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Mix Interiors 196

July 2019

INSIDE UPFRONT 8 Steve Gale 19 Perspective 21 Material Matters 23 Deser t Island Desks 24 Proper t y Insight 26 Proper t y – Horse's Mouth 30


SPOTLIGHT 35 The Big Question 37 Project Review 38


ROUNDTABLE 52 CASE ST UDIES 58 x+why, London 58 Jacada Travel, London 64



58 52

Mixology19 70 NeoCon, Chicago 82

NEOCON DISCUSSION 86 L AST WORD 96 Criteo's Head of Workplace E xperience, Mike Walley


SHOWROOM— 7 Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1M 5PA SALES— T +44 (0) 1384 455570 E sales@bossdesign.com bossdesign.com



We take a look back at another triumphant Mixology event – featuring the one and only Soul II Soul.

20/05/2019 15:30

Mix 196 July 2019 | 1

Upfront | Welcome

A WORD FROM MICK THE COVER The logo The logo is a measured response to the beautiful geometric tile background, using a classic font as an overlay. It is a reminder to take a moment and reflect that finishes are beholden to the craft of installation, bringing workmanship to the fore. www.grimshaw.global

The cover Amtico’s in-house designers have poured all of their knowledge and skill into creating and designing Colour Edit, part of the Amtico Signature premium LVT collection. These 25 products have been designed to work perfectly in Amtico’s Signature laying patterns, and will change the way you see, experience and ultimately use colour. Courtesy of Amtico

BACK ISSUES Contact us to buy back issues: natasha@wearemixgroup.com

You’ll see from our special NeoCon feature on p82 that we (ourselves and a crack team of Transatlantic design experts) looked at the differences between the UK and the US workplace markets. To be honest, we were slightly taken aback at just how complementary our new US friends were about UK attitudes, approaches and ideology when it comes to the workplace. In fact, this really stuck with me. Would we be as complementary back, were the results reversed? Maybe the UK guests around that table would –

I went on to mention that Beatrix had no less than eight different milk/creamer options, seven different sugar/sweetener options and a whole host of toppings available. Compare that to your average coffee shop in London, where you’ll probably find two of each at best. My friends simply shrugged or scowled, murmuring that ‘Eight’s too many!’ ‘Anyway, how was the coffee?’ one asked. Well, it was probably around the same price as London, the service was fantastic (I’m sure our barista was just doing this until the neighbouring Google

but I’m not so sure about the majority of the wider population. I was telling my friends about our trip to Chicago and mentioned that we were staying in the rapidly up- and-coming Fulton Market district. I told them that, every morning, we’d stroll to a coffee shop called Beatrix and sip cappuccinos in the sunshine – what a great start to the day.

snapped him up) and the drink, well the drink tasted amazing. No contest. America wins! ‘Typical,’ replied one of my not so generous friends. I’m not sure it is typical. Once the US really brings it’s A-game to the workplace, with its superior service levels and product excellence, it’s going to be hard to beat. Right now, they're definitely winning when it comes to caffeine.

GET IN TOUCH Editor Mick Jordan mick@wearemixgroup.com

Owner Marcie Incarico marcie@wearemixgroup.com

Managing Director Martin Mongan martin@wearemixgroup.com

Founding Publisher Henry Pugh

Director David Smalley david@wearemixgroup.com

Contributors Steve Gale David Thame Mike Walley

Business Development Manager Kate Borastero kate@wearemixgroup.com

Address Unit 2, 85 Greengate Manchester M3 7NA

Sales Gary Williams gary@wearemixgroup.com

Telephone 0161 946 6262

Designer Tammi Bell tamzin@wearemixgroup.com Editorial & Marketing Executive Chloe Petersen Snell chloe@wearemixgroup.com Events Hester Talbot, Georgia Bone, Natasha Nelson

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GET YOUR OWN! To ensure that a regular copy of Mix Interiors reaches you please call 0161 946 6262 or e-mail: natasha@wearemixgroup.com Annual subscription charges UK single £45.50 Europe £135 (airmail) Outside Europe £165 (airmail)

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Upfront |

NEW MD FOR MIX We are delighted to welcome a new member to the Mix family with the arrival of Martin Mongan as Managing Director of Mix Group, the parent company of Mix Interiors and Out There Events. Martin joins us from Hansgrohe, the German premium brassware brand, where he held the position of UK MD for the past six years. As Mix Group owner Marcie’s husband, Martin has been close to the developments Mix has undergone since its acquisition in 2013 and joins the business to help drive the next stage of its strategic development alongside Marcie and the team. ‘Mix Group has grown rapidly in recent years and I was looking for someone to help lead the business through its next stage of growth – sometimes the obvious solutions are close to home(!) and Martin has vast experience in running very successful businesses, understands our sector and, most importantly, was ready for the new challenge,’ Marcie says. ‘I have obviously been on the sidelines, watching the fantastic job Marcie and the team have done in developing Mix Group into the successful business it has become. I am delighted to be able to join the team and am really looking forward to being involved in the next stage of Mix Group’s development,’ comments Martin. ‘I am particularly excited about launching our new Mix interiors website in the coming months and working closely with David Smalley and Mick Jordan on expanding the editorial content of Mix Interiors to incorporate regular sections on the hospitality and residential sectors..’w

Carl Hansen & Son Embrace Series

EMBRACE YOURSELVES Mixology award-winning Carl Hansen & Son is extending the Embrace Series with an unconventional and sculptural furniture concept, comprising dining tables, lounge tables and a new dining chair. The Embrace Tables and Embrace

Knud Erik Hansen, CEO of Carl Hansen & Son, said: ‘The Embrace chairs represent something entirely new while also expressing the Carl Hansen & Son DNA, which unites uncompromising craftsmanship and high quality.

Chair further extend the versatility of this striking furniture series, designed by Austrian trio EOOS. The introduction of a new partnership between Carl Hansen & Son and the innovative designers behind EOOS has attracted considerable attention, who describe the series as ‘100% Carl Hansen & Son and 100% EOOS’. The Austrian design trio and the Danish furniture manufacturer initiated their creative dialogue with the Embrace Armchair – a reinterpretation of the classic dining chair with soft upholstery and an inviting shape. More furniture items have since been added, including a lounge chair and footstool. Carl Hansen & Son and EOOS are now gathering the Embrace chairs around a new table concept, Embrace Tables, with a strong visual identity that makes the series even more versatile.

The design was exceptionally well received, so it is only natural to complement the series with a number of tables and a dining chair without armrests – to create a furniture series with even broader versatility. ‘The partnership with EOOS has proven very fruitful. Not least because we share the same respect for craftsmanship, quality and mode of expression – but also because EOOS’ progressive approach to design has challenged the product development team, cabinet makers and upholsterers at our furniture factory in Gelsted on the Danish island of Funen. This is where we manufacture the Embrace Series in line with the high-quality standards for which Carl Hansen & Son has been renowned for generations.’w

PROOF OF KONCEPT Manchester-based consultancy (and Mix Design Collective partner) Koncept ID has secured a trio of contracts for hospitality giant, Accor. Working alongside contractors Morgan Sindall and Czech-based developer, Geone, Koncept ID will launch three new Novotel hotels based in Liverpool, Leicester and Prague. The Liverpool and Leicester hotels are being developed by Liverpool City Council and Charles Street Buildings Group respectively. The interiors experts at Koncept ID will be responsible for the design and fit-out of 450 rooms altogether, in addition to public areas, including the lobby, restaurant, coworking space and gym. The hotels will feature light installations, sweeping statement staircases and a unique blend of classic textures and contemporary finishes.

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Jenny Denton, Director at Koncept ID, said: ‘The opportunity to work on a series of new sites allows us to truly exercise our creative flair. It’s been an exciting project from the offset, and we look forward to seeing the designs come to life.’ The design process has just begun on the Liverpool and Prague hotels, with completion of the Leicester development expected by the end of the year.w

Leicester Novotel restaurant

Soft Work Design: Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, 2018 The Original is by Vitra

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Upfront |

Andrew Harris

MIDLANDS AREA Area is expanding its UK operation with the opening a new office base in Birmingham, which will support and grow its existing client base. The move to Birmingham comes on the back of a series of successful projects in the region and builds on strong relationships with local clients such as Mills & Reeve, Zurich, Legal & General, Jaguar Land Rover, KPMG, Handelsbanken, Aviva, Grant Thornton and Deloitte. Birmingham and the West Midlands is regarded by economists and businesses alike as one of the most promising places in Britain to invest and grow, which creates opportunities for the commercial property market. Since its formation in 2000, Area has delivered thousands of workplace projects across the UK and Europe, collaborating with project managers, architects, interior designers and property professionals to create workplaces that are all about user experience. Andrew Harris, Regional Director for the West Midlands, commented: ‘When setting out on this venture I have often been asked, ‘Why Birmingham?’ – and my response has been, ‘The West Midlands has presented an amazing opportunity since working in this region for the past five years’. In that time, Birmingham has become a ‘home from home’ for me. The community has been so warm and welcoming and the people I have met are passionate in building long, solid and sound relationships.’ Gary Chandler, Chief Executive of Area, said: ‘Wanting to provide the best support and experience for our clients, we have established offices in 10 locations across mainland Europe, in addition to our offices in London and the Thames Valley. Our clients are based across the breadth of the UK, it’s therefore important for us to focus on our domestic market beyond southern England. It made perfect sense to have a strong base in Birmingham. The whole region has tremendous ambition to prosper and benefits from great connectivity as well as a strong talent pool. The Midlands has so much appeal – we want to be at the heart of it, in the middle of Birmingham, delivering great places to work for our clients.w

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MANCHESTER UPGRADE FOR WPP WPP is to create a new home for its Manchester agencies. The new purpose-built campus will be located at Allied London’s Enterprise City development on the former Granada Studios site, bringing together five WPP agencies under one roof. The modern 82,000 sq ft office space will be designed by BDG architecture + design, a WPP company, and will be split over eight floors to provide collaborative and dynamic coworking areas for the agencies, which have grown significantly in the last five years. WPP’s new campus will be a creative hub for the city when it opens in early 2022, offering learning and development for the industry and those wanting to work in the marketing and communications sector. Its commitment to Manchester will be reflected in its community, school, start-up and SME partnerships, courses and events. The new building will also house Allied

Karen Blackett OBE, UK Country Manager for WPP, said: ‘WPP campuses not only give our people amazing, inspiring spaces in which to work, learn and create, but provide our clients with easier access to our expertise. ‘The UK is our second largest market, and by building a brand-new home for our agencies and a

London’s dedicated media and technology-focused coworking space, ‘All Work & Social’.

creative hub for the city, we’re investing in both our future and in the future economy of Manchester..’w

New WPP Manchester home

YORKIE BARS Built environment specialist, Extentia Group, has completed the refurbishment of the Directors’ Suite and fit-out of the Executive Boxes and Emerald Suite within the North Stand at Emerald Headingley Stadium. Their work on the North Stand, via Principal Contractor Caddick Construction, has seen the delivery of a full refit of 13 boxes, a banqueting suite, eight toilets blocks, corridors and the corporate reception. Styles&Wood, Extentia Group’s project management and delivery business, provided internal finishes, including flooring, bespoke joinery and ironmongery. Extentia Group’s interior design specialist, SpaceInvader, and design-led furniture supplier, Ralph Capper, also worked on the project. The firms produced the interior design of the Emerald Suite and executive boxes within the new stand and supplied furniture to the executive boxes and communal areas. The new spaces provide panoramic views across both the cricket and rugby grounds, with the ability to reconfigure the facilities for conferences and events. In the Directors’ Suite, Styles&Wood acted as principal contractor to an extensive programme of works over 20 weeks, refitting the suite’s main lounge, new toilet facilities, and back of house areas, including two kitchens and private dining facilities. The concept design for the suite was undertaken by interiors specialist, Nanu Soda, with all elements chosen to deliver a high-quality, luxury finish. All internal fittings and furnishings were bespoke,

Extentia Group

with carpets, wallpaper, joinery, flooring, trims and bulkheads individually commissioned and handmade. Chris Slinger, Operations Director at Styles&Wood, said: ‘Headingley is one of Leeds’ most iconic venues, with this extensive redevelopment setting a benchmark for luxury hospitality facilities in the sporting world. ‘This project showcases Extentia Group’s expertise in coordinating and delivering a full suite of built environment services, from M&E and interior design, right through to bespoke joinery, decoration and furniture. We’re pleased to have played a role in creating an environment that supporters will be able to enjoy for years to come.’ The works form part of the £45 million redevelopment of the stadium, which is home to the Leeds Rhinos rugby league club, Yorkshire Carnegie rugby union club and Yorkshire County Cricket Club.w


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Upfront |

CLICK AND COLLECTIVE 3–5 December 2019 | Hilton Deansgate Manchester


ollowing the success of our inaugural Mix Design Collective last December, we’re excited to announce that the 2019 edition, once again in association with Bruntwood, will be even bigger and better. The three-day commercial interior design event – created as part of Mix Week Manchester – celebrates the best national and

international product design, dialogue and trends within the industry. Visitors will be able to discover a series of specially created design experiences curated by leading design practices, topped off with the much-anticipated Mixology North. As part of the Mix Week festivities there will be a packed programme of CPD accredited talks

and interactive sessions from thought-leaders and design talent from across the industry, as well as a special MixInspired seminar. The week concludes with our award-winning Mixology North. Register today to attend and take a look at the inspirational designers taking part in this year’s Mix Design Collective. You know it makes sense!w




With the importance of sleep never more discussed we look at how the use of technology, emotive decoration and soft fabrics will contribute to the sanctuary that will be the

Where we live has always evolved but this experience shows what can be achieved for the ever-changing demands of the client whether its student accommodation, PRS or high-end resi.

The bathroom has become an essential differentiator in work, at home or in hotels. A key challenge is how we offer design led impactful solutions while keeping an eye on sustainability via water and energy consumption and use of precious space for an area that has always been a potential after thought.

bedroom of the future. This experience will be curated by KKA

This experience will be curated by Basha-Franklin




This experience promotes mental wellbeing, giving employees a chance to switch off, reinvigorate and take time for mindfulness in their busy everyday lives.

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 – come and be inspired.

Whilst the current image of workplace collaboration is seen as open plan and funky furniture so much does and should still happen in the board room. Meet pays homage to one of the oldest forms of work folk getting together.

This experience will be curated by Perkins + Will

This experience will be curated by IA Interior Architects



This experience will be curated by Koncept ID

One of the three great motivators of the human is to develop and learn. We open this experience to show what can be done to facilitate the learning experience. The Learn experience will also house our workshop sessions. This experience will be curated by BDP

For many designers when designing a bar, restaurant or workplace social setting, the first element of their designed scheme is creating a social area where people can fuel-up and relax. This experience will be curated by Fusion by Design

This experience will be curated by Defurb

Heart Space Heart Space will provide a place to meet and relax between experiences. A place to interact with an exclusive collection of furniture and materials. This experience will be curated by AHR

Registration is now open, find out more and register your interest now at www.mixdesigncollective.co.uk

Mix 196 July 2019 | 13

Upfront |

RHEINAU HABITAT As you know, we do love a bit of innovation – so when a new innovation centre is so, well, innovative, we simply had to feature it! Daylight now floods through the vast singlestory production area of Brunner’s new innovation building on the manufacturing campus in Rheinau, Germany. The new building features a two-storey wing that houses an integrated gallery, cafeteria and office areas – all of which overlook impressive new assembly lines. The modern, transparent

Brunner Rheinau, Germany

building is not only home to development work – thanks to the open architectural concept, customers will also be given the opportunity to watch the final assembly. The open design of the entire building ensures that the development and production processes are visible to Brunner’s customers, helping convey the high quality nature of the product development process. As well as this massive production area, the new innovation building contains a cafeteria, restaurant and coffee bar for works, management and visitors alike. Meeting rooms, presentation facilities, breakout spaces and showcase areas all provide opportunities to feature the quality and diversity of the furniture Brunner produces, while a design engineering studio, prototype workshop and technical department complete the facility. Heading outside, the area has been architecturally landscaped and includes a large pond, many new trees and a large area for sitting in the sun! 42 years on from the formation of the company, by Rolf and Helena Brunner, the new innovation building represents a landmark in the further development of the company as it transitions from its founders to a second-generation, family-run business employing some 500 people.w

LITTLE SLICE OF DEVON IVC carpet tiles and LVT have been used to create a botanical feel at the Exeter offices of South West Academic Health Science Network. Using the striking parquet Shades design from the Moduleo 55 Expressive LVT collection in the café area and combining it with Disruptive Path and Creative Spark carpet tiles for working and meeting spaces, interior design company, idesign, has created a flooring pathway that flows between different elements of the interior. ‘We saw the office as a garden and the employees as bees, so we used the flooring to create the sense of an organic passage between areas,’ explained idesign’s Roxan Burley. ‘We grouped green ‘patches’ of Creative Spark to zone areas of the design, gradually dispersing into the organic look of Disruptive Path for the main areas. Then, the random pattern of Shades came into play in the café area for its easy maintenance and hardwearing credentials.’ IVC’s Disruptive Path and Creative Spark carpet tiles are designed to coordinate, using the same 100% Colorstrand solution-dyed nylon and EcoFlexTM Statera 70% recycled content backing for universal performance. At South West Academic Health Science Network, the solid green of Creative Spark 611 harmonises with the field tile of Shared Path 924 and the accent tile of Disruptive Path 916. ‘We’re great fans of IVC’s hard flooring, so it was a real advantage to be able to use carpet tiles from

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the same manufacturer too. Disruptive Path met the challenge of our design concept and, by installing Shades on self-adhesive Flexpro underlay, it meant we could achieve the right look in a universal height, which meant no need for transition strips between flooring types,’ Roxan concluded. Working across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and the Isles of Scilly, the South West Academic Health Science Network works to improve the health and patient experience of people in the South West by supporting and accelerating innovation and quality improvement. Moving to new offices in Exeter, the company tasked idesign with a full design and fit-out, including a total of 915 sq m of flooring from IVC.w

Leigh Dimelow tp bennett

TP BENNETT STRENGTHENS NORTHERN PRESENCE tp bennett has acquired the interior design and workplace strategy team from Strive (formerly So Vibrant), the award-winning Leeds-based practice, founded 10 years ago. This follows significant growth for tp bennett in the North and will take the team to over 20 people – to service existing clients of both practices as well as pursuing new opportunities. The team members joining tp bennett include Managing Director and workplace strategy specialist, Helen Nicol, as well as Peter Pringle, Charlie Herries, Jake Thompson and Amy Roper. The new combined team will service existing clients of both practices as well as pursuing new opportunities with the benefit of the broader tp bennett capabilities. Leigh Dimelow, Principal Director of tp bennett for the Northern Region, said: ‘Following significant growth for tp bennett in the North, this strategic merger will take our team to over 20 people. This allows us to support growth in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire region and build on the success of our Manchester office, founded five years ago.’ Helen Nicol, who becomes a Director of tp bennett, said: ‘This exciting acquisition presents my team with the perfect opportunity to access scale and a platform for growth, both within the region and nationally. After 10 years in business, we are delighted to become part of the tp bennett success story and bring our teams together to create a new regional centre of excellence for design and strategic workplace consultancy.’w

Upfront |

HDR ACQUIRES HPF HDR is expanding its multidisciplinary building engineering services by acquiring Hurley Palmer Flatt Group, headquartered in London. Going forward, the firm will operate as HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt Group. HPF Group is the UK’s leading independent engineering consultancy, providing solutions for the built environment. Services include mechanical, electrical and civil and structural engineering, with particular expertise in institutional, high-rise multiuse, financial and commercial ‘smart’ buildings. The firm also specialises in energy and sustainable ‘green’ building design. This acquisition brings together HDR’s global practice with HPF Group’s strategic locations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. ‘HPF brings strong client relationships and specialised skill sets to HDR that, when combined with our capabilities, offer tremendous possibilities. By combining our teams of professionals, we will develop a stronger building engineering practice globally,’ said HDR Chairman and CEO, Eric Keen. Paul Flatt, HPF Group Chairman and CEO, said: ‘HDR is the perfect strategic fit for Hurley Palmer Flatt Group.' Paul will join HDR as Managing Director, having spent the majority of his career at Hurley Palmer Flatt, where he led the business through a phase of significant growth and transformed it into the largest privately owned international multidisciplinary engineering consultancy in the UK.w Paul Flatt

Eric Keen

The Alzheimer's Society Breakout area

NEURO-VISION Office fit-out and refurbishment specialist, Overbury, is delivering the new 7,250 sq ft Birmingham office of national dementia charity, The Alzheimer’s Society. Overbury’s design of this space has been influenced by people affected by dementia, as well as academics from the University of Stirling, who were consulted as part of specially convened focus groups. Design features to facilitate neurodiversity in the workplace include the use of paint colours, chosen from a palette specifically for people affected by dementia, and furniture selected for comfort and accessibility. Patterns for carpets and fabrics within the office have been specially selected to be dementia-friendly. Overbury will create social spaces to welcome visitors, whilst central focal points within the office space will allow service users to navigate easily. Michele Clifton, Office Design Account Manager at Overbury’s Birmingham-based team, said: ‘We’re excited to deliver this brand new space on behalf

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. There is also a negative side.

of the Alzheimer’s Society, which will transform the lives of people affected by dementia. Dementia is a subject many at Overbury are passionate about and lots of research went into ensuring our design supports neurodiversity, reflecting the views of leading academics and dementia sufferers, and responding to identified needs. ‘The Alzheimer’s Society wants to recruit the best people for the new roles in this facility, so we designed a workplace that is not only functional but attractive to their current and future staff. ‘Consistency, comfort, and wellness were key points we considered during the design process as we seek to create a facility that is not only inviting, but also boosts the wellbeing of all users. We’ve incorporated communal breakout and refreshment areas, which have been carefully designed to have a warm, homely feel, which is really important for office workers.’ Alzheimer’s Society is the only UK charity that campaigns for change, funds research to find a cure and supports people living with dementia today.w

STAT OF THE MONTH GDP 2018 ($trn) Just check out who's at numbers 5 and 11! Source: IMF Bureau of Economic Analysisw


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Upfront |

CAFÉ CRAFT Jackdaw has completed the interior design for a new ‘café style’ office and event space for design studio Idean, who regularly hosts workshops and events for its global clientele. Jackdaw was challenged with the creation of a flexible and social event space that fosters connection and interaction, focusing on Idean’s company culture, advocating the importance of sharing, eating and learning together. Materials and colours were key to the design of the free-flowing café concept office, utilising materials and integrating colour zoning to create a connected and holistically conceptual interior for the 350 sq m Shoreditch office. Jackdaw designed an informal communal kitchen, dining and meeting area, including bar seating, banquettes and natural workbench tables and benches. The boardroom and smaller meeting

rooms are incorporated into the spatial design, subdivided with mobile partitions and Crittal glazing. Products by Deadgood, Punt, Hay and Harto were used throughout the design, alongside bespoke designs created by Jackdaw. The result is an intelligent layout combining a versatile coworking office environment and café style social event space with a vibrant and colourful interior design concept that distinctly steps away from a typical office aesthetic for this growing digital agency. James Haycock, Idean’s General Manager, commented: ‘When we set out to design our new studio space, we were keen to find someone that worked in a collaborative way as we were keen to create something that worked really well for our team. They did an amazing job in understanding how we worked and what we needed from the

Idean office

space and then were great at continuing to share and iterate based on further feedback. The result is a space with great personality and an impact that the team and our clients love.'w

LANDMARK DECISION Following their recent appointments at the National Gallery and London Screen Academy, Willmott Dixon Interiors has been chosen to create a Grade A office space at Riverside House in London. The project will see Willmott Dixon Interiors work with Riverside House owner, Chiswick High Limited, to deliver a full Cat A fit-out that better optimises floor space within the 14-storey office, which enjoys panoramic views over the City of London and St Paul’s Cathedral from its location adjacent to Southwark Bridge. The comprehensive refurbishment will create a modern working environment that will help London meet its huge demand for office space. This demand for modern, refurbished space in the capital has seen Willmott Dixon Interiors deliver over 200,000 sq m of new interiors there over the last five years, including the new hospitality facilities at Twickenham’s East Stand and a new home for the Design Museum. Earlier this year, the company was appointed by the National Gallery to

refurbish Room 32, the largest within the museum, as well as updating parts of the existing basement and ground floor areas. Another project involves the refurbishment 62-66 Highbury Grove in Islington, to create the London Screen Academy, which will allow 16-19 year-olds to learn about a variety of film production techniques Willmott Dixon Interiors Managing Director, Graham Shaw, said: ‘We are delighted that our experience of working in busy London sites can be used to create a bright new future for tenants at Riverside House. The project will be carried out in a live working environment so our know-how for delivering fit-out projects in live office space will ensure we minimise disruption to tenants and deliver a new modern workspace.’ w Grade A office space, London

Antron® carpet fibre

SIX OF THE BEST Antron carpet fibre was used in six carpet qualities from Christy Carpets at Workplace House, a collaborative showroom space in London’s bustling Clerkenwell district, during this year's Clerkenwell Design Week. Known for rock-solid performance and ease of maintenance, Antron carpet fibre can be found throughout the showspace, demonstrating Christy Carpets’ confidence in choosing the fibre for demanding areas such as the main entrance, where making an excellent first impression is key. Stephan Hanke, from INVISTA Antron carpet fibre, comments: 'The widespread use of Antron carpet fibre at Workplace House demonstrates the confidence Christy Carpets has in the full range of available Antron fibres, for example, the peerless stain and fade-resistance, soil-hiding and longevity of Antron Lumena.'w

T: 0161 402 3340 W: www.opus-4.com E: hello@opus-4.com

Mix 196 July 2019 | 17

Upfront |



Andrew Whalley

NEW CHAIRMAN FOR GRIMSHAW Grimshaw has announced the appointment of Andrew Whalley to the position of Chairman, succeeding Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, who founded the practice in 1980. Andrew has been an instrumental part of Grimshaw since the practice’s early days, leading projects on a diverse range of sectors including education, performing arts, transportation and workplace. His award-wining projects include the International Terminal at Waterloo, the Eden Project in Cornwall, the redevelopment of London’s Paddington Station and the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in New York. Sir Nicholas Grimshaw commented: ‘Andrew has worked closely with me for over 33 years and has been involved in many of our key projects. He has undertaken the role of Deputy Chairman for the last eight years. I will continue to make available my experience from the last 50 years in practice.’ ‘When I joined Grimshaw in the mid-80s, straight out of the Architectural Association, the practice was a small team focused on bringing ingenuity to simple industrial projects,’ said Andrew. ‘By leveraging our collective strengths and an insatiable curiosity for the world around us, we’ve developed into a 660-person practice with a global network of studios on four continents. I’m thrilled to be fostering another generation of the Grimshaw practice in pursuit of innovative design solutions that address the complex contemporary challenges that we face.’ As the practice continues to grow, Andrew will lead the firm into new opportunities and exciting projects around the world. In line with this growth, Grimshaw has also announced that two new Partners have joined their global leadership, with the appointment of Annelie Kvick Thompson and Andrew Byrne as Partners in their London and Los Angeles studios respectively.w

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EDGE Technologies (previously OVG) – the specialist developer for innovative and energy efficient office buildings – is moving into the UK commercial property market, with the £50m acquisition of 60 St Thomas Street on London’s South Bank. EDGE integrates a technology-enabled platform in its buildings, with sensors monitoring all aspects of the office environment, including occupancy and energy usage. EDGE are

development in four to five years, 60 St Thomas Street will be an optimised office environment and future-proof workspace. Boudewijn Ruitenburg, Chief Operating Officer at EDGE, said: ‘We are expanding into new markets to address occupier demand for buildings with increasingly high sustainability standards that put employee wellbeing at the forefront. We believe in building better buildings that are not only inspiring workplaces, but that address the climate change

ushering in a new generation of hi-tech, energy efficient buildings to enhance the wellbeing and productivity of the building’s occupants and, ultimately, benefit the planet. The acquisition is subject to planning permission, which EDGE will pursue in close partnership with the seller, one of the UK’s largest real estate investment managers. The partners will consult closely with Southwark Council and the local community and, after completion of the

emergency too. This is what we will deliver at 60 St Thomas Street – working closely with stakeholders to align on the long-term views and ambitions for a more sustainable Southwark. ‘London is a global city that attracts business and talent from all over the world, so it is a natural choice for our next location. Our first development will bring our ethos and technology platform to the UK for the first time and we are actively looking for more sites across London.'w

LONGITUDE COORDINATES A beautiful new showroom featuring Woven Image’s recycled acoustic performance wall panel, Longitude, has opened in Clerkenwell. The installation was overseen by Woven’s exclusive UK distributor, The Collective. The showroom provides a working office space for Clarus, the international writable glassboard manufacturers, and features a variety of spaces to welcome clients both informally and in a work setting – including a Crittal-style glass meeting room, a large collaborative studio-style bench, height adjustable desks, high-backed soft seating booths and an informal lounge area. With so many different types of working space in just 1,390 sq ft, it was essential that the design team made sure that each of these areas is functional and aesthetically appealing. Through The Collective, Clarus installed Longitude wall panels to reduce the impact of reverberating acoustics in the space. With a bevelled edge, the Longitude panels are a contemporary take on smart, traditional wood panelling. The Longitude acoustic wall panel range is constructed from the award winning EchoPanel material in 12mm thickness, achieving up to

an outstanding 0.75 NRC (noise reduction coefficient rating) when installed with a 50mm air gap. Available in an impressive 27 colourways, EchoPanel is made of 60% recycled postconsumer plastic waste – in fact, it is estimated that, to date, Woven Image has recycled 107 million tonnes of plastic bottles to create their acoustic performance materials. Lucy Abraham, Founder and Director at The Collective, said: ‘We’ve been working towards creating the best space possible with Clarus, who were meticulous about getting the right partners on board. Woven Image creates beautiful and, critically, functional acoustic performance products, so we were keen to use them to help create the environment we knew would be the best space for our clients and customers to experience our products'.w Clarus Showroom featuring Woven Image's acoustic performance panels

Upfront |

PEOPLE This month, M Moser's Steve Gale examines the weakest link – us!

Teams take time, as well as effort, to become effective. They can't run the day after they are born

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


cenario 1 – Workplace projects are delivered on time and on budget with cordial professional relations frequently evolving into lifelong friendships. The management of the process allows many little extras to be added, culminating in outcomes far beyond even the most optimistic expectations.

First, we know that teamwork is essential in all commercial endeavours, but do people study the mechanics of teams to increase the chances of them working? Team members will carry their own set of expectations and roles that do not come in their job description, but project leaders hope that a collection of competent individuals will synchronise perfectly

Meanwhile back on planet earth… Scenario 2 – Every project is a one-off prototype, a symphony of imperfections trying to be all things to all men, on a budget that gets compressed into a black hole, with good ideas guillotined by events that no one anticipated. Do we know why this second scenario is more common than the first? Is there one place we can look to improve the end product? The familiar project team consists of professionals who know their stuff. On both client and supplier side you can have an impressive array of people who are talented, well trained and have seen it all before, but this is not enough to guarantee a successful outcome. The management doctrine of a project is clearly reflected in the Gantt charts, which show a sequence of cascading events leading to hand-over and beyond. It’s all too predictable. Even if a project programme is rigorously updated as things change, it can only depict resources, tasks and time. The unrepresented factor is how people actually operate. Even when professional ability on all sides is beyond reproach, a satisfactory project delivery can still be at grave risk. I want to look at the 'soft skills', which are not easy to judge or describe, but which are critical nonetheless. If we could improve our performance here, the tide of misery would begin to ebb, until stress and anxiety become history, like smallpox. Let’s assume that our team is competent in each separate discipline. What can possibly go wrong? Project delivery is threatened by a subtle virus that lives outside of professional expertise, and yet can have the greatest impact on output. The ability to work together and exercise judgement can make the difference between success and failure. I can think of four examples that illustrate this theme, which I expect will be familiar to many of you.

after their first handshake. Teams take time, as well as effort, to become effective. They can’t run the day after they are born. A second blight is the way decisions are made, recorded and acted upon. We have all worked on a scheme that has been approved by a client and then sent back to the drawing board by a higher authority. Getting a clear understanding of who really makes decisions and signs things off can be as tricky as it is essential. Often, even the client team does not know for sure. A large capital project may not be their day job, and their decision structure might not be defined and tested. A third critical area of people management is communication. In business it is almost impossible to over-communicate, and thinking about channels, content, timing and provenance will never be wasted effort. Simple misunderstandings can inflict serious harm to the most robust project trajectory. Finally there is pace. You can always compress and speed up a process but people are less compliant. New thinking takes time to sink in – and forcing things can put a team into an irreversible tailspin. The natural speed of psychological acceptance is not a calculation, it takes judgement most likely found on the right lobe of the grey matter, but is no less critical for that. Everyone benefits when we value the people skills needed to lubricate a project. We need to respect diplomacy and judgement in every job, not just as desirable attributes, but as critical ones. Each project team needs savvy in areas not taught in school, and often not high on the register of interest for practitioners, but which can make the difference between success and failure. When people enjoy trust, respect and transparency from their colleagues, they will be closer to delivering Scenario 1.w

Mix 196 July 2019 | 19


20 Old Street Clerkenwell EC1V 9AB www.oceedesign.com @OceeDesign

Upfront | Perspective

PERSPECTIVE The Coalface is an exciting new flexible workspace for businesses, entrepreneurs, freelancers and start-ups. Offering private offices and dedicated desks, as well as various membership solutions and meeting rooms, The Coalface aims to take care of all the hassle behind running an office – so that members can work, concentrate, and focus on what matters most. We talk with COO, Jonathan Hausmann.

In simple terms, what is The

who need to travel in and out of the

relationships with brokers, undertake

be conventional for most office jobs.

Coalface? The Coalface is an architecturally refurbished workspace in Finsbury Park, North London. We offer private offices from between 3-20 desks, but the space is designed to be flexible and accommodating to members’ changing needs, so each office can be made larger or smaller as businesses expand or downsize. We also offer fixed desks and drop-in desks in a large shared space, as well as private meeting rooms, breakout areas and outside space to work or relax in.

City for meetings; its transport links mean you can be there in less than 10 minutes. People now don’t need to continue their journeys into central London and pay a premium for the privilege of working there. In contrast to many coworking facilities, where economically affordable desks are in shared, open plan spaces, The Coalface offers predominately private offices that are genuinely affordable. Without compromising on quality, amenities or space, entrepreneurs, SMEs and start-ups can secure a private office from just £267+ VAT per desk per month.

viewings and market the space; I facilitated the design and creation of the website and also manage the day-to-day relationships with our members. Again, there are many advantages to being so hands on; I feel like I am really connected with everyone, rather than running it from afar. It allows me to gauge how it’s going, if people are happy and what needs to change.

Flexibility is increasingly important to people; even big businesses are gradually embracing flexible working and I expect this trend to continue. We are seeing more companies allowing people to work from home and they are relaxing the traditional fixed hours that people are expected to be in the office.

What is the gap in the market that The Coalface is filling? Probably the main differentiator with The Coalface is our location and affordability – we are the first coworking space to open in Finsbury Park and it’s such a fantastic place to be based. Most of the coworking facilities currently on offer are based centrally, and their prices reflect this. We offer our members a really high-quality space that is genuinely affordable, so it’s ideal for entrepreneurs and start-ups who are increasingly being priced out of Central London, and are fed up with working out of a coffee shop. For most businesses it is no longer critical to be based in central London and so there is a clear market for a more affordable space outside of the City. Finsbury Park is close to the creative hubs of Hackney and Shoreditch and is ideal for people

What is your role at Coalface? I am the Chief Operating Officer at The Coalface. Perhaps what is unique about this role is that I was involved from the very outset; I joined when the space was still a building site. This allowed me to have a say in its design – everything from its layout to furniture selection, and even down to details like the choice of coffee machine. It gives me a real sense of ownership in the role; rather than joining an established business and trying to make my mark, I’ve been able to shape it from the start. Because The Coalface is a new venture, my remit is pretty broad. Notably, I am responsible for everything involved in securing and retaining members – I manage

What are the biggest challenges you and your team face? Being outside of central London is what makes The Coalface so special; offering such a high-spec space at a genuinely affordable price is our USP and we’ve immediately seen people taking advantage of that. However, some potential clients still believe that they need to be in central London. We aren’t going to work for everyone, but we feel that there are many people working centrally and paying a premium to do so, when there is increasingly no need to. Finsbury Park has such incredible transport links – you can be in the City in 10 minutes. Name one thing that will have disappeared from the workplace in the next decade. I think we are seeing a gradual decline in the traditional working day/week. Fewer and fewer people are working 9-5, Monday-Friday – hours that used to

Are clients becoming more knowledgeable and therefore more challenging? As coworking spaces have become more common, there is definitely an increased sophistication amongst clients when they are looking for somewhere to work. And I think this is a positive thing – with more choice out there, people can really choose the space that is right for them, rather than just having to pick from the limited options on offer. Our clients know what they want; they know what works for them, and so there is definitely more pressure to get your product right. We knew when we designed The Coalface that we had to identify a gap in the market rather than offer something that already exists. And the response we’ve had since we launched suggests that we’ve got it right.w For additional interview content, be sure to visit the Mix Interiors website: www.mixinteriors.com

Mix 196 July 2019 | 21

Upfront | Material Matters



In this month’s Material Matters, the team of experts at Material Lab focus on design inspired by nature. www.material-lab.co.uk

University of Maryland and University of Colorado In the creation of the material, researchers used nanotechnology to remove lignin – the part of the wood that makes the material brown and strong. In doing so, researchers created a very pale wood made of cellulose nanofibres. To give the material back its strength and rigidity, it is then compressed and a super hydrophobic compound is added. The result is a bright white building material that could be used for roofs to direct heat away from inside the building. www.eng.umd.edu

Tektura With biophilic design still the phrase on everyone’s lips, Tektura have launched five brand new Richard Osbourne murals. Super hi-res and incredibly detailed, these panoramic murals are an easy and effective way to bring nature into the interior. Biophilia is the idea that we possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature. Biophilic design is the use of and link to nature in the design of a space, as a way to improve the user’s health and wellbeing. www.tektura.com

Nuatan Nuatan believe there is a radically better way to design consumer products that are compatible with Earth. By connecting institutional research with commercial design, they developed a unique biobased material that will accelerate the transition to the circular economy and move us closer to a sustainable future. This innovation bioplastic is biobased, biodegradable, durable and heat stable. www.nuatan.com

22 | Mix 196 July 2019

Johnson Tiles Taking inspiration from the effect of scales, the range of Symmetry tiles reproduces a layered effect in a simple but distinctive way. Featuring a large colour pallete of 12 coordinating neutral and vibrant colours. Johnson Tiles' team of designers have taken time to ensure that the tip of the tile is neither too sharp nor broad and have ensured there is a balance of width and height in each tile, which oozes uniformity and enables the tiles to flow in all directions. www.johnson-tiles.com

Inspired by rare reclaimed timber. Designed for acclaimed projects.

Our new Reclaimed Chestnut replicates the rustic feel and rich warm tones of traditionally crafted wood planks found in North American barns and factories. Now scarce in its natural form, this new addition to our Art Select wood collection faithfully replicates the original timber. For added realism, it is available in a random plank option to reflect the origins of how this wood was once salvaged from floor joists, granary boards and roof rafters.

T: 01386 820104 | karndean.com Featured floor:

Reclaimed Chestnut EW21

Upfront | Desert Island Desks





These are my go-to footwear, unless it’s 90 degrees out. Worn-in and completely comfortable, I even have a pair for site visits with steel toes.

The little bloodsuckers love me and I could take desert island living if I didn’t have to be itchy.

Who knows if there will be chinotto and cascarilla, let alone juniper berries on the island? So, just in case!




These two are always at hand to jot down quick sketches when explaining concepts. As I’d be on my own, there would not be so much explaining – but I can imagine lots of ideas would be captured with all that free time.

I have read it many times and will keep doing so. This was my introduction to science fiction when I was a teenager and it opened an exciting new world of imagination to me.

I am definitely going to need something to play music on because I definitely don’t want my iPhone on a desert island!

24 | Mix 196 July 2019

Tel 01925 850500 Email info@sixteen3.co.uk

Caroline Robbie, Principal, Quadrangle

A Principal at Quadrangle-BDP, Caroline Robbie is a designer of projects, from small jewels to massive infrastructure. Four decades of practice include working with Will Alsop on the Tabletop at OCAD University, building a baseball palace at SkyDome and, for the past 10 years, concentrating on creative media and broadcast spaces in Toronto and Hollywood. Here’s Caroline’s Desert Island wishlist… TRACKS FOR THE JUKEBOX: Suffragette City by David Bowie - Hearing this at the age of 11 changed what would have been a life of classical music for a violin nerd in elementary school. Bennie & the Jets by Elton John - Anything and everything by Elton John was on my record player as a teenager – but this one was in heavy rotation. Love Rollercoaster by the Ohio Players - You always need a great dance track and because I still love disco…there, I said it! Gloria by Patti Smith – Because she’s still touring at 70, is still an artist and a poet and has a better Instagram feed than anyone! Pyscho Killer by the Talking Heads – I saw them perform this soon after its release in 1977. Made punk mean something to me as a bunch of art school dropouts. A Kissed Out Red Floatboat by the Cocteau Twins – There’s nothing like Liz Fraser’s voice in your head to take you somewhere else.

London Showroom The Gallery, 21-22 Great Sutton St. EC1V 0DY / Manufacture/Showroom Chesford Grange, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 4RQ


Property | Insight




Big relocations from London are the life-blood of regional office markets? Maybe not, says David Thame, as Channel 4’s relocation to Leeds comes under the spotlight


anchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, Glasgow – last October all five cities lost out to Leeds in the battle to host Channel 4’s new national HQ. The defeat sparked bewilderment in Manchester, sadness in Liverpool, anger in Birmingham. But all the defeated candidate cities agreed on one thing: Leeds had won a prize well worth winning. But is that right? Does relocation from London really make regional office markets spin a little faster? Does it yield big outputs, supply chain jobs and stronger local economies? Or are relocations attempts to buck the market (and we know that market-bucking almost never works)? Turn first to West Yorkshire, where Channel 4 plan to make their home. In April, the broadcaster announced that they would take 25,000 sq ft at Rushbond’s Majestic Building, off City Square. Channel 4’s aim is to take occupation by summer 2020. In the meantime they will occupy temporary space at Bruntwood’s Platform, next to City Station and, from September, Bruntwood’s West Gate scheme at Grace Street. Staff from a range of departments, including a heavy contingent from the news team and a newly-expanded digital content operation, will be in occupation by the end of this year. At least,

26 | Mix 196 July 2019

The defeat sparked bewilderment in Manchester, sadness in Liverpool, anger in Birmingham

that is the plan because, according to widelypublicised reports, relatively few staff will in fact be offered relocation from London, and most of those who are offered the chance to move to Leeds don’t intend to take it. The 300-strong Leeds workforce is expected to include 200 relocations, of whom perhaps 80 already worked in outsourced units. Many of the rest will take redundancy, leading one national newspaper to speculate that perhaps only 20-40 staff will move from the capital. Redundancy is said to be the chosen fate of 80% of those offered it in some departments – and at the higher pay grades. Channel 4 dispute the figures and say decisions have yet to be made by many staff. Whatever the truth, large numbers of Londonbased staff refusing to move to a regional outpost

Property | Insight

is not unprecedented in the London-focused world of broadcasting. The BBC’s efforts to relocate staff to Media City in Salford saw roughly two-thirds of senior staff refuse to move, and the proportion was higher still when the BBC offered relocations to Birmingham. But even so it raises questions about the value of regional relocations. Tom Stannard is Corporate Director Regeneration & Economic Growth at Wakefield Council, one of those West Yorkshire districts hoping to benefit from Channel 4 relocation spin-offs. Tom says he expects to see real benefits, but hints that relocation efforts need to focus less on the property case, and more on winning round the staff. 'We’re hoping to see significant growth due to the Channel 4 supply chain,' says Tom. 'We already have a significant digital and media sector, and we want to grow them. In Wakefield we’re strong on video gaming and on performing arts support services, so it will be exciting for us.' There are already encouraging signs of others following in Channel 4’s wake. Following the

We’re hoping to see significant growth due to the Channel 4 Clockwise from top left Leeds skyline. Bridgewater Place,

supply chain

the 400,000 sq ft Leeds city centre office and residential block, nicknamed the Dalek. Merrion House, the 170,000 sq ft Leeds city office hub redesigned by BDP. Merrion House internal. Channel 4, on their way to new offices at Rushmond's Majestic Building, City Square.

Mix 196 July 2019 | 27

Property | Insight



Cost of 30,000 sq ft per year




40m 10m 38m


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back to London, and little trace is left in the local business infrastructure. 'I’ve found, from working in Yorkshire, Manchester and London, that these things work best if you have a concerted effort to promote the economic benefits. Too often it can feel like everyone is acting is isolation, and that doesn’t work. You need co-ordination among government bodies,' he says. Any relocation founded on the idea that large numbers of staff will migrate from the capital is probably doomed, Tom suggests. 'Pure relocations are a very small proportion,' he says. 'The single biggest task is not to convince the organisation that they want to move, but to convince the workforce with an offer that is about much more than economics. 'We can show we have a well-qualified workforce – basically they were born to work in the office market – but if you don’t have high quality residential, good schools and so much else, you find it is much harder to get relocations to stick. Nine times out of ten the organisation has done its work on the property issues, but it is the liveability issues that undo all the good work – and the relocation does not work.' The likelihood is that Channel 4 executives thought more seriously about the cost-benefits of cheaper property than some of the softer, harder to quantify, issues of staff happiness. Research by Lambert Smith Hampton shows that a new build office of 30,000 sq ft would cost £11.66 million a year in Manchester, £10.96 million in Birmingham and just £9.35 million in Leeds.


Savings over a five year period

announcement, production companies, including Endemol spin-out, Workerbee, and broadcaster, UKTV, have announced plans to expand in the region. Yet Tom acknowledges relocations can go wrong. Like many in the sector he remembers the much-vaunted relocation of the British Council, the overseas cultural body, from London to Manchester. Grand new offices were built, but 30 years later the organisation has largely retreated

Over a period of five years, the effective ‘saving’ from being located in one of the shortlisted cities as opposed to London’s Westminster amounts to £35.8 million in Manchester, £39.3 million in Birmingham and £48 million in Leeds. Given that Channel 4’s total assets are barely £450 million, and cash reserves £190 million, these savings are worth having. Relocation is never simple, and rarely cheap. But if the numbers work, it will always appeal to some occupiers.w

Source Lambert Smith Hampton

Above 100VS Exterior

10.6% Above Temple Works, the Grade I-listed flax mill in Holbeck, now on the brink of a long-awaited transformation, after Burberry decided not to locate their HQ there.

28 | Mix 196 July 2019


Indoor Planting Just Got Active Indoor air quality (IAQ) is fast becoming a serious concern. At the same time as our buildings are increasingly sealed in an effort to reduce energy consumption, we now spend an average of 90% of our time indoors. In fact, recent studies have proved that indoor pollution can be up to 5 times higher than outdoor pollution and the World Health Organization has listed it as one of the most dangerous threats to our health. Plants and the associated soil microbes, that live on and around their roots have the ability to eliminate toxic pollutants in the air through a process called phytoremediation. Now, active air plant displays have combined nature and technology to exponentially increase the air flow through the plant and its roots, supercharging the power of plants to make them a powerful natural air purifier. An active air plant display can treat up to 36m3 of indoor air in 24hrs and can remove a staggering 93% of indoor air pollutants. We work with many leading interior design companies such as SpaceInvader to create healthy, green indoor spaces. Give us a call to find out more.

for a greener world

0800 358 2245 info@urbanplanters.co.uk www.urbanplanters.co.uk

Property | Horse's Mouth

DATA IS KING Today, all property decisions are driven by data – and Elaine Rossall, is the highly-respected source of much of the latest research. The JLL specialist spoke exclusively to David Thame about what the future holds.


ou probably haven’t met Elaine Rossall

Above Elaine Rossall

and, if it weren’t for this interview, the odds are that you would reach retirement age without hearing her name. That would be a shame, because Elaine is one of the most influential people in the UK office market. Elaine is Head of UK Offices Research with global surveyors, JLL. She arrived at JLL in September 2018, having spent 20 years working on office market data for mega-rivals Cushman & Wakefield. Elaine and her number-crunching team matter – matter very deeply – because, for the last five or six years, data has been king in the property industry. Driven by cautious lawyers and by investment committees insisting on duediligence paperwork, and inspired by the horrible lessons of the hunch-driven boom-and-bust property market of the Noughties, data analysis is now at the heart of all property decisions. Investors, landlords and developers do nothing, spend nothing, buy nothing, without running the numbers through the research team. Perched at the top of the research tree in arguably the UK’s

New markets for operators will be chosen carefully, operators will not target every city and secondary cities are less likely to see the widespread adoption of flex

30 | Mix 196 July 2019

leading property consultancy, Elaine is the queen of property data. If she says it doesn’t add up, then it doesn’t add up. So what is Elaine 'green-lighting' at the moment, and what does she expect to be reviewing next in the turbulent UK office scene? The answer is flexible workspace – not just more, but lots more. Tons more. Millions and millions of square feet of offices, which are also cafes, which might also be shops, or hotels, or almost anything. Because flexible workspace is about to seep into everywhere. JLL research predicts that flexible office space in the UK will account for over 8.5% of total UK office stock by 2023, up from about 5% today. In some locations the flex market will represent a larger proportion (London and the big cities), and in some locations growth will be faster (the Big Six regional cities, where flex space volumes are doubling or tripling each year). But, over the entire UK office market, growth will be rapid. They estimate that 10 million sq ft more flexible office space will be added by 2023. 'Activity in the Big Six will take off in the next few years, particularly with WeWork, who was instrumental in driving the expansion of Central London, now entering the regional markets,' Elaine says. 'Manchester is presently the most mature of the regional cities, not only was it the first location outside of London to secure WeWork, but over the last five years flex space has increased in the city at a rate of just under 350%, outstripping Central London, which saw an increase of circa 210%. New markets for operators will be chosen carefully, operators will not target every city and secondary cities are less likely to see the widespread adoption of flex.'

Above Beaumont Mayfair lounge

'London will also see further growth as operators plan to expand their footprint in the capital, however, in the short term, the pace of growth may slow due to supply dynamics in Central London. The increasing number of landlords launching their own platforms and therefore seeking not to let space to flex operators may also impede their expansion.' Elaine insists that fears that the flex market has peaked (or soon will) or that the coworking bubble will burst, are misplaced. In fact, they are based on a misunderstanding. 'We expect the London flex market to reach about 10% of the office market, so that is about 25 million sq ft from a total London office market of 235 million sq ft. Compare that to today’s flexible market of 15 million sq ft and you can see we have a long way to go,' she says. However, as Elaine explains, there is a cap on the market, thanks to simple property economics. As flexible working expands, it draws in occupiers who want longer-term arrangements. The result is that average flexible workspace tenancies get longer, heading towards two or three years in some cases. Meanwhile, the traditional office market is adapting fast and today a three-year traditional



www.bancroft-fabrics.com / T 01274 518888 sales@bancroft-linings.com


Property | Horse's Mouth



three) is increasingly common. The result is that flexible workspace and traditional workspace begin to compete for the same valuable customers, fighting for tenancies of roughly the same length. At the other end of the market, super-flexible coworking space has grown fast (from a few per cent of the flexible market, to up to 20% for some operators). But it cannot grow very much faster because, with a high turnover of relatively lowrented desks, it simply doesn’t make operators much money. It is the nursery in which their bigger, longer-term tenants grow – and is not in itself very profitable. 'What we’re seeing is that the flexible and traditional office markets are blurring. That is why it is wrong to focus too strongly on the risk that the flexible market will get saturated. The saturation risk is exaggerated,' Elaine says. Unfortunately for data-driven decision making, the finances and pricing structures of the big flexible floorspace providers are far from clear. Anecdotal evidence is second-best for people like Elaine, but combining known data with conjectured occupation rates and pricing suggests that flexible providers will want to keep expanding. They will also look at new partnership arrangements and begin to colonise other types of floorspace. 'We’re going to see more hybrid flexible floorspace, which mixes collaborative space with more traditional serviced space, and we’ll also see operators take larger units,' Elaine says. 'We’ve already seen some of this with average flexible hub sizes growing from 16,000 sq ft five years ago to about 32,000 sq ft today, and that average is still getting bigger.' JLL’s research suggested that the concept of a partnership model is gaining momentum as

the trends she describes – but these trends are growing. The next set of research to go before a property developer’s board or a pension fund’s investment committee could bear it out. But you read it here first.w




an c


interesting ways. We’ve already seen Staples, the office supplies people, teaming up with Regus, and we’re looking at petrol stations and service stations, and as the worlds of work and retail merge, we’ll see more,' Elaine says.




lease (or five-year lease with a break at year

32 | Mix 196 July 2019

'We’re also seeing hotels develop their business centres as the process of consumerisation of everything grows.' As yet the data-sets with which Elaine and her team work show just the smallest trace of

s ed Le

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operators take larger units


space, and we’ll also see


with more traditional serviced



mixes collaborative space


flexible floorspace, which


We’re going to see more hybrid

Below AECOM for Sony Music

the sector continues to evolve. This alternative 42m solution will see landlords and operators partnerup, with the former gaining the benefits of offering flexible space without having to enter directly into 40m the sector. The result could be akin to the hotel industry, which provides a model of the operational and contractual arrangements that could achieve 38m this. There will also be a blurring of boundaries between the workspace sector and the leisure and retail sectors. Today, coffee shop36m and coworking space are often indistinguishable. Tomorrow, the same trend could sweep through shops, restaurants and hotels. 'As technology gets better so you can move around between different locations in quite


Cost of 30,000 sq ft per year


Savings over a 5 year period





5 year forecast for London flexible workspace

Total office market (2019) 235 million sq ft Flexible Office market (2019) 15 milllion sq ft Flexible Office market (2023) 25 milllion sq ft

5 year growth of London flexible workspace market UK 25% Key: 2014 2019




Source: JLL

Property | Insight


Diffuse Workbox and Diffuse Duo with Muffle Clouds Mural



Combining acoustic practicality with design aesthetics for today’s agile workplaces.


+44 (0)20 3889 9888 • hello@allsfar.com



If 2018 was about flooring, 2019 about acoustics, what do you think the ‘big thing’ in workplace will be in 2020? Mix 196 July 2019 | 35



O C T O B E R 6 - 9 | O LY M P I A LO N D O N | D E C O R E X . C O M


Spotlight | The Big Question


If 2018 w a s a b o u t flo o ri n g , 2019 a b o u t a c o u s t i c s, w h a t d o y o u t h i n k t h e ‘ b i g t h i n g’ i n w o rk p l a c e w i l l b e i n 2020?




Technology is steering our course into the future at blazing speed – it has become such a vital tool for survival. I think it is interesting that furniture in the workplace is still analogue to such a high degree – there is still a long way to go before we can call our furniture intelligent, adaptable or personalised. The desk has already started to evolve with electronic height adjustment controlled by an App on your phone, but this is just the beginning. I see intelligent furniture being the next 'big thing' in 2020.

The way we approach workspace has evolved from just being a row of desks to a space that has a sense of fun, community and engagement. Cultural diversity and inclusion will be a driving factor in new design and innovation as things like gender-neutral washrooms become more important. Using the latest tech, such as artificial intelligence, will increase the need for flexible design and collaborative spaces that can adapt to changing skillsets.




Interiors are seen in the first instance for their aesthetics, but good design should also recognise the actual people we are creating spaces for. The art of design creates spaces that promote people’s health, happiness and wellbeing. 2020 will see a focus on mental wellbeing' within the workplace, to include a spectrum of personalities and their varied requirements which, as designers, we should consider and design for to provide a happy and healthy environment.

2020 needs to be the year we address energy consumption. The vast majority of our existing buildings perform very poorly and whilst new buildings are designed to be energy efficient, the reality is that very few live up to expectations and we don’t then address the issue as to why. We are adding more technology into buildings, lighting design is getting more complex and heating and cooling systems are often overtly complicated and not operating as efficiently as they should. This has to be addressed.

Definitely the innovative office, which will stimulate employees to create innovative solutions in interdisciplinary teams. Workspace should support people in various types of communication and inspire them to think out of the box – by floorplan and design. The process of creating new ideas together and the clash of different points of view are the things that foster innovation. By combining cooperation, exchange of knowledge, as well as employees' reflections and insights, we can give rise to new ideas that go far beyond the existing knowledge.

Umbrella editorial banner Mix Interiors July 2019.pdf 1 02/07/2019 19:36:00

JUMANA SHAMMA, INTERIOR DESIGNER, HALKIN AND MEYER OFFICE SOLUTIONS Sustainability. I suspect 2020 will bring more interiors that are sustainably driven. We have already seen all industries reducing the use of plastic and I can see interior designers will also put more emphasis on experimenting in 2020, using more unusual and new materials that are based on reusing, reducing and recycling too. We will have conscious and gentle well-balanced spaces, which come without the harmful consequences to nature and the planet, to look forward to.









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Spotlight | Mixology Project Review


hose of you who were lucky enough to be at the recent Mixology will have seen the amazing, vastly different shortlisted projects featured throughout the awards. For those who were in attendance, here’s another opportunity to see the class of 2019 – and for those who weren’t, let us introduce to, in our judges’ opinion, the best of the best from the past 12 months.

Resonate Interiors Parkeray - Project North Resonate Interiors collaborated closely with Parkeray on the design of their new headquarters and, in the process, created a scheme of partnership and understanding. The project is targeting a Silver Well assessment.

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Peldon Rose - Jacada Travel Jacada Travel is a bright, refreshing office space, which looks like an oasis in the city. It has been designed using organic materials and handmade furniture, so that it aligns with Jacada Travel’s company ethos. This office is a truly inspirational working environment, filled with biophilic design elements.

Basha-Franklin - Brookfield Properties UK Basha-Franklin championed authentic materiality and design for their forward-thinking client, with refined materials juxtaposed against the raw giving the workplace a welcoming and dynamic experience. A key feature was a striking radial bespoke timber ceiling to express the curved architecture and interesting, non-workplace materials were selected to bring a quality to the work-life balance.

Evolution Design - HB Reavis UK Headquarters Taking the opportunity to set up their own workspace as a showcase space, HB Reavis UK HQ created a futureproof working environment, which could be recognized as leading by example. Designed according to the IWBI’s WELL Building Standard guidelines, the new workplace is a state-of-the-art office fit-out that focuses on boosting wellbeing and morale of HB Reavis employees.

Winner of Small Commercial Interiors

M Moser Associates - Unity M Moser Associates put the digital experience at the heart of the physical environment for Unity’s new London workplace. It immerses staff and visitors in a technology-infused brand journey to exceed expectations, challenge norms and facilitate future business growth.

Gensler - Your Space Gensler donated their design expertise to transform the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford into a creative coworking hub called ‘Your Space’. The design intent was to create an environment that fosters networking, development and collaboration among emerging architects, designers and creatives, whilst focusing on the positive outcomes of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust’s work.

Morgan Lovell - Kent House Morgan Sindall Group wanted to provide their staff with new ways of working through the creation of a unique environment that inspires creativity, supports collaborative thinking, includes biophilia but above all creates a destination workplace that lives and breathes their cultural values.

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Spotlight | Mixology Project Review

Area - London Executive Offices (LEO), Nova North What makes this project special is undoubtedly the unique design, which provides so many choices of alternative workspace, whilst maximising the views across West London. There are wide-ranging facilities: cellular spaces, lounges, views, curving staircases, a serviced food and beverage offering and, of course, floating meeting rooms.

AECOM - Sony Music AECOM looked to create an emotionally intelligent workplace to improve the professional experience of the end user, to increase the versatility and adapt to the different activities that users demand, and to improve the identity and values of Sony Music to promote belonging and put music in the centre of everything.

Winner of Medium Commercial Interiors

Gensler- Hyundai Card Pixel Factory Gensler created an environment for Hyundai Card to optimise, attract and retain the talent it needs to focus and succeed in its digitalisation effort. Designed with an emphasis on daily experience, the Pixel Factory’s goal is to create an attractive, comfortable and user-friendly work environment that is simple to use, promoting innovation and collaboration.

BDG architecture + design with Elspeth Lynn - Geometry BDG and Geometry took a collaborative approach to the design of their new space, bringing together their new brand with the brief that concentrated on the ‘Retail infused Refurb’. This took notions of retail and fused that throughout the whole space, providing a pivotal experience, which is unique to them. HASSELL - Fora Borough Located in the heart of the iconic Borough Market district, Fora Borough adopts the dynamic, rich and colourful characteristics of the neighbourhood. Highquality coworking spaces are flexible and adaptable to shifting needs and, combined with a social floor and The Urban Roof Garden, create an atmospheric, functional and relevant workplace.

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Spotlight | Mixology Project Review

Oktra - Photobox Group Oktra reinvented the historic printworks in Herbal House for Photobox Group, crafting a creative and collaborative space that brings their different brands together. The new space reflects the business’ ethos and personal identity whilst simultaneously keeping the origins of the building alive and intact.

Gensler - One Microsoft Place To align with Microsoft’s vision – One Microsoft, All The Time – Gensler set out to bring together over 2,000 employees into one unified location; creating a campus that encourages ‘chance encounters and purposeful collisions’, allowing employees to connect and be innovative whilst at the same time strengthening customer relationships and building connections with the local community.

BDP - Cambridge Assessment BDP saw a unique opportunity to deliver a high quality, distinct, modern and attractive headquarters building for a forward-thinking client. The project has been a catalyst for new brand, culture and significant business growth.

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TTSP - Aviva Digital Campus In support of a desire for fundamental redefining of their business, Aviva identified the potential to locate their Digital Campus within the South Shoreditch Conservation Area, bringing a new workforce, investment and creativity to Hackney. This extends and enhances a campus of properties in which to locate the fast-growing digital part of their business.

BuckleyGrayYeoman - The Minster Building The central atrium was originally dominated by a series of escalators, which were removed during the refurbishment to create a dramatic, eight-storey space. The atrium sets the tone and palette for the development, with curved glazing, textured Jesmonite and marble and bronze detailing. The 35,000 sq ft floorplates benefit from extraordinary views across London.


If only everything at work was so simple We could try to make it complicated. But like most really useful innovations, Link is incredibly simple. A plug & play USB-C docking station that provides all the connectivity options you need, within arm’s reach on your workstation. Arrive at work with your laptop, plug it in and you’re fully connected. To learn more about Viewlite Link and the benefits of USB-C connectivity, go to www.dataflex-int.com/en/link

Spotlight | Mixology Project Review

MCM - ITV Campus The MCM team was engaged to develop the interiors to reflect the ITV vision and brand across three new spaces totalling 170,000 sq ft. The project has succeeded in bringing people together and providing opportunity to work more efficiently and creatively whilst retaining and enhancing ITV’s personality. ITV have now adopted the new space as their permanent home.

IA Interior Architects - Online Retailer & Media Firm - London HQ In the heart of London, this design supports the tech giant’s ever-changing business with active and collaborative environments. Custom installations tell the client’s story, as well as adding flare from the local culture.

BDP - RNOH NHS Trust Last year BDP completed a new facility for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. A central glazed atrium provides a focal point and a clearly defined entrance in the wider hospital grounds and the interior design concept takes reference from the landscape, trees and nature of the surrounding area.

Perkins+Will - FCA Perkins+Will were appointed to design the new headquarters for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as they relocated to a new single-building home in Stratford, London. The goal was to deliver a space that truly represented the ethos of the organisation, with staff wellbeing at the heart.

HKS Architects - The Christie Proton Beam Therapy Centre The Christie Proton Beam Therapy Centre is the first high energy proton therapy facility in the NHS. Despite its hi-tech nature, it was designed with patient and staff wellbeing at the forefront of the design, incorporating natural daylight, original artwork and future adaptability.

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Spotlight | Mixology Project Review

AHR - UK Hydrographic Office UKHO’s new headquarters is designed to meet the needs of one of the world’s leading geospatial information companies. The brief was to encourage a ‘one team’ culture. The design has accomplished this with generous staircases, open balconies and wide bridges, creating physical and visual connections throughout the building.

tp bennett - HSBC Birmingham The design for HSBC UK’s new headquarters in Birmingham is tailored to suit their 2,500 staff. The design creates a unique identity for the bank’s workspace whilst supporting the wellbeing of its employees. The conceptual narrative is that of escaping the hectic city and reconnecting with the rest of the UK.

Winner of Large Commercial Interiors

AECOM - HM Government 10 South Colonnade is the very bright
start of the Government’s new estates programme, an exemplar of the modernisation of the civil service and the successful upcycling of an existing building. A very big idea indeed – this marks a national ‘smarter working’ revolution, and a transformation of how and where civil servants work.

Squire & Partners - The Frames The Frames is a bespoke development tailored to small creative businesses, influenced by the characteristic warehouse vernacular of the surrounding South Shoreditch Conservation Area. Five storeys of flexible workspace feature alongside meeting rooms, cyclist facilities and a café. Raw materials and finishes are contrasted by relaxed interiors that reference the area’s textile manufacturing history.

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Spotlight | Mixology Project Review

iDEA - Ministry of Justice iDEA’s role as design consultant for the MOJ began by developing the design for a pilot space at the Ministry of Justice Headquarters at 102 Petty France. This project allowed iDEA to specify an array of products catering to a flexible way of working, giving the client an idea of what worked best for them.

Winner of Public Sector Interiors

AAID - Imperial Club Lounge, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai The Imperial Club Lounge at the Atlantis Palm is a luxury VIP getaway, where convenience, comfort, style and personalised service are key. The two floors and 33,250 sq ft lounge offer a terrace over the uninterrupted views of the Arabian Gulf, while AAID’s soft seductive ambiance pays homage to the underwater world.

Spacelab - University of London Spacelab have completely transformed the lower ground floor of the University of London’s historic Senate House, consolidating over 250 staff into one space. Previously only used for storage, the lower ground floor is now a light and buzzing workspace that seamlessly marries the building’s rich history with modern interventions.

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Spotlight | Mixology Project Review

Royal Opera House and Stanton Williams - Royal Opera House Open Up Stanton Williams’ reinvigoration of the Royal Opera House delivers world-class new performance and public facilities that enhance the experience for public, staff and performers alike. This prestigious project delivers the ROH’s ‘Open Up’ mission to create a welcoming and inclusive cultural hub that attracts new audiences for ballet and opera while respecting the ROH’s renowned heritage.

Concorde BGW Group - The Bedford Nominated in two categories, the Bedford is a beautiful Grade II listed building that is utterly unique in terms of character. Designed with a Georgian theme in mind, the rooms allow you to drift back to bygone ages. Hypnos beds, roll-top baths and bespoke artwork, combined with lavish colours and extravagant textures, create a truly memorable stay.

Introducing the latest range, Origin A distressed look leather, showcased on the Sven HBB chair

Dexter Moren Associates - Vintry & Mercer Vintry & Mercer is a 92-bedroom boutique hotel in the city of London, inspired by the rich cultural influences of the historic area, which are referenced throughout the hotel’s design. The hotel includes a gym, three private event rooms, an all-day restaurant, rooftop restaurant and bar, and a hidden speakeasy.








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Spotlight | Mixology Project Review

Goddard Littlefair - Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik was originally built in the 1890s and went on to serve Mediterranean cruise liners docking in the city in the early 20th century. Drawing inspiration from the romance of the hotel’s former glories, Goddard Littlefair has reinjected glamour into each individual space by means of a Riviera palette, soft detailing and a 1920s yachting influence.

Winner of Hotel Interiors

Philip Watts Design - Ibis Styles, Gloucester Road, London Philip Watts Design refurbed a previous Best Western into an Ibis Styles, Accor, in Gloucester Road. Ibis Styles is an economy brand promoting creativity and localised design. The interior has subtle suggestions of the London Underground, through the ages, reflecting its location through a choice of materials, colours and surfaces.

Fusion by Design - The Box, Leeds The Box takes the successful brand from the suburbs of Headingley into Leeds city centre and features interior design provided by Fusion by Design. Based in the Financial District, the concept is based around a sports bar, with key feature elements that broaden its appeal for all day drinking and dining.

Winner of Bar & Leisure Interiors

Concorde BGW Group - The Bedford This Grade-II listed building has been returned to its former glory, featuring five charming bars, a relaxed dining room, a club room and ballroom. The cocktail bar is themed around a classic 1920s gin bar with a private dining space, with a decadent and mysterious mood thanks to lavish colour schemes and extravagant textures.

DesignLSM - Farzi Café London Founded from an authentic Indian knowledge base, Farzi Café re-invents and revolutionises perceptions of Indian cuisine with a modernist approach. The concept immerses diners into a sensory world of flavours and culinary techniques that deliver the ultimate gastronomic experience. DesignLSM created a narrative that focuses on the ‘Farzification’ of the space; coining the term for the brand’s playful, inventive, energetic persona.

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Spotlight | Mixology Project Review

KKS and Wilmott Dixon Interiors East Stand Development, Twickenham The East Stand Development at the ‘Home of Rugby’ includes six new floors creating eight signature food and beverage hospitality and debenture offerings for 6,800 fans. KSS’ designs have delivered a new match-day experience that departs from traditional large table or box format through a number of new bespoke lounges, networking spaces and mixed-dining opportunities.

NoChintz - Foundation Coffee House, Whitworth NoChintz opened the second location for Foundation Coffee House within the ground floor of Locke
Hotel’s flagship hotel, Whitworth Locke. The design
is a continuation of the first Northern Quarter space, with considered details such as bolt head tiling, etched mottos, bespoke lighting and exposed finishes celebrating the city’s industrial past and the studio’s industrious ethos. MCM - White & Case - Broad St Kitchen The new Broad St Kitchen and
Bar provides White & Case with
a central hub within their existing office space for all staff and visitors to enjoy. The space is warm and welcoming, feeling more like a high-end hospitality facility than
a corporate office. The space has successfully changed behaviours across the business by encouraging the mixing of staff and clients.

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Royal Opera House and Studio Linse - Royal Opera House Open Up, Level 5 As part of the Open Up project at the Royal Opera House, the Level 5 area has been completely refurbished, creating new spaces that unite 19th century grandeur of the listed building with 21st century elegance. The restaurant has been remodelled to better integrate with the new foyer and bar area and extend into two further zones.

Dipper is a sophisticated lounge chair designed by Assemblyroom. It is available as a high-back or low-back with a choice of either a 4-star swivel base (non height adjustable) or sled base. The 4-star swivel base may be specified with a brushed finish or powder coat. The sled base is also available in a powder coat finish, or a polished chrome.


Designing with ‘Good’ Materials


here has never been a better time to be a workplace transformational expert. Today, there is a plethora of natural, as well as a huge range of manmade materials, which give the designer no end of opportunities. We’ve invited a panel of those transformational experts to Cosentino’s fantastic Clerkenwell showspace to take a close look at what they and their clients consider when turning concept into reality. Whilst the options have never been greater, so are opinions about the relative merits increased, with environmental and wellbeing properties taking more and more prominence. But what are really good (in every sense of the word) materials? We should say a huge thanks to our hosts, Chris Hay (who joined our panel) and the Cosentino team. Here’s a snippet of what proved to be an enthralling conversation...

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THE DISCUSSION We began by asking our guests about the weird and magnificent materials out there today – so what is the most unusual material they have specified? Lindsay: Truthfully, I think the most adventurous material I have used was for one of our tech clients. It had quite a sustainable build to it and we worked, though one of our local architects, using what was basically refuse. It was the punched metal excess from sheets of material – we used what was left for the feature ceilings. Enrique: My choice is still not installed on the project in question – but we have been testing it over the past few months because it is relatively new. It is a type of paint that, through nanotechnology, emits heat. So basically, any wall in your building can become a radiator! Jack: The weirdest material I’ve used was for the 200 Hammersmith Road project – which is a £6.5 million scheme for Royal London. We’ve used 4km


of shipping rope in a two-storey atrium space. We used this really thick rope to build a kind of wall to help break the space up and to wrap the space. We were really worried it might look awful – but it’s actually amazing! Chris: It’s always fun to be have our material specified in unusual spaces. We’ve just finished a restaurant project for an ingenious dining experience where first-class food is served directly onto a heated Dekton worksurface. The worksurface is essentially your plate. It’s unconventional but rather wonderful.

We try to explore different materials and translate them in a different way – which can be great fun

Kat: Probably the most exciting thing I’ve done recently was to take the old fuselage from a plane and put it into a workspace. This was for Virgin. Using all those plastics from the 70s and dismantling a plane and trying to create a new cinema was really interesting. Ben: One of the things that we like to do is to take a material that’s used for maybe a floor or a ceiling and then give it a different language. So we use floor tiles and make them into seats, for example. We try to explore different materials and translate them in a different way – which can be great fun. Kaja: I worked on the University of Manchester scheme, where we used a lot of extraordinary materials. We refurbished an exhibition space, which showed the history of the telescope at Jodrell Bank. When the old dish was taken down, we used the panels of the dish for the exhibition space itself, so all the projections were placed onto the panels. Neil: This might sound a bit odd in this new age of biophilia, but the strangest material I’ve used (certainly at the time) was grass. This was probably 15 years ago when, back then, you had your plant

In Association with


suppliers who would supply and maintain within the commercial sector. So we tried to integrate this grass into the scheme and considered irrigation, the right lighting – and we actually used it as benchmarking before the project was completed, to see it if it would work. Surprise, surprise, it didn’t work! It’s interesting to move forward 15 years and see how biophilia is so integral to what we all do today. Nasim: Everyone’s talking about reusing plastics and we have used two pieces of furniture that are not only sustainable but also look really good. The first one is the Melting Pot Table by Dirk Vander Kooij, which is beautiful – it looks like a piece of artwork, and is made from things like old mobile phone covers. Then there is the Ocean Chair by Mater Design, which uses old fishing nets that are found in the ocean. It’s clear from our panel’s answers that recycled and reusable materials are high on their agenda – is the same true of their end users? Ben: It does upset me that we still almost have to force ecological action on people. One of the things I do is to ask about what period of time that installation is likely to be in the space – I think we have to be really careful and really think hard about not being wasteful. At the end of the day, a lot of the stuff that is going into that space on day one is not going to be there at the end of that period of time. Kaja: You’re right – so you have to be mindful about what materials you’re using and whether they can be recycled. Kat: It often depends on whether your main contact – who is heading up the project – is the FM or the Creative Director. The FM wants a carpet that’s going to last for 10 years. We did a project for a major fashion brand a few years ago, where they were all about the fabrics and being conscious about what they were using – but that’s not always the case.

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Kaja: I agree – a lot of tech brands ‘require’ a certain number of recycled materials to be used, so it can come from the clients, but this is about being sustainable, about doing things they perceive to be right. They do not, however, take into account the carbon footprint of the products and from where they are being shipped. Enrique: I was going to say something very similar. I do think that the majority of clients are more knowledgeable – or they are on a surface level. As designers, we have a bit of an issue in that we have to keep our clients happy but, as Ben was saying, they tell you that they want this or they want that material – but they haven’t considered the realities. They haven’t thought about how it might be cleaned, about VOCs, about recyclability – and often recyclability is just a tick in the box. They talk about the WELL Standard but they don’t really know what that means. For me, as a designer, I think that just adds another challenge and means we have to keep educating our clients. Neil: I think you’re right there – they think they know it all. The positive thing, however, is that they are being bolder, more positive and receptive to other proposals. The FM side will always strip things back because they want to keep things simple –


Everyone’s talking about reusing plastics and we have used two pieces of furniture that are not only sustainable but also look really good

they don’t want six carpets, they want two carpets. They are being bolder though – they do realise that they have to invest a little bit more because these environments are for the betterment of the staff. No longer can the operations budget dictate what is or isn’t needed – there’s the bigger picture to think about. At this point in time, everything’s about the environmental accreditations, as well as the wellness of staff, so they have very little choice. Jack: There seems to be a huge disparity between end user clients and the kind of commercial fit-out client that is looking for that cool design, which will let that space for the next 10-15 years. It’s sometimes shocking to see just how much is wasted when you walk into a building that’s 15 years into a cycle. Lindsay: Whether clients are more knowledgeable or not today isn’t really the point here – it’s about asking questions. I think they are knowledgeable enough to know that they should be asking the questions that take them down a better avenue. That goes for the clients who want to attract, who are looking to tell the right story, because there are generations who are looking for something bigger to be associated with. So, if you, as a company, are looking to do something more meaningful, then this can be a great way to do it. I think if you are able to wrap a story around a particular piece or material, then that seems to grab certain clients more. I think there’s a larger story that every client now wants to tell about their greater contribution…about their impact, and not just the footprint and the detriment they’re having, but the good you can do, what efforts you can make to have positive impacts. If you can weave something magical and cool against that, so that it’s something beautiful and enticing and tactile, then it always becomes a better story. Ben: The only person who can force change here is the designer, right? We try to create really cool spaces and we all want our clients to come in and pat us on our backs and tell us how brilliant the space is. But Enrico’s right – a lot of this is just a box ticking exercise. It’s to make their social conscious feel slightly better – and it’s also about the brand. We very rarely put brand names out there in the projects we do – actually it’s all the materials that define the space and define who that business is. People walk in and know where they are – they’ve

In Association with


seen the website and they recognise what the brand is all about, what they stand for.

Always try to get that disgruntled person on the steering group! If you win them over, you’ll win the lot.

Nasim: Going back to Lindsay's point, I’ve had that same experience with my clients – where the story is so important to them. They feel engaged – and that then gives them something to take to the people above them. If you educate them on a particular material, where it comes from and what influence it has, you find that they then take it on and it almost creates a connection between that material and the client. It’s the story that always connects them. So if it’s got a great sustainable story, they’ll invariably go for it – although cost is still a huge consideration! Most of the time it is still us – the designers – doing the educating, although recently we had university clients who kept asking, ‘What is the lifecycle of this material?’ and ‘When we leave this space, what is going to happen to this furniture?’ We had to answer those questions – which was great. What we did find, however, was that, towards the end of the project, time, money and availability took over. Neil: There are so often these aspirations that are set out – and all for compelling reasons and with good stories behind them. All too often, in the end, some harsh decisions have to be made and this really gets undermined. So they don’t promote that original story with the same confidence in the end. In terms of sustainable sourcing, we’re being asked to prove the life cycle and how we take things to landfill and recycle. That is being asked more and more of us. Kat: Clients are thinking max 10 years ahead – I can’t think of many fit-outs that were undertaken 10 years ago that would still stand up today. It comes more from a maintenance point of view. These schemes aren’t going to live forever – if they did we’d all be out of a job! Neil: We’ve worked with clients who have fantastic FM structures in place – and if you went back to the space a year later, you’d think they’d just moved in because of how well it had been maintained. On the other hand, we’ve had clients who have landed into their new space, and it’s almost as if a bunch of five year-olds had descended. Much of that was down to a poor FM. If you maintain a job well, it should last – it should stand the test of time. Lindsay: I love a bit of patina! I like showing a few flaws and scratches. Jack: You have to tell the client that this is going to happen – and you have to embrace it.

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CONCLUSION It's clear from our conversation that, when it comes to leading designers and design firms specifying both traditional and innovative new materials, sustainability and environmental accreditations are right at the top of the agenda. Our friends at Cosentino were more than happy to show us, after our session, the fantastic variety of sustainably sourced, easy to maintain and incredibly durable natural and engineered materials they can offer. At the end of the day, the choice is now greater than it has ever been – almost the only restriction come from the depths of the client's pockets. w



Kaja Swiezewska, Senior Project Designer, Basha-Franklin

Nasim Köerting, Owner, Studio Köerting

Neil Thomas, Head of Design, Denton Associates

Benjamin Dudley, Owner, The DSGN Studio

Kaja is a designer with a background in architecture, engineering and art. She holds a Masters in Architecture and Town Planning, and a Master of Arts in Graphic and Media Arts. She is an all-round designer, with an exceptional eye for colours, patterns and textures, which never fails to breathe fresh life into every project she works on.

Originally from Sydney, Nasim is currently running her own Londonbased design studio with her partner (@studio_koerting). She

Neil manages the Denton Design Team ensuring client’s opportunities are truly understood and maximised, creating unique

Benjamin works passionately with his clients to ensure that the visual language of the spaces they create are perfectly aligned to the culture

has been working in architecture and design for many years, running and leading award- wining projects for numerous design studios including HASSELL and Softroom architects. She is currently working on a range of projects, from private residential clients to large-scale commercial corporations.

adaptable solutions in a workplace landscape that is always changing. With over 20 years’ experience and a background in consultancy, project management, working directly for a blue-chip client and D&B; Neil brings a unique crosssection of skills and experience to the table.

and soul of their clients' business. The DSGN Studio creates healthy and vibrant working environments where people can enjoy their working experiences. These spaces are not just beautiful but also practical and act as an asset to their clients' business.

Kat Sheridan, Associate Interior Designer, BDG

Lindsay Roth, Design Director and Senior Associate, Gensler

Jack Pannell, Director, Common Ground Workshop

Enrique Soler, Head of Interior Design, Willmott Dixon Interiors

Kat is an Associate Interior Designer at BDG, with 12 years' experience in workplace, and has worked on projects ranging in scale and complexity from the bijou to multimillion pound in value, spanning institutional, professional services, media, charity and retail sectors. She is passionate about making great places to work and bringing together a building’s opportunities with creative design solutions that truly reflect her clients’ requirements.

Passionate about sustainable architecture, Lindsay specialises in corporate and retail design and has an extensive creative portfolio. Positive and energetic, she has earned a reputation for bringing out the best in everyone she collaborates with. She is an active member of Gensler’s Sustainable Design and Green Life Design teams.

Jack has spent 10 years working for a number of design-led practices, delivering high quality workspace new build and interior projects. To date, his extensive experience includes a role as lead design architect for the recently completed Institute of Physics new headquarters in Kings Cross, the recently completed refurbishment of 200 Hammersmith Road, and the refurbishments in Queen St for the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and WeWork.

Enrique is a qualified architect with over 20 years' international experience in projects ranging from retail banking to commercial offices to multi-million pound mixed-use centres. Enrique applies a collaborative method to design, focusing on quality, innovation and attention to detail. Achieving the balance between creativity and technical feasibility is at the core of his approach.

In Association with

Case Study | x + why

Why's Words When multiple Mixology award winning Squire & Partners alert us to a project, we tend to come running. There’s a reason why more than one of our judging panels have chosen the firm’s schemes as winners.

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e’re on the colourful, diverse and energetic Whitechapel High Street, which is home to the first x+why flexible workspace community. As regular readers will be all too aware, we’ve seen a number of flexible workspaces over the past couple of years but this, we’re assured, is something completely new in terms of attitude and ethos. We’re met in the funky entrance/café area by x+why co-founder and CCO, Phil Nevin, who grabs us a coffee and sits us down in the corner of this biophilic, calm antidote to the hustle of the street outside. We begin by asking Phil about the history and philosophy behind x+why. ‘We operate under a purpose – to change the way the world works for good – so we’re not just about filling office buildings, we’re trying to actually shift the way that people approach their work. Therefore, in order to fulfil our purpose, we also need to achieve a certain amount of scale; this isn’t about scale for scale’s sake, it’s scale because we are trying to achieve something – something beyond this building. We’re trying to change the mindset of how people approach business and how people conduct business. ‘I founded and Chair a charity called Big Change, which is a social impact accelerator. I’ve always been incredibly interested in the space between

Case Study | x + why

the charity and the business sector – and am passionate about closing that gap. We wanted to start to look at things differently – yes, profit is important, but so is the planet, and so are people, and their wellbeing and their lives. This is where we think business should go. We’re only a small part of this movement – but we really want to be a part of what we believe will be a big system change. Let’s allow 1,000 flowers to bloom – let’s encourage start-ups and SME’s to adopt this way of thinking. It’s already there with young start-ups, so let’s help build that mindset. This is what we stand for – and it’s a nerve-wracking moment when you do stick your flag in the ground in this way.’ The ethos of x+why smartly merges design, technology and wellness to offer its community of businesses a cultural programme designed to inspire members to recognise the link between people, profit and the planet. Phil admits that not any old business (and no, he’s not being business ageist) can merely sign up and make their home here. x+why is (quite rightly) unapologetic about looking for like-minded individuals and businesses to live and work alongside and even requires a signed 'purpose pledge' in its member agreements. The site, Phil tells us, has a long history of philanthropy, community and social action. It was the location for the original Salvation Army Mission Hall – which supplied food to the local

We operate under a purpose – so we’re not just about filling office buildings, we’re trying to actually shift the way that people approach their work.

area and later became the Salvation HQ. This historical significance has led to the team at x+why reinstating the building as ‘People’s Mission Hall’. A major refurbishment of the existing buildings, together with a modern addition, was undertaken by Rivington Street Studio last year. The environment now wraps around a courtyard, providing two distinct ‘wings’. Within the reworked shell, Squire & Partners and sister branding agency, Mammal, have developed a concept for this first x+why workspace, creating an identity and design aesthetic true to its values, providing a flexible creative space over 22,500 sq ft. Inspiration was taken from the history of Whitechapel, specifically its heritage of tanneries and local markets, and its more recent reincarnation as an area for the arts, combined with a unique mix of cultures and traditions. As we begin our tour of the space, we’re joined by Squire & Partners’ Maria Cheung and art consultancy ARTIQ’s Patrick McCrae. We move through to the members’ area, beyond the streetfacing entrance. ‘We’ve given this space a ‘market’ feel, with booths flanked in striped panels, and we’ve used flexible metal frames for the bar and countertops,’ Maria tells us.

Opposite, Top Down: Relaxed seating connecting the two ground floor spaces features artworks by Carlos Penalver: Three Malaysian. Print, and Girl. Print. Breakout space opposite the teapoint on this work floor has artworks by Joe Owens: Architectural Skin No.4 and Architectural Skin No.3. This Page, Top Down: Raw finishes are combined with comfortable seating, rugs and greenery to create a domestic and social atmosphere. x+why branding features on a series of bespoke products, from patterned stools to kitchenware. Artwork in the café space beyond the reception includes Anna Davanzo's 'Butterfly' oil painting and Phoebe Boddy's 'Untitled' acrylic painting.

Project Team Client ARTIQ Interior Design Squire & Partners Furniture Provider Bureau Furniture Suppliers Menu, Mad, &tradition, United Strangers, Workstories, Woud, Fatboy, Heerenhuis, Rawside, Romi, Nor11 Other Suppliers ICON

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Case Study | x + why

This Page, Clockwise from Top: Shared work and social space with kitchen and ‘market booth’ seating. Bold colours are used on the upper workspace floors, including dark teal meeting rooms. A light-filled wellness studio is used for weekly classes including yoga and meditation. Opposite, Top Down: Demi Bromfield's 'Untitled Triptych' forms a focal point in the public café. Glazed panels between work units and shared spaces encourage a sense of community.

Members are also provided with communal spaces including comfortable seating areas, a lightfilled wellness studio, flexible event/presentation rooms, a ‘market stall’ area for pop ups and ‘foam booths’ – acoustic screened booths made from recycled foam – set around the serene, scented central courtyard garden. Cycle storage and showers are also provided, of course. ‘We’ve mixed robust, natural materials and raw finishes mix with comfortable seating, rugs and freestanding furniture to invoke a domestic, social atmosphere,’ Maria points out. Natural greenery, artwork sourced from local creatives (more about that later) and second-hand vintage pieces from nearby markets are also a key element of the workspace’s character. ‘x+why branding by Mammal features on a lot of bespoke products here, including patterned stools, notebooks and kitchenware,’ Maria continues. On the first floor, workspace units are designed for small to medium businesses, alongside shared meeting rooms, breakout spaces and teapoints. Glazed panels between units and shared spaces encourage a sense of community. On the second floor, a flexible creative space is designed to host a variety of events, from workshops and presentations to social gatherings. Further workspace units and shared amenities are provided on the third and fourth floors. Unlike a number of coworking and flexible workspaces we have seen, x+why has a genuine feel of collaboration and openness, which is perfectly illustrated by the number of people working or socialising in the communal spaces here.

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Let’s allow 1,000 flowers to bloom – let’s encourage startups and SME’s to adopt this way of thinking. It’s already there with young start-ups, so let’s help build that mindset.

Working within a Cat A shell, waste was minimised by using 90% of existing lighting, and original locations were retained for bikes, showers and teapoints to minimise changes to the building infrastructure. ‘Squire & Partners were great to work with – they were adaptable (and this is not a massive budget) and they were more than willing to take the challenge on,’ Phil smiles. ‘I was absolutely delighted to be able to work with such a great firm.’ A huge amount of thought and attention has been put into the fantastic selection of artwork throughout the space. ARTIQ, which was set up by Patrick a decade ago, provides artists with not only great exposure – but also a fair deal. ‘When we set out on the x+why project, we discussed that the main objective was to create a curation that showed a diverse range of artists in both styles

Leading UK furniture manufacturer

The Client x+why was created by ex-corporate lawyer, Rupert Dean, and property designer and developer, Phil Devin, and launched at the start of 2019. Based in Whitechapel, the coworking space merges design, technology and wellness to provide businesses with a place to grow. Originally home to a famous East End trader’s hall, the site has a long history of community and social action – it was the original location for the Salvation Army Mission Hall, later becoming the Salvation HQ.

t 01685 352222



Case Study | x + why

Right: Ground floor communal spaces are set around a central courtyard garden. Below: Communal space on a workfloor with Stephanie Ho's 'Derby 01'/ 'Derby 02'. Below and Right: A second floor flexible creative space is used for workshops, presentations and social gatherings.

Creating a narrative, which represented x+why’s ethos was important. We were also keen to pick up on the various hubs within x+why, allowing the art to set the tone for what the space is used for

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and media,’ Patrick tells us. ‘Creating a narrative, which represented x+why’s ethos was important. We were also keen to pick up on the various hubs within x+why, allowing the art to set the tone for what the space is used for. Each piece was hand-selected for its ability to reflect the dynamic and vibrant nature of the space and to enhance the wellbeing aspect of each area, encouraging conversation, inspiration and interaction. The curation deliberately features work that is diverse in both medium and in terms of artist background and spans the entire building, carrying narratives and themes from the public areas throughout the meeting rooms and event spaces.’ As part of the ARTIQ Experience programme, a quarterly rotating exhibition can be seen in the event and wellness space. Furthermore, Patrick tells us that ARTIQ loved the space so much that he decided to move in, bringing the team’s own purpose-driven creativity and collaboration into the community. As we tour the space, we find another x+why member we recognise – Bureau – who has provided the impressive furniture solutions for the private workspaces and meeting rooms. x+why might currently have just the one site, here in Whitechapel, but Phil tells us that there are plans to expand across the UK and internationally. He’s certainly got our backing.w

Booth seating is flanked with striped panels to create a ‘market stall’ aesthetic

Case Study | Jacada Travel

Space Travel It’s the morning of Mixology and we’re keeping ourselves busy by taking a look at one of the many incredible shortlisted projects, which will be featured in the awards later in the day. As we enter Jacada Travel’s new working home, we can’t help but think we’ve chosen the perfect space in which to relax ourselves into the day’s proceedings. 64 | Mix 196 July 2019

Above: The office has been carefully laid out to maximise natural light in key areas


e’re high above the rapidly changing section of Old Street that connects Silicon Roundabout with Clerkenwell, where Jacada Travel’s Founder and Managing Director, Alex Malcolm, is happy to give us the tour of this cool, nature-inspired space. Jacada Travel is a luxury travel provider that prides itself on creating authentic travel experiences for travellers who wish to go beyond the typical, getaway from the crowds and experience something different and special.

It is this authenticity that underpins the look and feel of the new Jacada home. We ask Alex about the origins of the relocation. ‘This space is a lot bigger but also quite different from where we were,’ he reveals. ‘We didn’t have any communal space in our previous office, we had a tiny little kitchen and people ate at their desks. It was quite a nice space. It was open and had a really nice skylight – this was near Highbury and Islington, not too far from here – but it was way too small for us. We had grown organically and were full to the brim. We didn’t want

to move too far from where we were – we didn’t want to lose people. ‘This space was an empty shell when we first saw it. It was quite industrial, with exposed ceilings. I immediately loved the light and – with it being this L-shaped space – it gets light from both sides. My immediate thought was that we needed to soften the area, so when I first spoke to Peldon Rose I told them that what I really wanted was to not make it feel as though we are in the middle of a major city – to try to use elements that would help

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Case Study | Jacada Travel

This Page, Clockwise From Right: Bespoke booth seating with plant-based fabric upholstery. Large and small plants line the office to transform the interior into a calm, natural space. Plants are suspended from the ceiling to soften the industrial features of the building. Opposite, Clockwise from Right: Handmade desks give a more organic, less formal feel to the office. Biophilic inspired boardroom. A Forest to Home handcrafted dining table is the centrepiece of the teapoint.

make our people feel a bit more relaxed. We had some plants in our last office – but certainly not this many! I had gone online and looked at what others had done with plants and with biophilia – and had seen a few spaces that looked alright, but it was almost as though they were just nodding towards it. ‘Sustainability and the use of natural materials was something I really wanted for the space – that became a bit of a journey. We’ve used sisal for the flooring, for example, and then I found some chaps who make tables out of a workshop in Wiltshire – I really wanted a big table for the boardroom here and they came up with this amazing oak table. After chatting with them, I asked them if they could provide us with desks, so they produced these beautiful, natural ash desks. ‘Before we got the furniture in here I did the tour of Clerkenwell showrooms – but nothing really stood out to me. I think a lot of the decisions that are made at boardroom level are about the elimination of risk. If you work with proper natural materials, there is a risk that they will change or shrink – and I was aware of that and willing to work with it. I didn’t want anything that wasn’t natural, where possible, in this space.’ Over a seven-week programme, Peldon Rose delivered a workplace design that celebrates sustainability, biophilic design, collaboration and inspiration. As Jacada’s business grew, it quickly became apparent that its office was no longer representative of the brand, never mind physically straining at the seams. By relocating to Bentima House on Old Street, Jacada had an opportunity to design an office that showed off its personality and created an inspiring workplace for its staff. Through careful planning and a collaborative approach with the client and external suppliers, Peldon Rose has delivered a stunning landscape that transports you into a sustainable, authentic and

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organic workplace. The new 4,500 sq ft environment focuses on providing a better insight into the way Jacada Travel works and provides enough space to support its continued growth. Sustainability and biophilic design were at the heart of the design process and links back to the focus that Jacada puts on community, conservation and carbon offsetting in all the bespoke packages the company creates. Peldon Rose worked closely with Alex in order to learn exactly what he wanted to communicate through the new office and how it would positively impact the business and staff. Some of the concepts from Jacada’s philosophy – such as authentic, characterful and uplifting – were brought through into the design of the space so it would accurately represent the brand. As well as bringing out the personality of the Jacada brand, the space needed to help encourage

Case Study | Jacada Travel

Sustainability and the use of natural materials was something I really wanted for the space – that became a bit of a journey

The Client Jacada is a bespoke luxury travel company on a mission to create a positive impact around the world through travel. Each Jacada journey is carbon neutral and supports organisations that preserve habitats. All destinations, accommodations, and activities have been road-tested by the Jacada team.

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Case Study | Jacada Travel

If you work with proper natural materials, there is a risk that they will change or shrink – and I was aware of that and willing to work with it

collaboration and integration – something that was sorely lacking in the company’s former home. The teapoint is a central feature of the office and gives staff a dedicated space to connect with each other. A breakfast bar and large dining table gives staff enough space to enjoy a break away from their desks and to socialise. ‘We now have a no eating at desks rule – which worked straight away. People now come to the breakout space/social area – which is probably the nicest corner of the floor,’ Alex tells us. Natural products are integrated throughout the design, from the cork partitions and sisal flooring through to the organic materials used for the fabrics in the smart meeting booths. As Alex said a little earlier, the use of available natural light was key. There are no solid partitions in the main office floor and Crittal-style glazing was used to maximise the available natural light. To help bring the outside in and incorporate natural woods and products into the design, the team worked closely with Forest to Home, Acorus Gardens and Hillcross Furniture to achieve a high-level finish that used organic, sustainable products. And there are, of course, a lot of plants. Again, Alex and the team veered away from the usual supply chain here. ‘I think the plants are really fun. I spoke to a few of the ‘conventional’ office plant suppliers – and I didn’t really like them. So I found a gardener. The upshot is that we have some much more interesting plants, which do require more maintenance, so the gardener comes in once a week to look after them. It’s been really interesting – and people love them. It makes a huge difference to wellbeing here. ‘A few of our guys have even brought their families in – which has to be a good sign!’ Alex smiles. ‘They wanted to show if off – people love showing it off.’ It’s little wonder that the Mixology judges also liked this space so much. w

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Left: Shelving units act as partitions to keep light flow through the space Below: Plants line the teapoint in the brighest part of the office

Project Team Client Jacada Travel Architect & Interior Designer Peldon Rose Furniture Provider Peldon Rose, Forest to Home Flooring Suppliers Brocklehurst Flooring Surfaces Suppliers Siesta Cork, Howdens Furniture Suppliers Forest to Home, Hillcross Furniture, Adventures in Furniture, Konk Storage Suppliers James Tobias Other Suppliers James Clark Garden Design, Camira

Review | Mixology19



e have to confess that, once or twice, post-award ceremony, we’ve bitten our fingernails, just hoping and praying that the dancefloor will fill. Well, this year we could have got ourselves a gin fizz and a large cigar each and headed out onto the terrace, so confident were we

Dataflex, Bisley and Eikund. Project winners included Basha Franklin, Gensler, Squire & Partners, Royal Opera House and Stanton Williams, Goddard Littlefair and Concorde BGW. The Furniture Provider award went to Hunters, the Manufacturer of the Year was Orangebox, D&B

that said dancefloor would be rammed in a matter of seconds. Sure enough, as soon as the amazing Jazzy B introduced the rest of Soul II Soul to the stage – including the simply mesmeric Karen Wheeler – the Mixology throng were under his spell. Earlier, our audience took full advantage of the fine weather, enjoying drinks and views across the Thames, before tucking into a fine dinner. This, of course, was merely the prelude to the prestigious Mixology awards, which this year saw wins (on the product side) for Autex Acoustics, Shaw Contract,

Company of the Year was given to Oktra, the Product Designer award was presented to Martin Ballendat and the Design Practice of the Year went to BDP. It was a particularly great night for the Orangeboxers, who – as well as scooping the Manufacturer of the Year award – then celebrated in real style as their emotional MD, Mino Vernaschi (he was far from the only emotional one, by the way), deservedly picked up the Henry Pugh award for outstanding contribution to the industry. What a night – and what a performance by Soul II Soul. Best yet? Very possibly.w



Thanks so much to our sponsors:


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WINNER: Shaw Contract SPONSORED BY: Specialist Joinery Group

Furniture Provider of the Year 2019 It’s our 50 staff that got us here

Let us show you want we can do


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Thanks to the Mix event team


WINNER: Gensler SPONSORED BY: Office Furniture London

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WINNER: Squire & Partners SPONSORED BY: Colebrook Bosson Saunders


WINNER: Royal Opera House and Stanton Williams SPONSORED BY: Orangebox


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WINNER: Hunters - The Furniture Group SPONSORED BY: Materia


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Cube™ Mixology19 Product of the Year Surfaces

THANKS FOR SEEING WHAT’S BENEATH THE SURFACE As an environmentally-friendly, high-frequency absorber, there’s clearly more to Cube panels than good looks. As we continue our work towards a better-built environment, we’ll keep innovating to bring our commitment to sustainability to life. Want to know more? Contact your account manager or visit autexacoustics.co.uk

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WINNER: Martin Ballendat / Design Ballendat SPONSORED BY: Peldon Rose



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Review | Neocon

Mart or Market? 82 | Mix 196 July 2019

We’re in Chicago to visit the 51st edition of NeoCon – the leading US platform for the commercial design industry. The event’s incredible longevity can be attributed to a number of things, not least its venue – the Merchandise Mart, which is located at the junction of the Chicago River’s branches in the heart of downtown.

Review | Neocon


1. Buzzispace showroom 2. Steelcase 3. Boss Design 4. Humanscale



he Mart, which was the world’s largest building when it opened back in 1930, boasting some 4,000,000 sq ft of floor space, has been a permanent home to the largest and most influential commercial furniture brands for decades now. Things change though. Where the Mart was undoubtedly one of NeoCon’s great strengths, it is now being viewed (by some at least) as tired and ‘old hat’. And when the ‘some’ in question includes at least a couple of the world’s leading furniture brands, questions about how the future NeoCon will look and feel are bound to be asked. When we booked our accommodation in Fulton Market, an up-and-coming district, which is now home to hip hotels such as the Ace and the Hoxton (we were not staying at either!), as well as Google, WeWork and an array of cool bars and restaurants, we had no idea that this was the name on everybody’s lips throughout the show.

3 Fulton Market is now also home to the Knoll showroom, who have moved away from the Mart, while Herman Miller have also now announced that they are Fulton Market bound, with plans confirmed for a new purpose-built space. So, no Knoll and no Miller at the Mart. Will this be the start of the end? Anyway, the Mart is very much the centre of our attention for now. And there are some interesting trends on show this year. One, being patriotic for a moment, is the maturity of the UK brands that have residency here. As you’ll see in a couple of pages, we headed to the Mart a day before the show started for a round table event at the new Allermuir/ Senator space – and what a great facility it is. New products Kin and Array attracted plenty of attention from visitors – with the latter deservedly picking up a NeoCon award along the way. Boss Design showed off the impressive ACDC and DNA, among others, in its elegant 3rd


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Review | Neocon

6 5 floor showspace, while naughtone’s bright and brilliant products were shown both in its own space and throughout Herman Miller’s megaspace. Which is where we headed next. Taking a deep breath and readying ourselves for the scrum, we took on the ‘big three on three’ – Miller, Haworth and Steelcase. A couple of trends quickly caught our attention here. Firstly, there was an awful lot of bright, primary colours used throughout all three of the showrooms – which, along with the artificial lighting, actually burred our vision after too long. Secondly, there appeared to be far more emphasis placed on work, breakout, meeting and multipurpose settings than on the products themselves. This worked well in the brilliantly curated Haworth showroom, while the retro settings in the Miller space left us slightly confused (and you know how much we like and respect Miller). There was no doubt that this was a paired down NeoCon in terms of headline-grabbing new product launches. We liked Steelcase’s Flex and Haworth’s Cabana Lounge and Lyda Sofa but couldn’t help but notice that there was just as much emphasis on ‘the big three’ showing their muscles, with each continuing to ‘collect’ (largely European) brands and collaborations. In saying that, it was great to see Orangebox products used

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7 5. Steelcase 6. Haworth 7. Buzzispace showroom 8. Boss Design 9. Herman Miller

Review | Neocon

10. Senator Group 11. Haworth 12. Outside view of Neocon 13. Allermuir

throughout both the Steelcase showroom and its impressive adjacent WorkLife Café. We were particularly impressed with the Teknion showroom – and really liked new products Emote,


11 13

Bene Box and the latest Studio TK lines – while the great Don Chadwick’s new stool for Humanscale was one of our standout products of the show. It was away from North America that we really found some elegant products and displays, however. Leading the way (aside from the aforementioned Brits, of course) were Okamura, Andreu World and BuzziSpace – the latter producing maybe the most interesting showroom, most impressive new acoustic products and undoubtedly one of the most talked about elements of the show in the shape of their funky tote bags. No word of a lie, we heard three people ask for the ‘sold out’ bags in less than 10 minutes! Of course, there was as much to discover and learn away from the show – and we must thank Humanscale, Allermuir/Senator and Camira for their hospitality. We met and reconnected with so many great people, from leading US mega-dealers, through to massive end users (including WeWork and GoPro) and, of course, friends from the UK. As for the immediate future of NeoCon? Well judging by the crowds and queues for the elevators (one of the reasons many want a move away from the Mart), Chicago will continue to attract the industry every June. It may, however, be Fulton Market that they start to head towards. w

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Neocon Discussion Roundtable

The Great Divide?


uch has been made of the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the US but, when it comes to commercial workplaces, is there still a great divide? We’ve undertaken our most ambitious workplace conversation to date, bringing together leading designers from the US, Canada and the UK to consider the idiosyncrasies of our different countries’ markets – and also the differences that exist within different US territories. What can we learn from each other and what are the trends currently at the top of our client lists?

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Neocon Discussion

THE DISCUSSION Despite the fact that it was the Sunday before the start of NeoCon, our friends at Allermuir were way ahead of the game and their new Merchandise Mart showspace in Chicago looked absolutely pristine, as our guests gathered for what we anticipated would be a fascinating discussion. We weren’t wrong! As our group was so geographically diverse, we decided we’d begin by getting to know one another a bit better and asking each of our guests to tell us where they’re from and the best thing about their hometown. Todd: My hometown is Chicago. The best thing about Chicago is that, right now, it is a collision of both coasts. It’s one of those cities that I think is a great mix of the United States. There’s a lot going on here right now – and I always say that great cities are always by the water. What’s really exciting is that there is a lot of energy in the city right now – and what is particularly exciting is the shift of showrooms from the Mart to the Fulton Market district, which is pretty crazy – and I think you’re going to see a lot more of that. Tish: My hometown is actually Efron, Ohio, but I think of Chicago as my hometown now because I’ve lived here longer than I lived there. Todd just said some great things about Chicago – and I think that one of the really great things about this city is that, in wintertime, it’s really flat and, when you’re driving and it’s icy, you can’t skid too far – where I grew up, it’s full of hills! People tease us for our weather, but our summer is the best – and we absolutely take advantage of it! I always wanted to stay in the Mid-West, and Chicago is the biggest and best city in the Mid-West.

Simon: I live in Brighton, which is about 50 miles outside London. I’d say that London is probably the most exciting city in the world – it’s just an amazing place. It’s very diverse, there’s always lots of things happening there and it also has a really broad mix of financial institutions and cool organisations that are open to new ideas! Caroline: I’m from Toronto – and the great thing about my city is that we’re just about to destroy the Golden State Warriors in the NBA basketball finals (indeed they did, Ed). Basketball was actually invented in Toronto! Seriously though, Toronto is a pretty exciting place to be right now, especially when it comes to the building industry. One of the things that attracted BDP to the market is that there are currently more cranes in the sky in Toronto than anywhere else in North America. It really is booming – although that does bring its own problems. I feel as though finding and retaining staff has become my full-time job! We are doing some really different, innovative work right now. I’m actually Transatlantic. Canada is a Commonwealth nation and my mother was from London, so I feel uniquely qualified to be involved in this conversation!

The best thing about Chicago is that, right now, it is a collision of both coasts. It’s one of those cities that I think is a great mix of the United States

Kay: My house is in Washington DC, although I’m rarely ever there – maybe three or four days a month! What I love about Washington DC is that it’s In Association with

Neocon Discussion

truly a big, international city. I love all the different people there, the influx and the constant changes. What I also love about Washington DC is that however little or much you like someone, they’re typically only there for four or eight years – and then they’re gone!

I think the biggest difference between Europe and the US is that London ran out of space 20 years ago – they had to find new ways of doing things, and that is just accepted

Ginger: I’m from Omaha, Nebraska. I love my city and one of the best things is that the culture, design, the restaurant scene, the music scene…pretty much everything has changed incredibly over the past 10 years. It’s been amazing to be there and witness these changes – to see little neighbourhoods pop up, with all kinds of arts and culture. It feels as though we’re starting to get small elements of the culture that you’d find here in Chicago injected into our town. David: I moved to Perrysburg, Ohio, which is the south side of Toledo, where we’re headquartered and we manufacture out of America. I think the best thing about that community is that it really is ‘small town USA’, just like where I grew up in Western Iowa, so it feels like home – parades on the holidays, car shows on Friday nights in summer – that kind of thing. Clay: I’m from Los Angeles and the great thing about the city is that, for many years, it was vilified as the capital of suburbanism – and in the last five years it’s really becoming far more urban. There are even cranes out in little Culver City now – which has extended my 3.7 mile drive by about 30 minutes! Steffan: I live in Twickenham, in west London – although originally I’m from Cardiff in Wales, which is a small country, historically downtrodden by the English…seriously though, I was lucky enough, when I was growing up, that the Welsh culture and language were very much in recovery. Cardiff is the capital and it’s very much the capital of culture. The recovery of its culture has brought lots of energy – it’s very small, but still feels like a proper city.

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It’s clear we have some great people from vastly different places. So what do our guests feel are the major differences between the two sides of the pond? Todd: I think the big difference for me, having practiced in both the United Kingdom and the United States, is budget. I think there’s an amazing alignment of budgets in the UK. Maybe projects don’t happen so much in the UK, but when they do happen they’re really well thought through, they have an appropriate budget, they consider the architecture and the space they’re moving into and, in general, they have a really solid base structure – which I find really refreshing. Tish: We finished the McDonalds headquarters last year – moving them from the suburbs to Fulton Market. When we first started the strategy for that, we got a little floorplan from Steve Easterbrook, McDonalds (relatively new) CEO – and it was his office in the UK. He’s from the UK, and he handed us this 5,000 sq ft floorplan for his UK office and he said, ‘I want this! I want this kind of space at our headquarters’. It was flexible, it was agile it was dynamic, people could move around, they didn’t have assigned seats…it seems to me that CEO’s who come into the US from Europe bring change – and are not afraid to make that change. Kay: I think the biggest difference between Europe and the US is that London ran out of space 20 years ago – they had to find new ways of doing things, and that is just accepted. In the US, people are still really struggling with some of the new ways of working and constantly question why they have to do it. Tell someone in Texas that they have to go to open plan or benching…they’ve got all the land they want! It’s a very different thing. I think the attitude, the acceptance and the willingness to push those boundaries is probably 10-15 years ahead in Europe, just because there isn’t the same need or the same drivers.

Neocon Discussion

You say program, we say brief. You say schedule, we say programme! In many ways, we’re nations that are disconnected by a common language

Randy: I come from a different perspective, coming from the standpoint of running an association for the profession and having connections with the British Institute of Interior Designers and the Society of British Interior Designers. As Kay mentioned, from the practice side, Europe is light years ahead. That being said, I don’t think they have the architectural and interior design challenges that we have here in the US – the recognition of practice rights. The term ‘interior architecture’ is used fairly liberally in Europe, whereas here in the US it is regulated – so you can’t actually use the term unless you’re an architect. On the other side, I think our associations, who represent our professions, are real advocates – we’re seen as the organisations’ voice and we’re often on Capitol Hill advocating for interior designers. Simon: You say program, we say brief. You say schedule, we say programme! In many ways, we’re nations that are disconnected by a common language. You can be speaking with someone from the US, for example, and you suddenly realise that you’re not talking about the same thing at all. Slightly controversially, I would say that Europe is more open to transformational ideas. I recently went to the BCO annual conference in Copenhagen, and the stuff that is going on in northern Europe is pretty amazing – a lot of it really pushes the boundaries. So are any boundaries being pushed here in North America? Caroline: One thing we have found is that the younger generations are not interested in what you think their career path should be – they now talk about career lattices rather than career ladders. They’ll jump about and they’ll collaborate with whoever they feel like collaborating with and create product, regardless of whatever the ‘norm’ is. This is not just about disruption, they’re just thinking in another way.

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Neocon Discussion

Randy: I do think that, on this side of the pond, we are starting show a great deal of interest in a number of things that have already been adopted in Europe – issues such as wellbeing. We’re starting to look at connecting these issues with the built environment and at areas such as stress in the workplace. Ginger: I’ve always lived in Nebraska and haven’t done a great deal of travelling, however it seems to me that Europe is still very fashion-forward with regards to the acceptance of change – particularly when it comes to the wellbeing of employees, but things are starting to change, to improve – even in smaller towns and cities.

than they are here. I’m sure that has an impact on the quality and attention that employees give their people in the UK. Also, cross-sector collaboration is far more developed in the UK – that comes from having so many more spaces crammed in together than here in the US, which has far more space.

Steffan: We’re incredibly lucky because, even within our own firms in the UK, we find incredible diversity. I work with some incredibly talented people – and if you look at my friends, I’m one of two Brits in a group of about 20! We take that for granted, I think. One of the major differences between the US and the UK is the relationship between organisations and their employees. I married an American – and she will never come back to the US because her employment rights are so much better in the UK

Todd: London has its Design Week, which brings all these disciplines together – while here in the US we still have these separate events, like NeoCon for workplace. David: I have to say that the differences between the two markets are far greater than I anticipated, moving from a US manufacturer to a European manufacturer. From a furniture point of view, there’s


Kay Sargent, Director of WorkPlace, HOK

Steffan Wiliams, Design Director, Scott Brownrigg

In her 34 years' experience Kay’s work has taken her to multiple continents, where she has worked with companies on their global real estate strategies and designed workplaces of the future. Kay co-leads HOK’s WorkPlace, where she oversees a team working with clients to deliver workplace solutions around the world. Kay also serves on the HOK Board of Directors.

Steffan has 17 years' experience in the commercial interiors sector. He specialises in workplace strategy and has delivered agile working solutions for Sainsbury’s and Network Rail. Steffan has managed projects for clients including Deutsche Bank, Expedia, Unilever, Discovery Channel and DTZ, and has vast experience working with financial institutions and media companies.

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Simon Jackson, Interior Design Practice Leader, AECOM Simon has recently joined Aecom as Director, EMIA Interior Design Leader. His teams across the region undertake in-depth strategic advice and change management and full interior design services in the office, healthcare, retail and hospitality sectors. The company is focused on creating unique but efficient and business appropriate solutions, providing benefits to its client's business.

Randy Fiser, CEO, ASID Randy spreads the mission of 'Design Impacts Life' through his work as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) CEO. As such, he leads 25,000+ members from commercial and residential sectors across North America to advance the profession and communicate the transformative power of design on people’s lives. Since being named CEO in 2012, Randy has inspired change, playing a key role in advancing the profession and the organisation.

Ginger McCandless, Project Lead, encompas As a project lead for encompass, Ginger understands that a client’s facility not only reflects brand and identity, but future vision as well. She helps to provide an open dialogue about an organisation's culture, its people and how design and furniture plays an integral role in making a space successful for an organisation and its people, striving to be more than just a furniture provider, but rather, a 'trusted advisor'.

Neocon Discussion

far more of a focus on design in Europe than there is in the US. The scale and the regional behaviour is also very different in the States – here you can almost notice it project by project. New York has vastly different requirements from Dallas, which has vastly different requirements from even Austin! Clay: We’ve done a lot of work for Lend Lease – and they are a very forward-thinking company, because they’re based in Australia. A lot of our clients aren’t so forward-thinking, however, and I appreciate that and look to design the projects that they really want – and of course if I see the opportunity for innovation, I will always give them that option. I don’t claim to be an expert in European design, but I would say that it does appear that they do have more liberal clients, who are willing to let their

designers experiment more. Sometimes we do have clients like this – and sometimes we have to try to make chicken salad out of chicken shit, frankly! Kay: I think that, for years, real estate was seen as a liability here in the US – something that was on your balance sheet as a liability. We typically reported up to the CFO. Now, the biggest drivers are attention and retraction of talent, and user experience. Now we’re seeing more and more that HR has a bigger seat at the table.

If this was the Ryder Cup, it would be Europe celebrating – not that this was designed to be a

Tish: To me it’s now all about being collaborative and all these different experts bringing their knowledge and points of view to the table - it’s about diversity. It’s not just about collaborating on the design side, with your colleagues – it’s about that collaboration with your client. They know their business better than we’ll ever know it!

competition. What is extremely clear is that the UK and Europe is still some way ahead when it comes to workplace culture, focusing more and more on people, wellbeing, mental health and neurodiversity than just real estate and productivity. There is, however, a genuine appetite from the North American designers on our panel to address this and to change the thinking of their end users. w

Caroline Robbie, Interior Design Lead, Quadrangle

Todd Heiser, Co-Managing Director, Gensler

Principal-Interiors at Quadrangle-BDP, Caroline’s portfolio of award-winning projects across four decades includes the Tabletop at OCADU, Corus Quay, Deluxe Toronto and Hollywood – the first heavy timber commercial building in a century at 80 Atlantic Avenue, along with emerging workplace models at the City of the Arts for OCADU, Launchpad and HXOUSE Creative/Lab. Her role as a thought leader is strengthened by conceptual installations.

Todd is a Co‐Managing Director at Gensler’s Chicago office. His leadership showcases more than 20 years' experience in next‐gen design at the cutting edge of workplace strategies, and his commitment to conceptual and technical development transforms spaces for clients around the globe. Todd’s design process champions partnership with his clients, which include Matter, Google and Kohler.

Tish Kruse, Principal, Senior Director of Strategy, IA Interior Architects Tish's role for IA involves cultivating new business, developing thought leadership, and enhancing the firm’s service offering. Driving a process-oriented and datacentric approach to creating great workplaces, Tish has extensive expertise working with clients to effectively capture their needs, develop their vision and create strategies that foster flexible and enduring workplaces.


Clay Pendergrast, Director of Interior Design, HOK

David Crimmins, Vice President, Allermuir

Clay is Senior Principal and Director of Interior Design for the HOK Los Angeles office and is responsible for innovative projects for the legal, corporate, entertainment, financial, healthcare and technology sectors. His recent awardwinning projects include The Pritzker Group’s Los Angeles Headquarters, Beach Body Headquarters, LinkedIn Building 1 in Carpinteria, and Lendlease Los Angeles.

David has 11 years’ experience in the office furniture industry and he

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enjoys the challenges of working with clients on all aspects of their projects. David frequently engages clients to connect their physical space with their brand and their communities. Combining design challenges with the logistical challenges of servicing clients, on a global scale, continues to challenge David and his team’s creativity.

Review |


Next-gen acoustic hubs Hushhubs Acoustic Hubs are the latest addition to Dams Furniture’s Social Spaces portfolio. These Acoustic Hubs are designed with the biophilic idea of a return to the natural world as its basis; using high-quality European Oak, acoustic glass, natural fabrics and recyclable materials to create a multi-purpose space where people can gather, communicate, teach, learn, think and concentrate. The beauty of the Hushhub and the different hub sizes available is that they can be adapted and customised to fit any office requirements, creating multiple working zones in one place, and they’re ideal for use in open plan offices and other places where private space within a larger area is needed. www.socialspacesfurniture.com

Express yourself Bringing the ultimate blend of imagination and innovation to off-the-shelf LVT, IVC’s Moduleo 55 Expressive delivers 12 unique looks designed to transform commercial interiors with high-style flooring. From the chevron wood of Bohemain and the eclectic planks of Mystical, through to the random-shaped tiles of Jumble Stone and linear parquet of Shades, Moduleo Expressive 55 is packed with unusual looks that elevate interiors beyond the ordinary. With embossin-register technology, where the surface texture exactly follows the décor beneath, the collection is not only wonderfully creative, but also impressively authentic. www.ivc-commercial.com

Opposite attracts Carpet tiles from modulyss have been used to bring a contemporary look to the 1920s listed interior of GEP’s London offices. Using the mini-tuft minimalism of Opposite for the open-plan spaces, Oktra designer, Kristy-Jay Thomsen, used three colours to add visual power to the floor: 'The client wanted to create a bit of interest, so we decided to create a three-way grey combination from the Opposite palette. I’d seen the look in the collection’s sample book and thought it would be perfect for this project.' www.modulyss.com

Cork meets wood Boasting all the natural properties and environmental benefits of cork flooring, with an authentic wood aesthetic, Corkwood is the latest addition to Quadrant’s cork flooring collection. Corkwood offers exceptional sound absorption, thermal insulation and impact resistance. Each plank is 100% waterproof and easy to install with a strong universal locking system. Corkwood is also super sustainable, with respect for nature a core value at every step of production and distribution. www.quadmod.com

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Review |


People get ready With Ready to Go from Wilton Carpets, anyone involved in the specification of carpet can enjoy beautiful woven and tufted wool-rich carpets within just 14 days. With no minimum order quantity, Ready to Go is a great way to unlock the creativity of the Wiltshire-based manufacturer across a range of modern and traditional carpets, with the performance for demanding hospitality environments. From the stylish Havana, through to the contemporary plaid of Nova Scotia, Ready to Go delivers beautiful off-the-shelf carpets that are designed to work in a broad range of interiors. www.wiltoncarpets.com

True to life Through the UNILIN Evola collection, interior designers can unlock trueto-life surfaces with the benefits of scratch-resistance, durability and easy maintenance. UNILIN, division panels gives designers access to a collection of decorative panels that utilise the company’s expertise in creating true-tolife surfaces entirely in-house. With many of the décors in the UNILIN Evola collection completely exclusive, UNILIN, division panels develops products inspired by everything from reclaimed wood, through trending colours, to concrete and brushed precious metals. www.unilinpanels.com

Style upgrade Mayer Brown decided to update its flexible space, which was installed by Style 12 years previously, with the latest operable wall technology. Working with MCM Architecture and contractor Overbury, Style installed two semi-automatic Variflex partitions and three Skyfold vertical-rising, fully automatic systems, both taken from the comprehensive DORMA range of operable walls. Mayer Brown visitors and staff now enjoy outstanding acoustic privacy between divided areas of 52dB Rw for the Variflex systems and 59dB Rw for the Skyfolds, ensuring presentations, lectures and speeches can run concurrently and undisturbed. www.style-partitions.co.uk

NATUR inspired NATURtrend, from materials pioneer Granorte, is making the natural beauty of cork flooring more accessible to homes. Featuring the unique aesthetic qualities of agglomerated cork in a range of effects, from the traditional look of Fein and Klassik, through to the bold Castello and Element, NATURtrend captures cork at its most natural, but brings all the benefits expected of today’s modern flooring. Warm to the touch, comfortable underfoot, quiet and easy to look after, NATURtrend delivers everything demanded by flooring for today’s modern homes, while embracing cork’s powerful natural aesthetic and sustainable story. www.granorte.co.uk

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It's been emotional Karndean Designflooring offered visitors to Clerkenwell Design Week 2019 a modern interpretation of a live hospitality space to demonstrate the emotional connection that can be achieved with bespoke floor designs. Encouraging the design community to go beyond their limits when it comes to the floor design, the standout space immediately grabbed visitors with its framed ‘Hello Clerkenwell’ signage, made from bespoke cuts of Karndean, as well as a geometric wall-to-floor design, industrial chic lighting and luxury mid-century velvet furnishings. www.karndean.com

Curtain raiser Creating another new workspace for the agile working environment, Verco's Kurt provides an interesting and inspiring new space for working, or meeting in the workplace. The softer, welcoming sofa units provide a relaxing and comfortable place to be, while the semi-transparent ‘voile’ curtains provide a degree of privacy, while maintaining a visual connection with the rest of the workplace. Kurt provides a real alternative to the plethora of simple acoustic booths and has been designed to be used alongside the acoustic option to help provide a variety of different spaces within the workplace. www.verco.co.uk

Vertical take-off Looking to bring biophilic design to your spaces but want to avoid the maintenance? Inleaf’s artificial green walls are the ideal way to add impressive, premium greening to your vertical spaces. Unlike many alternatives, Inleaf’s green walls panels are UV-stable to prevent discolouration in sunlight and, crucially, are made from fire retardant materials. This means they can be safely installed in indoor spaces within building regulations. www.inleaf.co.uk/artificial-green-walls/

Box of tricks Agile working is great in principle, but not if you can no longer make your space fit the way you like to work. The Bento toolbox is a notebook and tablet stand, in-line document holder and personal storage box in one — and is extremely clean desk and BYOD-friendly! Furthemore, it's ideal to store in a locker after a working day. www.dataflex-int.com/en/bento

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The Last Word | Opinion

CUPS RUNNETH OVER Criteo’s Mike Walley has cups on his mind – but not the glittering silverware our favourite sporting teams and individuals are competing for. No, he's thinking coffee cups.

C We need to be careful where we put our efforts, not assume all positive actions have a position outcome

Mike Walley is Criteo’s Head of Workplace Experience EMEA

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ups make my head hurt. I am not allergic to them or anything like that, it’s just that the permutations around disposable cups versus china cups makes it really hard to choose the best path for the business and the environment and, in effect, highlights many of the challenges we face trying to make business sustainable. Let me explain… We have a large office in Paris with 1,200 right thinking people who want to do the right thing by the environment. They also have a very healthy coffee habit and drink at least two cups per person every day, sometimes more. So that’s a lot of cups. Initially, we used standard disposable cups as, logistically, it was the most efficient way to ensure everyone could get a coffee as soon as they wanted. As soon as we understood that these disposable cups were not as readily recyclable as everyone believed, we invested in VegWare compostable cups (other brands are available) to reduce the environmental impact. This was a wonderful solution. Right up to the point I realised that eco-friendly cups allowed people to use more of them, guilt free. This has two major impacts. One, we are sending more stuff to landfill that breaks down and makes methane, a greenhouse gas, so not the environmental win we were hoping for. Two, it was costing us a fortune! So then we took a look at providing china cups for people to use because it must be better not to throw stuff away, right? Oh my days! What a can of worms! So, how many cups do you need per head to ensure everyone gets one on demand? We thought at least two. Then we had to work out how we collect them from the desks. Call me a cynic, but in 20 years of this job, I have never succeeded in making people bring their own cups back to the kitchen, let alone put them in a dishwasher. Not only that, but this office is full of very curious people. These guys would happily see how many new forms of life might be created in a dirty coffee cup by leaving it on the desk for weeks, or how many cups they could collect on their desk in a month. So there is no option but getting someone to collect them – or in a six-storey building, a number of people to collect them. So, let’s think about this… • Six floors with 200 people on the floor. That’s 400 cups per floor.

• • •

A trolley can hold 100 cups. That’s four tours of each 27,000 sq ft floor. A standard dishwasher can hold 45 cups. That’s nine full cycles of the dish washer per floor. A fast cycle takes about 50 minutes, therefore taking up most of the working day to wash all cups on a floor once. That means one person per floor just managing

cups. Quite an expense. All that is before we consider the environmental overhead in the original manufacture of china versus compostable, the use of water, bleach and soaps in the cleaning process versus bio-degrading cups in landfill, and the original manufacturing impact of building a dishwasher to actually do the wash. A deeply knotty problem with no obvious environmental or business win. We are all under pressure socially and from our staff to reduce the impact our businesses have on the planet and yet, when one looks more closely into some of the obvious solutions, the results of these efforts are less than compelling. I, for one, am learning that it takes way more effort than I originally thought if you wish to be truly impactful. For example, it is pointless separating out food waste unless that waste is going to go to a specialist composting centre where the methane can be captured and used to create electricity. If it's just going to end up in landfill because your landlord considers food waste as part of general rubbish, or the local authorities do not have access to such a facility, then there is no positive impact. We need to be putting the effort into influencing the entire chain, from supply to waste management, and not just thinking that, because we have food bins, we have it nailed. Just as with cups, you simply cannot say that china is best because we don’t throw it away – because the impact on water supplies and sulphate pollution from the soaps may well offset the impact of disposables. So, we need to be careful where we put our efforts, not assume all positive actions have a positive outcome and learn to influence change upstream and downstream of the point of use if we truly want to have an impact. I think we are still learning how to do that. Maybe we should get a coffee and talk about it further.w

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Mix Interiors 196 - July 2019  

Mix Interiors 196 - July 2019