physical space, with an efficient response protocol in case of viral, bacteriological, or toxicological events. IMMUNE is based on a practical investment in a Healthy by Design System (HbDS), incorporating a


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network of devices and available technologies, specialised equipment, dedicated personnel, and new amenities, promoting operational and health rules focused on the physical space where occupants and visitors interact. The standard was developed in consultation with medical and engineering experts, and therefore the measures were focused on creating safe, clean environments that could address present and future pathological or toxicological threats. Examples of measures within the standard includes having an IMMUNE steward on site, an IMMUNE warehouse, air quality sensors, air treatment surface disinfection technology, air purification and UV lighting disinfection in elevator shafts, digital twin displays, self-cleaning and

handsfree door opening systems, selfcleaning elevator buttons and more. Much of the standard focuses on making regular touchpoints more resilient against the threat of pathogen transmission. We believe that having this kind of infrastructure is not just a COVID-19 measure but a measure for the future which will ensure buildings around the world are much better equipped to deal with these kinds of threats. Based on the measures implemented, the buildings are then scored by an assessor for their level of compliance against the standard and given one of three labels: Strong (3*), Powerful (4*) and Resilient (5*) to certify how they are placed to withstand present and future health challenges such as COVID-19 and other bacteriological or toxicological threats.

DESIGNER: How many companies have become IMMUNE certified to date and how crucial is it that more seek accreditation – is it just for large corporates or can small operations benefit too? Tudor: We have implemented the standard for offices, factories and industrial buildings in the UK and in Europe. The flagship case study is Building H3 in Bucharest, Romania which is fully occupied by Ericsson, which became the first in the world to secure a Resilient (5 star) rating – the highest on the standard. The standard has been developed to help all building types including offices, logistics & industrial sites, sports and recreation centres, educational institutions, retail, hospitality and residential properties to re-open and operate safely. The size of a building does not matter; we can implement it to any building.


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DESIGNER: What more should employers be doing to safeguard the health of their employees? Tudor: If employers are looking to get employees back into the office, it must be their absolute priority to prepare a safe working environment. Based on our research and understanding, there are three kinds of employees to cater to – the ones keen to return to the office no matter what, the ones who want a degree of flexibility in working from home, and the ones who are hesitant to get back to the office. Employers need to ensure that they address all the three types and create a safe and secure environment where everyone is confident to return. Office design philosophy needs to be definitely relooked at, to facilitate a smooth transition back to work.

DESIGNER: Architects and designers have a key role to play in helping redesign offices to reopen safely as well as develop the buildings of the future – what would be your key message to them? Tudor: Since people are spending up to 90% of their time indoors, the need to redesign and re-engineer the built environments, mainly responsible for our health, becomes more and more articulated. Just as we take care of our own immune system and constantly seek to boost it, there is a need for solutions to improve the immunity of the buildings in which we spend most of our time and to prepare them for the new normality. We need to take this into consideration when designing any building, including offices – but they need to be bespoke to the type of building.

DESIGNER: COVID-19 took the world by surprise – how resilient are buildings currently to health challenges and what more can be done, particularly in terms of harnessing technology, to safeguard against future crises? Tudor: Buildings currently are not prepared to be resilient to health challenges. The design philosophy pre-COVID has been to gather and pack as many people as possible in an efficient manner, but now with COVID, most buildings have deployed temperature checks and social distancing. However, we need to now deploy scientific measures such as the IMMUNE Building Standard to create safe environments, which is a mix of AI, automation and human control.

The IMMUNE Building Standard /

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Render created using ArtiCAD-Pro

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ArtiVR Virtual Meetings

23/07/2021 00:15


Theresa Turner, Director, ArtiCAD Ltd (celebrating its thirtieth year in 2022) Render created using ArtiCAD-Pro

Capture the detail, the skill, the thought, the commitment, the passion that goes into your designs. Present these to your customers, each presentation individually tailored to exactly match how, where and when the client wishes to view, explore and discuss the design. Deliver your designs with confidence. And give your customers the confidence to go ahead. That is what the right technology can do for you and your business. A personalised showcase for your customer’s new room created using technology that is powerful, flexible, cost-effective and easy to use. And as well as its role in presenting your sensational designs, it can also handle all the essential ‘backroom’ activities such as pricing, quotations, ordering, installation, business management and reporting. Without doubt the vast majority of designers, retailers and architects have long used some aspects of technology to handle parts of their work. But perhaps the recent lockdowns, the inability to meet face to face, and the closure of showrooms, has accelerated the adoption of and the familiarity with newer technologies.

KBBConnect on desktop and mobile

Delivering drama, capturing data Take ArtiCAD’s ArtiVR virtual reality system as an example. Although already installed for a number of entrepreneurial companies, it really flew during the lockdown, providing the ability for customers to be ‘in’ their new room just by clicking on a link in an email. One company reported a 100% sales conversion rate once they started using ArtiVR because of the realism of the experience. And it is so simple. Designs and plans are Render created using ArtiCAD-Pro

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produced in ArtiCAD’s well-known CAD software and then rendered as a 3D VR scene in the Cloud, obviating the need for investing in additional or high spec hardware. The brand-new Virtual Meetings feature in ArtiVR now enables designers to host a meeting in real time with their client within the ArtiVR design. ArtiCAD’s webtech is there from the very beginning of your customer’s journey with you, with a number of online tools – RoomPlanner (for customers to submit room layout and project details), Room Styler (enabling customer customisation of colours and finishes in a design) and Room Viewer (combining features from the other webtech tools, but also incorporating our panoramic view technology) All these webtech tools not only engage the visitor’s attention and encourage future involvement with your company, but also allow you to capture detailed information, identify their specific needs and then get in touch with a personalised, targeted response – smoothing along, and speeding up the sales process. Spanning the business ArtiCAD’s technology helps you make an impact by putting on a great show for your customers. KBBSmart, a member of the ArtiCAD Group, might on the surface appear to offer less glamorous or dramatic solutions, but its technology (fully integrated with ArtiCAD’s design solutions) is absolutely fundamental to building and growing a solid, secure, and professional business. KBBSmart’s range of software handles the production of detailed, instantaneous quotations (with up to the minute data provided from manufacturers’ catalogues), ordering, tracking, warehousing and remedials as well as all aspects of CRM, accounting and business reporting. Whether your business revolves around showrooms, is predominantly online or any other combination, our experience in desktop, online and custom technology development is designed to help you sell. / 01923 888101


23/07/2021 00:15


SWITCHED ON From rubber factory to contemporary loft apartment, this stunning conversion shines a light on Germany’s industrial past while embracing a technology-filled future for home design


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Photography: Annika Feuss


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t has been designed to provide a home where minimalist living and maximum functionality go hand in hand. Architects DIIP were commissioned to convert a 170 sq m loft in Cologne into a completely customised living space, reflecting the owners’ desire for large openplan spaces while providing allimportant spots to retreat and relax. Loft H boasts lines that are distinct and sleek, the finer detail is equally streamlined and the technology that brings ease to everyday living could not be slicker. Light technology The E2 Design Line of switches and sockets by Gira – a specialist provider of intelligent system solutions for electronic and interconnected digital building management – underpin the industrial aesthetic in this contemporary home while enhancing the form and function of the overall interior space. The result is one that sublimely illuminates Germany’s industrial heritage while providing a home for the future with technological prowess. “As a business, we are very proud that we can work with architects to bring the latest home technology to older properties worldwide, as our cities continue to evolve and building stock shifts from commercial to residential,” comments Mark Booth, Managing Director at Gira UK, adding that the lighting controls for the Loft H project “elevate the luxe feel of the interiors and provide a common thread running through the whole project”. Thanks to robust plastic housing, the owners will be able to enjoy their switches for many years to come as well as having the freedom to easily connect them to a Gira smart home system in the future, if they so wish.

The digital dilemma With a spectrum of home technology options hitting the market relentlessly, it is important that homeowners get the right systems for both their budget and their needs, according to DIPP founder and owner Jochen Reetz. “Due to the rapid pace of digital development, clients can often find it difficult to choose a technology in the knowledge that it might be completely out of date just a few years after installation,” he observes. “Many clients continue to struggle to weigh up the security concerns, costs and maintenance needs against the added value that these systems bring. “Planners and professionals play a huge role in the decision-making process and can help to guide homeowners towards an individual and appropriate solution based on factors such as the clients’ priorities, budget, property size, technical expertise and current situation.” Clean and clutterfree Loft H is divided into three distinct zones compromising a spacious living and dining area, a bedroom area with an open-plan shower room, and a guest and relaxation area for everyday life and work. The uncomplicated and minimalist style of the loft features rich surfaces and bold contrasts, soaking in its industrial past. In the living and dining area, steel, glass and Beton Ciré concrete create a seamlessly coordinated look. A generous amount of cupboard space is distributed around the large kitchen island. Materials such as steel and glass combine with a concrete-effect finish to create a clear industrial aesthetic around the large work table in the living and dining area. Opposite the dining table and bathed in natural light, a small


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seating area provides a relaxing, intimate retreat. Thanks to integrated storage, the clients can keep this space clutter-free. On the free wall, the black switches provide an eye-catching contrasting feature in the 4m high space. Back to black “The Gira E2 design line is streamlined and timeless,” observes Reetz, who opted for black matt switches and socket outlets from the range throughout the apartment, complementing black window frames and black ceiling lights. “It represents pure function, so the person looking at it or using it does not question its role in the design concept. Contrast is always easier for us than complete co-ordination. When combined with the black light fittings, the switches create authentic and elegant accents that are also reflected in the steel components of the other fittings and furniture.” The bedroom features a unique combination of natural materials and industrial accents with whitewashed Dinesen floorboards, light mosaic tiles and industrial-style furniture made from Douglas wood create a calming atmosphere. The urban vibe extends to the bathroom in a softer form with the black ceiling lights and switches providing the only gentle reminders of the heritage of the space. Personal and timeless Loft H is a project that minimalists will adore, with an appreciation for warmth. “We wanted to create a structure that would be spacious while also providing areas for quiet retreat and privacy,” reflects Reetz, who was born in nearby Mönchengladbach and completed a degree in architecture at the


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Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. Since 2011, he has worked on an array of projects with his team at DIIIP, aiming to bridge the gap between people and the spaces in which they work, live and play. “In spite of the industrial features like steel, wired glass and concrete, we wanted to make the atmosphere of the new space warm and inviting. The vision we conveyed to our clients throughout the project was one of a timeless home in which you experience an overwhelming urge to walk barefoot across the floors. “The main challenge was that we had to work with some of the existing physical constraints of the building that had been put in place during the vendor’s prior planning phase. We had to take existing ducting, supports and heights into account in our design and conceal, integrate and accept these features as they were. The loft

faces onto a park and to the south. We concealed the less prominent face of the building with large built-in fittings in the living area.” To ensure daylight could flood the space on both sides, the team installed opal wired glass within the steel doors. “We integrated places for the owners of the home to come together – in the form of the kitchen counter, the dining table, the sofa corner and the office – to create communication zones that reflect the many different ways in which the home will be used on a daily basis.” The materials selected are inviting and represent the unique, self-confident style of the owners without appearing decadent or forced. “With use, the materials will age beautifully and develop a unique patina. And this kind of timeless, personal architecture is exactly what we like to create,” added Reetz.

Gira / DIIIP /

22/07/2021 23:38

NOVY EASY Luxury reinvented

NOVY EASY Luxury reinvented

Winner category Company

The Novy Easy simplifies cooking in the kitchen. The Novy Easy is the latest addition to Novy’s collection of vented induction hobs. Featuring four high performance flex induction zones and a central surface vent, this simple to use induction hob and extraction combination features a sensor that automatically regulates the extraction speed to make the cooking process easier.

Winner category Company

The Novy Easy simplifies cooking in the kitchen. The Novy Easy is the latest addition to Novy’s collection of vented induction hobs. Featuring four high performance flex induction zones and a central surface vent, this simple to use induction hob and extraction combination features a sensor that automatically regulates the extraction speed to make the cooking process easier.

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Our pick of some of the latest innovations that are pushing the technology boundaries…

Fisher & Paykel’s new French Door Fridge Freezers have recessed handles and perfectly flat doors which create a streamlined look to fit any kitchen aesthetic and achieve a flush fit with kitchen cabinetry. Available in an matte black glass or stainless steel, the fridge freezer features ActiveSmart Foodcare technology, which intelligently adjusts temperature, airflow, and humidity, to provide the optimal storage temperature and keep food fresher for longer. Fisher & Paykel /

The Cache Edge by Westin is available in three standard sizes and features tuneable dynamic lighting along with the innovative Westin Edge baseplate that collects fumes over a much larger area compared to a conventional built-in hood. Westin /


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The Dyson HEPA Cool Formaldehyde purifies the whole room and captures bacteria, allergens and H1N1 virus, while destroying formaldehyde, continuously. Dyson’s advanced 360° HEPA filtration H13 captures 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 microns from the air and keeps them sealed inside. Dyson /


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Elica has launched three new WiFi-connected extractors that can be controlled via the Elica App on a smartphone or tablet or using “voice assistants” like Alexa and Google Home. The new function enables homeowners to remotely control extraction speeds and lighting functions, whilst the extractors themselves can advise homeowners when grease filters need cleaning or high-performance charcoal filters needs regenerating. The range include Super Plat, a slim wall-mounted hood available in cast iron and grey glass, and black glass. Elica /

Novy has launched its Easy PRO 80cm vented induction hob which features a quiet central matrix extractor to automatically regulate the extraction speed once cooking begins. With an extraction or recirculation model to choose from, this hob includes two large Flexzones and also benefits from a wide range of functions that are designed to make surface cooking easier. Novy /

Wolf’s new Induction range provides a sleek alternative to the professional style Dual Fuel Range. Instead of the brand’s characteristic red control knobs, there are just refined, clean lines and a sleek, integrated touch-control panel. Available in 76cm and 91cm widths, the range encompasses all the features of Wolf’s M Series Wall Ovens, including the ‘Wolf Gourmet’ automatic cooking mode. Sub Zero & Wolf /


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R E N G I S E #D


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DesignerOpinions is an exclusive series of interviews with established designers, architects and design professionals where we discuss defining design characteristics, economic influences, global trends and creative opportunities. Adverts 252.indd 53

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Colour Pop

Bold, colourful choices enabled an exciting transformation of an end-of-terrace house in south London…


eckham-based practice Alexander Owen Architecture has cleverly reworked the kitchen and outdoor space of an end-of-terrace house in East Dulwich for a design-savvy couple, embracing their love of colour. The clients had lived in the house for nearly twenty years and had fallen out of love with spending time in their kitchen, due to it being dark and unconnected with their garden. Alexander Owen worked with the couple to design a space with barely any change to the overall footprint and on a tight budget. An existing rear lean-to was demolished, reconnecting the kitchen to the garden without the need for a large-scale extension and avoiding the related amount of building work and disruption.


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Instead, a modest side extension was created to accommodate a new dining area within the existing kitchen. Vibrant yellow units are paired with turquoise splashbacks with timber walls and ceiling completing the look. To give an inexpensive upgrade to the outside space, the architects used silicone render in punchy shades of blue, yellow and pink. The owners have a love of Pop Art, with pieces by Terry Frost, Jasper Johns and Peter Blake gracing the walls of their house, and fashion entrepreneur Paul Smith another inspiration in terms of bold use of colour. The couple count Barcelona, Tokyo and New York among their favourites but it was a trip to Helsinki that proved the most insightful. There, they visited the home and studio of modernist designer Alvar Aalto and fell for the iconic Finn’s use of clean lines and sinuous forms. This inspiration can clearly be felt in the curves Alexander Owen incorporated in the kitchen, the way the architects brought light in and, most obviously in the three Aalto Golden Bell Pendant light shades hanging over the kitchen table.


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Richard Bridges and James Webster, Founders of Alexander Owen Architecture said: “We strive to design homes as unique as their owners, so we took our design cues from the various design inspirations the clients gave us and turned this into a piece of architecture in a bid to merge the balance between art, architecture and furniture design that the clients love.” Webster believes that although colour can often be scary for architects and interior designers, there is more willingness to be brave: “A new appetite has emerged over recent years among private and commercial clients alike for the bold and bright use of colour and graphics in architecture, and as a result colour has become a very powerful tool in terms of both personalisation in homes and placemaking in the public realm. “Like most things associated with lifestyle and fashion, attitudes towards colour go in cycles and we are definitely seeing a boom in maximalism and colour and pattern blocking.”

He added that within residential design, there is a trend towards a more maximalist approach to big, bold colours and patterns in the home, often inspired by Bauhaus as well as contemporary graphic artists. “There is also a real appetite for Scandinavian styles at the moment too, which tend to use more muted, earthier tones and colour palettes. “One way people can begin to mix and match and introduce colour

into their homes without it feeling like too much of a risk is through art prints, objet d’art and soft furnishings. These items tend to be more affordably interchangeable over time and so if there is some scepticism towards painting walls, ceilings and wood work, these are a great way to dip your toe into the world of colour without it feeling overly foreboding.”

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This year’s Designer Awards entries are being carefully considered, with some extremely tough decisions to be made by our experienced panel of industry experts… With new wide-ranging categories added to the list, this year’s Designer Awards promises to be an exciting showcase of some of the very best design projects and products from across the industry. Now in its 19th year, the event recognises the very best creative talent from across the UK and around the world working on residential, workplace or hospitality projects as well as the most innovative products that have made a difference to the specification choices across the industry. It has been another challenging year but from the number and quality of submissions received by the time entries closed last month, it is clear that there has been no shortage of creative and highly inventive design work taking place. Our judging panel this year is drawn from right across the disciplines, with highly experienced interior designers, architects, product designers, writers, and business leaders all bringing their insight to a process that is thorough and exacting in selecting the strongest projects in each category.

Headline Sponsor

The winners will be announced at a gala presentation luncheon at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden on Friday 12 November.

Designer Awards /


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Kicki Carlsson Ambassador and Co-Founder, Dröm UK

Alan Crawford Founder, Crawford Partnership

Barrie Cutchie Founder, BC Designs

Maja Dimova-Handley Creative Director, Spicy Lemon London

Jamie Harding Managing Director, Et Lorem

Miles Hartwell Co-Founder, Splinterworks

Philip Winter Founder, Kitchen Alchemy

Robin Levien Product Designer

Paul McAneary Managing Director, Paul McAneary Architects

Jorge Mendez-Caceres, Creative Director, BDG architecture + design

Matt Podesta Co-Founder and Creative Director, Huckleberry Home

Lindsey Rendall Creative Director, Rendall & Wright

Colin Wong Design Director at Kitchens Defined by Colin Wong

Stacey Sheppard Freelance Writer and Editor of interior design blog The Design Sheppard

Staffan Tollgard Founder & Creative Director, Tollgard Design Group

Harsha Kotak Founder Director, WOD (Women in Office Design), and Consultant, K2 Space

Barbara Sallick Co-Founder & Senior Vice-President of Design, Waterworks


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Let There Be Light Internationally renowned architect and designer Jean-Philippe Nuel speaks exclusively about his work at the Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese hotel in Rome, where the latest bedroom technology is afforded at every turn


nticipating every need is a critical element in creating a remarkable guest experience, says Jean-Philippe Nuel. Paris-based Nuel is the project designer for the Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese in Rome where guests can take advantage of stunning views of the city – and the latest technology at their fingerprints to control every ray and angle of light that permeates their rooms. While there are many reasons to open the shades – beckoning are the Villa Borghese gardens along with Villa Medici, the Vatican City, and St. Peter’s Basilica to name but a few – guests may want to close them to block some of the brilliant midday light and heat that comes with it. Accor, the global hotel group that owns the Sofitel portfolio of fivestar boutique hotels, selected the Lutron myRoom solution for every

guestroom for its latest offering to give their guests the heightened level of control they imagined they might expect or need. Few know more about designing for modern-day expectations than Nuel, whose sublime touches are enjoyed by guests in luxury hotels the world over. “When designing a hotel guestroom, I imagine that I am the guest,” he said after his latest work was recently unveiled. “I picture different scenarios that may occur throughout the day. There is fantastic light in Rome, so I may want to close the curtains. I may want to change the temperature of the room, cooling it down if it becomes overly warm. I may be on the bed and want to read.” The post-pandemic hotel Nuel explains that today, in a postCovid world, the expectations of guests are now more about being able to enjoy destinations with the

latest technology and procedures to minimise the risk factor than the socialising elements that hotels traditionally offer. “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a worldwide movement of withdrawal, with whole countries and cities having closed and imposing limits on social exchanges. In this context, all places of social interaction were impacted. “The hotel naturally found itself on the front line because, by its nature, it brings people together. Like many establishments, the Sofitel has been faced with the emergence of new guest expectations – where the ability to social distance has overtaken the desire to socialise. The strength of large groups like Accor lies in being able to mobilise multiple skills to develop an approach that reassures guests and guarantees customer safety, without compromising on the luxury experience.


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Hotel images photography: Studio Jean-Philippe Nuel / Gilles Trillard Portrait image photography: Eric Cuvillier Words: Anna-Marie Casas


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“Customers have come to expect the implementation of distancing barriers and rules, QR Code menus or contactless payments when possible, not to mention reinforced hygiene rules. Hotels, due to their layout, have certain advantages in adapting to new uses. The rooms are equipped with a multi-use table serving as a desk, but also as a table for breakfast or even dinner. The restaurant, with its terrace and retractable roof, also has unique assets in responding to distancing measures.” He adds that such flexibility – and the act of designing with a range of uses and guests in mind – will surely be found in the hotels of the future: “The bedroom will need to act as a living and dining space for guests who remain cautious of public spaces, and outdoor spaces, which have now become synonymous with well-being, will be increasingly sought-after. “In general, the hotel of the future will need to be a place that is open to the city, offering the cultural experiences guests have missed, while offering privacy and control, to compensate for the loss of clientele over the past year.” Full control The myRoom system installed


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in Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese provides guests with an elegantly designed keypad to control light levels, curtain positions, and room temperature in a way that feels both sophisticated and masterful. A guest can turn all the lights on or off at the touch of a button or move the draperies silently into the open position to enjoy the early morning view of Rome – without waking up anyone else in the room. They can go for the total privacy option or tailor the room temperature to their personal preference. “Guests need control of the lights, the shades, and the temperature in their room. Managing all of these parameters in a globally-accessible and effortless manner, is, I believe, a distinguishing feature of Lutron,” observes Nuel. The myRoom system was designed to deliver a luxury experience to guests from all over the world, which meant it was important that there were no language barriers. The buttons feature large icons that are easy to interpret in any language. The keypads are also beautiful; the design team selected a white glass Palladiom finish, so they could incorporate them into the rich white leather headboards in each

guestroom, without compromising the carefully curated look. “The two elements that mattered the most to me, when selecting a guestroom keypad, were how easily the icons could be interpreted by guests from around the world and, of course, complementing our highend aesthetic,” said Nuel. The myRoom solution elevates the hotel experience by giving staff the tools to impress guests with heightened attention to detail and customer service. Staff can trigger ‘welcome’ scenes during check-in, so guests enter a gently lit room with the curtains drawn, instead of fumbling for a key card or light switch in the dark. They can also indicate when they do not want to be disturbed by pressing a button on the keypad, instead of hanging a sign on the door. Smart home from home “Lighting control is integral to making superb guest experiences happen, with technology having long played a role in raising a hotel’s profile,” said Miguel Aguado, Marketing and Technology Manager for Lutron Europe. “The smart home market has seen incredible growth, boosted by the unfortunate need to stay at home during the last 18

months. Now, guests will come to expect the same level of convenience when travelling. “Technology already plays a key role in offering a touchless hotel experience, while enhancing a guest’s stay. Occupants can wake up to sunlight instead of an alarm using automated lighting and shading solutions and turn all the lights off from a single button at the bedside or with touchless control keys. “Going forward, personalisation will be an increasingly important factor in elevating the guest experience. Mobile apps will enable a guest to enjoy bespoke experiences wherever they go – from personalising their wakeup sequence to setting scenes to suit romantic, family or business trips,” predicts Aguado. “Wellness will continue to be of great importance. By making use of indoor environmental quality parameters, hoteliers can create the optimal guest experience. For example, guests can enjoy the perfect lighting for any activity with tuneable white solutions, and the optimal temperature with remote room controls. As well as this, hoteliers can create a calm, natural style with the right choice of fabrics for smart blinds and curtains.”

Lutron / Jean-Philippe Nuel /

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One last thing from this month’s magazine…

Photography: Agnese Sanvito

Architecture practice Delve teamed up with appliance brand Fisher & Paykel to create a striking window display as part of the London Festival of Architecture’s ‘Showroom Showcase’ programme. The competition offers winners the opportunity to display their work and highlight the talents of emerging architects and designers. Delve’s unique paper art installation – Loop Fruits – is on display in the window of Halcyon Interiors’ Wigmore Street showroom in London. South London based studio, Delve, creates spaces that encourage joy and connectivity and believes that exploration and investigation leads to the creation of meaningful spaces. Malina Dabrowska, architect at Delve, said: “We are challenging the way in which paper is used by sewing it together to create three dimensional


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forms. The installation translates the elegance and simplicity of Fisher & Paykel kitchen appliances by celebrating the abundance that lives within them. “The attention to detail, technical prowess and layering of food bursting with colour is showcased through hand-sewn colourful paper sculptures of food. We have worked with Jasper Stevens to help bring our exhibit to life through augmented reality, allowing visitors to interact with it through animated Instagram filters.” Helen Haider, Fisher & Paykel Head of UK Marketing, added: “Delve’s concept of capturing the joy of food and design innovation is what sparked our interest in the practice, as these ideas are at the heart our brand. It’s been brilliant to see the installation through from concept to completion.”

Delve Architects / Fisher & Paykel / Halcyon Interiors /

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