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Mix Interiors 200

January 2020


Mix Int 200








20 Tracks 19 Steve Gale 20 Perspective 22 Material Matters 24 Questions for Mick 26 Deser t Island Desks 28 Proper t y 30




20 Years 41 Project , Product , Change... 48



54 61 LIVING 61


Mix Design Collective 80 Mixology Projects 100 Mixology Nor th19 108


Sur face Design Show 114


The Future of Living 64 BTR: Baby steps but big ambition 66 Mixology Nor th19 – Living Projects 72 Local Blackfriars 74

114 L AST WORD 120 Criteo's Head of Workplace E xperience, Mike Walley

Mix 200 January 2020 | 1

Upfront | Welcome

GET IN TOUCH Editor Mick Jordan mick@wearemixgroup.com Managing Director Martin Mongan martin@wearemixgroup.com Director David Smalley david@wearemixgroup.com Business Development Manager Kate Borastero kate@wearemixgroup.com Business Development Manager Gary Williams gary@wearemixgroup.com

A WORD FROM MICK Welcome to this special 200th issue/20th birthday of Mix Interiors. It certainly doesn’t feel like 20 years since we first set out on this incredible journey. I still recall being at home in Kansas, in blackand-white, when a vicious hurricane suddenly hit…oh, hold on, that might be the Wizard of Oz. I often get the two muddled up. Anyway, I found myself in a charming and slightly surreal place called Saffron Walden, where this all-and-mighty overlord resided. His name was Henry and apparently he could grant me almost any wish. So we went on an excellent adventure. We picked up a bit of wisdom, courage and whatever along the way, and eventually found ourselves in this incredible city made of drizzle. When Henry couldn’t go any further on our adventure, we turned to the Good Witch of the North (no, not the green one with the monkeys and the big nose). So, with the scarecrow, tin man… oh wait, I might be getting confused again. Seriously though, there are so many people I’d like to thank who have come along with us or joined us on this incredible journey. From editorial contributors and awards judges, through to speakers, event participants, advertisers, readers…we wouldn’t still be here without your incredible support. So here’s to the next 20 years of Mix – I promise it will be better then Return to Oz!

2 | Mix 200 January 2020

Designer Tammi Bell tamzin@wearemixgroup.com

THE COVER For this special 200th issue we've asked a dozen leading interior design firms to each design a single letter, spelling out 'Mix Interiors'. A huge thank you to the following for their fantastic designs...

Editorial Executive Chloe Petersen Snell chloe@wearemixgroup.com Head of Operations Lisa Jackson lisa@wearemixgroup.com Events Hester Talbot, Georgia Bone, Madeleine Shone Owner Marcie Incarico marcie@wearemixgroup.com Founding Publisher Henry Pugh Contributors Steve Gale David Thame Mike Walley

Mix Interiors 198

October 2019

Address 85 Greengate, Manchester M3 7NA Telephone 0161 519 4850 e-mail editorial@wearemixgroup.com Website www.mixinteriors.com

GET YOUR OWN! To ensure that a regular copy of Mix Interiors reaches you or to request back issues, please call 0161 519 4850 or e-mail: lisa@wearemixgroup.com Annual subscription charges: UK single £45.50, Europe £135 (airmail), Outside Europe £165 (airmail)

Twitter @mixinteriors Instagram @mix.interiors LinkedIn Mix Interiors Printed by S&G Print ISSN 1757-2371

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Upfront |

▼ Marquette Building, Detroit


▲ Office Principles, Grand Union

Office Principles has recently completed a 13-week fit-out project for southern housing provider, Grand Union Housing Group, at its new head office in Milton Keynes. The £1.5 million project covered the fit-out of approximately 20,000 sq ft, incorporating over 200 workstations, while facilitating a more

Isabel Thonger, Director of Customer Experience for Grand Union Housing Group, states: ‘We now have a vibrant space that promotes wellbeing, collaboration and productivity, while compelling our team to come in each morning and embrace a new style of working, with a friendly atmosphere and a

flexible style of working to reflect the ethos of the Grand Union Housing Group. The new head office is expected to consolidate office-based staff for the Group, bringing the team together in one building, which is primed to meet its every need. Agile working methods have been implemented, supported by the decision to remove fixed desking, so workers can choose the space in which they work and move around, according to their activities, at any given time. Office Principles worked closely with both the client and architect to create a space steeped in Grand Union core values, which include a commitment to sustainability and community, fostering a collaborative approach. Touchdown working zones represent a shift in the way staff work and the way team members feel about coming to work. British-made products have been used, in the main, to reflect the Grand Union’s commitment to the wider community.

community feel. We couldn’t be more pleased.’ Joint Managing Director of Office Principles, Cyril Parsons, is delighted with the positive reaction to the works: ‘The feedback has been great, with specific comments about the furniture we sourced as well as the wider space. ‘It’s always good to see a company adopt a worker-led style that is inclusive and teamfocused. We wish Grand Union every success and would be happy to work with them again on other projects. Their leaders are positive collaborators, who are open to ideas and forward-thinking – which goes a great way to the success of any project.’ Holding a strong and varied commercial portfolio, Office Principles has worked with bluechip brands such as Exterion Media, Telegraph Media Group, Meet in Place, Visa Europe, GE Capital, Fitness First, Tata Communications, ResMed, Direct Marketing Association, Land Securities, Mothercare, and Kuoni.w

MARQUETTE FORCE BDG architecture + design has recently been appointed to design the new campus for WPP in Detroit. The historic Marquette Building in downtown Detroit has been announced at WPP’s latest co-location campus, allowing the company to benefit from and contribute to ongoing economic and cultural regeneration of the city. The new space, which is expected to open in late 2020, will accommodate up to 1,000 of WPP’s people, over 150,000 sq ft, across nine floors. The building is located at 243 West Congress Street, in the heart of thriving downtown Detroit. It was built in 1905 and named after Jacques Marquette, the French explorer who led an expedition to map the Mississippi River in 1673. A listed building, it was saved from demolition in 1979, before being restored in 1982. The Detroit project, which has a target of reaching a ‘Gold’ LEED rating, is the latest appointment for BDG, who have created a succession of award-winning, landmark colocation projects for WPP, most recently in Amsterdam, Lisbon, Paris and Madrid.w

SWEET SIXTEEN sixteen3 has developed a new range of modular seating that has been created using 83% recycled materials, making it the most sustainable commercial soft seating product in the UK. Reece, which is available in a variety of configurations, from a single armchair up to a threeseat sofa, features recycled panels made using waste plastics to replace the traditional, less sustainable options, such as hardwood or plywood. In addition, Reece is designed to be easily disassembled at the end of its life, to achieve 100% recyclability. Paul Chamberlain, Managing Director at sixteen3, said: ‘As a business we have a real focus on

10 | Mix 200 January 2020

innovative design and, over the past few years, we have also spent a lot of time looking at our impact on the environment as a manufacturer and how we can innovate to be kinder to the planet. We are investing significant time and money in finding the right partners to supply us with sustainable materials, including the recycled plastic panels and bamboo available for specification on Reece. This product launch is the first step towards a more environmentally friendly future and it is our hope that, eventually, we will be able to give customers the option of recycled finishes and substrates on our full product range.’ w

▲ sixteen3's Reece collection

Upfront |

▼ Paddington Square

▲ Jack Pringle (right)

PIANO CONCERTO Sellar, on behalf of Great Western Developments Ltd, has recently released new imagery of Paddington Square, the centre piece development to Paddington’s regeneration – featuring, at its heart, a large-scale premium workspace offer designed by world-renowned architect, Renzo Piano Building Workshop. From the team behind The Shard, Paddington Square will completely reimagine the approach to Paddington Station, including a new concourse for the London Underground Bakerloo Line, allowing for the area to once again become one of the grand entrances to London. The mixed-use scheme will offer 360,000 sq ft of office space across 14 light-filled floors, four tiers of curated retail, 1.35 acres of comprehensive public realm improvements and one of West London’s highest rooftop dining experiences, with views across the city’s skyline. Paddington is one of London’s best-connected locations, whether travelling from within London or from overseas. Currently, it sits just eight minutes from the West End and 15 minutes from Heathrow Airport by public transport, with the Elizabeth Line set to bring these times down even further when it opens in 2021. The 78,000 sq ft of new retail space will be tailored to cater to over 110m annual visitors, a 30% rise on current figures by 2021. The rooftop bar and restaurant has a south facing terrace, and with a 15,000 sq ft floorplate, is one of the premier opportunities for operators currently being developed in London. The scheme will also bring about the pedestrianisation of London Street, enabling a direct pedestrian link between the mainline station and Paddington Square, which, together with the new Bakerloo line entrances, will eradicate the rush hour traffic that has beset the area for years.w

12 | Mix 200 January 2020

PROFOLK Stockport’s Grade II listed Bank Cambers, built in 1868, has once again opened its doors following extensive renovation and restoration works by Hall & Co Property. Previously empty, the iconic building is now home to Stockport’s first dedicated coworking space, ProFolk, created to support new and small businesses with beautiful, professional workspace and the chance to be part of a vibrant new creative and collaborative community. The painstaking transformation was completed in nine months. It saw the restoration of numerous original features, including stained glass windows, marble columns, ceiling rose, bank vaults and fireplaces, whilst adding new features such as air conditioning, mood lighting, a passenger lift, flat screen TVs and a speaker system. Designed by award-winning architecture practice, Ollier Smurthwaite, the scheme is a

bike racks and 1GB Internet speeds, Hall & Co has seen strong early interest from prospective tenants.

seamless blend of old and new, creating a striking, light-filled working environment and preserving one of the town’s most important heritage assets. Located in Stockport town centre, close to the train station and bus routes, ProFolk offers a mix of hot desking, coworking and private offices. Coupled with meeting rooms and event space, plus amenities including showers, lockers,

Jamie Hall, Project Director at Hall & Co Property, said: ‘Grade II listed and benefiting from a rich history, Bank Chambers is one of Stockport’s most important heritage assets. We have carefully restored its original features, which now sit side by side with modern additions and fresh finishes, resulting in an impressive space with bucket-loads of character.’w

▲ Stockport's Grade II listed Bank Cambers

HARRODS’ TECHNOLOGY CENTRE BLURS THE BOUNDARIES Global architecture and design firm, Gensler, has unveied the new Technology Centre at London’s most famous luxury department store, Harrods. Designed to awaken the senses, the 3,000 sq m space provides visitors with a truly immersive and personalised shopping experience that brings together the very best in innovation and technology. Gensler has created a dramatic space with a real sense of expectation, which customers will experience from the moment they arrive. In the main shopping area, the floor has been divided into five distinctive experience-rich zones, connected by a central route that has been re-imagined as a catwalk for better product display and improved wayfinding. Alongside the catwalk, an elegantly designed shop window, with ceiling mounted and screening furniture, showcases the new and exclusive.

▲ Harrods' Technology, Apple

Service and experience were at the forefront of Gensler’s design strategy. Stepping off the catwalk and into the rooms, the pace dramatically softens for a more intimate and personalised shopping experience. From viewing auditoriums, gaming demonstrations and headphone forests, through to a masterclass space, Gensler has used its expertise in retail design to develop a shopping experience that will both excite and entice the customer. The palette of materials used throughout helps create a warm and exclusive atmosphere reminiscent of Harrods’ heritage, with a contemporary and intimate finish. The 1930s-inspired geometric floor pattern on the catwalk is echoed by a suspended illuminated ceiling, for a bright and airy finish. w


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AFTER 35 YEARS IN THE BUSINESS, IT TAKES A LOT TO GET ME EXCITED BUT... My name is Barry Foley. I’ve been in the workplace furniture sector for more years than I care to mention so, when I was first introduced to Koplus BV, I wondered why I hadn’t stumbled across them before. Then I found out they had been operating somewhat “under the radar”, since they had been manufacturing for three of the largest worldwide brands of workplace furniture. The principal markets for their own designs were Japan and the USA but, despite being a Dutch-registered company, they had little exposure in Europe.

Designer Michael Ko and I decided that we should put this right and launch the Koplus range, first in the British Isles and then right across Europe. During my time in the UK workplace market, I have acquired a bit of a reputation for identifying “winners”, many of which remain successful - years after I launched them. Koplus manufacture a sophisticated, high-quality portfolio of focussed designs. The technology they employ in their factory is so advanced that, when I visit, I feel like I’ve been abducted by aliens and teleported to 2050.

Bodyflex - This Red Dot award-winning chair features a self-inclining suspension mechanism that guides your body to the optimum sitting position and offers maximum back support while you work and move through various postures.

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THIS THIS IS IS THE THE SMARTEST, SMARTEST, MOST MOST ADVANCED ADVANCED RANGE RANGE I’VE I’VE EVER EVER DISCOVERED. DISCOVERED. Their ranges Their ranges of chairsofand chairs height-adjustable and height-adjustable workstations workstations fuse fuse innovative innovative technology technology with beautiful with beautiful designsdesigns that arethat comprehensively are comprehensively tested and tested certified and certified to BS/EN, to BS/EN, GS andGS BIFMA and standards BIFMA standards by TUVby of TUV Germany. of Germany. Their environmental Their environmental credentials credentials are alsoare also impressive impressive - full GreenGuard - full GreenGuard accreditation accreditation and all products and all products are 100% arerecyclable. 100% recyclable. The desk The and desk chairs andshown chairs here shown arehere are just a taste just of a taste this exciting of this exciting new range. new range.

Knest - Knest A sit-stand - A sit-stand desk likedesk no other. like no other. It features It features a memory a memory that can that storecan thestore the preferences preferences of up to 4 ofusers. up to 4It users. has a It has a newly-designed newly-designed motor that motor is quieter, that is quieter, faster and faster more and powerful more powerful than existing than existing alternatives. alternatives. And it is And constructed it is constructed using using cold-drawn cold-drawn steel, to steel, give ato weight-loading give a weight-loading of an impressive of an impressive 135 Kilograms. 135 Kilograms.

ToniqueTonique - Another- Another breakthrough breakthrough in chair technology, in chair technology, featuringfeaturing a a body-weight body-weight mechanism mechanism to provide to provide an unrivalled an unrivalled combination combination of of comfort comfort and support. and support.

The The future future engineered engineered for today for today London Showroom London Showroom 73 Central 73Street, Central Clerkenwell, Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1V London 4BU EC1V 020 4BU 7336020 7222 7336sales@koplus.co.uk 7222 sales@koplus.co.uk www.koplus.co.uk www.koplus.co.uk


MOVERS & SHAKERS As you can see below and on the opposite page, despite so many things being 'on hold' and political/economic uncertainty, there has been no shortage of people moving on and, indeed, moving on up. So, have a good look through and remember to update your Rolodexes as you do so. As you'll see, it's been one heck of a year for Lucie Jones!

BEFORE Interior Designer, futurespace Associate, SpaceInvader Design Interior Designer, intrinsic Senior Specification Manager, Interface Senior Project Manager, Turner & Townsend Creative Director, DO Digital Agency

WHO Anna Lee Adam Durrant Agnieska Jadowszka Andrew Raisen Carlo Calloni Ceri Lovett

NOW Senior Interior Designer, HLM Architects Freelance Designer Interior Designer, Bruntwood Business Development Manager, Altro Senior Project Manager, CBRE Creative Director, Boss Design

Interior Designer, Franklin Ellis Architects

Charlotte Thornton

Senior Interior Designer, AFL Architects

Clive Walters

Senior Interior Designer, Koncept

Director, Turner & Townsend

Colin Wood

Director, Colliers

Director of Marketing, PlayPower

David Whittle

Colour Consultant, Craig & Rose

Flora Hogg

Interior Designer, AFL Architects

Regional Marketing Director, Interface Designer, McLaughlin & Harvey

National Projects & Construction Director, BT Group

Gary Wingrove

Director, Shingle Consulting

Sales Manager, Gresham Office Furniture

Gavin Phillips

Northern Manager, Assmann

Interior Designer, KonceptID Director, Charlie Taylor Design

Hayley Watters Heather McCrory

Design Consultant, Penketh Group Furniture Consultant, JAC Group

Project Designer, Modus Workspace

Helena Masat

Senior Designer, Maris Interiors

Head of ADT Furniture, ADT Workplace

Ian MacHenry

Furniture Manager (North), Overbury

Marketing Communications & PR Consultant, Informare

Jane Thomson

Senior Interior Designer, Box Architects Associate, SpaceInvader Design

Jane Walsh Jason Oak

Marketing Manager, Flokk Senior Interior Designer, ENJOY DESIGN Freelance Designer

BDM & Marketing Communications Consultant, Sheppard Robson

Jemma Hughes

Freelance Designer, Squaredot

Jennifer Wilson

Workplace Designer, Rhino Interiors Group

Vice President Marketing (EMEA), Interface

Karen Lambert

Vice President Marketing (EAAA), Interface

Senior Interior Designer, Fairhursts Design Group Freelance Designer, Kelly Stanton Interiors Director, NoChintz Communications Manager, Gensler

16 | Mix 200 January 2020

Kay Bridge Kelly Stanton Leanne Wookey Leeann De Barros

BDM & Marketing Communications Manager, Sheppard Robson

Senior Interior Designer, Bowker Sadler Architecture Interior Designer, DP Designs Director of Interiors, tp bennett Head of Communications, JTP LLP


BEFORE Senior Interior Designer, SpaceInvader Design



Lucy Geater

Freelance Interior Designer

Freelance Writer, Culture Trip

Lucy Jones

Deputy Managing Editor, Telegraph

Interior Designer, Sparcstudio

Lucy Jones

Middleweight Interior Designer, Jigsaw Interior Architecture

Project Director, tp bennett

Lucy Jones

Design Consultant, The Friday Project

Interior Designer, Perkins and Will

Lucy Jones

Graphic Design, Freelance Group Sales and Marketing, Project:ff&e Design Manager, Absolute Commercial Interiors

Senior Interior Designer, Stickman Design

Luke Kolbohm

Interior Designer, BDP

Mark Triggs

Major Projects, Wagstaff Interiors Group Interior Designer, Building Interiors

Megan McMurrough

Interior Designer, CPS Interiors

Michael Dennis

Interior Designer, Company Image UK

Co Founder, Studio Köerting

Nasim Köerting

Head of Design, The Office Group

Nathan Potts

Senior Interior Designer, Claremont

Freelance Senior Designer Head of Strategic Marketing & BDM, Eaton Business Development Director, ADT Workplace

Nigel Steel

Marketing Director, Interface

Oliver Ronald

National Sales Manager, Connection Furniture

Head of Business Development, Woods Bagot Europe

Pendrick Brown

Commercial Director, JAC Group

Associate Director, 74

Rachel Withey

Associate Director, SpaceInvader Design

Interior Designer, Architect CT

Rebecca Grady

Interior Designer, Darling Associates Architects

Director, Callison

Sara Wilkins

Founder, Adventures in Design

Associate, Fletcher Priest Architects

Sarah Brown

Project Director, tp bennett

Shanon O'fee

Interior Designer, tp bennett

Creative Director, Habit Action

Shaun Baker

Design Principal, Woodalls Design

Interior Designer, Perkins&Will

Shona Cairns

Furniture Consultant, Umbrella Furniture

Partner, Rapleys

Simon Matley

Director, Savills

Junior Interior Designer, NoChintz

Director of Hospitality, Perkins&Will Interior Designer, Fairhursts Design Group

Tom Hupe

Senior Director of Design and Architecture – EMEA, Hilton

Zara Bottomley

Head of Design, Ikon Furniture

An award for excellence in British design Judging Panel – Furniture Joanna Biggs – GA Design Sarah Bryan – Sheppard Robson Elliot Koehler – Layer Design Jeremy Myerson – Royal College of Art Thomas Pearce – Farrah & Pearce Campbell Thompson – The Conran Shop Terence Woodgate – Terence Woodgate Judging Panel – Textiles, Wall coverings, Surfaces, Carpets and Floor coverings Linzi Coppick – Forme UK Daniel Hopwood – Hopwood Design Studios Professor Clare Johnston – Royal College of Art Natasha Marshall – Natasha Marshall Interiors Ltd Corinne Pringle – tp bennett Peter Thwaites – Rapture & Wright

NEW Judging Panel – Lighting Design Simon Alderson – twentytwentyone Tim Rundle – Tim Rundle Studio Simon Terry – Anglepoise John Tree – Jasper Morrison Sebastian Wrong – Established & Sons

Now accepting applications for: - Furniture - Textiles, Wall coverings, Surfaces, Carpets and Floor coverings - Lighting Design Submissions deadlines: Early bird: 28th November 2019 Final: 23rd January 2020 Apply now: www.designguildmark.org.uk DesignGuildMark DesignGuildMark DesignGuildMark The Furniture Makers Company DGM 225 “WW Armchair CS3” Designed by Alejandro Villareal for Hayche


Invic tu s ® - G re a t Fl o o r i n g , Invinc ible Pe r f o r m a n c e Invic tu s Luxur y V i n y l Fl o o r i n g i s the id eal c ho i c e f o r a l l se c tors , s u ch a s t he wo r k p l a ce , hos pitalit y, l i v i n g , e d uc a t i o n , health c a re a n d re t a i l e nviro n m en t s . D esign ed t o b e re s i l i e n t a n d h ard wea r i n g , f ul f i l l i n g a l l your cl ient ’s tec h n i c a l re q ui re m e n ts, whils t reta i n i n g t he l o o k , f e e l and n atu ra l b e a ut y o f wo o d , st on e an d p a rq ue t . A n ew, f res h a n d exc i t i n g ra nge of pro du c ts : yo ur i d e a l f l o o r ing pa r tn er f or 2 0 2 0 a n d b e yo n d .

Contact us at commercial@invictus.co.uk Or call our head office in Halifax (Dean Clough Mills) on 01422 431125 Follow us @invictuscarpetflooring Share your #invictuscarpetflooring

Invictus ® by Associated Weavers, A UK brand since 1964

Upfront | 20 Upfront Tracks|

20 TRACKS As you know, we like our music at Mix, so we thought we would be a little self-indulgent and compile some of our favourite tracks from the last 20 years. This is clearly subjective, and we are not suggesting they are the best – but we hope you have some fun. Sorry Radio 1 and R&B 90’s fans – this is music to create an emotion. Check out our Spotify playlist (see below).


Eminem Stan


Bloodbuzz Ohio The National


The Strokes Hard To Explain


Gill Scott Heron & Jamie xx I'll Take Care of U


The Coral Dreaming of You


alt-J Matilda


The White Stripes 7 Nation Army


Arctic Monkeys Do I Wanna Know?


The Streets Dry Your Eyes


Goat Talk to God


Arcade Fire Rebellion (Lies)


Young Fathers Rain or Shine


The Raconteurs Steady As She Goes


DMA's Delete


MIA Paper Planes


Valerie June Shakedown


Empire of the Sun Walking on a Dream


St. Vincent Fast Slow Disco


The Airborne Toxic Event Sometime Around Midnight


Strangeways Turn Me Up

Scan here for the Spotify Playlist

Mix 200 January 2020 | 19


IT’S THE AMYGDALA, STUPID! This month, M Moser's Steve Gale takes a look at our primitive brain.

L It turns out we are sensitive to corporate hypocrisy, and we don't like it

Steve Gale is Head of Business Intelligence at M Moser Associates. SteveG@mmoser.com

20 | Mix 200 January 200

ast month I looked at the need for a workplace to appeal to the higher needs and aspirations of its occupants, as well as merely functioning at a practical level. How do we convey this meaning and how do occupants perceive it? We can borrow the two systems described so well

specific issues, such as a meeting room being too small or the temperature too high. Each part of a working environment should function properly (system 2), but I want to defend the importance of the overall aesthetic effect of a workplace (system 1). Its expression carries huge

by Daniel Kahneman in his great book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. System 1 is the instant emotional mechanism driven by instinct and prior learning, and system 2 is the deliberation and logic that relies on the intellectual horsepower of our newly evolved frontal cortex. The unavoidable power of system 1 thinking lies not only in its speed of reaction, but in its permanent readiness. It is always on and buried deep in the primitive brain characterised by the amygdala – you can’t turn it off. This two-system model is a bit like the more familiar ideas of left and right brain functions; that logic and intuition are different and even separate processes. It also throws some light on the thousands of decisions and processes involved in the design of

force, and its subtle messages carry powerful and inescapable meaning to the users in the business. Although it will always be difficult to pin down in words, it can, if done well, display what the occupying business represents for all to see. If a designer can demonstrate people’s values in their workplace, it will be instantly, intuitively understood, and dissonance will be read just as quickly. In our personal lives we all automatically express what we stand for. We know which clothes feel right, and where we like to holiday – but try to describe why, and it’s not so easy. The workplace must be the same. Why would it be an exception? It should be a reflection of the collective values of the business and, if it is wide of the mark, people will, without thinking about it, instantly feel uncomfortable. The workplace is only one piece that bears employee satisfaction, along with rewards, colleagues or job quality, but this one is squarely in our domain. A London-based psychologist, Luke Treglown, tells a story from his research on workplace disenchantment, now published in his book. He found that the single biggest correlation between why people leave their employment was the gap between espoused corporate values and those being actually practiced. Employees easily detect a lack of congruence between the two. It turns out we are sensitive to corporate hypocrisy – and we don’t like it. I would suggest the same applies to the workplace itself. If it does not look and feel like an appropriate home for our business, we smell a rat. This subtle fit between a set of values and the physical workplace is clearly visible to workers, visitors and customers. We use the intuitive part of our brain to both create and judge it. Although it is not an easy thing to define in a brief, it really matters, especially when it fails. w

a workplace. Although they are all stitched together in the end, we can fairly easily divide them into two parts, the rational and intuitive, which contribute in different ways to a project. The logical and technical areas of design can be described in words and numbers, and their output measured and objectively assessed, whereas the overall effect and ambience cannot. Square metres, degrees Celsius, decibels and litres per second are easily specified, but what feels right or wrong is indefinable and subjective. Going back to Kahneman’s terminology and how it might apply to workplace design, I hope he would forgive me for summarising that the intuitive system 1 has the upper hand in the creative integration of all the bits needed to deliver the big picture, and system 2 is more engaged in answering the specific requirements of space and engineering input. If this is roughly what goes into a design, then it is not too much of a stretch to say that the users engage the same processes to make sense of it. System 1 kicks in instantly to say if they like or don’t like a place, and their system 2 allows them to describe

Get Social 2020 rawside.co

Upfront | Perspective

PERSPECTIVE Willmott Dixon is the leading privately-owned contracting and fit-out group, who have enjoyed another busy and prosperous year. We speak with their Group Chief Executive, Rick Willmott.

What is the best thing about your job? I'm the fifth generation of the Willmott family to lead our business. Our company has a very clear conventional purpose; the successful

driving job creation and economic growth. In 2017, the construction industry contributed £113 billion to the UK economy, 6% of the total GDP. I sometimes feel that contractors

of communication so we can have a two-way dialogue about what we can do to support growth, job creation and social mobility. The latter is just as important as companies like

personally. Some 10 years ago we set ourselves the goal of being carbon neutral and we achieved that, and have been now for five consecutive years. Then we set ourselves the target

delivery of capital projects in the built environment. But it also has a wider motivation and that is about legacy and our ability to make a meaningful, positive impact on society and the communities within which we work; to truly have a corporate purpose beyond profit – creating that legacy is a huge opportunity and one that I really enjoy. I’m a simple, instinctive, common sense leader, there’s no management theory in my arsenal but I have a real interest in what makes people tick – what we are all trying to get out of this relationship. I want people at Willmott Dixon to feel there is no better place to work and enjoy a career of a lifetime, and we do this by creating a common sense of purpose for what we are here to achieve. Seeing our people and company succeed is hugely rewarding. Empowerment has been a driving principle in our business for many years – it is one of our core values. I can't overstate the importance that personal responsibility and individual recognition make to enthusiasm, morale and commitment to the company; our growth is based on an empowered body of people.

delivering vital national infrastructure in education, health and ‘blue light’, with very fine margins, are often viewed more globally alongside the house builders who generate developer margins; these two elements of the sector must always be viewed separately as they operate incredibly different business models. I’m always surprised there’s no dedicated Construction Minister we can talk with who’ll be able to translate our advice, feedback and concerns into clear and decisive policy. This is especially the case when it comes to how we work together to re-clad high-rise accommodation post-Grenfell. This is a huge process and, as an industry, we need consensus and financial support from Government to address the confusion around the retrospective review of building regulations and the responsibility, within that, of public sector building control departments.

Willmott Dixon are already doing a lot to help disadvantaged people or ex-offenders to get the skills and confidence to find long-term work and achieve their full potential.

of enhancing the life chances of 10,000 young people by 2020, which we have almost achieved already through our Foundation, which is guiding our strategy and monitoring progress. We have our own verification system, independently audited, to check when we've enhanced a life, so rather than being a box-ticking exercise it’s about making a real impact. And that’s the point – we are impact driven, not focused on recording meaningless inputs. This is part of our vision to support wider society beyond the projects we build. That includes upskilling young people and volunteering our time to help others. This year, four out of five of our people will spend time volunteering for a community related activity that will improve their local environment or someone’s life. We set long-term goals, as it challenges our people to help meet them, and one thing we’ve found is that our work to leave a legacy is also making us an attractive place to work for young people. When we recruit, we find that the incoming generation of new talent is intensely interested and concerned that their employer is a demonstrably sustainable business. This is not a ‘nice to have’ – it is an essential element of sound business.w

What is your biggest frustration? I do think we need more awareness in Government of the impact our industry has on the UK economy in terms of

22 | Mix 200 January 2020

What is the single most important thing the Government could do for the commercial construction industry? In the short-term, get Brexit done (irrespective of whether you voted leave or remain) as we need business certainty to return so that the industry’s private sector customers, in particular, can be confident to invest in capital projects rather than adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude. We should also have a clear and dedicated line

With over 150 years as a private business that is still thriving whilst many others have failed, what are the key reasons for your success? First, I am greatly saddened by any business failure in the industry. People work hard to create and sustain a business, so when it doesn’t work out, and the resultant impact that has on people’s lives and the supply chain, it is very sad to see. We’ve been around since 1852 and withstood many major events and economic cycles in that time. This sustainable longevity is only possible by creating a flexible business model that can adapt to an ever-changing economic and political environment. There are a huge number of factors that make Willmott Dixon different from those that collapse and those that had their struggles. We target controlled level of organic growth. We've never set ourselves aggressive turnover growth targets – we're only interested in a sustainable bottom line. You're renowned as a business with a focus on sustainability. What does that mean in terms of longterm planning? Leaving a legacy is something that’s important to me

For additional interview content, visit www.mixinteriors.com

CHIME Seating & table range

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Upfront | Material Matters

MATERIAL MATTERS This special edition of Material Matters focuses on some of the materials and surfaces that stole the show at this year’s Mix Design Collective. For more


information visit mixinteriors.com






Concrete on a Roll is a real stone veneer that offers architects and designers the ability to interpret concrete in an entirely new light. The innovative product allows users to recreate the appearance and feeling of the original surface material, using a 2mm thick light weight concrete veneer consisting of 96% recycled crushed stone. As a result, a variety of applications become possible and easier than traditional thicker alternatives. A key feature of this material lies in its flexibility; the possibility for it to be manufactured on a roll opens up new possibilities for designers and the use of concrete in their applications, from feature walls to demanding environments such as showers and flooring. www.earthanatomy.co.uk

MOSO Bamboo Surfaces is a world-leader for manufactured bamboo, offering a tactile and sustainable alternative to traditional hardwoods. Recent use in projects span workplace, retail and hospitality, including the internal fit-out of Maggie’s Barts and St Bartholomew’s Hospital, as well as decking and flooring for the Citizen M Hotel Group. The most recent addition to the collection is a range of panels that are then cut to give a profiled appearance in various slat and groove widths. It can be left unfinished or finished in a lacquer, fire lacquered or coloured to offer texture and depth to any vertical surface. www.mosobamboosurfaces.co.uk

Used as a roofing material for over 200 years, traditional slate is known for its durability – and designers are now bringing this beautifully textured and hardy material inside, creating features in both commercial and domestic settings. Stone Veneer is a traditional product but without the weight and rigid nature of the normal 20-30mm slabs – making it cost effective to install and user friendly. Created using a mix of resin and fibreglass placed on top of a stone block, the resin grabs hold of the top layers of the rock and is manually peeled back in one whole piece, giving each surface a unique pattern, colour tone and structure. w www.earthanatomy.co.uk

24 | Mix 200 January 2020

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Upfront |

QUESTIONS FOR MICK If you weren’t an Editor what would you be doing (and you can’t say having a pint!)?

As the Founding Editor of this fine tome, Mick Jordan has seen things people wouldn't believe. Not quite attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, but certainly C-beam desks glittering in the dark near The Gate. We decided, for this 200th issue, to sit him down and ask him about some of his favourite things from the past 20 years.

26 | Mix 200 January 2020

I certainly wouldn’t have followed my dad into the City – far too much pressure and early, early mornings. I think I would probably have gone to work on local newspapers. I’ve also always liked the idea of working at an airport – I’d be airside with hi-vis jacket and paddles!

What’s on your bookshelf at the minute? Iain Banks, Ian Rankin, Irvine Welsh (strangely, all Scottish), Robert Harris, John le Carre, Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson, Alex Garland, lots of sports and music biogs.

What was your most memorable lunch/dinner/drink?

What is the oddest interview you have done? I’ve not conducted too many ‘odd’ interviews. One that does stick in my mind is an interview with Gianluigi Colani, who sadly recently passed away. He was eccentric, to say the least. The whole thing was beautifully surreal. Legendary designer – and really good fun to sit and chat with. I recall that he drew an odd little sketch to explain one of his designs – and then signed it and gave it to me as a present.

Most immediately impressed with when meeting for the first time? Mark Simpson!

Who is your design hero and who are the ones to watch? ▲ Mark Simpson, Principal, Chair of Design, Head of Workplace, BDP

It’s a little obvious, but Jonathan Ive is a real visionary. I’m lucky enough to have been born into a generation where tech really took off and thanks to Jonny (and others, of course), it has gone from the purely functional to the most desired products we own.

It would have to be a dinner of white asparagus and German beer, on a hillside high above the Bavarian countryside. It was surprisingly (apart from the beer, which was obviously great) idyllic. There was also an amazing meal in one of Vienna’s best-rated restaurants, an incredible Bloody Mary and steak in Chicago, a ludicrously over-the-top champagne brunch in Dubai…

Best press trip? They’re all amazing. Stockholm with Kinnarps, Helsinki with Artek, Austria with Bene, Dubai, Venice, Prague, Anfield…they’re genuinely all special. We’re incredibly lucky to be treated to such kind hospitality and to get to see fantastic people, places and businesses. My family and friends don’t get these opportunities – so I always try to make the most of them when they come my way.


Which product do you think made the biggest impact? Other than the aforementioned Apple products and tech, it has to be Aeron. It was simply a quantum leap in seating design.

Describe Mix Interiors in three words? On the ball.

How did you first meet Henry?

is for

Through the industry. He was running his own furniture PR business and I was a junior reporter

Aeron by ▶ Herman Miller

What was your most memorable interview? My favourite interview was with the late, great Ettore Sottsass. He was just so cool and incredibly generous. It was one of those moments when you realise you’re in front of a true ‘great’. He was in his eighties at the time – not that you’d have known if from his energy. An interview with Mark Newson was also a standout. It was a real press junket thing, but after our allotted ten minutes had passed, he (very politely) shooed his PR team away and took me for a beer. Finally, I should mention an interview we did in one of our very first issues with Vitra founder, Rolf Fehlbaum. I think that feature made a lot of people sit up and take notice of Mix.

for another magazine. One of the main roles I had back then was to talk with manufacturers, marketing and PR about new product introductions, and I therefore became one of Henry’s contacts and vice versa. We’d meet up in London – and quickly realised that we had a number of things in common; beer, football, cricket, music etc. We were also both based out in Essex, so would regularly meet up in and around the City before heading out of town. In fact, it was during one of those meetings – in The Railway at Liverpool Street – that Henry first mentioned the idea of launching an independent workplace magazine… w

Monitor arms Dataflex monitor arms and other workplace accessories to be precise. High quality products for every budget that help you create a comfortable, healthy and inspiring workplace. So where you work is also a place where you feel at home. We call it ‘feeling at work’. ▲ Henry Pugh, Founder of Mix Interiors


Upfront | Desert Island Desks

DESERT ISLAND DESKS Our readers will be familiar with the regular Desert Island Desks feature, some may not be aware that it's our bit of fun and homage to Radio Four's Desert Island Discs. For this special issue we've looked back at some of our friends' less obvious choices. Cigarettes & Instant Coffee A Selection of Turbans

Yellow Trace Paper

Mark Gabbertas Designer, Gabbertas Studio

Gurtake Singh Interior Designer, Gensler

Dan Callegari Principal Design, Unispace

Inflatable Unicorn Claire Genner Associate, Basha-Franklin

Peggie (Dog) Atul Bansal Founder and Co-Owner, Sheila Bird Studio

Coffee with Louis Kahn Simon Jesson Director, Glancy Nicolls

Carrot Peeler + Sharpener Helen Dyer Vice President, EMEA Corporate Trust

One Hundred Years of Solitude Monika Swindells Director of Interior Design, KKA

Maltesers Katrina Kostic Samen Director, Head of Workplace Strategy & Design, KKS Savills

28 | Mix 200 January 2020

Rotherham United Shirt

Jif Peanut Butter

Jamie Wilson Director, HLM

Jeanne Wood Director, CallisonRTKL

Reece Gucci Pineapple Sunglasses Tamie Adaya Founder, Hotel Shangri-la

Moto Guzzi Nic Pryke Creative Director, Oktra

83% Recycled Content 100% Recyclable

Swingball Franky Rousell Co-Founder and CEO, Jolie Studio

Rescue Outfit Gurvinder Khurana Director and Co-Founder, align


Property | Insight

20 THINGS YOU’LL BE TALKING ABOUT IN 2020 Blending and voice-activation, speculative development and social purpose: Mix property guru, David Thame, spent the last 12 months talking to the wise heads of the UK property business. This is what he’s learned about the ABC of workspace talking points in the year to come.


No longer just for geeks. Analytics will affect the way workplaces are run, costed and occupied. Big data will drive the change. The days of the hunch are now history. Design, but find space for data collection and analysis.


Blended families, where two divorcees with children get together to form a new unit, have been a thing since the days of TV’s The Brady Bunch. But blending in the workplace? HR teams are now hot on blending. They take it to mean a mix of freelancers and staff, part-timers and fulltimers, often with a demographic mix too. This allin-it-together idea has a definite appeal to some businesses looking to foster a sense of shared purposes (see Experience). But it also leads to complexities because each group needs different things, at different times, in different ways. Your mid-50s freelancer absolutely does not see their workplace needs as the same as a Gen Z striver. Maybe tech fixes can help provide each with what they want? In 2020 we will discover if it can.

30 | Mix 200 January 2020


The ubiquitous ground floor coffee bar, and the creation of workplaces that closely resemble funky coffee shops, felt like the leading trend of 2019. Landlords find it a quick way to improve their property’s kerb appeal, occupiers think it makes them cool. So no change likely.


The crash-and-burn of the WeWork flotation in autumn 2019 might suggest that we’ve reached peak coworking. The industry consensus is that all we reached was peak WeWork and that the flexible workspace market is unlikely to suffer long-term damage. The big change in 2020 will be we’ll see much less emphasis on coworking as a business fuelled on latte clutching hispters running breakout tech enterprises, and more emphasis on the large number of boring stable corporates who want to use serviced and coworking floorspace.

Property | Insight


Data is going to be the watch-word in 2020. We’re already familiar with the potential to collect, analyse and rethink data on property management issues (when lights go on or off, when and how meeting rooms are used, how to heat efficiently…). But the next wave of data collection will be less about buildings and more about people. Employee monitoring was a minority sport only a few years ago (some sources say 15% of employers monitored staff electronically as recently as 2015). But sensors, AI and the ubiquitous 5G technology could change all that. Claims that 80% of employers will insist employee monitoring is factored into workplace design by 2020 could be moonshine. Or they could be true.


Sometimes the office property market is driven by supply, as investors unload money into real estate in an effort to rebalance their property portfolios. Sometimes it is driven by demand, as investors race to catch up with the real needs of the occupational market. The first version leads rapidly to over-supply and, ultimately, a property crash. The second version is more benign and takes longer to go wrong, and that’s what we’ll see in 2020. For now, demand in all the UK’s major office markets comfortably exceeds supply. So no property collapse is likely in the next 12 months.



Shopping is now about a ‘leisure experience’, hotels are a ‘hospitality experience’, restaurants a ‘dining experience’: the whole world is about experience. This trend, already bubbling under during 2018 and 2019, will burst out into the open in 2020 as occupiers, landlords and developers concentrate on building an experiential element into workspace. Translating the idea into physical facts will mean moving on from the pool tables and chill zones of the last few years. The gimmicks that produce Instagrammable content may help recruitment, but do they help with retention? The latest wisdom is that a sense of community and common purposes might work better, though it is hard to see how you design that into a workplace when atomising trends like voice-activation are taking over (see below).


The #metoo movement may have done its work, but the impact of gender on the workplace is far from over. architects and designers (and landlords) are still pondering how to respond.


So a message from a co-worker arrives on Whatsapp, you reply on Slack to set up a faceto-face, and your diary confirmation arrives by email. This is normal in many workplaces, but it risks collapsing into a chaos of complexity, and its only getting worse. Whether you call it centralised communications platform or just cutting out the distractions, the pressure to simplify workplaces will begin to mount in 2020.


Alexa and her voice-activated friends are already familiar in the home, but in 2020 they will become big in the workplace. Alexa for Business has been launched. Yes, it can call an Uber, reorder toner cartridges and lower the blinds, but the big advance will be to extend remote working at home and in the office. So conferencing gets sharper, wasted time in meeting rooms less. If it works, meeting rooms will be things of the past. Meantime, watch out for a slew of other voiceactivated devices with the same grim purpose of cutting down the amount of face-to-face interaction. Property consultants, JLL, have one (called, you guessed it, JiLL) although theirs is used to book meeting rooms, rather than make them redundant.

Still going up in most major UK cities – but expect 2020 to see rental growth on a modest scale. No massive up swings, no massive cliff edges, just a solid steady market.

Mix 200 January 2020 | 31

Property | Insight


Speculative development is always a gamble, and the unknowable outcome of the Brexit process adds an extra element of danger to a process that costs millions and takes years. Even so, expect 2020 to see a swathe of new speculative office developments as developers and their financial backers race to catch up with an occupier market that wants new, efficient floorspace, regardless of Brexit.

SMART BUILDINGS 5G technology will become available, in a small way, in a dozen UK cities, opening the potential for seriously smart buildings. By the end of 2020 the first signs of the landlord response should be apparent.

SOCIAL PURPOSE We used to call it corporate social responsibility

(CSR), we now call it environmental, social and governance (ESG). Whatever it is, 2020 will be the year it leaps to the top of the workplace agenda, rivalling wellness and old favourites like flexibility and agility.


Once an adjective and a noun, now a verb. In 2020 plenty of people will find themselves redlined, and the most redlined of all with be those buildings that fail to meet ESG or wellness standards demanded by occupiers (and, increasingly, by property investors). Public pressure, social media and a world in which you get just one chance to get it right will make redlining the design nightmare of the coming 12 months.


Increasingly big in the logistics world, and making their way into office workplaces through virtual digital assistants, 2020 will not be the year that Marvin the Paranoid Android will be sitting at the next workstation – but it may be the year that AI and machine learning becomes ubiquitous, and workplaces will have to find new ways to incorporate it.

32 | Mix 200 January 2020


Hiring your offices from an intermediary is the new renting from a landlord. Occupiers like Amazon, BT and a host of corporates are now taking short-term flexible space from middlemen like WeWork or Spaces, and the unbranded floorspace they take is called white space. Already a major factor in London and Manchester, it will flourish in 2020.


ACTIVATION Part of the new office aural experience, and set to grow. Having spent years trying to control workplace noise, or to coral it into sound-proofed booths, new approaches may be needed to control volume and privacy.


We’re all familiar with the wellness agenda, but what if that moved on from encouraging wellness to therapy for unwellness? Many big US corporates are now investing in programmes to help resolve anxiety, stress and mental health problems. This might be on-site therapists, it might mean more time outside the office or outdoors. It’s early days, but expect this to be big.


Gen Z is causing landlords and developers some headaches: digital natives, with demanding expectations of themselves and others, who like to feel a sense of shared purpose and don’t seem to have any hang-ups about privacy. Designing the perfect workspace for Gen Z means more than a supply of coffee and some long bench desks. Beyond that, nobody knows. In 2020 we may find out.w

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Property | Horse's Mouth

HORSE’S MOUTH The 5G mobile technology is all about speed, but it sometimes looks like the super-fast revolution is happening in slo-mo. Tracey Westall, who is helping lead the UK’s biggest 5G trials, tells Mix it’s picking up speed.

34 | Mix 200 January 2020


fter two years of talk and up-tempo government announcements, 5G still confuses or bemuses many of those who need to know about it. Yes, it could change the way we live our lives and the way we work and turn the Internet of Things into a reality. But what changes should office occupiers, designers, landlords and developers expect? The place to look for evidence of what 5G really means for workplaces and those who design, build and own them is the West Midlands. The region is the focus of the Urban Connected Communities Project – which is developing large-scale hubs in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton. Early 5G testbeds and trials programmes have driven work in the healthcare, tourism, transport and broadcasting sectors. The latest investment will support similar work in the logistics and manufacturing sectors. The West Midlands Combined Authorities’ 5G plans include hospital outpatient services, connected ambulances, live streaming from bus CCTV cameras and work on autonomous vehicles and driverless cars with Jaguar Land Rover. Gradually, 5G will extend to other areas of the economy, which means the first signs of both the serious potential and serious problems associated with 5G will come from the West Midlands. A year after the West Midlands experiment began, there are some serious achievements to point to, with more promised for 2020. Intensive work over summer 2019 meant that Wolverhampton became the first of the region’s seven boroughs to achieve 5G readiness with masts and basic infrastructure. Now WM5G, a new organisation set up to deliver the UK’s first region-wide 5G test bed, predicts rapid progress in Birmingham and Dudley, as infrastructure work accelerates, with more announcements following on specialised uses (like the connected ambulances). In September 2019, WM5G appointed Tracy Westall as one of its new

▼ Tracy Westall, Co-Director, WM5G

non-executive directors and she came with an impeccable CV. She is currently a non-executive director for the Department for Transport and sits on its Future of Mobility advisory board. She also advises Bruntwood SciTech – a joint venture to connect the UK’s most ambitious cities, regions and science and technology communities – and served for many years on the main board of techUK, the trade association for the UK technology sector. If Tracy doesn’t understand what 5G means, then nobody does. ‘I keep telling people 5G is not just about being able to download films faster,’ Tracy says. ‘This

It will mean big changes in building utilisation, and new more dynamic property management

Spotlight |

▼ WM5G Demo Day, Birmingham

technology is still in the start-up phase but will clearly play a role in how you plan and organise buildings with the large-scale, real-time data that the Internet of Things will generate. It will mean big changes in building utilisation, and new more dynamic property management. West Midlands’ landlords and developers need to think of this as normal business planning. A normal evolution expenditure, which will give them a competitive advantage if they are first, Tracy tells us. ‘The difficulty today is that 5G is basically the plumbing for a new way of working, and it isn’t exciting unless you are really into plumbing,’ she says, adding quickly that she doesn’t mean to imply plumbing isn’t important. Announcements are due early this year on extending test bed trials into various business sectors, including construction and mobility. There will also be work to accelerate development work on the apps that will help turn the 5G plumbing into Internet of Things reality. ‘2019 was about foundations, in 2020 we can make what 5G means more tangible, and the West Midlands will be at the forefront,’ Tracy predicts.



www.bancroft-fabrics.com / T 01274 518888 sales@bancroft-linings.com Mix 181 February 2018 | 35

Property | Horse's Mouth

‘Like any new technology, there is often a lack of understanding and I think landlords and developers do not yet have a clear view of what it might do or deliver. 'All we know is the power 5G will release, reaching into every aspect of life – and that power is all about the ability to have mass device connection, so huge capacity and great speed. There are opportunities here to use data-driven insights on things like building management, autonomous vehicles, and improved workflow planning. ‘It’s been talked about a lot, but we have the real prospect of the Internet of Things providing us with the real prospect of intelligent buildings, the control of building environments, and that should be part of today’s planning for the buildings of the future. Then we need to think about how data –real time data – and how a building is used could change it. For instance, can coworking space be used better? This could mean big changes in property utilisation, allowing property management to be more dynamic.’

The five things you need to know about 5G 1. Who is doing 5G? 5G for mobile broadband is being rolled-out by private mobile network operators EE, O2, Vodafone and Three. The first commercial networks went live in major UK cities in 2019, but on a fairly small scale. The Government has a target that the majority of the population will be covered by a 5G signal by 2027.

There are obvious consequences for the way buildings are designed. New agile working practices, driven by data, will require hyper-flexible workspace. If this feels a bit futuristic, Tracy is keen to remind the property business that other walks of

2019 was about foundations, in 2020 we can make what 5G means more tangible, and the West Midlands will be at the forefront

life are already living in the future. ‘We already live in a world of algorithms, so we can see the shape of things to come. We already have the data that could change the way buildings are used, but we

– the physical barriers which often, like planning permissions and wayleaves, stand in its way.’ The difficulties posed by process issues like these should not be underestimated, although with smart work they can be overcome rapidly. ‘When we have 5G, it will be important because of what we can do with it. The point is that this is far bigger than simply being able to download a film super-fast,’ Tracy concludes.w

3. 5G will be slow and complicated to install Not only is the 5G signal relatively weak, meaning you need more base stations, it will also require extra base stations inside buildings (because the signal has difficulty getting through windows and walls) and close to buildings (mounted on street furniture, for instance). This means lots of individual interventions, each with the potential to get complicated. It also needs full-fibre broadband to be working (because the base station has to be connected to the Internet). This requires significant investment.

2. 5G is not about phone signals Unlike 4G, which meant an upgrade in the data capacity of mobile phones, 5G is about WiFi and access to fast internet connections with large bandwidths (e.g. high data capacity). The technology will require new radio spectrum frequencies and new mobile base stations, although the first 5G base stations will be upgraded mobile stations. Because the signal is weak, it may also require lots more small local booster cells in areas with high demand.

36 | Mix 200 January 2020

do not yet have the physical connection and speed that opens that data up to use.’ Moreover, 5G shouldn’t be viewed as expensive – at least, not from the property industry’s point of view. ‘Accommodating 5G should be part of normal business planning. It is typical evolution expenditure, and those who invest in it will gain a competitive advantage,’ Tracy says. The big downside, she admits, is that excited chatter about 5G leads designers, landlords and developers to assume the transition to seamless 5G is inevitable. ‘Yes, 5G is a game-changer, but it will not happen automatically. 5G today is in start-up mode, and we have to remove the barriers

4. Big Cities come first London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester will be the first to get faster 5G mobile networks. By the end of 2019, another 10 cities got EE networks, which could transmit data at speeds faster than 10 Gigabits per second. These were Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol.

5. Watch out for 26 Gigahertz Why should you watch out for 26GHz? Because this is the highest frequency 5G spectrum and will provide the really serious connectivity. When you hear this being quoted as available, you’ll know the 5G system is cooking. For now, Ofcom is predominantly working on the lower frequency end of the spectrum (700 MHz, meaning the 26GHz service will be about 37 times faster). Midfrequency services will operate a 3.4-3.8 GHz. Trial licences are already available in the 26GHz band.

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PAUSE FOR TH O U G H T Mix 200 January 2020 | 39

L E E & P L U M P TO N

Spotlight | Pause for Thought

20/20 Vision As you're probably already aware, this is a rather special issue (happy 20th birthday to us!). So, we've decided to dedicate the first half of this month's Spotlight feature to a hand-picked array of the UK's finest interior design firms (who also helped us with our fantastic commemorative front cover), asking them about their own journeys and stories over the past two decades.

Simon Jackson, Director, EMIA Interior Design Leader AECOM is dedicated to making the world a better place. As a global multidisciplinary company who thrives on creating a legacy for people and communities across the world, we create opportunities through the design and delivery of our buildings and infrastructure. Over the past 30 years AECOM has successfully expanded its capabilities and expertise in several areas. Its global design offer was enhanced through the acquisition of the renowned company, DEGW – one of the leading workplace strategy and design practices, previously led by Dr. Francis Duffy. Specialising in the design of office environments, DEGW was one of the first design practices to emphasise how organisations use space and the important role research and design plays in this. Continuing this legacy, our workplace advisory and interior design specialists have worked on iconic projects, including the redevelopment of Estee Lauder’s London HQ,, Rolls Royce’s

London HQ and also worked with global clients such as Microsoft, Sony, Novartis and Accenture in supporting their future real estate strategies. AECOM has also delivered several iconic projects, including the London Olympic and Paralympic Park, one of the most significant urban regeneration projects undertaken in the UK. AECOM was also commissioned to deliver the Rio masterplan – making us the first firm in the history of the games to develop two consecutive Olympic cities. Digital technology has played a significant role in transforming the way we operate. Not only has it enabled us to streamline project delivery but also contribute to the industry’s shift to a circular economy approach, whilst creating a net-zero carbon future for our clients.

Umbrella editorial banner Mix Interiors Dec 2019.pdf 1 16/12/2019 18:36:00




Mix 200 January 2020 | 41

Spotlight | Pause for Thought

Steve Dickson, Senior Associate and Head of Interior Design I have to say that pinning 20 years of design down to a single moment has been incredibly difficult. I guess it’s because throughout my working career I’ve been very fortunate, having worked with some great people on some fantastic projects. The most staggering aspect of my career is that I’ve always worked for FaulknerBrowns and as a consequence I’ve worked

Mark Simpson, Chair of Design and Head of Workplace

In 2021 we celebrate our 60th anniversary, but 2019 has been pretty stellar. This year we have reported our highest income to date with a 21.8% increase in turnover and a 9.2% increase in operating profit. We have enjoyed significant growth at home and abroad, establishing a new Singapore studio and fully integrating a 200-strong Toronto practice of architects and interior designers into the BDP group.  We have also opened new UK studios in Liverpool, Leeds and Cardiff, all cities where we have designed award-winning projects and have a high level of local knowledge.  Looking back to our 1960s roots ,the Grade II listed Preston Bus Station, one of our most loved and iconic buildings, was celebrated this year in a major 50th anniversary exhibition at the Harris Museum in Preston. It featured previously unseen material from our archives. At the time of its opening in 1969 it was the largest bus station in Europe and we were involved in every aspect of its design, from the delicate concrete curves, which shelter passengers and soften its rugged modular form, to its unique Pirelli rubber floor, airport-style signage and a very beautiful Dieter Rams-like clock. We have again won multiple awards this year for our projects and our people and launched some exciting new initiatives to enhance our social values, equality, diversity and inclusion, as well as organising workshops for the whole practice to contribute to our policy on climate change. As our Founder, George Grenfell Baines, advocated many years ago – Keep On Getting Better!

42 | Mix 200 January 2020

on an incredible variety of building types, from indoor ski centres, to civic offices, libraries, food market halls, swimming pools in the desert, ice rinks and a glass centre. Many of these projects have been the first of their type in the UK and have achieved fantastic plaudits following their completion. But if I were forced to pick one single moment as the most memorable, I’d have to pick the completion of The Word, National Centre for the Written Word. As a huge fan of public architecture, to have contributed to this exemplar project was incredibly rewarding. It’s also on my doorstep, which gives me an opportunity to visit the building regularly. I love the fact that the building inspires people to achieve the best of themselves – and I love witnessing people walk through the front door and look up into the atria with a smile on their face. It’s uplifting to see the joy a building can bring and the pride it brings to a community. That’s why The Word is my significant moment in design.

Spotlight | Pause for Thought

Philippe Paré, AIA, IIDA, Principal, Managing Director We’ve recently celebrated our 30th year in London with the completion of our new European HQ in East London, affectionately known as No. 6.  Our architectural, interior design, brand and consulting teams worked seamlessly to create a design scheme inspired by locality and contextual history. This can be seen predominantly through the building materials themselves – timber and exposed steel.   We wanted to ensure that our presence in the area was complementary and enhanced the existing environment, and ‘bringing the inside, outside’ was key. We refashioned the front entrance as a more porous and transparent façade, with clear glazing across all floors, creating a much stronger connection between internal activity and public realm during the day.

Inside, the space has been designed to incorporate a high percentage of free address, with focus given to providing a choice to individuals and teams of where to work. The workplace strategy clusters teams on each floor in ‘neighbourhoods’, aligned to foster collaboration. The feature staircase connects teams vertically to create chance collisions and spark moments of innovation, while also promoting the healthy benefit of active design.  No.6 is a product of everyone within it. With more than 200 employees, made up of 35 nationalities, it’s a testament to the space’s success that it enables and facilitates team members from different parts of the business, with a diverse range of skill sets and roles, to come together.

Catherine van der Heide, Senior Associate In July, 2008, Hassell made a bold shift. After more than 70 years, the traditionally architectureled practice chose an interior designer to be its Managing Director. Robert Backhouse’s appointment marked a radical shift for Hassell. While the practice had always offered architecture, interior architecture, landscape and master planning expertise, Backhouse was the driving force behind Hassell’s transition to becoming a truly integrated, global design house. He, in partnership with Hassell’s board and senior leadership team, led a strategy that re-aligned the business. It was focused on bringing together the world’s best design talent, strategists and researchers to deliver on a commitment to create places people love. During the following decade, the practice has built on this position, making considered acquisitions, including award-winning hospitality design practice, Distillery, in Singapore and

London-based experience master planners, FreeState, and entering new geographies, including the UK in 2011 and the United States in 2017. It was the completion of Sky Central in west London that cemented Hassell’s position as one of the most exciting and progressive entrants to the highly competitive UK market. Within one year of opening, the 45,000 sq m workplace secured more than nine awards, including Large Commercial Interiors Project of the Year at Mixology 2017, and ‘Best of the Best' 2017 at the National BCO Awards. Working with architects, PLP, Hassell brought a human-scale to Sky Central’s vast 14,000 sq m floorplates and delivered an agile workplace for 3,500 people that has enabled Sky to remain responsive in an increasingly complex environment.

Mix 200 January 2020 | 43

Spotlight | Pause for Thought

Jamie​ Wilson, Director

Having been established over 50 years, winning Design Practice of the Year at the Mixology North awards in 2012 for our interior design work was a pivotal moment. ​ Originally established to support a range of architectural projects across HLM Architects' seven sectors, our interior architecture team was really fired up by the win. Driven by a passion to create spaces that are inspirational and memorable, the award brought further momentum, ambition and opportunity to pursue standalone interior design opportunities in the hospitality, workplace and residential markets. Over the following years, in addition to delivering award-winning, thoughtfully designed schemes in partnership with our architectural and landscape disciplines, from specialised rehabilitation hospitals in the UAE to a student village in St. Andrews, we have added a wide range of standalone interior projects to our portfolio. HLM Interiors' team has grown, both in numbers – we now have 17 designers based in our studios across the UK – and knowledge to deliver complex hospitality projects in landmark locations for both international and bespoke hotel operators, dynamic workplace settings for a really wide variety of businesses and accommodation for both the student market and developers. ​ We love variety and, whatever the brief, we craft spaces that are memorable, understanding the influence our designs have on people’s performance and their physical and emotional wellbeing. Seeing our spaces used, loved and delighting our clients is always the biggest reward. ​

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Bronte Turner, Principal, Managing Director

Just over 25 years ago, HLW International, although being a significant business in NYC (founded in 1885 and famed for designing iconic buildings such as the Flatiron building and The Times Building in Times Square) started on their journey to grow outside of New York, establishing offices in London and other strategic locations, such as LA. Since opening our doors for business, our London office has grown from strength-to-strength. Some of our most significant, memorable and proudest moments involve our clients, our projects and our awesome team. Of course, winning the Mixology Design Practice of the Year in 2014 and 2016, as well as Mixology prizes for Best Large Project for Google EMEA HQ Dublin and Best Medium Project for HPE CEC would be up there too! Industry wide, the last 20 years has really seen the birth of the tech sector, and some of

HLW’s most significant growth and moments have occurred in working alongside the development of this sector – the impact it’s had on all our lives, our designs, our view of the workplace, the buildings that house these workplaces and the changing job roles of the people working for these businesses have been significant to say the least. HLW started working with start-ups such as Google 18 years ago – and today we are currently on site for their new headquarters in Charleston East. The difference over the years is staggering! These differences are emulated throughout all our projects – the adoption of technology, understanding and designing in sustainable and healthy ways, changing the view of what a workplace is, better amenities and support spaces and the densification of the buildings themselves – the changes are never ending!

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Spotlight | Pause for Thought

Ed Bowe, Associate Tallying up the number of projects we’ve completed since 2000 would be nigh on impossible – 20 years doesn’t seem that long, but when we look back to what we were doing then – mostly offices – it turns out we’ve come a long way (baby!). Highlights for the practice include rejuvenating a derelict Victorian canal basin district with Edinburgh Quay (2005), creating RBS’ global HQ campus near Edinburgh Airport (2006), a memorable office trip to Amsterdam that none of us can really remember, and the wonderfully eccentric design process for Hendrick’s Gin Palace in

MLA (with Reiach and Hall Architects), the design team won the bid for the new City of Glasgow College campus. This project was a huge undertaking, providing over 80,000 sq m of a variety of educational spaces across two separate locations – and all to be completed within a four-year timeframe. Tight for any project! Complete it we did – with Riverside Campus opening in Autumn 2015 and City Campus a year later. The two projects received many plaudits and awards for their cohesive design, organised internal spaces and world class facilities; however, we had

2018. Of course, a big low point was the financial storm of 2008 onwards – a difficult time for everyone. But the crash ‘invited’ us to diversify into new sectors and, in 2012, working in a consortium with Sir Robert McAlpine and

no idea that both projects would go on to be successively shortlisted for the nation’s top architectural award, the RIBA Stirling Prize. Sure, we didn’t quite win in the end, but not many practices can say they’ve been up for this award two years running. Plus, we got to meet Kevin McCloud!

Steven Charlton, Managing Director, Principal There have been so many amazing achievements and milestones over the past 20 years, but becoming the London studio of Perkins&Will was a very significant moment in our history. Being part of an international company that works across many disciplines and has a strong focus on research has enabled us to explore and grow in ways we couldn’t before. We have the resources to push the boundaries of design, and work in a much more holistic, multidisciplinary way. To support our growth we moved to The White Chapel Building in Aldgate, another big change for us. Our previous offices were

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split across three floors, but moving into one floor alongside our sister company, Portland, has created a new working environment which fosters collaboration and communication. We have also recently welcomed award-winning architecture practice, Penoyre & Prasad, who joined us at the end of 2019. Working with a diverse range of designers, both in London and internationally, enables us to create world-class, innovative and sustainable design. I hope that we continue to go from strength-to-strength over the next 20 years and beyond!

Spotlight | Pause for Thought

Atul Bansal, Founder & Co-Owner I remember the first time we said no to a project – it was in 2008. It was a massive project but it just didn’t feel right – the brief was just wrong. It was just after my partner, Geoff, died and I was totally consumed with questions like 'what’s life all about and what is really important?'. So we said no and walked away from it. It felt great and liberating. That day changed everything. Being honest about what you feel is something really important – and to this day it drives everything we do.

Maria Cheung, Director

Richard Beastall, Principal

While tp bennett is almost 100 years old, in 2018 we celebrated 20 years of our interiors team. From a single Principal leading interiors to six Principals working across the UK from offices in London, Manchester and Leeds, as well as globally through 80 partner firms, we are now the largest interiors practice in the UK – a truly multicultural, diverse team and the most successful design firm in the history of the Mixology awards. We’re proud to have been entrusted by businesses in a wide range of sectors, from TMT to financial and professional services. We recently designed Schroders 1 London Wall Place workspace, which has just won Best Workplace Design for Business Culture at the Business Culture Awards. We are working with PayPal across its portfolio,

most recently revamping its San Jose campus, ranked the second coolest office in the US by Glassdoor. With an emphasis on working smarter, in London we are in the final stages of delivering a new UK headquarters for Societe Generale in Canary Wharf and for Investec at Gresham Street. We are also currently working with Spotify. Two stand-out moments for our projects in this decade have been winning two BCO Test of Time Awards – in 2014, for the new Guardian headquarters at Kings Place in London, which has supported the business as it has evolved, and this year for PwC’s One Embankment Place, which has enabled a positive cultural shift. These are our moments, and we look forward to many more over the next 20 years.

Two defining moments for the practice in the past 20 years have been about relocation – from South Kensington to King’s Cross in 2001, and then to Brixton in 2017. Each move came at a time when the practice had grown in size but, more significantly, experience and confidence. Relocating offers up an opportunity to redefine who we want to be and how we want to work. Back in 2001, moving from a South Kensington townhouse to a derelict 1930s former printworks on a cobbled backstreet was a bold move, preceding the large regeneration projects north and east of King’s Cross station. The practice had grown to 70 people, and we wanted to show a confident and contemporary face to our growing client base, which included fashion house Reiss, The British Council and Derwent London. The new location allowed us to add different facets to the office, including a model shop, computer generated imaging department and a dedicated team for interior design.  In seeking a new location for the practice in 2015, now with over 200 people, we searched many areas before settling on a derelict department store building in Brixton. The extraordinary narrative of the building, and the development of our approach to collaboration and craft, offered the chance to create an array of spaces for the various design disciplines within the practice – which had grown to include illustration, branding and products – as well as retail, event and social spaces for the local community. The move to Brixton has redefined the practice for a new era, and created a showcase of our multi-faceted approach to design for our staff, clients, collaborators and friends to enjoy.w

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Spotlight | Project, Product, Change

Jamie Beighton UK Sales Director, modulyss



An awful lot has happened to the interiors world since the inception of Mix Interiors. Here, we've asked a selection of industry friends to tell us their favourite projects, products and major changes in the workplace over the past 20 years.

Palestra London, designed by Alsop in 2006. For me it was the moment I saw modern architecture and design move in a new direction.

Product: The rise of the pod! Many of the furniture pods are striking, visually, and a great place to work or meet. A real fit with the focus on agile working.

Change in the workplace: The focus on people, their health and wellbeing – and the fact that mental health is openly discussed. People matter more than anything. I love the fact that this is visually happening within our industry and the wider world.

Deborah Allen Director & Co Founder, AAID London Project: Mother at the Tea Building – a really inspirational working environment. This is a solution to arrival, flexible central working space and an advocate for coworking developed with landlord, designer and end-users.

Product: Freedom to roam. Laptops, mobiles, Zoom technology – allowing effective sustainable communication, reducing travel and carbon footprints.

Change in the workplace: The art of the reassessment of architecture is a palimpest to an interior’s adaptive use. Technology allows freedom, creates cultural significance with the redistribution of work, rest, and movement.

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Jason Brown Director of Design and Development, Knightsbridge Furniture Product: Parcs by Pearson Lloyd for Bene – now 10 years old. I believe the initial launch of this range was a catalyst for new workplace design and influenced the increasing demand for ‘acoustic’ seating and localised booth working in open plan working spaces. Their design research and subsequent design brief was excellent.

Change in the workplace: I am increasingly impressed by our awareness of the environmental impact of the work we do and the materials we use. The structures and legislation that have been introduced to improve and control this are more relevant than they have ever been.

Rodney McMahon Managing Director, Morgan Furniture Project: The Rio-Antirio Bridge, which is the world’s longest cable-stayed suspended deck bridge. It is a technical masterpiece.

Product: The iPhone – which changed the communications paradigm.

Change in the workplace: Mobility – which has been the greatest change in the workplace as technology has allowed people to work remotely and seamlessly on different continents.

Spotlight | Project, Product, Change

Anna Hart & John Miller Directors, MARK Product Jonathan Hindle Group Managing Director, KI Project: British architect Thomas Heatherwick’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, in South Africa. The inspiring conversion from concrete grain silo to museum is a great example of adaptive reuse architecture.

Product: The Dyson Open Bladeless Fan – both the innovative engineering technology and sleek design make it a revolutionary piece.

Change in the workplace: The user experience becoming the top priority when creating happier, healthier working and learning spaces - and rightfully so!

Project: Vitsoe Factory – rarely do we see factory spaces that are such important workspaces. Vitsoe have created a stunning, flexible and light working environment.

Product: TipTon Chair for Vitra, designed by Barber Osgerby. This chair is democratic, affordable and 100% recyclable, with the forward tilt encouraging movement – a key factor in ergonomic wellbeing.

Change in the workplace: Working environments now address a more blended balance of work and life with the influence of millennials and tech-enabled self-starters looking for more from the workplace than just a 9-to-5.

Wendy Graham Sales, Workbench

Product: Pixel Unit by Office Electrics. This cute unit captured the direction of integrated power in furniture. It boldly sat on the desktop, shouted ‘tah-dah’ and led the way.

Change in the workplace: The home has moved into the workplace, and the workplace has moved into the home. Couple this with the constant access to email through mobile devices – are we now always at work?

Project: Automotive Industry, Salzburg.

Product: Bosse human space.

Change in the workplace: The open plan office enables today’s collaborative work. Although effective, it can be noisy and have a negative effect on employees’ wellbeing and productivity. Large and small companies across the world are now investing in solutions that create quiet work zones to overcome these issues.

Sarah Booth Design Manager, Kinnarps

Project: Great Glen House, Inverness – the first BREEAM ‘Excellent’ office in the UK.

Friedrich Wilhelm Dauphin Managing Director, Dauphin HumanDesign

Project: WWF’s exemplar headquarters in Woking set the bar for sustainable thinking in every aspect of a building. From raw materials and construction, to furnishing and use.

Product: Although sit/stand desking is relatively new to the UK, it has been the norm in Scandinavian workplaces for far longer. The evolved innovation is the height-adjustable meeting table, such as HAL.

Change in the workplace: Activity-based working has evolved from an emerging trend to become common practice. Consequently, how we use workspace and how it is perceived has changed dramatically.

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Spotlight | Project, Product, Change

Andrew Jackson Marketing, Opus 4 Project:

Lauren Barwick A&D Sales Manager, Carl Hansen and Son Project: Maggie’s Cancer Centres, each one is unique, wholesome and beautiful. Their support centres are open to all and you always feel welcome, with each centre across the UK having a warming aesthetic and an open door policy.


The Manchester Rentalcars project was a standout when it happened. There was the size (38,000 sq ft), the challenge from the CEO to create the coolest office in the UK, and the change in culture and behaviour that it brought.

Product: I think the perfect product that stands out in the last 20 years is one which shares its 20th birthday, just like Mix: Humanscale’s Freedom chair. Most great product designs are born out of simple ideas. Even today, when we take the chair for clients to trial,

they love the design and the comfort and think it’s a brand new model. It’s a true design icon.

Change in the workplace: Agile working has been the standout change in the workplace in the last 20 years. Giving people the freedom to work flexibly, in any way they choose, has now become the norm, and is expected, rather than hoped for, by GenZ graduates coming into the workplace. Technology, especially wireless, superfast connectivity has been one of the key drivers that has brought this change.

I’m probably biased as I used to work there, but the Mater Ocean Chair is a product that has always really excited me. Having such an iconic designer, like Nanna Ditzel, who has always been known for her innovative designs and has taken this to the next level by producing the chair using ocean waste plastic. It’s so simple – and well priced too.

Change in the workplace: Sustainably minded furniture dealers as well as responsible furniture manufacturing. We as manufacturers need to think about our environmental impact, A&D need to specify smarter, but we also need dealers to help facilitate all of this. Dodds & Shute are paving the way within the industry and have been building a collection of brands over the past few years they wish to work with due to their environmental policies.

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Andy Barnard Managing Director, Techo UK

Simon Millington Founder and Director, Incognito



The recent Tottenham Hotspur stadium redevelopment – which many distributors and manufacturers were part of – definitely stands out due to the sheer scale of the project and its iconic nature.

ANZ Center, Melbourne Australia – 10 years on and it is still fresh and still opening eyes onto amazing workplace settings. It was so far ahead of the curve.

Product: The shift from static desking to sit/stand desking has been dramatic and reflects the vast change in attitude towards health and wellbeing within the workplace over the last 20 years.

Calvert from Sixteen3 – Calvert recognises that open plan environments still require pockets of space that provide privacy and it allows users to manipulate it to suit their specific needs. Shelters, vertical surfaces… it makes the open landscape work.

Change in the workplace:

Change in the workplace:

The technological advancement has been the biggest change, making every facet of the industry faster and more streamlined. It has also fundamentally changed the way people work and the products they require.

The recognition that one size fits all doesn’t work. Employees need a variety of spaces in which to complete a variety of tasks as well as areas dedicated to mindfulness and wellbeing.


The workplace is evolving. Novus Curve is a multi-functional zoning system. The inherent versatility allows the construction of varied work areas without the constraints and claustrophobic effects of solid walls and room dividers. ww.fremgroup.co.uk

Spotlight | Project, Product, Change

Jim Meier Managing Director, Day2 Project:

Ken Bundy Creative Director, Claremont Group Interiors Project: I have two: one is the work we did for Allied in Spinningfields. We were commissioned by Mediacom to design the interior space for them but in the end we became part of the architect’s team and from my perspective it was a good process as the interior affected the exterior and vice versa. The building is a little different in that it’s a jewellery box sat at the beginning of the whole glass and steel of Spinningfields. The second is for Shoosmiths at the XYZ Building, again in Spinningfields.


As I always like to focus on the future, I would pick our most recently completed large project, McKinsey & Co. Ask me in six months and I will have a new fave…

Product: From 34 years in the business, a big choice...the Aeron chair in 1994 was a bold step in a new direction, but I will go with the Vitra Alcove sofa, launched 2006. I feel this was a prime mover towards the agile working environments that we see everywhere today.

Change in the workplace: The move away from cellular offices and cubicles towards open plan, collaborative and interactive spaces is making the workplace somewhere that employees value, and where they feel valued.

I would have to say that, as a general comment, it would have to be technology – and with AI we are seeing a fantastic series of growth to the point of helping someone walk. Also, in our design world the whole shift in VR to show clients what we can build is a big product leap.

WPP Amsterdam Campus, Amsteldok – an innovative new home for WPP’s Dutch agencies and a new landmark for Amsterdam. BDG has skillfully transformed a large, traditional and previously vacant office building into a 19,000 sq m, world-class workspace tailored to the needs of WPP’s people and clients.

Sit/stand desks – the rise of.

Change in the workplace:

Richard Gann Managing Director, Rawside Project: The Department Store, Squire & Partners Gensler HQ – Wapping

Product: The general move away from formulaic soulless office furniture.

Change in the workplace: Obviously it has to be technology as it has allowed us to move away from being tied to our desks and allows furniture to be designed in a way that isn’t hampered by the need for a mass of cabling and IT equipment.

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Change in the workplace: I believe, and all of our research from our consultancy team is telling us, that the changes that have been happening in the workspace over the last 20 years has been about choice and flexibility, which has impacted on psychology, sociology, anthropology and neuroscience.

Matt Davies Sales Director, The Furniture Practice

Office culture has changed, and there is much more emphasis on creativity, collaboration and community in the workplace. Real estate is required to work much harder to suit multiple uses; as a result, breakout spaces are in high demand and offices are becoming much cooler, eclectic and dynamic places. We’re now seeing a lot more soft touch laminate, wooden frames, tactile fabrics and muted colours.

Spotlight | Project, Product, Change

Robin Phillips Director, Hitch Mylius

Neil Jenkins Managing Director, Office Blueprint

Project: The Aga Khan Centre at Kings Cross – sustainable, elegant and atmospheric, with beautiful furniture throughout.

Product: Take A Line For A Walk Chair by Alfredo Haberli for Moroso.

Change in the workplace: The fact that progressive thinking has recognised the importance of promoting wellbeing in our working spaces, and that outdated working practices are finally giving way to respect and equality.

Ian Weddell CEO, USM Haller Project: The supply of furniture to 15 floors of Swiss Re’s new office in the Gherkin in 2003/4 enabled me to work on an iconic Foster designed building that quickly became a London landmark. Working with Swiss Re’s Sarah Fox and Simon French as well as tp bennett was an absolute pleasure.

Product: If I can’t choose USM Haller, it has to be the Bourellec brothers’ Alcove High Back sofa for Vitra (2006/8). It is very simple and elegantly created oases of private spaces within open offices. This allowed office space to be designed to be varied and flexible, and a real asset to new management thinking.

Change in the workplace: In 2003 the sale of flat screens exceeded the sale of CRTs for the first time, signaling the end of the corner core workstation. Coupled with new portable technology, this significantly impacted office interiors and enabled forward thinking businesses to consider new paradigms for office design and organisation.

Project: Bank of England. I have been involved with the workplace revolution at Bank of England for the last 16 years, with amazing feedback from staff and colleagues.

Product: The phone box and meeting pod workplace revolution has

created a new market in the industry.

Change in the workplace: The rise of genuine workplace flexibility through technology, which has helped develop increased communication, with extra demand being placed on privacy and confidentiality within the workplace.


Wellbeing: Why do we continue to value engineer something so priceless?


e live in a time when, particularly in our major cities, there is intense pressure on property developers to create greater efficiencies, with the emphasis on affordability. Cost appears to be central, but few are left in any doubt that the creation of a workspace must have people at the centre; where people can work and connect in a place that does not have a detrimental physical and mental impact. However, are those involved in the creation of workplace, leisure and education really considering the long-term issues of wellbeing over the short-term cost pressures?

THE DISCUSSION We’re at Assmann’s amazing new Spring Gardens Design Studio in Manchester, where we’ve gathered a brilliant panel of leading designers and developers, together with representatives from our generous sponsor, Altro. Our conversation begins with the world of property – and the major changes that have occurred in the profession over the past few years. So what does our panel believe those changes to be? John: Because the market has changed so much, you have to provide something that’s going to suit the market. There’s been a definite softening – an idea of understanding what the client actually wants. We do have to think about things differently now. You have to be focused on what the market wants because people are more aspirational now.

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Jayne: It is definitely more people-focused today. Looking at a lot of the buildings we currently have in our portfolio, what was originally ‘lettable’ space is now being taken over by amenity space, to encourage people to actually want to take space within that building – and also to allow businesses within that space to offer their people access to those facilities. Ian: With younger people coming into businesses and wanting different things from their work life, we have to respond to that and generate different offerings. We’re a customer of Bruntwood, and if you look at Neo on Charlotte Street, you wouldn't have had that workspace on the first floor previously - but you’ve now got a great space for social interaction – it just works really well. You’ve also got residential developers now giving some social value back to the people who are living there. I don’t think that developers – before the crash in 2008-2009 – would have even thought about that. I think that was the turn in the market.


Marie: I think there’s a change in all the sectors that we’re working in – and there’s much more of a blend. Even the language we’re using has changed – tenants have now become customers. It’s much more service-driven today. The blend with hospitality – what occupiers can offer to their customers – is right at the forefront. Jayne: We now look at what life we can add to a space – to make it more aspirational and interesting, to lure people into the space. I also think it’s not just about the space itself, it’s also about the amenity that goes with that, whether that’s within the building or as part of the wider community.

I also think it’s not just about the space itself, it’s also about the amenity that goes with that, whether that’s within the building or as part of the wider community

Yara: Do you find that the client is willing to pay for a bulletproof wellbeing design, or is it just a façade? Are they jumping on the trend or are they willing to put their money into it? Aline: I think it’s sometimes quite difficult to convince the client. If it’s about physical factors such as lighting, which is easier to measure, it’s more straightforward. When it comes to things that aren’t so easy to measure – such as collaborative space – it can be far more difficult to show the client the long-term benefits. Tom: Rents have gone up here in Manchester year after year for commercial workspace – and they are expected to go up again next year. Therefore, the demand for what you’re getting for your money has to go up with that. I think there is an increasing pressure on developers and letting agents to provide that ‘+space’ – otherwise they’re not going to sell their space in amongst all the other white boxes.

In Association with


Jayne: I would suggest that this is the case. If people have that amenity, then it adds a value and therefore makes it legitimate and okay to invest that extra money in their staff in order to retain and bring in the best people to their business. Again, it comes down to the culture of the business and whether they truly believe in that or not. Luke: I’m very much in agreement with Marie about how we’re now seeing that blend between sectors. I also think there has been something of a forced change by the end user – things such as advances in technology and the trend towards sustainability; businesses feel that they now have to change. We’re currently working on an educational project where the users are predominantly iGen – they want to sit down and plug in and that way of working will follow into the workplace. So are clients becoming more knowledgeable? Is there a move towards businesses wanting to look after people – and how much of this is truly about the space itself? Tom: That’s an interesting point. I recently went to a BCO event where one of the speakers pulled out a load of facts, one of which was that it doesn’t really matter too much about the workplace. What really does matter and what people really do look for is completing meaningful work. He might have put us all out a job there! Jayne: I think good design doesn’t have to be fully Instagramable! Good spaces are the ones that are totally intuitive – and therefore allow the passage of what you do in that space. It should be comfortable and intuitive. You need to have the options to be able to get your job done at the end of the day.

John: I definitely think that clients are more knowledgeable – and I think they are aware of how the industry has changed. This is normally down to experience; an experienced client who understands the weight of why they should do things will see the benefits of what a good environment brings. Marie: A lot of this is about competition – about the attraction and retention of staff. Then we talk about productivity and measuring the performance of spaces – but you can often see this almost instantaneously, looking at sickness levels etc. You don’t have to analyse a space for very long before you start to see a positive impact and whether or not it is a good place to work. Ian: As an end user, you want to make sure that the people you are bringing into your space are comfortable and are using the space effectively. The demographic is changing – and younger generations want something different, and that something different means we have to create different products. Dave (Ford, Specification Manger North, Altro): I do think that end users are becoming more knowledgeable. We’ve recently launched a mental health CPD and that has been incredibly popular with not just architects and designers, but also with universities and colleges – because they want to learn about this as well. I think that has a massive impact.

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I think there is an increasing pressure on developers and letting agents to provide that ‘+space’ – otherwise they’re not going to sell their space in amongst all the other white boxes


Why, therefore, do we hear more and more cases of value engineering when there is this greater understanding of the value of designing forwardthinking spaces? Ian: What we find is that there is a disconnect between cost and value. We still have not got that connection between what we’re buying things for and what the perception of the PQS is. The customer will always see the first number shown to them. Aline: On a lot of projects you find that you get a budget set for everything (the architecture, landscaping etc.) and it is the interior that is left behind – and therefore we struggle to work within that set budget and to give the client what they really want. John: At the start of a project you can get really excited about what it’s going to be – but you also need to be realistic. You can get overexcited as

a designer. You’ve got to crosscheck that vision with what it’s going to cost and what your client really wants – whether you’re actually spending the money in the right place. Also, there are always unknowns in every project. Tom: Sometimes you have to let the client pick and choose the elements they want to keep within the project – almost like an exercise or a shopping list: would they rather have a smart tap or certain chair designs? So it gives the client more control over the job and helps manage expectations. We almost don’t see a project where there isn’t some level of value engineering nowadays. Luke: People assume that value engineering automatically means a loss of quality. As a designer you need to have that vision and those options – so rather than having a gold tier chair, you have silver and bronze tier options. You should be aware of the market and be able to achieve their vision without impacting on the quality. Jayne: Sometimes you might have to be a bit ‘Primani’ – but the overall feel and aesthetic stays as it should be because you’ve ensured that you’ve kept the key elements that are essential in making the scheme work. Sometimes – and this is quite rare – when you’ve actually put something forward that is really, really good and genuinely adds value, the client somehow finds that extra funding! If the desire is there, you can actually be in a position to add that value.

In Association with


Marie: If the client understands your design it suddenly becomes about value and not cost. John: For me, those elements that are added for wellbeing – things such as the living walls – are the things inbetween the core elements and are therefore often hard to sell. Clients are often aware that they need to do something – but then wonder whether they really need them.

You can get overexcited as a designer. You’ve got to crosscheck that vision with what it’s going to cost and what your client really wants

So are clients now talking about wellbeing, mental health etc. from early in the process? Jayne: It has to be at the heart of everything that we do. It’s not just about the spaces though – it’s about the culture. Unless you’ve got the right people to communicate this and to operate it, then none of it will work. I think this has to be driven from the top. Ian: I totally agree. I think that, if you’re looking to build your business around these principles, then it has to start with the leadership. Also, unless you’re creating the facilities to allow people to thrive, how do you expect creativity from your people? If you don’t do this then you’re actually fostering the opposite and therefore almost creating poor mental health.

58 | Mix 200 January 2020

CONCLUSION We totally agree with the final couple of statements made here (in fact, we agree with pretty much everything our brilliant panel has said throughout). In order to successfully achieve wellbeing goals, it has to be at the heart of everything the team is looking to achieve and, as Jayne says, it is not just about the spaces itself – it’s about the culture. If the culture isn’t right in the first place, you are always going to struggle – and that could result in a very bleak or very short future. Like it or not, projects will continue to be ‘value engineered’ - it’s vital, however, when looking to save on cost, that you’re not stripping the true value at the same time. w



TOM GIDDINGS Architectural Designer , Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB)


Tom manages the Architectural Design Team at Rider Levett Bucknall, Manchester. From a background in product design and architectural technology, Tom has

Luke has become an integral part of the BDP team and has contributed successfully to various education and

Interior Designer, BDP



Associate Partner, ID:SR Sheppard Robson

Senior Lead Interior Designer, DAY Architectural

Marie leads the Sheppard Robson interior team, ID:SR, in the North and is actively involved in all aspects workplace projects. Previously working of the design. From initial project concepts to the built product, she in the London studio, Luke was an has worked on a wide range of intrinsic part of the team involved large-scale projects across a variety with the interior design for regional of sectors that include but are not schemes for PwC in Birmingham and limited to workplace, education, award-winning Manchester office. residential and healthcare. He then re-joined the Manchester Marie is passionate about activityoffice where he is currently leading driven design, ensuring that her the interior design on projects with approach puts people at the heart of Manchester Metropolitan University the design process. and Sheffield Hallam.

John set up the award-winning interior design department at DAY to continue his successful career in design. A career that began at the start of the century, John has worked on a





Pre - Construction Manager Willmot Dixon

Design Team Creative Lead Bruntwood

Senior Interior Designer, HLM Architects

Specification Consultant Manchester Design Centre and Sheffield, Altro

Ian is a Preconstruction Manager for construction company Willmott Dixon – named The Sunday Times 4th Best Company to Work For 2019. He has over 30 years’ construction industry experience, managing projects, working client side as a Project Manager and, for the last 10 years, in preconstruction. Ian is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building and acts as a mentor to schoolchildren in Salford, as a long-term supporter of the Salford Foundation.

Jayne has worked in the design industry for over 20 years. Her project experience is extremely diverse, from unique workspace and yacht design to an abundance of bars, restaurants and hotels. As the Creative Design Lead at Bruntwood, Jayne is responsible for leading Bruntwood’s in-house interior design team, overseeing workspace and retail projects in buildings across Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool, each designed to improve the health and wellbeing of its customers.

Aline is a Senior Interior Designer at the HLM Glasgow Studio. Since joining HLM in 2015 she has been working across a broad range of sectors such as education, hospitality and workplace. Aline believes that placing people at the heart of design is vital and is inspired by biophilic design. She loves creating spaces that reflect the client’s brief, make people feel happier and have a positive impact on people’s lives.

A consultative approach to flooring and walling specifications, specialising in designing for mental health and dementia; whether this is a commercial space or a high security custodial environment. Yara is passionate about applying these principles not only to design for the modern workplace, but all the way down to primary education and across to all public buildings. Altro hold these specialisms very close to their core.

developed an office design service that delivers projects in a variety of sectors. Tom believes that ‘People thrive on completing meaningful work and providing staff with the best technology, resources and environment, helps keep them engaged and happy.’

large number of projects over a wide spectrum of uses, from restaurants to airports to mixed-use developments. In recent years, he has taken his people-focused design ethos into residential, education, healthcare and workplace design.

In Association with




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Mix Interiors


living | january 2020



s a new decade kicks off, we’re celebrating a major milestone here at Mix – our 200th issue/20th birthday (if you weren't already aware) and, of course, our first Living supplement – which will land on your desks and online three times a year. In this first foray into the world of commercial residential, we take a look at who made the cut in the new Living category at last month’s Mixology North, including a tour of the winning project – Local Blackfriars in Salford. Our property expert, David Thame, discusses the growth of build-to-rent, and we give you a summary of the insights at December’s Mix Design Collective session on the Future of Living, which featured an impressive panel of property experts. There are certainly several themes and variations in our first Living supplement, including the growing phenomenon

of BTR and the need to create new places with their own brand and identity; places where people really want to live. Many of today’s larger developers aspire to create these human-centred communities but, ultimately, few developers are hitting the nail on the head. This could be changing as the rise of brand-led, intelligent developers create major projects that focus on the real human outcomes and welfare, designing amenities that are actually useful to the residents and even the wider community. Do you have a commercial living project you’d like to feature? Get in touch at the address below – we’re always on the look out for exciting developments. Chloe Petersen Snell chloe@wearemixgroup.com

contents The Future of Living 64 BTR: Baby steps but big ambition 66 Mixology North19: Living Projects 72


Local Blackfriars 74

66 63

feature | the future of living

THE FUTURE OF LIVING What does the future of living look like? During Mix Design Collective 2019, a distinguished panel of guests joined our property expert David Thame to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead of the private residential sector.


his discussion was about the Build to Rent revolution – and revolution is exactly the word for it. How has it manifested itself, and where is it going next? We sat down with three property experts – each with an impressive portfolio of projects under their belts: Helen White, Managing Director at Affinity Living, Michael Howard, Managing Director at urbanbubble, and Gavin Chetty, Brand Director at Way of Life. Here is just a snippet of the conversation. 80 BTR schemes are now live in the UK, as Build to Rent the concept meets Build to Rent the reality. We ask our panel what they have noticed as the two have collided – and what surprises they have discovered. Michael: What hasn’t worked is that we were completely overwhelmed by the volume of work that goes into leasing up a community from a standing start. It’s not fragmented, there’s no letting agent, there are no block managers or free holders, it’s one operation on site – very much like a hotel. So that’s what took us by surprise. We also learnt that we could have all the plans and strategy in place, but it’s absolutely key to talk to the customers to understand if we’re purposing the spaces and the community in the right way. What has worked is that we work 15 months


out, realistically, from a new residential development, which starts with research and goes on to brand, marketing, leasing strategies and then we get into the detail. I think that having that foresight has really worked. Helen: We actually worked a little more than 15 months out – the concept for our brand was delivered to the select board back in 2015. We have six buildings under construction and the starting point was focus groups back in 2015 – talking to people about the way that they lived. We design buildings inside out, with the starting point being who is actually going to live there. We create the concept for the brand and then we work with the architects and the build team – and then operate it. “If something does work, expand on it and if it doesn’t, get rid and repurpose it.“ The challenge we have is delivering 2,000 units all in the same city – but we’re fortunate that we’re in three different locations and we put a different amenity in each, so we’re not delivering cookie cutter BTR schemes. Some people don’t want a gym in their facility! We look at where we’re building, and the design is very much influenced by what we deliver. A lot

of people in the BTR sector talk about community, but we’re passionate that that community doesn’t exist within four walls – it has to integrate with the neighbourhood. On a design level, we look at the materiality and palette of what we use in the interiors. Our scheme on Embankment is on the site of a former railway, so we integrated timber, steel and brick, whereas Riverside looks at the more organic ebb and flow of the water and colours. We’re also taking a bit of a bold move – which came from the focus groups, actually – and the secure line isn’t the front door but at the lift lobby. So we open the whole ground floor amenity to the wider community. We want them to come in and use the coworking spaces and lounges, and work with the residents to shape the life of the space. Gavin: We worked quite closely with Pentagram, who are a fantastic branding agency, to brand our latest building in Leicester to have touch points that respond to local areas. It’s gone down really well and it’s given us a marketing hook. In fact, our business plan had a two-year let up period and we’ve almost filled the building in six months. Our Glasgow and Birmingham locations are also different to each other in terms of amenity offer – we have a sort of open lobby culture that you might find in lifestyle hotels, with a coworking space and café.

living | january 2020

So we have a discovery already – location (surprise surprise) matters in property. But what have we discovered about which amenities are actually necessary in a building? Gavin: I think it depends on the location. One of our buildings in Birmingham has great gyms in the area, so it’s not necessary to have a gym on location. We are actually installing a small gym to see if it works, but from all the marketing feedback and research we’ve done, we think that residents would actually be happier with gyms outside the building. Michael: If something does work, expand on it and if it doesn’t, get rid and repurpose it. We’re really thinking about the customer in that community and we do think gyms are important. It used to be that 80% would want to live there because they want to use the gym, and only 30% use it – but that’s changing. Most of our customer base in Manchester is between the ages of 22–32 and we’re finding a much bigger take up in the gyms. The equipment is progressing – if you’re going to do something, do it well and commit to it. Don’t put tokenism in, like a token car park, token coffee lounge etc. Helen: We’re expecting our schemes to have a wide variety of demographics. We have done some pre-lets in the buildings and one of the challenges that we have is that

we don’t have a show apartment. Letting to someone (and we’re on the higher end of the market) without the opportunity to stand in the apartment, see the view, sit on the furniture and touch and feel everything – and being challenged as a business to do pre-lets when we can’t actually get them in an apartment – is tough. So, we took over a few meeting rooms in the Lowry, dressed them with the amenity space and used VR, and it gives people a sense of the space. “Community doesn’t exist within four walls – it has to integrate with the neighbourhood.“ Coming back to what amenity is at the core, it’s that sort of flexible/lounge/ coworking space that is not fixed joinery and can be used by residents to define how they want to use it. On one hand you’re all saying commit and if you’re going to do it, do it properly - and on the other hand you want flexible space, which is pulling in the other direction. How do you resolve this? Gavin: In our view, general amenity space is about what the brand stands for. What we’re trying to get to is what we stand for as a brand – and then whatever amenity we offer resonates with what we are. It’s about having a point of view, which is riskier in many ways, but people will see that and

gravitate towards it. It’s a different way of approaching it rather than colour by numbers and everyone doing the same thing. Helen: I agree, the brand has to define the fabric of the building. Gavin: You constantly have to interrogate – what are your values, are you looking to chase the latest trend? I think in the next five years it will be very much, ‘Here’s the marketing report, here’s the turnkey solution agency and here’s what you get!’ And that’s why everything kind of looks the same – but it’s a process. What makes a space work from the point of view of generating a sense of community – a shared community or shared purpose? Gavin: If it’s built with integrity and it’s well designed and not chasing the latest trend. I’m sure that everyone uses them as a reference, but in Soho House there’s multiple entry points – you can be a 25-year-old graphic designer and enjoy Soho House, and you can be a 60-year-old exec, because it’s done with simplicity, heart and soul. Also, it’s not about the design or the brand, it’s about the culture. So, in a lot of my presentations, I’ll say to clients, ‘Your culture is your brand’. You can walk into an environment and you can understand the brand by what’s happening around you. w


feature | build to rent –


The build-to-rent apartment business is still in its infancy. But it is learning fast. David Thame hears how design and amenity are already being rethought


arely five years after the idea of purpose-built, institutionallyowned rented accommodation was first mooted, there are just 35,000 build-to-rent (BTR) units in occupation in the UK.

After so much chatter, and so many years of hope and expectation, BTR is now meeting the reality of the UK rental scene. And it is already prompting some serious rethinking. It’s not that the original designers got anything badly wrong – although a few did make mistakes. Rather, the problem is that, the moment human beings get involved, even the best plan gets gently screwed up. At least part of the problem is that UK BTR was originally based on the wellestablished US concept of multi-family living. And it turns out, surprise surprise, that what works in the US does not necessarily work here. Heiko Figge is Head of Operational Asset Management at Moorfield, who are creating a branded BTR business. Moorfield has developed and

operated 1,200 BTR apartments since 2012 and intends to continue investing in the sector through this new venture, called More. The most recent scheme to launch is Duet at Salford Quays, offering 270 apartments. That a hotelier is running the business shows how BTR is no longer a pure property play and, just like in the hotel sector itself, design is now at the front of developers' minds. 'Since the new BTR schemes came along, the big lesson is be aware of your neighbourhood, and don’t blindly copy others,' he says. This means amenities need to be tailored to the local demographic. 'Why build a gym if there is a good one over the road, not least because it is expensive for us to equip and run – and will residents want to pay for it? And do you really need a cinema room? I mean, why would you sit down there watching a film when you can stream it from your apartment?' Heiko asks.



feature | build to rent

left The Forge: A 283 unit build to rent scheme adjacent to the Stephenson Quarter in Newcastle right BTR developer Placefirst’s vision to transform the Central Street Car Park, Bolton, into a £27.5m multigenerational BTR.

What is really needed is not fancy bolt-ons, but a design that fosters a sense of community. 'We do this quite deliberately in our buildings. We create points of collision, so residents and our staff have no choice but to run into each other. We make sure things like the post boxes or coffee machines are in places you can’t help but be seen. Communal spaces like that need opening up,' Heiko says. The upshot is that poor designs – like lobbies that mean residents can get to the lift without even glancing at the concierge – are quickly rejected by Moorfield. Experience in Liverpool, where they owned the 240-unit Keel BTR scheme at Queens Dock, persuaded them they need this kind of interaction.

We create points of collision, so residents and our staff have no choice but to run into each other. We make sure things like the post boxes or coffee machines are in places you can’t help but be seen

'There was almost no communal space at Keel. People came and went without seeing anyone,' Heiko confesses. No surprise then that Moorfield sold the block. Moorfield are now using data to refine their sociable spaces, and this is playing a role in the next round of designs. 'As a hotelier, I’m always concerned about how people move around a building, where and when they have a coffee, when they take their rubbish out,' he says. For instance, data mining revealed that, in their 232-unit Trilogy scheme in Manchester, they dispensed 21,500 cups of coffee in the six months from April to November 2019. One in four was a latte, and almost all were between 6.30 and 8.30 in the morning. The result: beef up staffing in peak times, buy more milk, and start to talk to residents about where else they can get good lattes (including offers). And, of course, none of this works if you can’t see the coffee machine from the concierge desk. If this sounds a bit too hands on then, up to a point, Heiko agrees. 'Sometimes we need to stand back a bit, and let things develop themselves,' he says, pointing to the in-house tenant app, which lets tenants schedule meet-ups, ask questions and look for local services. The sense that BTR design and amenity has improved since the BTR concept collided with reality is behind the latest work by developer Nikal. Their burgeoning BTR portfolio is centred on Birmingham’s £350 million Masshouse scheme. The first phase included 603 rental apartments in blocks of up to 27 storeys. The apartments have been sold to LaSalle Investment Management through a deal worth in excess of £100 million. Nikal Managing Director, Nick Payne, says they have learned that apartment sizes aren’t what they expected.


living | january 2020

'We expected more takers for two-bed apartments, but actually it is one-bed apartments people sign up for – even couples – because they use the amenities in the building and so don’t need so much space in the apartment,' he says. Like Heiko, Nick has a sceptical approach to cinema rooms and gyms. 'Things like that are good tools for marketing the apartments, for getting tenants over the threshold, but they do not give a good return to landlords because of all the equipment, cleaning and insurance. And they don’t get used if there is a good gym nearby,' he says. On the other hand, flexible lounge spaces and – a big surprise – spaces for quiet study and homeworking, turn out to be seriously popular. Cinema rooms are out, libraries are in. The other big discovery is that lobbies and entrance halls are complicated spaces, and that glamorous double-height boxes may not be the answer. 'Yes, you still want a sense of arrival, and you want tenants to feel that their home starts at the front door to the building, not just the front door to their flat,' Nick tells us. 'But you need your concierge in the right place, and you need it to be lively. There is nothing worse than a dark lobby stuffed with letterboxes.' Working at the sharp end of the BTR sector, property managers, Urbanbubble, have an acute take on what works and what doesn’t. And

Managing Director, Michael Howard, is a lot less sniffy about fancy amenities than cost-conscious developers. The twist is that the amenities he likes might not be the ones landlords or developers expected. 'BTR is still so new. We’ve probably 80 apartment blocks live around the UK, eight or nine in a big city like Manchester, and customers now have a choice, which is helping us learn what works and what doesn’t,' he says. The big take-away has been that every block is different. A highly socialised, community focused offer in one building works wonders in a block whose residents tend to be 30-something professionals. But the same approach (and amenities) are a turn off in blocks with younger – or older – residents, as Michael explains: 'We have a smallish block in central Manchester, so there are plenty of amenities in the streets around it, and we found what residents wanted was not the kind of stuff they could find outside, but space for friends. The tenants were mostly in the creative world, so we gave them a clubby feel, something a bit like Soho House, and that’s just what they wanted,' he says, referring to the upmarket club chain. Design has been influenced by the hotel business, particularly by Scandinavian hotel design. 'We learned that the lovely double-height lobby is useless if nobody ever lingers in it. We learned that large spaces that look great on the CGI



feature | build to rent

do not work and it's much better to divide things up into quiet areas, reading areas, TV areas...and we also learned that detail and quality of finishes really matters. Get the right chairs, the right colours, the right aesthetics and it all builds trust between the tenant and the landlord,' he says. And cinema rooms? 'We’ve turned one into a work room instead. Residents of one-bed flats wanted somewhere else to go, and we’ve seen kids do their homework there. Design spaces like that right and people can live outside their apartment, as well as inside it, and that’s what they like doing. Anywhere you can mingle and share and build a community is good,' Michael insists. Don’t bother with the cinema or gym, but maybe do bother with the dog grooming room is his advice. 'About a quarter of our residents have pets, so it isn’t tokenism, it is not a waste of time. They like it,' he laughs.

BTR is still so new. We’ve probably got 80 apartment blocks live around the UK, eight or nine in a big city like Manchester, and customers now have a choice, which is helping us learn what works and what doesn’t

” Martin Ellerby is Head of New Business & Innovation at Placefirst, a BTR operator specialising in the less glamorous end of the market, with a mix of homes for families and multi-generational occupiers. The latest scheme, a £27.5 million project in Bolton, will provide homes for a wide age group, including houses. Martin's demographic is very different from that of Heiko, Nick and Michael – and yet he comes to the same conclusions. 'The key discovery is communal spaces. We make it a rule to find spaces for socialising, we don’t like big fences, we like common ground where people can bump into one another,' he says. Yoke that communal feel to homes that are genuinely liveable, and you have a winning formula. 'We ask ourselves some basic questions like, where is the storage space in this home? Is there enough space to put up and use an ironing board? That sounds silly, but it's important,' Martin says. Martin himself is the resident of a city centre apartment block and it has taught him some important lessons. 'I don’t need to spend all my time in my block because there is a whole city out there. But what I do want is a sense of community, because that is what roots us,' he says. The BTR experiment – and experiment is the right word – is still in its infancy. And what works today may not work with tenants tomorrow, or next year, or in a decade's time. Designers and architects will have to find ways to adapt to changing needs – needs that we do not yet understand. •


How to speak BTR PRS: Private rented sector – a term covering every home let on a market rent that is not owned by councils or housing associations. BTR is a sub-set of the huge PRS scene. The big difference is that PRS blocks often have many small-time landlords, most of them buy-to-let investors and, as a result, standards of amenity are low, and the churn of tenants high. BTR: Build-to-rent. Apartment blocks or houses built with the intention of renting – invariably owned by big-time investors who want stable long-term income. In return for first-class property management and good amenities, the rent is a little higher. Microliving: A variety of BTR that sits somewhere between coliving and a proper BTR apartment. Maybe a studio flat or very small one bed, as young people begin to experiment with living solo. Coliving: A shared flat or groups of flats, but operated professionally by the landlord (rather than as an informal house share). A bit like student housing, but not for students, and with better amenities and services. Coliving is often viewed as a bridge for graduates from student life to the big bad world of real renting. Buy-to-let: The enemy of BTR. Small time investors, invariably absentee or overseas, owning flats in fractional sale apartment blocks. The UK Government removed tax advantages for buy-tolet some time ago, so most buyers these days are from China or Hong Kong. Fractional sales: Building an apartment block, then instead of selling the whole block to a BTR investor, selling individual flats to buy-to-let investors. Makes more money for the developer, but means a poorly managed block, unhappily mixing owner occupiers and tenants.

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project review

Project Review


For Mixology North19 we added a new category to recognise the growth of PRS, BTR, co-living and student accommodation projects. With buildings now offering a range of amenities and lifestyle options for residents, changing how we see typical residential developments, we can’t wait to see how this category develops over the coming years. Congratulations to the finalists for Living Project of the Year 2019 – see the full Project Review on page 100. 19


01 DAY ID Trinity View, Coventry


Trinity View is a luxury student accommodation complex for prime student living, designed by DAY ID. The 614-bed development in Coventry was designed with various feature areas focused around the sprawling ground floor social spaces and a dramatic 10th floor lounge areas and roof terrace.

Whitehorn Hall is part of the largest single expansion of student residencies in St. Andrews for over a decade. HLM Architects created a space that built on the University’s traditional values, whilst providing world-class, memorable accommodation with the student experience at its heart.

Koncept designed and implemented a forward thinking, innovative public space for the dubbed ‘super renters’ of The Forge. Featuring workspaces, communal areas and high tech facilities – all within a stylish and comfortable setting, which helps create an exciting and fun place to live, socialise and work.





HLM ARCHITECTS Whitehorn Hall St. Andrews University


KONCEPT ID The Forge, Newcas

living | january 2020Â


04 03

04 MYCRIB Reliance House, Penthouse, Liverpool An Edwardian-style building brought back to life as residential apartments and an impressive roof extension containing the 210 sq ft Penthouse on the 7th floor. The full interior design throughout is characterised by a high level of specification and bespoke finishes, complemented by a 180 degree view of Liverpool and the River Mersey below.


HLM ARCHITECTS Hollis Croft, Sheffield

Hollis Croft is a 972-bed mixed-use student residential development, sitting in the heart of Sheffield. HLM created an exciting new place with a good balance of social, formal and informal spaces to provide students with plenty of choice – all of which foster a community spirit and feel. hlmarchitects.com


feature | local blackfriars

THIS PAGE The laundry room at Blackfriars doubles as a community area and workspace images courtesy of jon matthews architects


living | january 2020

LOCAL HERO Winners of Mixology North19’s inaugural Living Project of the Year, Jon Matthew Architect’s Local Blackfriars project is a testament to the growth Salford has seen in the past few years.


ver the past decade Salford has seen some major changes, with significant change immediately ahead – and this is still only a taste of what’s to come in the next 10 years. With a population and job boom and an influx of young professionals gravitating towards the area, this once somewhat looked down upon area is having a bit of a renaissance. Reflecting this shift, a number of new developments are now popping up in the area, and on the Salford/Manchester border in particular. Located on a busy corner in this very area (and a stone’s throw from our own Manchester HQ) is Local Blackfriars – a gated community designed to reinvigorate and reactivate the Black Friar pub. The long-derelict pub, which dates back to at least 1886 and features a variety of carved stone tympanum, including a pair of jolly drinkers, provides a stark contrast from the modern blocks that loom over the Grade II listed building.



feature | local blackfriars

We meet with Jon Matthew Architect’s Sam Power, who gives us a tour of the development. Jon set up the practice in 2018 after leaving 5plus, the firm he co-founded in early 2010. Although just a couple of years old, the new studio has a full roster of clients and several central Manchester projects already under its belt. Inside, the pub is in a transition stage, and has been restored in a contemporary palette, with traditional lime plaster, timber flooring and a listed Jacobean style staircase restored by hand. ‘The building had been in derelict for many years,’ Sam tells us. ‘The pub was brought back from the dead basically – there had been a huge fire in here, there had been a pigeon infestation – it was a real horror show.’ Eventually the space will be reactivated as a working pub, creating a useful amenity for residents and the surrounding community. The scheme is organised between two blocks, with mirrored lobbies, connected by the communal garden space, and we seem to be in a bit of a calm oasis despite the (typical) Manchester rain and a busy interjunction nearby. The amenities on the ground floor include a laundrette and workspace, bespoke cinema room and gym.

above Coordinated ceramic tiles from local manufacturer Casa Ceramica span the full height of the bathrooms. bottom The reception area looks out onto a community green space.


The precast concrete façade of the building is carried into the building and is reflected in its two reception areas, bringing an urban aesthetic inside the lobby. Celebrating natural textures, the concrete is polished to expose the aggregate, giving it a granite appearance. The copper backdrop to the reception desk is particularly beautiful, created bespoke and then treated with a relatively new artisan material; ground down metal is made into a

living | january 2020

above Duplex penthouseses feature timber flooring bespoke kitchens with quartz work surfaces.

resin and, as a result, can be sprayed onto any substrate, giving the impression of metal but using a fraction of the resource. The furniture and lighting throughout the 351,450 sq ft project was provided by local consultant ByForm, and the sustainably sourced timber flooring was provided by Tedd Todd. Entering the laundrette/community facility, the concept combines the function of the space with a living room feel, becoming a resident’s lounge. ‘It’s very much like a living or coworking space as well as a laundrette; people set their laptop up and work here regularly. It’s the main space for socialising and working,’ Sam explains. To counter the stone flooring and surfaces, a lowered timber raft with concealed acoustic material and lighting emphasises the desk as the focal point, with the same materials used for features underneath the desk. The floor and central desk are made from Cosentino-Dekton’s large format but thin ultra-compacted slabs of stone particles, providing a calm backdrop for working or meeting other residents.

Developer Salboy’s vision was to offer these amenities to residents, partly to keep up with the market but also to provide a great place to live. ‘There were some early trips over to New York when they were first designing the concept for the building, where the PRS model comes from,’ Sam comments. ‘Over there they have loads of amenity, which has been reflected here – there have been no cutbacks in terms of resident amenity. Salboy wanted really great amenity spaces and the brief for the public spaces was very much relaxed high-end hotel.’ Before we reach the apartments we visit the carpark – something that we seldom do when it comes to workspace, but far more relevant here – behind a living wall full of rosemary and tall grasses. The branding throughout the building, also designed by JMA, is refreshingly youthful and modern, and is reflected throughout the carpark, gym and bike room. ‘There are quite a few cyclists in our office and so we created graphics on the wall that represent the mountain passes in the Giro d’Italia race. There’s a lot more emphasis from the council on cycle storage


feature | local blackfriars

above One of two identical lobbies in the building, featuring panels of an innovative ground metal veneer.

Project Team Client Salboy

than on car parking spaces – the planning strategy moving forward is less cars in the city.’ The 383 apartments and duplex townhouses of the scheme have coordinated porcelain floor and wall tiles from Cosentino and local manufacturer, Casa Ceramica, with custom-made kitchens featuring quartz work surfaces and back painted glass splashbacks. The scheme’s language of concrete, plaster and sustainably sourced herringbone timber flooring feature heavily in the duplex apartments, and paddle stairs (which are somewhere between a stair and a ladder and not for the faint-hearted) lead us up to a living space with panoramic views of the city. Every detail has been carefully considered within the apartments in what Sam describes as a labour of love – from the wall height doors, the absence of skirting boards and walls that appear to not touch the floor. The design is successful in its use of architectural detail, material and social sustainability – creating a scheme that is both enticing and appears effortless. w


Architect Jon Matthews Architects Ltd Interior Designer Jon Matthews Architects Ltd Furniture Provider ByForm Flooring Tedd Todd, Consentino, Shaw Contract, Pergo Surfaces Consentino-Dekton, Silestone, Techrete, Innometal, Casa Ceramica Storage Safety Letter Box Company



Review | Mix Design Collective

COLLECTIVE NOUS There were (even if we say so ourselves) a lot of ticks in boxes when it came to Mix Design Collective 2019. This unique design event, held at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate, showcased the best of commercial interiors across nine specially curated experiences, created by leading designers and featuring world-class product design. Tick!


longside this, a packed programme of inspiring discussions from leading voices within the industry saw standing room only throughout the two-days, with fascinating and diverse speakers such as Michael Pawlyn, Martin Ballendat and Gary Neville. Tick! Not only was MDC19 twice the size of 2018’s inaugural event, it also attracted double the audience. Tick tick! Although officially a two-day event, the Tuesday’s launch evening attracted some 500 guests, who enjoyed a sneak preview of what was on offer throughout the week. As we said, for the 2019 edition nine design practices created nine immersive experiences featuring the very latest in workplace, hospitality and residential design. Working with world-class product partners, each designer took on a major theme within the world of commercial interiors. As the great Jim Bowen might have said, see page 88 onwards to see what you could have won…

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MDC was (and is) about far more than just an exhibition of products. Not only does it offer these design-led, curated spaces (no airless, cavernous spaces or 8x6ft white boxes here), it also delivered a series of informative, relevant talks and seminars. Here, we present just a flavour of those sessions… The New Hospitality Experience: How will data driven hospitality affect the built environment? There are some clear disruptors within the hospitality world at the moment – in particular, data driven hospitality. Questioning the need for technology to deliver a higher level of service and create a smoother pre-arrival experience for different travellers, our panel was divided on the importance of human service in a world of apps and data. ‘Ultimately, we’re trying to deliver a product and service that satisfies the customer’s requirements,’ said Tom McWilliams, Development Director at Property Alliance Group. ‘How that impacts on the built environment will be a real pivotal point – we need to create buildings and spaces that are flexible and sustainable for changing technology and needs of customers.’

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Review | Mix Design Collective

This technology, and how it interacts with different generations, is a key indicator for amenities required in current and future hospitality experiences. Customers want something new, not the usual stale business lounge. ‘People want to come back and be able to tell a story to their friends – 40% of people now choose their holidays on where they can take the best photos,’ explained Katy McCann, Managing Director at Travel by Lillingston. ‘When you're designing and putting so much investment into public area space, you really need to look at the revenue opportunity there, or risk losing it to the restaurant or coworking space around the corner,’ added Emma Dalston, UK Group General Manager for Dalata Hotel Group.

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Ready to bring your ideas to life? Egger Decorative Collection 2020 – 22

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Nature does it better: Biomimicry in architecture – by Michael Pawlyn In the last two years we have seen environmental issues shoot up the agenda and, as a country, we've declared a climate and biodiversity emergency. But what next? Discussing his recent projects, including the Sahara Project, as well as how we can use solutions from nature in design, Michael argued the need to move beyond the paradigm of sustainable design, and on to regenerative design – ways of designing the built environment to repair damage to the environment. ‘What is absolutely certain, in my mind at least, is that we're not going to achieve that simply by tightening up the knobs on the current ways of doing things, we need to start looking at much bolder thinking,’ he explained. On his innovative Biomimetic Office project, Michael commented: ‘We brainstormed what the key functional challenges were in an office building.

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Review | Mix Design Collective

This is one of the clearest ways to use biomimicry – you define a series of functions, and then you look at how those functions have been delivered in biology, and you use that as an inspiration for an innovation that suits human needs.’ So, what did we take away from this fascinating session? At the very least that, by looking to nature, we can create design that is not only effective and efficient, but actively creates a better environment and community – whether that’s in a busy city or in the middle of the Sahara Desert. MixInspired: Workplace 2030 What does workplace 2030 look like? Will technology be king? Will there still be a focus on current trends such as wellbeing, sustainability and flexible working (to name but a few!) Considering the move away from traditional office space, the panel at this special edition of MixInspired discussed the factors that companies are considering when designing their spaces. Unconventional and quirky spaces are on the rise, and have been for the last 10 years, as staff retention, wellbeing and a cross-generational workforce become increasingly important. ‘There's a huge war for talent,’ explained Ciara Keeling, CEO of Bruntwood Works. ‘In order for companies to both attract and retain the best talent, they have to be thoughtful around creating spaces that really work for the for the end user and the customer.’ The panel was unanimous that sustainability issues will continue to play a key role in the workplace over the next decade, as cities set carbon neutrality targets – such as Manchester’s target of 2038. So where do certification schemes

come into this – if at all? ‘We're not actually going to promote BREEAM ratings,’ said Greg Ball, Senior Development Manager at U+I. ‘We’re looking at various measures to make our buildings as sustainable as possible, but we're not just going to go out and get a brand certification that might become obsolete in the future.’ Tying this all together is technology. Monitoring individuals’ requirements and wellbeing as well as automating processes will not only create more flexible spaces but also create a more sustainable environment. In conversation with Gary Neville On the Thursday afternoon, we got a rare opportunity to talk to former England and Man Utd footballer and current Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville, about his adventure into the property world, focusing on his new project – the Stock Exchange Hotel. Originally born from the idea of member’s club in Manchester, with flexible workspaces and an F&B offering, over a period of three or four years, the concept changed into a hotel-led concept. On the challenges the team faced while undertaking the process, Gary commented, ‘It got to a point where it became the most confusing and painful project particularly for the development and design team – we changed designers and designs all the way through because one chef wanted one design and another different chef wanted another.’ Discussing the design, fit-out and manufacturing for the hotel, Gary took an unusual approach, hiring a Turkish firm to create the interiors from scratch. ‘They designed it in two months and were able to fit-out the whole building in four months. It was incredible. I don't think I would go to an interior designer again that couldn't promise that cradle to grave approach for me.’ It was great to have Gary on board, and we thank him for being so refreshingly open and candid.w

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Review | Mix Design Collective

For more information about Koncept ID, partners and products featured in this experience, scan the QR code for the Invigorate e-book

INVIGORATE It’s different to a normal exhibition; the themed rooms are inspiring, and it allows suppliers to showcase how they can work with designers rather than just showing lots of products

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Whether a requirement for the gym goer or the cyclist, the bathroom has become an essential differentiator in work, at home or in hotels. For MDC’s first ever bathroom-focused experience, Koncept ID created an amazing VR experience around the theme of Invigorate, showcasing the future of not just these spaces, but also design presentation. Visitors were immersed in three virtual reality concepts, challenging the idea of traditional tactile showrooms.

Curated by



We talk to Koncept ID about their thoughts on their Invigorate experience. 'The ability to use VR meant we could take the invigorate concept anywhere in the world. In hospitality at the moment we are seeing a lot of adaptable spaces – be it the bathroom, bedroom or public spaces. Clients want to engage with all the spaces, whether they are working, relaxing or entertaining – the freer and easier it is for the user, the better!'

Review | Mix Design Collective

RECHARGE With the importance of sleep never more in people’s minds, we looked at how the use of technology, emotive decoration and soft fabrics will contribute to the sanctuary that will be the bedroom of the future. KKA designed the Recharge experience, focusing on how the use of sustainable, emotive decoration and soft fabrics will contribute to the bedroom of the future. ‘Our design for Mix Design Collective explores sustainability and its importance on a commercial scale,’ they told us. ‘We aspire to reinvent the traditional hotel room concept and create an oasis where one can find themselves exposed to experiences that allow recharging and resurgence of creative potential.’

Curated by


I loved the treatment on the walls – it was something very different and very effective

For more information about KKA Interiors, partners and products featured in this experience, scan the QR code for the Recharge e-book

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Review | Mix Design Collective


For more information about Basha-Franklin, partners and products featured in this experience, scan the

Where we live has constantly evolved – and this experience looked at what can be achieved for the ever-changing demands of the client, from student accommodation to high-end build to rent schemes. We spoke to Basha-Franklin, the designers behind the Living experience. ‘Our design is inspired by the rise of emotional design and interest in craft. It explores how spaces can be layered to create a deeper sense of emotional connection. In response to digital fatigue and global homogenisation, our design explores a desire for the unique, for character and depth.’

QR code for the Living e-book

The atmosphere created was relaxing and had a very distinct character

Curated by


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Review | Mix Design Collective

In the North there are no other companies that have the warmth and pulling power as Mix so, at Design Collective, it's irrelevant who you work for, or which experience you have done, everyone is happy to see each other and it’s a strong point for the interior design year!

Curated by

MINDFULNESS The Mindfulness experience, designed by Perkins&Will, promoted mental wellbeing, giving employees a chance to switch off, reinvigorate and take time for mindfulness in their busy everyday lives. Associate Principal and Design Director, Mijail Gutierrez, told us about the inspiration behind their experience. ‘I am interested in mindfulness – in its truest sense it involves being actively present in the world and this really inspires me. For this experience I aimed to bring a connection with the here and now, through a dynamic design that engages the senses and creates a space for visitors to reconnect with their own selves and the world.’

For more information about Perkins&Will, partners and products featured in this experience, scan the QR code for the Mindfulness e-book

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Partners h


Review | Mix Design Collective

An excellent opportunity to network and learn about new products...I managed to meet so many people in such a short space of time, which has opened up so many opportunities for me

Curated by


Since the turn of the century, the office has evolved in its various iterations bending one way and the next. Most think that collaboration is here to stay – and IA showed us why. ‘Through furniture we can explore the idea that there is no background or foreground in collaboration – the aim is to complete a task and achieve a goal through systematic approach,’ they tell us. ‘We can create an expression of collaboration through moments of unity and connection to complete a task or achieve a goal.’


For more information about IA Interior Architects, partners and products featured in this experience, scan the QR code for the Collaborate e-book

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Review | Mix Design Collective

For more information about Defurb, partners and products featured in this experience, scan the QR code for the Meet e-book

Curated by


MEET Whilst the current image of workplace collaboration is seen as open plan and funky furniture, a great deal still does and should happen in the boardroom. Defurb’s Meet experience paid homage to one of the oldest forms of workfolk getting together. 'The traditional concept of a boardroom is becoming less and less important, but an environment that fosters energy and creativity remains vital. Today’s meetings are most effective in spaces which match the communal culture, can accommodate various uses and allow ideas to flow,' says Lesley McPhee, Design Director, Defurb.

From a property perspective it’s a great chance to see design coming together and making sense in one space!

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Review | Mix Design Collective

For more information about BDP, partners and products featured in this experience, scan the QR code for the Learn e-book

LEARN One of the three great motivators of the human is to develop and learn. BDP developed this experience to show what can be done to facilitate the learning experience – which also housed our seminar sessions (more about them later). BDP share with us their views on the learning environment. 'Workplace learning environments share a great deal of similar issues and needs. We work and learn in both. In the learning environment there is perhaps an even greater need for flexibility and agility. The need for multiple use, hackable spaces and a variety of work settings is something the workplace is picking up on as new generations join that environment and expect a level of agility and freedom of where and how to work.'

A really interesting event – a great selection of curated brands, designers and speakers

Curated Curated by by

Partners Partners


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Review | Mix Design Collective

I think it’s great to challenge the status quo of exhibitions and furniture showrooms – putting things together so people can see how products can work in an environment – it’s invaluable!

Curated by


SOCIAL For many designers when designing a bar, restaurant or workplace social setting, the first element of their scheme is the creation a social area where people can fuel-up and relax. Fusion by Design’s Social experience perfectly considered this first element, establishing a place for visitors to fuel-up, socialise and relax. 'Discussing what excited us, we wanted a concept idea that was loose enough to relate to a variety of visitors, but also epitomised Fusion By Design as a company. And nothing is better than a good Yorkshire brew! Hotel design is experiencing a move towards front of house areas that are more than just a lobby or a bar. This is the direction a lot of our hospitality clients are heading, even outside of the hotel sector. They desire venues that can be accessed across the day by a varied client base, making their offer an all day one,' Fusion by Design tells us.

For more information about Fusion by Design, partners and products featured in this experience, scan the QR code for the Social e-book

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Review | Mix Design Collective

Curated by



HEART SPACE Heart Space provided MDC’s visitors with a place to meet and relax between experiences, as well as showcasing an exclusive collection of furniture and materials. Sheila Bird Studio – the hugely respected and energetic practice based in Manchester, who has created some of the most innovative projects in and around the city over the past 30 years – developed the experience for us. ‘Our inspiration for this project has been mazes, cages and secret enclosures,’ they told us. ‘We wanted to get involved with Mix Design Collective to collaborate with some brilliant furniture makers and product designers. It has been a fantastic opportunity to support an event that celebrates great design.’

For more information about Sheila Bird Studio, partners and products featured in this experience, scan the QR code for the Heart Space e-book

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Mix it with Studio Moods 2.0 Studio Moods 2.0 is our award-winning concept for LVT. Create stunning combinations through multiple shapes, textures and colours all with the faultless performance of our commercial grade LVT with a 0.55mm wear layer.

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Review | Mixology Projects


It always felt as though Christmas had come early when, weeks before the turkey and trimmings, the postman delivered us sackfulls of lovely Mixology North awards entries. This year was a little different as, instead, we were inundated with online entries. Still, we were delighted to find a diverse range of quality project entries, from elegant corporate HQs through to cool bars and even a gin distillery. Here’s a a look at those brilliant shortlisted projects...

Sub-5,000 sq ft Commercial Interiors Project of the Year

Jolie Studio Ltd – Matillion Office, Altrincham Concorde BGW Group – The Up in Arms

Jolie Studio was tasked with creating the perfect environment for an incredible up and coming tech company, a space sympathetic to the everyday stresses and with a need to constantly attract and inspire.

The Up in Arms was aptly named after a local campaign prevented the pub from being turned into flats. This treasured local has been given a new lease of life and is once again a community hub. ru CREATIVE Ltd and Design Tonic – The Property Buying Company

Bruntwood Works – Lowry House 'Urban Oasis' Two floors of all-inclusive serviced space at Lowry House have been transformed using an ‘Urban Oasis’ theme. A key part of the concept was to emphasise biophilic design by introducing greenery, pattern, texture and colour associated with nature.

ruCREATIVE and Design Tonic have delivered a unique office space for rapidly growing business, The Property Buying Company. The space is funky, fresh and more akin to a luxury boutique hotel than a corporate office space.

DAY ID – NHS Digital

Jasper Sanders + Partners ONE Portland Street

NHS Digital was a test fit project to explore new ways of working for the expanding NHS Digital teams across the nation. This brief was developed to create flexible working environments that encouraged more collaborative ways of working within a digital environment.

SpaceInvader – Bauhaus The refurbishment of Bauhaus was an opportunity for SpaceInvader to apply the understanding of WELL Standards to another CAT A project. The ground floor and mezzanine were transformed for the tenants to enjoy a variety of settings.

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JS+P transformed two arrival points into unique, purposeful spaces at ONE Portland Street. The basement promotes cycling to work, meeting the client’s objective for low-carbon travel. The interior echoes ONE Portland Street's urban context through raw concrete, bold colours and graphics.

Review | Mixology Projects

5,001 – 15,000 sq ft Commercial Interiors Project of the Year

I-AM - B Works - Manchester I-AM worked with CYBG to establish B Works, creating a new financial lifestyle space based on the concept of Learn. Work. Bank. They turned the traditional in-branch experience on its head, into an innovative and inspiring journey.

Design North – Mediaworks Mediaworks’ new space is vibrant, modern, practical and aligns fantastically well with the culture of Design North’s business. The overall design, layout and functionality of the office has encouraged greater collaboration and creativity.

KKA Interiors – BOHO, Glasgow

Interface – The Greenhouse

BOHO is a brand driven to create new communities and designed to attract free thinkers with an adventurous soul. KKA Interiors aligned the vision to the brand's mantra, providing bespoke living solutions for now and the future.

Interface is passionate about creating workplaces that are both beautifully designed and also positively impact the wellbeing of the people who use them, and its new UK headquarters in Birmingham – The Greenhouse – brings this approach to life with the creation of a truly collaborative, living office.

OBI – Shoosmiths Officeinsight – Hermes 'Tech Hub'

A welcomed new office space for Shoosmiths in Belfast, OBI and Shoosmiths worked together to create an uplifting space that offered a relaxed and generous breakout, and tailored meeting room styles with brilliant views over St. George's Market.

Hermes challenged Officeinsight with designing and fitting out their new Leeds-based ‘tech hub’, with the primary aim of revitalising their recruitment efforts and enhancing employee wellbeing. Officeinsight delivered one of their most unforgettable design and build projects to date.

Two – Work.Life Manchester Two and Work.Life have partnered to create a gamechanging workspace. The balance between a unique yet recognisable space shows the understanding Two has of the Work.Life brand and ethos. The design promotes health and happiness in equal balance with productivity in an industrial aesthetic.

yozu – Cotton Exchange Trading Halls Moving office is stressful. Once the work is complete though, a beautiful space never grows old. Working with Amspec, software company, yozu, recently moved into the Grade II listed Bruntwood Cotton Exchange. Situated in what was part of the original trading hall, it features exposed structures that once adorned its ceiling.

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Review | Mixology Projects

Brown & Bancroft Interiors - The Bartlett Group The Bartlett Group created a modern-day HQ designed to better support staff in their work and nurture their wellbeing. Built in 1805, the premises now provides a flexible working environment complemented by a variety of social and leisure spaces executed with quality in mind.

Firebox Design – Pets at Home, Chester House Pets at Home commissioned Firebox Design to create a pet-friendly new head office in Cheadle Hulme. Covering 26,700 sq ft, the design reflects the company’s core values and accommodates 260 colleagues and 50 dogs. The result is a cheery, modern office with generous cafeteria, pet kitchen and dog run. Opus 4 – Caunton House Opus 4 designed, project managed and delivered a stunning new headquarters for Caunton Engineering. The design included a stunning glass frontage, a central atrium to the building envelope and a feature multifunctional space. They wanted a 21st century workplace to attract the best engineering talent in the UK. Sheppard Robson & Ardmac – Bupa, Kirkstall Bupa Kirkstall Forge provides a dynamic workplace for staff, centred on promoting wellness, collaborative working and supporting Bupa’s vision to provide a workspace that enables their people to live the Bupa brand.

Area – Mills & Reeve, Birmingham Following a 30-week refurbishment of Mills & Reeve’s Colmore Row office in Birmingham, the updated workplace now provides an improved client experience, as well as a better working environment for all end users by way of flexible spaces, which allow people to come together.

Marchini Curran Interiors – ARM, Manchester Marchini Curran Associates, working closely with the ARM Manchester team, have conceived a workplace environment that embodies a tailored look, reflecting the key global business principles of ARM, the personality of the staff and the strong sense of pride of being located in Manchester. Ryder Architecture & Ward Robinson – Tombola House Tombola House is a headquarters building comprising three floors of flexible office space around a central atrium. This new build provides a much needed change to Tombola’s previous work environment, akin to the open plan, flexible and socially enriching environments offered by large IT firms across the UK.

15,001 – 30,000 sq ft Commercial Interiors Project of the Year Watson Batty Architects – No.1 Broughton Park Watson Batty Architects completed the interior design in a new rural building on the Broughton Hall Estate, creating 20,000 sq ft of office space for JBA Consulting and Risk Management. Birch ply wall panelling was used throughout, mixed with neutral tones, juxtaposed against pops of vibrant colours and textures, to create a sleek design sympathetic to the countryside setting.

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RAY stylish personal seating

Beautifully crafted and elegant in design, Ray offers an informal refuge for employees and small groups to encourage creativity and inspire collaboration. Providing a retro vibe that will never go out of fashion.


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Review | Mixology Projects

Over 30,001 sq ft Commercial Interiors Project of the Year

Ardmac – Clockwise, Edward Pavilion

AXIS Architecture – HSBC Grosvenor House, Sheffield This office fit-out for HSBC is part of a new mixed-use building forming Phase 1 of Sheffield’s Heart of the City masterplan. Key focuses for the project are workplace wellbeing, biophilia, staff engagement, integrated technology and flexible working.

Ardmac completed the fit-out of Edward Pavilion in Liverpool, on behalf of Castleforge Partners, for serviced office provider, Clockwise. The site now caters to businesses of all kinds, ranging from freelancers to SMEs. A BREEAM Very Good standard was required.

BDP – PwC, Manchester Situated at the core of Spinningfields, No.1 has enabled PwC Manchester to create a new standard for office fit-out within the firm’s UK portfolio. It is a magnificent experience for visitors and staff alike, and a real blueprint for the future.

Oktra North – Gymshark Lifting Club Oktra North designed Gymshark Lifting Club as a state-of-the-art fitness and innovation hub, empowering their client with total in-house creative control and supporting them with integrated wellness amenities..

tp bennett – Walker Morris, Leeds tp bennett was asked to support Walker Morris with its headquarters relocation in Leeds. Walker Morris occupied two adjacent city centre properties and was looking to co-locate to breakdown silos within the organisation and streamline its operations.

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Incognito – Origin, Manchester Origin is a sophisticated commercial office building created to fill a gap in the market for high quality, small scale workspaces, complemented by a variety of hotel-style facilities including business lounge, pantry, roof garden and gym.

Scott Brownrigg – Quartermile 3, Edinburgh Considered, contemporary elegance was the design brief for this confidential financial company’s new Scottish headquarters. Relocated to Quartermile 3 in Edinburgh’s centre, the refurbishment offers a collaborative working environment for 800 employees, complete with a world-class meeting suite and destination deli cafeteria.

Review | Mixology Projects

Bar & Leisure Interiors Absolute Commercial Interiors – North Brewing Co. Tap Room

Project of the Year

A contemporary and industrial-style interior has been created for North Brewing Co.'s city centre tap room. The contemporary industrial design offers a sociable hub for customers and an exciting venture for North Brewing Co. Darling Associates Architects – The Prior John, Bridlington A refurbishment and extension of an existing JD Wetherspoon into the chapel adjacent, Darling Associates Architects retained the original features of the chapel, while creating a tripleheight customer area with a mezzanine. The designers created a warm modern atmosphere while adhering to brand guidelines. Fusion by Design – Banyan, Newcastle Working in collaboration with Arc Inspirations and MDA Architects, Fusion By Design were asked to provide the interior design to assist in expanding the portfolio of the Banyan Bar and Kitchen brand into the North East. ikon furniture – Albert’s Bar & Restaurant, Standish Working closely with Albert’s restaurant's chief executives, ikon used their design manufacturing abilities to create a range of bespoke seating, resulting in a creative and quality fine-dining experience.

DV8 Designs – Liverpool Gin Distillery DV8 Designs have transformed this historic five-storey, Grade II listed building to create an immersive experience that includes Gin Labs, a Dark Spirits Bar and a Bartender School as well as a ground floor bar -–home to a striking 600 litre copper still used to produce Liverpool Gin. NoChintz – Gong Cha Situated in the heart of Manchester’s city centre, Taiwanese bubble-tea chain, Gong Cha appointed NoChintz to help introduce the brand to the West, bringing a vibrant and deeply routed design to the city. SpaceInvader – Headingley Stadium It took more than two decades of planning to reach the point where the £45m redevelopment of Emerald Headingley stadium was finally completed. SpaceInvader were successful in a competitive bid for the interior design of the new corporate hospitality spaces within the North Stand.

Qu-est Design and Planning – The View at Hencote The brief was to create a high-end winery destination that would surpass anything nationally. The design oozes luxury and creates a haven to showcase the client's wine, embracing the 180 degree views over the vineyard and Shrewsbury beyond.

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Review | Mixology Projects

Hotel Interiors Project of the Year

3DReid – Hotel Indigo, Manchester Drawing inspiration from Manchester’s Victorian and industrial past, the Hotel Indigo interiors are indigenous to the local area. The Press Rooms draw from Manchester’s literary and printing days, Arkwright Rooms reference the cotton mill heritage and Tea House Rooms celebrate the local tea. merchants.

Concorde BGW Group – Broad Street Townhouse Broad Street Townhouse is a boutique city centre bolthole, offering 11 impeccably designed bedrooms, café by day and speakeasy bar – The Blind Pig – by night. Its aesthetic nods to its heritage (the City of Bath itself is a World Heritage Site), whilst also presenting a new contemporary design suited to the discerning, modern traveller.

ikon furniture Ltd – Manchester Hall Boutique Hotel After a sensitive multi-million pound restoration, Manchester Hall now combines traditional structure with contemporary glamour. ikon worked together with the venue to deliver bespoke pieces of furniture, bathrooms, bedrooms and communal areas.

KONCEPT ID – The Majestic Hotel, Harrogate

Fusion By Design – Brook Green Hotel, Hammersmith The Brook Green Hotel is a relaxed venue in west London. The design is influenced by the four Blue Plaques of Brook Green and classic pursuits of music, writing and art. Fusion By Design were asked to once again return to the venue for the refurbishment of all 17 guest bedrooms. Ryder Architecture and Ward Robinson – Northshore Hotel

Open for over 100 years, this Yorkshire hotel has become a key destination for the town of Harrogate. Koncept breathed new life into the 'grand old lady' with a full bedroom refurbishment, and reinvigoration of the public spaces, including a timeless bar, restaurant and luxurious new spa facilities.

Northshore Hotel is a 128-bed Hampton by Hilton hotel, located

Studio Köerting – Hawkstone Hall Hotel Studio Köerting designed the concept suites and visual identity for this beautiful hotel. The building is in a Grade I listed manor house built in the 18th century. It has now been converted into a hotel and luxury wedding venue.

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Darling Associates – The Falcon Hotel The Falcon Hotel is a Grade II listed building in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon. It recently underwent a £12 million conversion into a 95-bedroom Indigo hotel. The hotel incorporates The Woodsman restaurant and is located in one of the most prominent buildings on the high street, opposite Shakespeare’s final home following his retirement.

on the prominent Northshore gateway site in Stockton-on-Tees. The hotel’s design responds to the development’s sensitive location at the edge of town centre conservation area and the adjacent Grade II listed Georgian terrace.

Review | Mixology Projects

AHR & Gresham – University of Huddersfield, Barbara Hepworth Building The Barbara Hepworth Building at University of Huddersfield is an open, flexible learning hub that unites all design disciplines to encourage creativity and interaction. Interior spaces have been carefully integrated to encourage a wide variety of learning experiences, with colours, materials and finishes referencing one of the 20th century’s finest artists.

Public Sector Interiors Project of the Year

BDP – Alliance Manchester Business School The Alliance Manchester Business School has been transformed by this significant refurbishment project. From the new entrance space, an internal street provides connectivity and access to social and collaborative learning areas,

c2:concepts – UA92 University Academy 92 (UA92) is an educational institution that has taken root in the former Kellogg’s building and is part of Trafford Council’s Civic Quarter Masterplan. The project is a unique campus, co-founded by Lancaster University and the Class of ’92, and completed by the Bruntwood and Trafford Council joint venture. iDEA – DfE Cheylesmore House, Coventry A major upgrade to the workplace. The ‘One Coventry’ campus for Department for Education at Cheylesmore House provides a distinctively efficient, flexible and sociable workplace, which focuses on the wellbeing of its 1,500 staff and visitors.

FaulknerBrowns – Lower Mountjoy Centre for Teaching and Learning The Lower Mountjoy Teaching and Learning Centre provides an exciting new learning landscape within the canopy of Durham’s tree line. It provides an uplifting study landscape to attract and retain a highcalibre of staff and students and ensure an excellent reputation for research, education and the student experience at Durham University.

culminating in a new open plan learning resource space.

Complete Business Solutions – WorkWell, Project North Lincolnshire North Lincolnshire Council were looking for ways to totally transform how they work. Complete Business Solutions – in partnership with the WorkWell transformation team – designed and delivered a game changing agile workspace solution on a sensible budget. This completely redefined th business, improving delivery across the Council's services.

Ward Robinson – HMRC, Benton Park View Benton Park View is a flexible working environment designed to inspire and excite. Offering a diverse mix of agile work settings, the 31,017 sq ft workspace includes a variety of meeting facilities, gender neutral washrooms and supports both collaborative and private work zones.

Fairhursts Design Group – National Horizons Center This state-of-the-art research facility boasts a simplistic yet effective floor plan, which is focused around the central atrium. The atrium as the heart of the building allows an abundance of natural light into the laboratories, improving wellbeing. Additionally, the 360 degree views within the atrium promote collaboration and connectivity.

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Review | Mixology North19




ollowing an amazing three days of Mix Design Collective, we moved from the former Mixology North home of the Deansgate Hilton to Manchester Central for the 2019 edition of the North’s biggest industry night. And when we say biggest, we’re delighted to report that we were we able to welcome a record number of guests – topping the 1,200 mark. Our guests were instantly wowed by the beautifully dressed venue, which featured a classy Great Gatsby-esque New York theme (well, we were just weeks away from the roaring 20s!). The fantastic Horse Meat Disco delivered an incredible post-awards ceremony set, filling the dancefloor, while the big kids amongst us headed to the indoor fairground, which featured new rides including the brilliant Rock Star. As for the awards themsleves, the big winner on the night was Ward Robinson, picking up two awards in the commercial interiors and public sector interiors categories – the former in conjunction with Ryder Architecture. The two ‘biggies’ – Design Practice of the Year and Manufacturer of the Year – went to ID:SR and DAMS Furniture respectively, while other winners included Jolie Studio, Ardmac, DV8 Designs, Senator, OE Electrics, naughtone and Assmann. We know we say this every year, but we were delighted to receive record numbers of awards entries and, in our humble opinion, the highest standard of entries we’ve ever placed in front of our expert judging panel. Thank you to all our guests, our sponsors, to all those companies who entered the awards and to everyone who gave their support, time, efforts and no little talent to help ensure that Mixology North was once again a night to remember. w

Thanks so much to our sponsors:

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Review | Mixology North19


WINNER: Assmann SPONSORED BY: Autex Acoustics



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Review | Mixology North19


WINNER: Jolie Studio SPONSORED BY: Colebrook Bosson Saunders




WINNER: Ryder Architecture & Ward Robinson SPONSORED BY: Staverton


WINNER: Ardmac SPONSORED BY: Forbo Flooring Systems



PROJECT: LIVING INTERIORS WINNER: Jon Matthews Architects SPONSORED BY: Quadrifoglio Group

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Review | Mixology North19




Horse Meat Disco


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Preview | Surface Design Show

CLOSE ENCOUNTER Next month, Surface Design Show (SDS) celebrates 15 years of the best surfaces in interior design. SDS is a one-stopshop for designers and interiors specialists looking to specify the latest innovative material products. Held at London’s Business Design Centre, from 11-13 February 2020, this year the show’s focus is centred around the thought-provoking topic of ‘Close to Home’, which looks beyond aesthetics and into manufacturers’ impact on the environment.


ocated at the heart of the show and a recurring highlight of the exhibition, Surface Spotlight Live features pioneering tactile materials for visitors to touch and feel, providing a hands-on experience for architects and designers. Curated in collaboration by trend and colour expert, Sally Angharad, and colour forecasters, Colour Hive, Surface Spotlight Live will present two themed installations in 2020. ‘Close to Home’ will explore the environmental and social impacts of consumption. From the making process, through to the disposal of goods, the installation will feature an array of manufacturers/ designers from around the world, who explore locality and recycled materials, with a particular focus on unexpected ingredients.

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The second installation, ‘Materials Edit’, is curated by trend, colour and material forecast agency, Colour Hive. The showcase is dedicated to materials inspired by its Spring/Summer 2021 design story: Factory. Featuring one-of-a-kind inspirational objects and materials, Materials Edit will celebrate process as an important part of the design but one that is all too often forgotten when work is predominantly focused on a screen. Exhibitors showcasing in this area include sustainability-focused Aurore Piette Studio, which proposes a sustainable and local vision of design in self-sufficiency through the use of discarded sediments that today are discharged as a waste in the ocean because of human activities; and

Preview | Surface Design Show

1. Aurore Piette Studio 2. Atticus Durnell 3. Catherine Griffiths 4. Olenka 5. Surface Spotlight Live 6. Hannah Elizabeth Design

Hannah Elizabeth Design with BioMarble, which has a unique and intriguing surface pattern but, most importantly, its main ingredient is waste paper. Surface Design Show’s New Talent area offers attendees the chance to see the next big innovations in surface design. All of those chosen to exhibit in New Talent have been in business for five years or less, and with 36 exhibitors showcasing, compared to 16 last year, the section has more than doubled. New Talent exhibitors include Olenka, whose luxury British wallpaper collection features natural motifs of leaves and flowers, whilst Catherine Griffiths’ work takes in bold wallpaper designs as well as fabric and cushions with inspirations as eclectic as Celtic mythology, the Renaissance period and

European architecture. Atticus Durnell, the brains behind the That’s Caffeine brand, will be exhibiting his material made from recycled coffee grounds that imitates granite stone. Renowned practices including Steven Holl Architects, Mikhail Riches, AECOM, WilkinsonEyre, Arup and Chris Dyson Architects are among those shortlisted for the 2020 Surface Design Awards, which exemplify creative use of surface materials and lighting. There are an impressive 39 projects across 14 categories in total, from retail and public buildings to commercial projects and housing, including new categories in public realm and affordable housing for 2020.

Demonstrating the truly international reach of the awards, now in their sixth year, projects on the shortlist spanned 13 countries from 34 different organisations, with emerging practices represented, as well as established firms. UK-based studios led the way with 14 finalists and those from China, India and the US all having strong showings in multiple categories. The judging panel praised both the high quality and variety of entries within the field of surfaces and materials, which made for a captivating and exciting day of judging. Tickets are free to professional and trade visitors. You can register at www.surfacedesignshow.com/ register w

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Go on a voyage with Expedition I Expedition I is a high-performance carpet tile collection from IVC, Europe’s largest manufacturer of carpet tiles and vinyl flooring. Made of four looppile textures in Ecosphere, Hydrosphere, Layered Earth and Lithosphere, Expedition I takes an organic approach to design. Drawing inspiration from tree bark, flowing water, a view of earth from space and the planet’s inner layers, Expedition’s shared colour palette means designs can be combined for creative layout possibilities. Expedition I uses hardwearing 30% recycled content Duracolor polyamide for lasting colour, stain resistance and easy maintenance. www.ivc-commercial.com

Inside Out Contracts brings Mediterranean vibe to Norma Designed to embody a fusion of Moorish architecture and Sicilian flair, the latest culinary destination, Norma, in London’s Fitzrovia, required a bespoke furniture selection to complement the Mediterranean-inspired concept. With a precise vision in mind, Inside Out Contracts brought in a stunning selection of volcanic stone tabletops to create a statement feature in the space. Hand-crafted from quarried volcanic stone in the historic Italian town of Deruta, each tabletop was painted by hand to complement the Morroccan wall tiles and Moorish textures, creating a truly symbiotic style for the restaurant. www.insideoutcontracts.com

Moving Forward With 27 colours, including classy neutrals, calming nature-inspired palettes and bold shades, First Forward proves that, when it comes to great design, nothing has more impact than colour. The latest carpet tile to launch from modulyss, First Forward is the start of a new generation of value-orientated products in the First collection. Based around a new construction that delivers better wear performance through a new in-house yarn, modulyss has taken its evergreen ‘First’ to a whole new level. www.modulyss.com

Tudor Times Creating a sophisticated entrance solution to 22 Tudor Street, a highly innovative office development in Blackfriars, TORMAX has installed a three-wing, full-glass revolving door with automatic swing pass door to one side, for hands-free access. Giving smooth and unhindered entry into the beautifully furnished, manned reception area, visitors to the building cannot fail to be impressed by the eyecatching ‘living ceiling’, perfectly off-setting the contemporary TORMAX glass doors. www.tormax.co.uk

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Amtico introduces Spacia 36+ Amtico’s Spacia 36+ is a slip-resistant safety flooring collection that doesn’t compromise on aesthetics. The Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) consist of slip-resistant particles throughout the wear layers, ensuring consistent performance over the floor’s entire lifetime. The collection can be specified in planks and tiles, across 13 Woods and three Stones, to give designers a wealth of style options with added safety benefits. With the durability, as well as antimicrobial properties, Spacia 36+ is perfect for a variety of commercial environments, including healthcare, hospitality and leisure. www.amtico.com/commercial

Make the most of Matrix 70 from IVC Matrix 70 is an innovative loose-lay vinyl planks and tiles concept that brings easy fitting, simple removal and a host of everyday performance advantages. Matrix blends the best of LVT and heterogeneous vinyl technologies for a loose-lay floor that delivers impressive benefits in any commercial environment. Ideal for refurbishment, due to the minimal downtime required and adhesivefree installation, Matrix 70’s 5mm height blends seamlessly with carpet tiles, eliminating unsightly transition strips for a cleaner aesthetic, making it easy to repurpose spaces and change layouts. www.ivc-commercial.com

Gold for First Specified by AIS, the leading workplace design and build company, First Absolute from modulyss contributed to the interior’s SKA Gold certification, an environmental assessment method and benchmark especially designed for fitout projects. First Absolute is a structured loop pile quality made from solutiondyed polyamide 6 yarn and is equipped with a BRE Environmental Profile – fulfilling the stringent conditions of SKA’s Gold standard, while providing a unique look through its mix of colour nuances. www.modulyss.com

Regal touch from Parkside The Regal collection from Parkside is designed for exceptional performance, with porcelain tiles in a subtle palette of four neutral tones and different surface effects, accompanied by perfectly matching trims, thresholds and grouts. Whether you’re hunting out a polished or matt finish, textured effect or need an option with high slip-resistance, the Regal collection, with its range of palette and finishes, offers the potential for the creation of stunning, yet seemingly effortless design schemes. www.parkside.co.uk

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Pretty in Pink Silencing the critics that labelled blush as a one hit wonder and overnight fad, the warm neutrals of pink shades continue to endure with a new generation of admirers. With the popularity of pink tones, UNILIN division panels has added three new colour options to its already extensive UNILIN Evola range. Scratch and stain-resistant, safe from fading and easy to wipe down, Evola melamine-faced chipboard panels are made from 100% circular wood, including a minimum 85% recycled content. www.unilinpanels.com

Quadrant’s biophilic cork for Greenpeace Cork has a richness and depth rarely found in other floorcoverings, with an earthy tone and naturally irregular variations in grain and texture. It’s a unique aesthetic which, when incorporated into biophilic schemes, has a striking effect. In line with Greenpeace’s mission to promote solutions for a green future, architects sAtt picked cork for the organisation’s Madrid office. Cork’s sustainable properties, including a carbon-negative footprint, made it a responsible choice for this ecological space. www.quadmod.com

Shelf Assessment KI’s 800 series modular shelving system creates agile and homely workplaces. Constructed from powder-coated steel, it can be produced in a range of colours, including at its joints. Freestanding or integrated with 800 Series cabinets, the system can also be enhanced with planter boxes, steel and wood inserts, and can be incorporated with worksurfaces and soft seating. www.kieurope.com

Major steppe for university auditorium Newcastle University’s Frederick Douglass Centre is a £34 million flagship building that delivers state-of-the-art teaching facilities. Seating space in the impressive stepped auditorium is maximised thanks to Style’s installation of a world-first, bespoke set of moveable wall systems that divide the room into two separate lecture halls, seating 500 and 250 students respectively. Style worked in close collaboration with Sheppard Robson and Sir Robert McAlpine to design a solution that is fully automatic, concurrently moving a double skin of Dorma Hüppe sliding wall panels up through the tiered seating. www.style-partitions.co.uk

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The Last Word | Opinion

CHRISTMAS IS COMING Criteo’s Mike Walley is clearly one of those people who

start to think about next Christmas on Boxing Day. With less than 350 days to go, he’s musing over this year’s tree and all it entails.

I had never considered building a real estate strategy based on the need to accommodate a growing Christmas tree over a period of 200 years...

Mike Walley is Criteo’s Head of Workplace Experience EMEA

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admit that, when I read the phrase ‘Christmas is coming’, I tend to hear it in the doom-laden tones of a Game of Thrones character saying, ‘Winter is coming’. It foretells much effort for the Workplace Manager. Decorations, parties, treats and the inevitable Christmas tree loom in our future. The tree, of course, is the biggest design decision of the year and it can set the tone for the whole office during the preChristmas season. There are many questions to consider – the first being about the actual tree itself. Do we go synthetic or natural? Personally I love the smell or a real tree. It speaks to me of childhood and growing excitement as December progresses. But we cannot get away from the fact that we just cut a live tree and will watch it deteriorate over a period of about four weeks. So, many people point to a synthetic tree as a greener alternative. But is it really? They are generally made of mixed plastics and so cannot be recycled, whereas a real tree can be chipped, mulched, composted and other interesting things. Apparently, a synthetic tree needs to be used at least 10 times to emulate the eco-impact of a real tree. Would such a tree survive being dragged from the loft every year, decorated and then dismantled and stuffed back in the loft. Not sure really. Anyway, come the first office move, it will get lost, for sure. Nowadays, if you really don’t like the idea of a cut tree, you can get one with a root ball, so it can be cherished all year and used again the following Christmas. The challenge with a root ball tree is really in the future. Of the 16 types of tree commonly used as a Christmas tree, the smallest will grow

to approximately 50 ft and the largest to over 350 ft – and last for 200 years! Such a tree is not just for Christmas…I had never considered building a real estate strategy based on the need to accommodate a growing Christmas tree over a period of 200 years. ‘We’re going to need a bigger atrium…’ Another option is to hire a tree. A potted, live tree is delivered to your door for you to decorate. At the end of the festive season you take the decorations off, make a call and voila! Someone arrives and takes it back. I have so many questions…what happens to them between seasons? Can I choose my tree? What if a branch breaks? Is there an insurance waiver? Sorry, but it feels a tad complicated for just a tree. Now, what about the look? How do we decorate it? We can go for the ‘House Than Can Be Seen From Space’ approach. You know, the ones that have illuminated decorations nailed to every surface of the house and front garden, causing planes to veer off flightpaths and begin an approach in the mistaken belief it is the runway at Heathrow; the ones that cause West London to dim and flicker when switched on. I am thinking multi-coloured lights that dance around on a randomised loop. Multiple strands of tinsel in a range of colours and one of every kind of available bauble. The tree itself will be barely visible and, much like watching an eclipse of the sun, you will be advised not to look directly at it. Then there is the entirely colour coordinated, décor matching, visually balanced and harmonious decoration. That’s the one that blends so wonderfully into its surroundings, you stop noticing it about 10 minutes after first seeing it. Sorry, what tree? Oh! That tree! At least I’ve got a bit of time to think about it!w

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Mix Interiors 200 - January 2020  

Mix Interiors 200 - January 2020