Designer Magazine June 2021

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designer signer JUNE 2021 250

Giving the office a whole new meaning


How design can help futureproof against our changing environment

FORWARD PLANNING The shape of post-pandemic building to come

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PADS Everything goes together here. Nine elements that can be combined in new ways again and again. And, whichever fabric variant you choose, the pads are an eye catching and inviting feature. As a key design element, the characteristic zigzag seam not only provides a consistent link, it also represents a passion for detail. And if the various elements still don’t provide enough choice, the modular seating landscape can be expanded to include all versions. The screens and plug-in side tables bring even more versatility into play. Also featured is our Ray table system, Ray Soft swivel chairs, Team accessories and Valet occasional tables.

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Photo: Carlo William Rossi + Fabio Mureddu — AD: ps+a

CONCA design Ludovica+Roberto Palomba

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Welcome to the June issue of Designer. We reach another magnificent milestone with our humble magazine this month – our 250th issue! So what’s kept us going strong for all this time? Well, ever since founding publisher Kevin John and founding editor Grahame Morrison first created the title back in 2000, it has steadfastly ploughed its own furrow, looking beyond the distractions of gimmicks and passing fads to identify the core trends that form the basis for true interior creativity. Today, the editorial challenges are perhaps greater than ever, with a multitude of design styles and combinations available to specifiers, but this only serves to make a publication such as ours even more important. Distilling and disseminating the most important design ideas and possibilities is a task we take very seriously, and we hope we have been able to offer some real added value to our readers’ projects over the past 21 years. Looking ahead, things are as uncertain for society and the economy as ever, but our mission remains the same. Both in print and online, we continue to champion the very best in design and inspired, creative thinking. In fact, our task is arguably more important than ever, since design will play an increasingly vital part in helping us make sense of the new restrictions – as well as the opportunities – for the spaces and places all around us in a post-pandemic era.

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Of course, design doesn’t have all the answers – but it does have a hell of a lot. @designeratiUK

Martin Allen-Smith Editor, Designer



M ar t in




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CONTENTS 44 10 SOURCE Our monthly round-up of the people, products and events that matter from across the design sector 20 SHOWROOMS Furniture brand Vitra opens up its new presence in London’s most famous store, Harrods 22 BUILDING MOMENTUM The goalposts may have shifted, but opportunities abound for the most creative and innovative developers 26 REINVENTING THE VICTORIAN VILLA Prestbury Estates has unveiled Windswood, a development of four contemporary apartments that combine luxury living with the latest functionality

60 34 IS LONDON STILL CALLING? Nicholas Mee, Board Director and Head of Land at Rockwell, talks exclusively about the desire for city living in a post-pandemic era 40 THE SMART HOME-FROM-HOME OFFICE Not just bricks and mortar – it’s time our built environments play their role in supporting our wellbeing says industrial designer and entrepreneur Lee McCormack, CEO at MyGlobalHome 44 HILLSIDE RETREAT Helping guests to get closer to nature, this eco hotel reflects its local area’s sustainable sensitivities, and aims to leave no long-term trace

50 DESIGNING RECOVERY As we come to terms with what post-pandemic ‘normality’ may look like, we ask what next for the workplace 59 PERFECT PARTNERS David Lee Hood, Co-Founder of architectural and interior design directory Quado, on what designers really need from suppliers 60 SHIFTING SANDS A holiday home built with user versatility and futureproofing in mind makes the very most of its spectacular coastal location 66 EXIT Cool colours from Kelly Hoppen and Yinka Illori


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Our most versatile chair yet coming soon...

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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

To subscribe email or phone 020 3538 0268. Only those who meet the terms of our controlled circulation are eligible to receive a free copy of Designer Magazine. If you do not reach the criteria, subscription rates are UK £35, Europe £70, Worldwide £115

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Photography: RNDR

Take Comfort Furniture brand Arper has launched the latest additions to its 2021 collections. Kata by Altherr Désile Park is designed with circular sustainability at its core. Arper’s first solid wood lounge chair, Kata takes inspiration from artisan-made wood and woven straw chairs and reimagines the near universal typology using contemporary, sustainable solutions.

Mixu, designed in collaboration with Gensler, is a sustainable and versatile collection of chairs and stools that can be customized to suit various needs. Seat options are available in post-industrial recycled plastic, FSC certified wood, fabric, or leather finishes. Seats can be combined with backrest options in a plastic, fabric, or leather and four-leg bases in either metal or FSC certified wood.

The Mixu chair designed in collaboration with Gensler


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Geoff Baker

Grahame Morrison reflects on the industry contribution of the Founder and Chairman of CD(UK) who died last month

The Kata chair by Altherr Désile Park

Arper /

In most kitchens, the single largest surface area, and the hardest working, is the worktop. But prior to Geoff Baker launching Corian working surfaces and sinks into the UK market, the worktop was more often than not an afterthought in the design of the kitchen. It seems bizarre now, but 30 or so years ago, ‘worksurface excitement’ was largely focussed on the introduction of 40mm laminate worktops that were replacing 30mm tops. Back in the day, laminate worktops probably had over 90% of the market. The remaining 10% was made up of solid wood surfaces, tiled worktops (a hygienic nightmare!) and Corian, with next to no granite, marble or concrete tops at this point. Geoff was certainly swimming against the tide with Corian. In the early days, it was a niche product in a pretty small niche, being seen as an expensive alternative to laminate tops and only available in a very limited range of colours. Three things turned this on its head and helped to make Corian the success it is today. First, a brilliant TV ad campaign – that Geoff commissioned – showing how Corian surfaces could shrug off the detritus of a heavy-duty party-cumrave in a domestic kitchen. Second, recruiting and retaining specialist

Corian fabricators that could work with kitchen designers and turn a worksurface into a design feature that could not, and still can not, be replicated in any other surface material. And third, the dogged persistence of Geoff Baker himself. Dealing largely with the more upmarket kitchen studios, he made no apology for the apparent high price of a Corian worksurface compared with laminate worktops, pointing out the unique – and for once the word ‘unique’ was not misused – properties of the Corian material, not the least of which was the seamless integration of the Corian sink with a Corian worktop. He guarded the Corian brand like a lioness guarded a cub. Woe betide the journalist who reported on Corian with a lowercase ‘c’. A solicitor’s letter would arrive with a speed that would make even Private Eye’s Ian Hislop blink, and yes I speak from experience! Geoff knew that me-too products were coming, long before they arrived. And having opened the door to more expensive worksurfaces, he also knew alternatives such as granite and marble surfaces were going to launch into the UK as well. But he took all of these alternatives in his stride, supporting Corian within the kitchen studio sector, and presenting the material at trade events whenever he could.


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Magnificent Milestone This month’s Designer sees the magazine clock up its 250th issue. Inspiring project creativity for 21 years, the magazine and its sister website have been serving designers and architects with ideas and inspiration throughout an ever-changing design landscape. Martin Allen-Smith, editor of the magazine since 2006, said: “Reaching 250 issues is a fantastic achievement for us, but it’s also really humbling. We’re hugely grateful to all our readers – both those who have been with us for many of those issues as well as all who have joined us more recently – for taking time out of their day to read the magazine. We hope that we add some food for thought to their creative process from time-to-time and look forward to doing so in the future too.”

The magazine is published by Essexbased DS Group. Publishing Director Clara Deeks said: “Despite all the challenges faced by the whole industry over the past year or so, we are proud to have continued uninterrupted with the publication of Designer both in print and online via our website It is testament to the hard work of all the team and the fantastic support we have received from advertisers and others in the industry, and we look forward to building on this with many more fresh ideas for the title in the months and years ahead.” Since its launch in 2000, Designer has only had two editors. Grahame Morrison, the magazine’s launch editor, added: “The interiors sector that Designer writes for today is almost unrecognisable from the one it wrote for when it was launched. And yet,

throughout this period of change, it has managed to stay true to its original goal, to inspire and influence good design. It has achieved this unique milestone thanks to its focus on the designers of awe-inspiring projects. “When Designer magazine launched, its primary focus was on the design of domestic kitchens and bathrooms. But as more designers started to work on whole home interior and commercial projects, Designer magazine kept pace with these changes. It remains at the cutting edge of reporting on interior design projects, presenting content that continues to inspire and excite today’s interior designers.”

Designer /

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Zero20 is the latest range from Italian furniture brand MOAB80. The industrial-style design offers a varied choice of materials including cement, lime, new and re-used woods with burnished metals and industrial glass. The new range is available through exclusive UK agent Aquaplus Solutions.

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Brassware manufacturer Dornbracht has launched its new CYO range of bathroom fittings, based on a design from the brand’s creative heritage. Intended as a reinterpretation of the C-shaped spout, the new design takes its cue from a 1969 product in the company’s archives and focuses on the basic shape of the circle.

The taps include an innovative handle concept operated by a rotating outer ring with click stop. The range is available in six surface choices as well as Dornbracht’s x-tra service which offers bespoke options.

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Quiet Intelligence The Pureline PRO is the latest addition to Novy’s range of ultra-quiet ceiling hoods. Available in black, white or stainless steel and in 90cm and 120cm widths, the hood features Novy Sense, a smart sensor that enables intuitive regulation of the extraction speeds. It can be activated in a number of ways, using a remote control or via the Novy Connect app on a smartphone or tablet, or alternatively, by using the hob’s touch controls when installed with a Novy InTouch induction hob. Once activated it uses sensor technology to detect cooking vapours and odours and will automatically regulate its own extraction speed for optimal effectiveness and energy efficiency.

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to Product Innovation Awards Product of the year: Kitchen Product of the year: Bathroom Product of the year: Commercial

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Kitchen & Bathroom Design Awards Bathroom design (under £15k) Bathroom design (over £15k) Kitchen design (under £30k) Kitchen design (over £30k) Super Luxe Design Awards Super Luxe Project Design: Kitchen Super Luxe Project Design: Bathroom Super Luxe Project Design: Commercial Interior Space Awards Residential Interior of the year Restaurant and Bar interior of the year Hotel interior of the year Workplace interior of the year Showroom Design Awards Show space of the year: Kitchen Show space of the year: Bathroom Show space of the year: Furniture Special Projects: Design Categories British manufacturing and design International Design of the Year New designer of the year (residential projects) New designer of the year (commercial projects) Best use Design Categories Best use of materials Best use of lighting Best use of flooring

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Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra has opened a new retail space at Harrods, London. The pieces on display in this purpose-designed space will have a focus on the home office, alongside a representation of the range of products from Vitra’s roster of global design talent. Among the home office solutions on display are the Tyde Table by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, which is equipped with a polyester fleece cable tray and height adjustment mechanism, providing a place to work seated or standing, and the Home Desk by George Nelson originally designed in 1958 as a writing table. The Home Desk works well for the home office, where it adds a decorative accent with its multicoloured compartments. The ESU Shelf, designed by Charles & Ray Eames comes in various heights – from a low sideboard to a tall, spacious bookshelf – and is also suitable for a home office space. A number of office chairs by Charles & Ray Eames will also be on show including the Soft Pad Chair EA 217, Eames Plastic Armchair PACC and Aluminium Chair EA 108. Vitra will also stage lounge and dining scenes as part of the new Harrods space, including the Lounge Chair and Ottoman by Charles & Ray Eames, the Grand Relax and Ottoman by Antonio Citterio and Akari Light Sculptures by Isamu Noguchi. A series of pieces by Finnish furniture brand Artek will also be on display.


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Vitra / Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, London, SW1X 7XL /


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Building Momentum The goalposts may have shifted, but opportunities abound for the most creative and innovative developers


edundant real estate across the UK is increasingly being repurposed to revitalise struggling urban centres and better meet the changing needs and preferences of local communities. As the vaccine rollout continues to reduce infection rates and build confidence, people are readying themselves for a return to some form of normality, but that will look vastly different to life before 2020. Fewer people will buy goods in-store as the shift to ecommerce becomes a permanent feature of postpandemic shopping habits. Retailers and logistics providers, in turn, will search for more central delivery depots to fulfil online orders.


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Meanwhile, mass homeworking has cut people’s daily commutes and become a mainstream part of working life. Even when lockdown is lifted, most people would still like to work two days a week from home, according to research by property consultancy JLL. It says that the impact on real estate, from retail to residential, is wide reaching and is already prompting innovative approaches to repurposing space among investors and developers. Unlike the abrupt move to remote working when the pandemic first hit, online shopping has been steadily growing over the last decade, leaving many bricks-and-mortar stores facing declining footfall. Lockdowns simply accelerated this trend – particularly among older shoppers – while also expediting the rate of store closures. There are currently 40,000 vacant retail units across the nation, a number that JLL expects to double by 2026. “The expectation of 80,000 obsolete shops by 2030 remains relevant, it will simply happen more quickly than on the pre-Covid trajectory,” said Jon Neale, Head of UK Research at JLL. The long-term shift in consumer spending behaviour combined with a potentially here-to-stay shift in work locations, means radical change is perhaps inevitable for city

and town centres over the coming years. Debenhams, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer are some of the major names to have suffered at the hands of changing shopper habits. Many of their former stores are now being repurposed for a future outside of retail. New tenants already include housing developers, businesses in search of flexible office space and logistics firms seeking central delivery depots. In Cornwall, planning permission has already been granted to turn a former M&S high street store into waterfront flats. John Lewis is repurposing its property portfolio with plans to turn 20 of its sites into new homes and half of its flagship Oxford Street store into office space. “In the right locations, where economic fundamentals, building infrastructure and demand aligns, vacant retail space will become highly sought after for development,” says JLL’s Neale. “Recent changes to the planning system brought about by the coronavirus will benefit the repurposing of many of these retail assets.” The push for new homes in different locations will continue to vary the range of potential options for developers for the months and years ahead, and all this is against a backdrop of increasing residential demand if recent figures on new-build home is anything to go by. The latest numbers


from the National House Building Council show that despite a slump in Q2 of last year, there has since been a strong recovery. In the first quarter of this year, 36,863 newbuild homes were registered by builders, which represents a 10% increase compared to Q1 2020. Nine out of 12 regions across the UK recorded a rise in registrations


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during the first quarter of this year compared to the previous year. Registrations in the private sector saw a strong jump with a 10% rise from Q1 2020 to 26,985, with new homes registered in the rental market also increasing by 13% to 9,878, suggesting significant growth and investment happening in the build-to-rent sector. Looking beyond simple figures, it is emerging that central to this demand is a wider shift in expectations. Whether in the residential or commercial sector, the scope and detail of the customer ‘wish list’ has significantly altered. Roger Hobkinson, Founder and Principal at property strategists The Destination Developers, said: “I believe one big positive outturn from the pandemic is the acceleration of the placemaking agenda. Perhaps some developers previously ignored it or paid it lip service, but postpandemic expect more to understand the value from thoughtful consideration of the spaces between and around buildings.” But pronouncements of the end of the urban centre are somewhat premature he feels: “Cities will remain powerful, history shows that. London has been reinventing itself for 2000 years. Innovative ideas, mingling and shared experiences are all powerful and what people love. It might take some time to fully come back but it will, just as it did after the Spanish flu and other pandemics. I expect the roaring


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20’s to roar, just slightly later than I thought in January 2021.” Some of the projects already on the planning table appear to be very focused on addressing some of the wants and needs of the post-pandemic consumer. Argent’s proposals for Brent Cross Town for example includes a focus on ‘parks’ as a core part of the proposition, which brings lots of green space to a development that offers an attractive London location and strong transport links – a package that is in some ways reminiscent of the Metroland project of 100 years ago. Media reports that London has seen over 750,000 people leave during the pandemic has been used by some to call the end of London or else lay the blame at Brexit. Hobkinson said: “I suspect this exodus is happening in all the worlds’ major business hubs, where domestic or international folk from elsewhere have headed to their hometowns and gone back to their roots.” London estate agents have reported a big appetite for undiscovered ‘value suburbs’ and locations outside of the M25, for better value, more space and commute that is seen as more acceptable for two or three days in the London office than it might have been for five. A similar interest exists for coastal towns that are within a

reasonable commuting distance from the big central business districts, while at the same time, developers in some city centres are cutting rents or prices on flats which are making them affordable to younger potential tenants or purchasers. Hobkinson believes that the urban zeitgeist movement of the last 20 years remains strong, with an exciting period of transforming, shaping and curating town and city centres already underway. “More shared workspaces, coworking spaces, new types of manufacturing, logistics hubs, pocket parks, residential, culture, leisure and community are likely, but there will be issues around viability. Don’t forget retail, new products, brands and formats will emerge – they might start online but then some will require a showcase store for the best city/town centres that have their act together to draw people in with a rich mix of experiences. Perhaps some of the larger city mixed use urban schemes might be delayed, in favour of more digestible projects, such as upcycling of existing buildings as part of the circular economy.”

The Destination Developers / JLL / NHBC /

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Words: Anna-Marie Casas

W Prestbury Estates has unveiled Windswood, an exclusive development of four contemporary apartments that combine luxury living with the latest functionality on every level

ith more than 25 years of experience developing property throughout Cheshire, chartered surveyor Simon Kimble, founder of developer Prestbury Estates, prides himself on really understanding what the area has to offer. So, when he saw the Windswood site in the village of Bowdon, he knew there was the opportunity to create something truly special. Situated within the leafy Devisdale conservation area, Kimble’s vision was to create four contemporary apartments that would make the most of their rural setting while offering luxury and quality.


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A reinvention of the Victorian villa, particular attention has been paid to material choices and specifications, both inside and out. Built to transcend fleeting trends, care has been taken to deliver architectural proportion and detail to achieve a building intended to look as good in a hundred years as it does today. But this development delivers on many other levels too. Built around a poured concrete structure that delivers the ultimate in acoustic and thermal engineering, the apartments remain eminently comfortable all year round. Approaching Windswood, it becomes apparent that every touchpoint has been carefully considered. Automatic gates at the entrance to the development and at the end of a subterranean driveway control entry to the underground parking. The granite sets of the driveway are installed with background trace heating to prevent

ice forming and reduce the risk of skidding. Each set of spaces also has a dedicated electric charging point and an associated secure store for bikes and sports equipment. Even the recycling has been considered, with the latest technology taking it straight from each apartment to the basement. The properties’ bricks are Georgian Smoked Grey, echoing the Flemish brick bonding patterns characteristic of the Bowdon conservation area. Light beige limestone Moleanos, quarried in Portugal, complements the brickwork while the natural, textured roof slate is Kentdale Blue Grey. Entering Windswood, the scale and theatre of the space draw the visitor in. Elegant slender stone detailing invites a play of shadows to further accentuate the material that wraps around the entrance lobby. As well as the dramatic staircase,

a lift makes light work of reaching each apartment, with fingerprintrecognition entry to each home. With unparalleled space and light, the large, single level-apartments have been conceived to offer more space than most large houses – spanning nearly 4,000 sq ft. Each master suite is a beautifully considered space; the coffered ceiling has feature lighting, while tactile materials and a muted palette give a restful, sophisticated feel. The views from the floor-to-ceiling windows are just one of its many striking features. The master bedroom flows through to the dressing room, while the master ensuite showcases a freestanding bath, walk-in shower and underfloor heating. Bathrooms harness products by Artelinea, Duravit and Hansgrohe Axor. The kitchen showcases SieMatic handleless furniture from the Pure


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collection with solid surface quartz worktops, undermounted composite sinks and an all-in-one boiling water Quooker mixer tap. “Having a creative vision has been at the forefront of my mind when working with the architects on bringing the vision of Windswood to life,” said Kimble. “My passion for developing prestige properties starts

with the innovative design that is equal in functionality – combining luxury living with style and substance. “When I first came across the site, I knew it was going to be something special and enable me to channel a high-spec, liveable and efficient space through a number of components that really do create a ‘dream home’. From the larger than average floor plan, embracing the natural lighting and introducing a hidden yet stylish area for the utility requirements, we really thought of everything. “This project is the start of a fluorescing series of developments we are creating at Prestbury Estates and, not only has it been exciting to work on, it has also given me further insight and vision into what is achievable.”

Prestbury Estates /


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A series of interviews with senior professionals who share their experience, insight and vision of both the current and future business role for design and creativity

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Natasha Bonugli Unispace

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CITY LIVING POST-COVID: IS LONDON STILL CALLING? As developer Rockwell unveils its latest Canary Wharf gateway project Vetro, Nicholas Mee, Board Director and Head of Land, talks exclusively about the desire for city living in a post-pandemic era


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DESIGNER: Tell us about Vetro – what were the design considerations, components and materials? Nicholas Mee: Rockwell’s vision for the underutilised site, which lay derelict for 10 years, was to design a scheme to transform the local area with a new, high-quality, mixed-use development, marking Westferry as a destination in its own right. Establishing itself as a gateway to Canary Wharf, the 30-storey building, will include 68 (including 21 affordable) modern homes with commanding views of Canary Wharf and the City, alongside a 400-bedroom hotel, which will create over 200 new jobs for the area. With stunning clean lines, rich materials, and well considered lighting, each apartment is a true example of expert craftsmanship. Interiors at Vetro have been crafted to offer beautifully functional yet luxurious rooms in which to rest and play. From the plush cosiness of the cabin-style lobby to the naturally bright apartments, every fine detail has been considered and meticulously applied. A new restaurant, café, gym facilities and a landscaped pocket park, alongside communal gardens for new residents, form an integral part of the vision for the development, which was given the green light by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in October 2018. Carefully developed public realm proposals and a complementary active ground floor ensure a positive contribution is made to the surrounding public area, acting as a catalyst for future developments and transformational change in the area. DESIGNER: What is the USP and what are the shared/ mixed use features? Mee: The 30-storey development will include a 400-bedroom hotel, and 68 apartments with views overlooking Canary Wharf, the River Thames, the City and beyond.

At Rockwell, we also believe Vetro will benefit greatly from its connectivity and special location. Being just minutes from Canary Wharf and the City of London, both the residential and hotel elements of the mixed-use scheme will enable residents and visitors to experience restaurants, cafes, bars and many events within this new neighbourhood. The development has healthy living at its core, with

amenities including a state-of-theart, in-house gym, sauna, relaxation area and concierge service, as well as an immaculately-landscaped podium garden offering outside space, which is now more desirable than ever before post-pandemic. Its unique design and architecture means that on most of the floors there are only two apartments, giving residents an appealing sense of privacy and space.


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DESIGNER: Please explain the thinking behind having connectivity and healthy living at the core of objectives? Mee: From large, open-plan spaces filled with natural light, to green outdoor areas at Vetro, we understand that space to breathe, move around and exercise are a premium for many. Now, as we move into post-pandemic recovery, it is also very important that we foster the important connection to London as a city and are pleased to provide residents and visitors alike with quick access to the fantastic offering of the capital, and the local neighbourhood in Canary Wharf. Vetro delivers a portfolio of amenities that grants new heights of healthy living to its residents and guests. Not only do the podium gardens offer outdoor space and fresh air with panoramic views, the inhouse gym provides a professional fitness arena equipped with a sauna, luxurious shower and relaxation area. Within a ten-minute walk – or just three minutes by bike – from Vetro, you can also enjoy the splendour, events, parks and excitement of this extraordinary neighbourhood. This allows for our residents and visitors to experience a quick transition from enjoying the views of the impressive Canary Wharf skyline to being a part of the vibrant bustle of what’s happening on the ground.

DESIGNER: What drives Rockwell as a developer? Mee: Rockwell is committed to the creation of extraordinary buildings that leave a strong development legacy and stand the test of time. Our drive to deliver a long-lasting positive legacy means that there is no formulaic approach to development – each and every project responds to and reflects its location, with design and usage specifically tailored on a site-bysite basis. This is a fantastic part of the challenge of our work, which is a constant source of drive and motivation for the team.

London perspective, we shouldn’t lose sight of the city’s 3,000 parks totalling an impressive 35,000 acres of green space across the capital.

DESIGNER: What’s the desire for urban living today and how has it changed? Mee: The desire for urban living still exists – it’s just about creating a clearer balance. People who desire urban living also love having green spaces nearby. Post-pandemic, the reality is that most of the working population will be spending less time in the office than they would have done pre-March 2020. This accelerated shift in more flexible working arrangements will lead to a desire for more flexible space at home. While there might no longer be such an emphasis on living within a short commute to the office, there will still be the draw of all the amenity benefits available to those living in urban areas. From a

DESIGNER: What is needed to continue making it an attractive proposition? Mee: Some of us know what we like, and we stick to it, but that doesn’t account for everyone. Thinking about the hotel element of Vetro, briefly, the desire for millennials and business travellers is somewhere clean, well located, secure and affordable; the size of a hotel room therefore is less important to the traveller – they spend less time in hotel rooms and more time in the city. This is reflected again in what we want from the spaces we live in – and while we often talk about wanting more space, it can sometimes be the quality of the space we overlook. In an age where our mobile phones have become the key platform for the ‘internet of things’, for places such as

DESIGNER: As a developer you say that you are a true believer in London – has that belief been shaken by recent events like the pandemic? Mee: Rockwell is undoubtedly a true believer in London; it offers a unique opportunity for development owing to its status on the world stage as a business and cultural melting pot. We have great faith in London, its recovery after the pandemic and continuing status as a global city.


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hotels, or serviced buildings, this is changing the way we operate. Smaller lobbies, for example, driven by a move towards mobile phone-based and back-of-house services can make way for larger experimental spaces within buildings, injecting something different into what can often be a mundane aspect of a building. The challenges and opportunities will almost certainly be in urban locations such as London, where traditional models are being replaced and redefined, for both residential and hotel development. London must act, and react, to respond to the changing nature of our lives – it must continue to offer something for everyone. DESIGNER: Are you seeing a switch in appetite from urban to suburban living in light of the pandemic? Mee: Our primary focus has been, and continues to be within London, but we are open to development opportunities in all areas of the UK. During the pandemic, there has been a lot of coverage, particularly in the national press, speculating on the trend of residents in urban areas fleeing to the countryside in search of larger homes and greater outdoor space. It is widely acknowledged that, for most, the working week has now permanently changed moving forward and will typically feature at least two days a week away from the office. Taking London as the obvious example, with commuting time no longer such a priority, some have sought to get more for their money further afield. However, it is interesting to note that in London the mainstream market for new homes (below £1000 per sq ft) saw a 12% increase in sales last year compared to 2019, whilst more super prime sales (above £7m) took place in London last year than in any other global market, with British-based buyers accounting for one in three of these transactions.


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Whilst the market has of course been stimulated by measures such as the stamp duty holiday, London has proven its resilience time and time again as it will do so once more, post-pandemic. For many living in London, myself included, all the leisure, cultural, sporting, retail and lifestyle amenity on offer is perhaps now cherished even more having been deprived of much of it during a year of intermittent lockdowns. DESIGNER: What do you think are the main trends driving development in 2021 and beyond – and where will growth be focused? Mee: Throughout 2021 and beyond, green space will continue to be a key trend driving successful development. At Vetro, we have incorporated high quality public realm and an elevated podium with panoramic views of the city which provides communal green space and amenity for residents and visitors to relax, play, meet and socialise. The use, orientation and identity of the space has been carefully considered and is screened by full-height glazing to ensure suitable conditions for use in all weather conditions. Now more than ever, developers must not overlook their responsibilities to communities in which they are building. We can build quality homes, but to make a real impact we must go further. One important pillar for Rockwell is our

focus on legacy, and we achieve this through our drive to add value to the community benefitting the local area surrounding our developments. Vetro will generate significant employment opportunities in the hospitality and leisure industry. To help ensure that the community feels a direct impact from our project, Rockwell established its hospitality skills training programme so that local residents can obtain the qualifications needed to access the opportunities created. It has proven so successful, that it has been extended across London with scope to currently assist 300 people – and this number is growing. DESIGNER: How do you see the future for living in the city – what will residents be looking for in 10 years’ time? Mee: Life in 10 years’ time may look different, although the argument currently being made is that the pandemic has accelerated the changes we might have experienced over the next decade. Peoples’ circumstances are changing, and they are wanting different things from their homes. With an increase in home working, and a focus on the work/life balance and quality of life in the local communities around them, now more than ever, people will seek comfort and convenience, while at the same time prioritising space and connectivity.

Rockwell /

20/05/2021 22:29

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DEVELOPING THE SMART HOME-FROM-HOME OFFICE Not just bricks and mortar – it’s time our built environments play their role in supporting our wellbeing says industrial designer and entrepreneur Lee McCormack, CEO at MyGlobalHome


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ost people underestimate the relationship between our built environments and sense of wellbeing. But as many of us venture back into the office, the time is ripe to think about how we can reinvent the spaces we’re working in and use both technology and design thinking to put employee wellbeing right at the top of the agenda. The hybrid approach to work that most of us anticipate will come to be the norm will already cause some potential logistical challenges for employers and employees. But this will be compounded by the fact that occupational health is rising up the priority list for employers.

A lens focus on wellbeing

Not only does the risk of infection and new coronavirus variants remain high, but we’re now hyper-aware of general hygiene in a way we weren’t before, which could cause unconscious anxiety. Our separation from society


could make adjusting back into crowds or just general face-to-face contact stressful. And, just as we’ve seen for the past year, the continued lack of contact between employees and employers could make it harder for businesses to know when and if their staff need additional support. Clearly, a lot of this work will be covered by the HR department. But we’re talking about the long haul here. Employee wellbeing is about more than early Friday finishes and free lunches (sorry Google). We’ll increasingly need to consider how we can transform home architecture and domestic infrastructure in city centre offices to offer employees working environments that help them perform their best wherever they are.

Open plan becomes a thing of the past

To start with, I expect business to recognise that the popular collaborative, open-plan design that many modern workplaces have leant

toward over the past two decades isn’t for everyone. For too long it has been taken for granted that everyone likes sitting in busy, open-plan spaces with the radio blaring and constant ‘across-the-desk’ chatter. The fact is a lot of us like silence – and this will only be more obvious after 12 months of near-isolation. It may even be that building developers have to start leveraging the characteristics of the homebased offices employees have become accustomed to, to help encourage footfall in the office. That might mean creating more quiet spaces that fit within the broader office scheme. After all, both parties have reason to ensure rental contracts are signed and desks are filled, which means encouraging as many people as possible back to the physical office. In the long term, however, I anticipate we’ll move to a smart model, where environmentcontrolling technology like


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responsive temperature control, air filtration, noise cancellation – even aroma regulation – is built into both our homes and group workspaces, to help enhance mental focus, relaxation and, ultimately, productivity. This technology is already being used in sports training and military settings to aid independent mental focus and relaxation. It’s proven to work extremely well – so there’s every reason to use it elsewhere too. Indeed, the smart home poses an incredible opportunity to truly optimise wellness in the home, whether for work or just for general living. It’s this vision we’re pursuing through our digital health ecosystem at MyGlobalHome, which aims to support people’s physical and mental wellbeing from the comfort of their home.

Using Covid as a wake-up call

The shift in attitudes towards work environments in the postCovid landscape is the wake-up call we all needed to truly understand the ways in which our built environment impacts the way we think and feel. Now it’s time for businesses, architects and designers to work together, leveraging technology and design thinking, to truly reinvent the spaces we’re working in and ensure a generation of hybrid workers are fully supported, and able to feel their best wherever they are.

MyGlobalHome /


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Helping guests to get closer to nature, this eco hotel reflects its local area’s sustainable sensitivities, and aims to leave no long-term trace Photography: Florent Michel, @11h45


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erched on the hill overlooking the Alsatian village of Breitenbach, France, the landscape hotel 48° Nord reinterprets the traditional Scandinavian ‘hytte’ – or cabin – to offer a place of retreat and reconnection with wild nature. At the heart of a protected Natura 2000 site, the project was designed to fit into a preserved setting without ever disturbing it. The hotel was born from the meeting of two cultures (France and Scandinavia), the twin passions of nature and architecture, and an enthusiastic and very supportive local community from the village of Breitenbach.


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The location is a unique hamlet, located between Vosges and Alsace, with a very dynamic community and a strong commitment to an eco-responsible approach, through various activities like an eco-brewery, beehives, dairy, and cheese production. The mayor himself, an enthusiastic vegetarian, initiated ecological farming in the village, constantly encouraging new sustainable and ecological business. It was from a meeting between a Norwegian architect and a FrancoDanish client with a common attraction to design and natural materials, that led to the creation of the 48° Nord project. Designed by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, in collaboration with ASP Architecture, the hotel encapsulates daring architecture, attempting to unite local identity with the landscape through forms otherwise unseen in the region. The project goal was not to build a hotel per se, but to create a place to live, and to enable visitors to experience new surroundings. It is intended as a place where guests come to meet people and have a moment, whether to share a meal, a weekend of rest, or to hike the Vosges hills and valleys. The architectural approach of 48° Nord echoes this philosophy, with a clean design and

signature lines which inevitably evoke the Nordic countries. Visitors arrive at the main building which is dedicated to hospitality, catering, and wellness. Its volume is wrapped in Alsatian chestnut shingles created in a workshop in Saverne. Conforming to Passivhaus construction, this intimate setting padded with dark stained wood and finely detailed opens onto the landscape and offers a central meeting place for the site. The culinary experience – a meeting between Scandinavian inspiration and local ancestral techniques are seasonal tastes from nature – includes ingredients sourced from nearby organic producers and the hotel’s own vegetable garden. Amidst the trees, natural hedges and wild grasses, and heirs to the Norwegian hytte, 14 cabins dot the hillside like boulders on a slope, balancing privacy and outlook. Small, light, discreet, they are simply

placed on the hillside. Built on stilts, they are even removable, so that the landscape stays preserved and natural, untouched. The untreated and locally-sourced chestnut tree (cut on the hill opposite the hotel) clads all volumes, apart from large sections in glass. The site comprises of four distinct types of accommodation which are aesthetically linked but offer a diverse range of qualities. The ‘Grass’ hytte – designed on a single level and fully accessible – are grouped near the main building, while the ‘Tree’ and ‘Ivy’ accommodation takes the form of thin and slender towers, whose height offers panoramic views across the site. Lastly, the ‘Fjell’ is on top of the hill and welcomes families with protected outdoor spaces. Interiors are minimal and rustic, qualified by the light-coloured wood, snug built-in furniture, framed views, and spatial contrasts, all elements embodying the Nordic concept of ‘hygge’.


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48° Nord in Numbers

8 years for the project to evolve from site discovery to hotel opening 14 cabins make up the hotel’s accommodation offering 500m distance between the cabins and the chestnut trees that were cut for their cladding 4 trees cut during construction 1,000 shrubs planted after construction 150km maximum travel distance for ingredients used within the hotel restaurant

Hotel 48 Nord/ Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter / 48

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Designing Recovery In the second in a two-part series looking at the bounce back from Covid restrictions, we hear from some of the experts who will be speaking at the Workspace Design Show (4-5 November at London’s Business Design Centre) about the challenges and opportunities facing those involved in office design


or many office workers, it has been well over a year since they have experienced being in the office nine-to-five, seven days a week. Some continue to work from home most or all of the time, while others have seen a partial return in a more flexible-based approach to working location. While we are all keen to be free of the restrictions imposed on society by the pandemic, a return to nearnormality is not without feelings of apprehension. So how can this be addressed, and how important is employee wellbeing in office design to the process of making staff feel

comfortable with being back in the workspace? Charlie Green, CoCEO of The Office Group, believes that the pandemic has highlighted a need to place greater emphasis on our health, both in the physical and mental sense: “Employers have a responsibility to their employees to ensure their wellbeing and the working environment plays a fundamental role in this. They need to ensure that, firstly, buildings are safe spaces – with good ventilation systems and air quality for example – but also that the workspace is one that allows people and businesses to thrive. Features designed to enhance wellbeing (such as good natural

light, adequate space to work and quiet spaces for reflection) as well as facilities like on-site gyms and yoga studios, are increasingly important.” Cristiano Testi, Principal Director at tp bennett, believes that wellbeing at work has been a priority in office design since long before Covid struck: “The last decade has seen increased interest in biophilia, with our refurb of Windmill Green in Manchester featuring the city’s largest living wall. Rooms focused on wellness are prevalent, and our London office for Spotify features a ‘hideaway’ where people can break away from work and recharge enjoying views over the Thames.


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Space L Meeting, Mute (Photo: Tymon Nogalski)

“Obviously, gyms and fitness studios continue to be a key feature to attract and retain top talent, often with connections to external terraces for outdoor yoga classes. Covid has amplified these trends – as well as heightening awareness of health and hygiene generally. I think going forward we will see an increase in clear desk policies to facilitate cleaning and disinfecting, particularly in agile working environments; technical wizardry like touchless doors and appcontrolled vending machines; and increases in fresh air ventilation rates, something that is already likely to become government legislation.”

BUILDING IN FLEXIBILITY For many office-based businesses, it seems that the future is all about flexibility. How will the office environment ‘flex’ its offering to deliver what is needed in the years ahead? Testi says adaptability will be absolutely key: “The way we work and the business environment generally are changing so fast – in great part due to technological advances – and the built environment moves at a much slower pace. It’s hard for corporate real estate managers to keep up when designing, procuring and building or changing things can take such a long time, so we are often asked to design

office environments with an inherent ability to adapt and evolve with minimal effort and investment. “Often it’s simple things, like flexible partition systems, innovative furniture solutions, and smart technology ideas that make a difference. You will hear lots of ‘experts’ say they have cracked the ‘future of the office’ – they’re lying. We can’t predict the future, but what we can do is design environments that can evolve and adapt easily and be best-placed to face whatever the future throws our way.” Matthew Holloway, Principal at Grimshaw Architects, envisages a clear shift in emphasis in how the


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workplace is going to be used from now on. “We have certainly seen a trend to de-densify workspaces, and to offer more break-out zones and places for collaboration and interaction. We have also seen the use of new digital tools in collaborative zones which seek to connect multiple nodes, and the design of spaces adapting to encourage the effective use of new tools. What we are observing closely at the moment is to what extend things will go back to normal. It’s very likely workspaces are going to adopt more of a ‘spoke and hub’ approach, encouraging seamless connectivity between them all, and dealing with the challenges of the inevitable ‘part online, part face-toface’ type of interaction. Luke Tozer, Founder of Pitman Tozer Architects, added: “The ability to adapt the workplace is going to become increasingly important element in our workplace designs, with the need to be able to work in different ways, from collaborative spaces that bring people together as well as remote collaboration through the computer screens. The hybrid workplace is going to come to the fore. This will enable people to come to

the workplace to do work they would otherwise not be able to do at home.” He adds that both larger and smaller spaces will be required, depending on the nature of the work that needs to be done. “A flexible design would be able to accommodate both. Video conferencing, connectivity and great meeting room facilities will help too.” CHANGING MINDSETS The Office Group’s Green says that employer attitudes may be a significant factor in what happens next: “We are moving towards a more dynamic working model – based on autonomy and trust rather than oversight and supervision. There will be greater choice for employees when it comes to where they work going forward. The need for desk-based working in offices will, however, continue. In terms of design, there will be an emphasis on enabling collaboration and interaction. Greater consideration will be given to acoustic and visual privacy, for example. As we start to move out of the economic pressure that most businesses have endured, there will be a greater demand for quality environments, both functionally and aesthetically.”

Home working has undoubtedly had an impact on creativity and collaboration. How can we create workspaces that promote innovation and creative thinking? Testi of tp bennett said: “Everyone has their own, personal experience of working from home during the pandemic – the ‘forced home-working pilot’ as it has come to be known – which can be either awful, or amazing, but I think for most people there are elements of both. The consensus seems to be that we’ve all missed people, and the ability to have a spontaneous conversation or an accidental discussion that might just give you the best idea you’ve had all day. These interactions often happen in social spaces such as breakout areas – all workplace designers will tell you how important these are – but also circulation spaces like corridors, staircases, lift lobbies. It’s important that the workplace is peppered with comfortable, welcoming, open and enclosed spaces where people can just drop in easily and continue their discussions.” Grimshaw’s Holloway does not feel that home working has had a detrimental impact on creativity and


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Support Reception, Pavilion O collection, by Kettal

collaboration, but has instead led to a search to new ways of approaching work. “Online tools such a Miro boards and the like have proved very valuable alternatives to the traditional workshop spaces. As a practice we have delivered many successful design competitions during lockdown, which for architects is the acid test of creativity and collaboration in short time scales. The bigger question for me is how long this can go on, as people suffer WFH fatigue, and whether hybrid workspace of part office-based and part working from home employee mix can adapt. “Workplace design and its relationship with creative thinking and innovation will change that fundamentally. As an industry we were already on a path to encouraging engagement and collaboration in a multitude of ways in a variety of spaces. For me, the workspace cannot enforce collaboration, it can only encourage it, so again the emphasis is on the employees, their wellbeing and their attitude to creativity, making proactive and constructive contributions, research and information sharing.”

The Office Group’s Green adds that above all, it is vitally important to get the basics right: “Spaces that allow us to be comfortable and feel healthier will foster creativity. We need working environments with good natural light, space and ventilation. We also need a well-balanced mix of open space and private areas, to allow people to connect with colleagues but also to provide for quiet thinking time. We all work so differently day-to-day, so having a variety of workspaces will prove to be a key asset. That is why here at TOG we allow businesses to access our entire platform – a variety of spaces across the city, suited to different working styles and needs.” Events of the past year forced a rapid change in how people work and collaborate, and Stephen Philips, Associate Product Designer at Arap, believes many of these have been positive: “We now have more options for we want to work and potentially a better home/office and work/life balance. To encourage creativity and collaboration, the office needs to adapt. It needs to be more inspiring, to convey more about what an organisation does

and stands for. There could be more space for collaboration, learning, workshops and social activities that may reduce the need for personal workstations. I like the idea of using spaces for displays, meetings and equipment that encourage all sorts of creative activities to nurture innovation. The workspace will need to be carefully designed to achieve these goals and be more inspiring.” READY TO RE-ENGAGE? As we transition out of the kinds of restrictions that would have been unthinkable before the pandemic struck, employers are left with the latest of a long line of challenges, and that is how to re-integrate staff into the next phase of working practices after such a sustained period of home-working. So how can design help employers to achieve this? Testi of tp bennett believes this is another example in which Covid is an accelerator rather than a gamechanger: “We’ve all known for a while now that a great workplace is a huge attractor and retainer of talent – and post-pandemic, it’s even more important that the office becomes


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Atlas Bench with CB bench desking, by TC Office Group UK

a ‘destination’ not an ‘obligation’. Employers will have to create environments that people actively seek out, as they offer workspaces and amenities that they simply can’t get at home.” Holloway of Grimshaw Architects believes that good design can make more attractive places to work, which encourages employees to come back into the office environment, reengage socially, and rebuild a sense of belonging and common purpose. “One thing that cannot be replaced through screens is face-to-face relationship building. This applies both to business development and workplace cultural development, as nuanced emotions such as empathy cannot be judged through a computer. In reality, most employees we know are desperate to get some form of balance back into their working environment, so I don’t think it will be hard for employers to create a new sense of community spirit.” He adds that another aspect that employers can really help with is to create a pro-active structured policy around the balance between


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working from home or office: “Up until now, most businesses have only reacted to the pandemic. Now is the time, with an end in sight, to positively determine the way in which that company wants to work in the future, enabling staff flexibility at the same time as encouraging face-to-face interaction. Setting expectations and giving employees a structure to work within will be important because workplace strategy and cultural change cannot just be an accident.” All aspects of the workplace need to be re-evaluated it seems, with an opportunity to truly re-set the working spaces we all spend so many hours in. Arup’s Philips said: “Beautiful and intelligent workplace design, including the furniture, products and environment that inhabit that space has the power to attract people and inspire, to make it a place that people want to be. Design is also an activity that anyone can engage in on all sorts of levels. Employers that invest in the design of their flexible workspace and engage with their employees on

how the space is used and what sort of activities they want to do is likely to result in a more effective design for all. Recent events have also forced us to think more about our work spaces at home.” Above all, it will be important for businesses not to underestimate the variety of employee responses to returning to an office environment. Some people deal with adjustment more easily than others. Tozer of Pitman Tozer Architects said: “Our recent experience is that we are going into a hybrid working world with a necessary flexibility over location of where people work. Some people actively want to return, others are more cautious. Good workplace design will enable employers to be able to offer employees things they don’t get at home, firstly sociability. “Safe and friendly social spaces will help, including covered external spaces, to encourage more nervous employees the ability to maintain social distance outside, before being comfortable to enter and enjoy internal workspaces.”

Arup / Grimshaw Architects / Pitman Tozer Architects / The Office Group / tp bennett /

20/05/2021 22:43

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Window of Opportunity

Cristiano Testi, Principal Director at tp bennett

Stephen Philips, Associate Product Designer, Arup

The available range of flexible office products has come on hugely in the last decade, but there are ongoing technical challenges that continue to be prevalent – for example, effective coordination with HVAC and sprinkler systems in highly moveable partitioning. I’d like to see what suppliers are doing in this arena. And of course, workplace tech is huge now – there are established products like utilisation sensors and meeting room booking systems, and increasingly sophisticated ‘employee apps’, but I would like to see something that I didn’t know existed. I would love to come to the Workspace Design Show and see a bit of innovative workplace technology that really looks like it’s come out of the future!

I am always impressed and amazed at the different directions that product manufacturers take when creating the products that we use. It will be great to see products on a range of types and scale. Furniture that blurs the boundaries between work and home, products that allow people to choose how they want to work and what activities they carry out. I also hope to see products that are going to last, adapt to change and be sustainable. Sustainability needs to be at the heart of the decisions we make, so products that re-use material and consider how they can be refurbished, re-used and recycled at end of life would be great. I am hoping to see better workstations – yes we still need them! – and seating that works in the office and home, collaborative and semi-private meeting pods with acoustic screens and storage systems.

Charlie Green, Co-CEO, The Office Group

Luke Tozer, Founder, Pitman Tozer Architects

Matthew Holloway, Principal, Grimshaw Architects

I am particularly interested to see innovation in furniture that addresses needs around video communication. It will endure as a mainstream feature of work so products that consider functionality and privacy will be very popular moving forwards.

Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what flexible acoustic screens and enclosures are possible, as trying to have multiple zoom meetings in the same space, along with adjacent physical meetings is going to be a challenge. The ability to subdivide spaces into acoustically separate, flexibly-sized rooms or booths, is going to be fascinating to see.

Although it might be an unattainable nirvana, I would love to see a focus on digital workshop and collaboration tools that seek to enable good hybrid interaction between multiple disparate locations, and the workplace furniture that can adapt and enable the successful use of these tools. I would also be interested in the design of systems that encourage better air circulation and flow rates in offices without compromising acoustics.

With the office environment most likely changed for good as a result of the pandemic, the past is no guide to future design needs. We asked our panel of speakers from the Workspace Design Show about what they are hoping to see at the event, which takes place 4-5 November at the Business Design Centre, London


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Workspace Design Show /

20/05/2021 22:44

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The Quest for Perfect Partners David Lee Hood, Co-Founder of architectural and interior design directory Quado, on what designers really need from suppliers


he perceived value of suppliers to any designer varies from person to person and practice to practice. Some designers see suppliers as a sometimes difficult but necessary part of the design process, while others regard them in a more elevated way, as an integral part of creating a successful final design. Regardless of the perception, designers and architects certainly couldn’t achieve anything without the project supply chain being in place. Whilst high-quality products for a high-quality project is always a designer’s end goal, a lot more than just products is required from a supplier network. As experts on their product range, suppliers are in a great position to advise how those products can solve other problems or be used in a certain way with a specific end-use or target in mind. A good representative is likely to have experienced the pitfalls and successes of the exact scenario a designer – especially one who is younger or less experienced – might be facing. That experience can be invaluable, saving time for designers, as well as money for the client. Designers and architects often work long hours and need the supplier / designer phases of a project to be short and sweet, wherever possible. Information dumping is rarely

helpful. Designers are far more likely to remember focused pieces of information rather than an in-depth monologue on an unnecessary part of the production process. Even worse is a bitching session on a competitor supplier. Designers want to know what’s good – not what isn’t!

Designers really do understand that this is not always easy or cost-effective. Providing designers with samples, however, is one of the main ways to be specified or win future work. Good, sustainable practice in terms of sample return or recycling systems is also always appreciated.

Technical knowledge – from the slip rating of natural stone to the Martindale rub test for fabrics – need to be readily available on demand. The depth and immediacy of technical knowledge can often represent the difference between a supplier being involved in a project or not.

The real test of a supplier, however, comes a little further down the line, if and when problems occur, when a supplier’s ability to take ownership is tested. A designer will soon discover if the default position is to reject any possibility a problem could possibly be linked to their product – while the best suppliers go so far as to take over correspondence directly with the client / contractor, making sure no stone is left unturned in discovering the source of a problem and fixing it. The designer, meanwhile, observes an expert taking both the reins and the responsibility, and knows for sure this a supplier they will work with again.

Along with depth and breadth of product knowledge, great service is the second key supplier attribute. Of course, this depends widely on the product type. There’ll be different expectations of a supplier of bespoke case goods to a supplier of sanitaryware or bathroom tiles, for example. There needs to be an intelligent and subtle understanding from reps of when to get involved and when not. Suppliers who cold-call, turn up unannounced and pester aren’t going to be on any company’s supplier list. Samples are always invaluable to both the design and client approval processes and suppliers who can provide accurate sampling at speed can put themselves in a great position.

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Final product and project quality are indeed the consistent aims, but there’s a long path before that goodbye wave. Good products are not enough and a failure to supply knowledge, samples or a problemsolving attitude will see that supplier relationship fall away. Yes, designers need suppliers and great products but it’s definitely an intelligent approach that wins out in the long term.


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Photography: Martin Gardner

Shifting Sands A holiday home built with user versatility and futureproofing in mind makes the very most of its spectacular coastal location


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ampshire-based architects practice AR Design Studio was approached by clients who were looking to extend their holiday home on a cliff top on the South Coast. During the planning process, and due to an unprecedented amount of rainfall during the winter months of 2014, concerns about movement in the land were raised and a decision was made to replace the house entirely. With AR Design Studio now tasked with designing a completely new home, the circumstances that led to that scenario prompted the thinking behind the design scheme, with the idea of movement and


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fracturing forming the backbone of the concept. Working closely with engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan, an imaginative structural solution was proposed to prevent future failure. A concrete slab was built into the ground, a series of strategically placed dwarf walls were then built on top of it. A floating structural frame was then laid on top of the walls to act as an adjustable raft in case of future movement. Beneath the frame, there are specific places for mechanical jacks to be positioned so that the house can be securely re-levelled.

The design concept starts as a traditional cabin-like-form that then splits, twists and rotates, resulting in four pods. The outcome is a beautifully haphazard rough-sawn larch clad house that silhouettes against the wooded backdrop. The clearly-defined entrance pod (the smallest of the four), guides the visitor through the hallway into the central pod which is the main living space comprising of kitchen, dining and living room. The extensive sliding glass draws the view towards the stunning coastline setting, with uninterrupted views of the English Channel

beyond a floating timber deck. The tower pod houses the large open plan master suite, situated on the first floor above a children’s bedroom, utility room and shower room on the ground floor. The right-hand pod, at the opposite end of the house, consists of the guest quarters; a bedroom, two bunk rooms, and a bathroom. This entire section of the house can be closed off when not required. The result is a playful and calm space for the owners to enjoy weekends with family and friends whilst taking in its spectacular and isolated location.


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Heart of the Home

Designer Helena Myers of The Myers Touch, explains how the kitchen concept within the house came about… “The property was the client’s coastal family holiday home – ultimately, they wanted a large open plan kitchen space for the whole family to enjoy, cook and relax in together when holidaying there. The project was designed and installed in collaboration with architects, AR Design Studio. We had various open


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and constructive meetings together to ensure we were all working towards the same end goal and to achieve cohesive design. It was preferable for the central island to be clean and practical with minimum storage needed due to this property being the family’s second home. Choosing kitchen cabinetry from kitchen furniture brand Burger, the cabinetry we specified was Wild Oak Matt with a laminate finish and matching 40mm Wild Oak matching worktops – the colour blends perfectly with

the outdoor setting and increased the connectivity with the coastal landscape of its exterior. Families increasingly want to increase the connectivity and communication with each other, and at the same time connect with their surrounding environment to create more harmonious spaces. Clever internal zoning within this kitchen example enables the right amount of separation mixed with the right amount of togetherness. Appliances within the space included fridge freezer, dishwasher, induction hob

and Teppan Yaki from Siemens, and two Bosch ovens, with sink and taps from Blanco. My favourite aspect of the kitchen is perhaps the seamless window that frames the kitchen sink run area, and the natural raw finishes of the cabinetry doors and worktop finishes which add such warmth and textural interest to the room. The scheme zoning allowed the family to eat, dine and relax together in one space throughout the day.” The Myers Touch /

AR Design Studio /

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G O I N G F OR GOLD Metallics are one of the key trends in interior design for 2021 and the kitchen is the perfect location to make a striking style statement with gold. This finish will also add a luxury element to your kitchen and is certainly becoming the most popular finish in our range of modern metallics. Complement the warm, golden-glow finish with angular lines for a contemporary design, team this with an undermount sink for the perfect style combination. View the full metallic collection at

Image: MODE3415/R/GD and KAR/GD

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One last thing from this month’s magazine…

Kelly Hoppen’s Bespoke design for Samsung

Appliance brand Samsung announced its new domestic appliance product line-up recently with the focus on the user being able to have things their way. The Bespoke range includes a line of refrigerators which have been created as a series of modules which will eventually include eight different types, ranging from onedoor to four-door units. They also offer interchangeable panels available in 11 different colours. To demonstrate their full flexibility, the brand enlisted the help of British designers Kelly Hoppen and Yinka Ilori to create their very own slant on imaginative fridge visuals.

Yinka Illori’s characteristically colourful take

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NATURAL UNION Glass and steel, grace and strength, connected to perfection in MING bowls



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PAINTED INSPIRATIONS Painted kitchen, bedroom and living furniture sprayed to order from a palette of 22 exquisite colours. Crown Imperial has been innovating for over 75 years. Become a retailer with one of the finest furniture manufacturers in Great Britain for long lasting success. CROWN - INNOVATIVE THINKING


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