Mix Interiors 181

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Mix Interiors 181

February 2018




T. +44 (0)1405 746000 Head Office, Factory & Showroom T. +44 (0)20 7490 4909 London Office & Showroom

Elite Office Furniture LTD

www.elite-furniture.co.uk E. info@elite-furniture.co.uk E. londonshowroom@elite-furniture.co.uk

@EliteOfficeFurn eliteofficefurniture

INSIDE UPFRONT 12 Perspective 23 Seven... 24 Forward Thinking 26 Material Matters 29 Deser t Island Desks 30

SPOTLIGHT 33 Big Question 34 Dealer Repor t 36 Book E x tracts 56

36 DEALER REPORT 36 We bring you our annual dealer repor t , where we ask the UK 's finest furniture providers to give us an insight into their businesses.

PROFILE 84 Steelcase's SILQ chair 84


RE VIE W 90 Stockholm Design Week 90 Sur face Design Show 92

Plexal, First East , Stratford 62 The Bright Building, Manchester Science Park 70


Integro, London 78

Opinion – Glenn Elliott

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Upfront | Welcome

THE COVER The logo The logo design utilises the BAND brand identity, reinterpreting it into an urban scape, which was an integral theme of our design approach on the Peaks and Plains project. www.bandarchitects.com

The cover The vivid pattern and lavish texture of Zebra bodes for an impactful and highly visual flooring design concept. The precision-driven digital printing technology used on Forbo’s Flotex flocked flooring enables you to create true to life designs with the ‘wow' factor you desire. Flotex…the Art of Flocking. www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/artofflocking

A WORD FROM MICK It’s slightly odd that, in an issue where we’re asking the UK’s dealer network whether manufacturers are doing enough to support our furniture providers (see Big Question on p36), we’ve just been shown a couple of new products, which I believe are the groundbreaking innovations we can all get excited by. The reason we ask the question in the first place is that, to be frank, we haven't seen enough true innovation from the world of 'hard' (or what we used to call office) furniture. Sure, there have been plenty of really nice soft seating or acoustic/privacy seating products introduced, but can any of us say there’s been a ‘game-changer’ in terms of the more technical side of the furniture market over the past

few years? Probably not – until now, maybe. Take a look at our focus on the new SILQ chair from Steelcase (p84). With radically few parts and material innovation at its heart, this is definitely going to get people talking – and might just change the way a lot of companies look at the design and production of this form of seating. We also recently took a look at the new furniture system from Italian company, Tecno, where the integration of technology takes the good old ‘flat surface’ to a completely new level (and we’ll definitely be bringing you more about this in the near future). Let’s hope this is the start of a whole new revolution.

GET IN TOUCH BACK ISSUES Contact us to buy back issues: rebecca@mixinteriors.com

Sales director Gary Williams gary@mixinteriors.com


Director David Smalley david@mixinteriors.com


t: 01709 385470 e: sales@cmd-ltd.com w: www.cmd-ltd.com


om 51 7080

16/01/2018 09:11


Wireless retrofittable lighting control system Up to 16 easy to program lighting scenes per zone User controlled allowing employees to manage their own light levels



Mix Interiors 179

November 2017


Founding publisher Henry Pugh


www.cmd-ltd.com | +44 (0) 1709 385460 | sales@cmd-ltd.com

Designer Georgina Nicklin georgina@mixinteriors.com Managing director Marcie Incarico marcie@mixinteriors.com



ontrols system focuses rms. Faster and easier and costs associated vation. Our streamlined ou to better control your while advanced smart nergy and lighting costs

Editorial support Rebecca Sabato rebecca@mixinteriors.com

January 2018



use Street






Mix Interiors 180





This stylish monitor arm, arguably one of the slimmest of its type on the market today, has been awarded FIRA’s prestigious Ergonomic Excellence Award and is now supplied with a 10 year extended warranty.

Editor Mick Jordan mick@mixinteriors.com

07/11/2017 14:32

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Contributors Steve Gale Glenn Elliott Andy Swann Neil Usher Address Mix Media Limited 2 Abito 85 Greengate Manchester M3 7NA

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

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a d k …

Upfront |

… a table that works really hard. So we called ours, ‘Worktable’.

Rawside Furniture is a London-based, designer, builder and lover of the most practical office furniture on planet Earth. www.rawside.co ~ hello@rawside.co ~


Rawside, The Undercroft, Kennington Park, 1-3 Brixton Road, London, SW9 6DE Mix 181 February 2018 | 3

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Research suggests that a more diverse workplace is a smarter and more successful workplace.


Orangebox SmartworkingÂŽ 38 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HU. T. +44(0)20 7837 9922

| F. +44(0)20 7837 4441 | email. showroom@orangebox.com | www.orangebox.com

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R AY S W I V E L RAY swivel combines the same seating dynamics as its cantilever predecessor; this new version offers even more forms of flexibility and comfort. Floating above the die-cast aluminium base, the upper assembly springs, bounces and sways. A combination of firmness and softness, mobility and solidity, grace and style. All in one chair.

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w w w.brunner-uk .com Mix 181 February 2018 | 7

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ENTRIES ARE OPEN Enter your Projects, Products, Designers and Company. Entering is free and easy. The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday 16th March 2018. www.mixology-awards.com

Thank you to the Mixology sponsors:

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21 June 2018 Old Billingsgate

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in partnership with

SWITCH | SLEEK | STACK SMART STORAGE Make your storage solutions smart with the new SWITCH, SLEEK & STACK ranges. Enhance your workspace with features including powered lockers and high density rolling storage all within a smart, slimline carcass design.

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London Showroom: 21-22 Great Sutton Street | Clerkenwell | London EC1V 0DY T: +44 (0)20 7253 7652 | E: enquiries@silverline-oe.com

www.silverline-oe.com Part of Group S : www.group-s.co.uk

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Upfront | News

CENTURY SITS/STANDS TO ATTENTION ACQUISITIVE SHAW Shaw Industries – the flooring people on Great Sutton Street, Clerkenwell, to many of us – has acquired Scotland-based carpet tile manufacturer Sanquhar Tile Services (STS). Shaw is the largest carpet tile manufacturer in North America, with 50 years in the business. STS, with just over 45 years in business itself, will continue to serve its customers as part of Shaw’s commercial flooring division, with the leadership team continuing to operate the business. ‘This acquisition positions Shaw as a global carpet tile provider,’ says Vance Bell, Chairman and CEO of Shaw. ‘STS will be an important part of our commercial business, and we will make substantial capital investments to enhance and modernise their operations. We’re proud to count STS associates among the 22,000 individuals at Shaw who are working to create a better future for our customers, our communities, our company and each other.’

A NEW WAY FOR PAGEANT ThirdWay Group has provided financial services consultancy, Pageant Media, with a new workspace on London Wall, City of London. As you would expect of the 11,500 sq ft office, there is a mix of hot desking space and collaborative areas featured. Pageant Media wanted a space to suit its agile working style, empowering its employees to work where, when and how they choose around the office. Key features include a large breakfast bar, a curved bleacher and table tennis, offering staff structured independence. Raw timber finishes are used throughout the design, as well as cladding from Pageant’s previous office in areas such as the breakfast bar. This exposed material and timber finish was something the client was passionate about maintaining. Whilst Pageant Media has changed significantly with its rapid growth, it wanted to keep a part of its history. Using the original cladding, which ThirdWay provided for the former offices, provides a gentle nod to how far Pageant Media has come as a business over the years.

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Everyone knows how long meetings can go on for and how uncomfortable it can be to sit for the entire duration. However, Century Office’s new Autonomy Pro Meeting Solutions claims to have this particular problem solved. With this sit/stand meeting table, Century Office tells us that it has the ideal solution for quick group meetings…‘not having the option to stand gives employees or clients the chance to work collaboratively in a more effective way,' we're told. 'If everyone is trying to look at the same thing at once, having the ability to stand over it instead of stretching or bending awkwardly will mean that every individual, whether it is a client, a colleague or an employee, can do so in a more comfortable manner’. The Autonomy Pro desk has two memory settings – which can presumably be set at sit or stand.


LUCTRA® TABLE PRO provides perfect lighting conditions for any workplace. Light as flexible as your own personal working day, packed into award-winning design. Innovative. Individual. Sustainable.


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While technology brings us closer globally, it can isolate us from those who are nearest. Neighbours, colleagues, friends. Human Connections builds vital pathways, intersections and meeting spaces. Where people can come together, collaborate, communicate. See our new Human Connections™ collection at interface.com.

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Upfront | News

FLOWERED UP The new Dauphin Fiore multipurpose chair provides the perfect seating solution to suit any taste and almost any setting. Thanks to a large selection of frames, surfaces and colours, this all-rounder cuts a fine figure wherever it is used and its function and appearance makes it a welcome addition to any scheme. The simple, seat shell gives the chair a light visual touch and, depending on the material and colour, provides bold highlights or makes a fine statement. To cover the widest possible range of uses, the shell is optionally available in flexible plastic, as a slender moulded-wood shell and in various upholstered versions. Whether you opt for bright and colourful, a natural wood look or a classic black and white appearance, Fiore is always comfortable, functional and presents a clear design without being obtrusive. A large selection of sub-frames – with or without armrests – and numerous options open up lots of other possible designs and applications. The Red Dot jury was particularly impressed by the swivelling wooden model with four-star base – in fact, the intricate conference chair was presented with the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2017.

THE FUZE IS LIT Dams has recently introduced Fuze – a new desk range with a solid oak leg frame and co-ordinated desktop finish options. Dams is looking to get the message across that this is the perfect solution for a less corporate modern office, blending the best of European design with the highest workmanship standards to span a wide range of applications and support the most creative of workspaces. Fuze ticks all of these boxes, featuring solid oak legs that are built to last, durable 25mm desktops, available in white with two edging options, with a white steel framework for enhanced strength and stability. Each desk has three scalloped cut-outs in the tops, allowing cables to pass directly through to the shared cable trays and cable risers to ensure complete cable control, improving office aesthetics and safety. Chris Scott, MD at Dams, says: ‘Selecting the right office furniture, which reflects a company’s brand values and embraces smart working practices, can only contribute to a more effective and efficient workplace, increasing employee wellbeing, productivity and positive change. The Fuze office furniture collection has been designed to present your company in the best possible way, making a bold visual statement in any office landscape and offering everything employees need to be inspired and productive.’





cm@spatial.co.uk / 0161 850 9005

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Upfront | News


DESIGN GUILD MARK’S CALL FOR NEW CATEGORY ENTRIES The Design Guild Mark, awarded by The Furniture Makers’ Company, has launched the call for entries for its new 2D design category (fabrics, textiles, wall coverings, floor coverings and carpets). The Mark has traditionally recognised the highest standards in the design of furniture for volume production, by the finest designers working in Britain, or British designers working abroad. The deadline for entries is Friday 2nd March 2018. Rodney McMahon, Chairman of the Design Guild Mark, comments: ‘Now in its 10th year, the Design Guild Mark’s furniture category continues to attract a very high calibre of entries that are then judged by our independent and expert panel. With the Mark gaining international recognition as a designation of excellence, the time was right to expand into 2D design. The judges confirmed for the 2D category are recognised experts within the field and we will announce the panel in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we look forward to receiving the first applications for the 2D design category during this historic time for the Design Guild Mark.’

READY STEADY OPEN IKON Mixology finalist, Ikon Furniture, has had a busy 2017. With team expansion and a breadth of new clients and projects, the company has enjoyed its busiest and most successful year yet. Ikon is a preferred and exclusive supplier in the North West for some of the industry’s leading furniture manufacturers, specialising in hotel, leisure and hospitality, high-end residential, bespoke furniture and, particularly, commercial office – bringing office spaces to life for companies such as Vestas, Myersons, Metis, Pearson Vue and The National Trust. However, we have been keeping a close eye on Ikon – and 2018 is set to be an even bigger year for the Manchesterbased family business. Ikon is due to launch a brand new 5,500 sq ft showroom, over three floors, in the heart of the swanky Spinningfields district. They have told us to tell you to keep your eyes peeled for an invite to the big night!

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It’s not every day that a film company comes knocking at your door. As one of the biggest stockholders of sheet materials in the UK, Leeds-based Lawcris was intrigued by the opportunity presented by the creators of new feature film, Scott and Sid. Lawcris owner, Chris Hopton, says: ‘To be involved with such an inspirational and exciting project was great for Lawcris. Our company thrives on its Yorkshire roots and the fact that the film encapsulates some of our company’s beliefs was even more of a reason to say yes to this amazing opportunity.’ Over the last 35 years, Lawcris has achieved recognition as one of the leading specialists in the sourcing and distribution of innovative wood-based panel products, especially in the commercial sector, which is why they were first choice when production designer Lauren Hinley required boards for an integral scene in the film. Producer Sid Sadowskyj adds: ‘Without companies like Lawcris supporting indie films, there wouldn’t be an indie film industry in the UK. They were a huge help.’ Based on the lives of creators Scott Elliot and Sid Sadowskyj, Scott and Sid will be released in March 2018 and is a tale about friendship and coming-of-age as the boys navigate the distance from dream to reality, never letting themselves succumb to an ordinary path through life. If you'd like to find out more and see the film's sensational trailer (it’s well worth a look), simply visit www.scottandsid.com

Upfront | News

TRADITIONAL OFFICE TRANSFORMED INTO A STAR The trend prediction of refurbishment rather than speculative development is having somewhat of a welcome renaissance. The former KPMG headquarters, the 155,000 sq ft, 8 Salisbury Square, a traditional 1980’s office building, is one such example having been redesigned to deliver Grade A commercial office space over five floors. tp bennett was appointed by Greycoat Real Estate and Cheyne Capital to remodel the building into office space suitable for the modern occupier. The original building was a typical 1980’s post-modern design, offering 110,000 sq ft of space, with dated window systems, a large atrium and awkward floorplates. tp bennett’s design took a more consistent and simple approach, using elegant finishes to create an attractive, flexible workspace and also added 40,000 sq ft of further space. James Elliott, Director at tp bennett, says: ‘Working with 1980’s buildings is a great opportunity – they provide a strong base for the modern commercial office space, with generous floorplates, ceiling heights and window sizes. The attention to detail on this project was a key factor – we really thought about the demographic of the potential occupier, curating the fixtures and fittings to appeal to both the dynamic mid-town media workforce as well as the more traditional corporate and legal industry based in this location. Our creativity as a team, alongside our deep understanding and experience of working with developers and corporate clients alike, allows us to take a holistic view with such projects, creating an innovative space that is also sustainable and flexible for the final occupiers’ needs.’

GOING NUCLEAR IN CUMBRIA Godfrey Syrett has just completed the furniture installation for the newly built National College for Nuclear (NCfN) northern hub at Lakes College in Cumbria. The £7.5m college is one of five proposed National Colleges, delivering technical training to thousands across England. John Irving, Facilities Manager at NCfN, says: ‘Our new state-of-the-art college has been designed to create the ‘workforce of tomorrow’ for the Nuclear industry. 'Godfrey Syrett played an important role in helping create practical and visually attractive learning spaces, which will welcome the first group of learners in January 2018. ‘It’s great to see the college now fully complete, enabling us to provide qualifications that reflect the needs of the nuclear sector and address the skills challenge facing the nuclear industry and its supply chain. NCfN demonstrates the UK's commitment to placing nuclear at the heart of its industrial strategy for the 21st century.’ The college features a virtual reality suite – which will allow learners to experience nuclear installations in a virtual environment – science and radiation laboratories and specialised design and modelling suites.

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Upfront | News

SHEDDING SOME LIGHT ON ARCHITECTURE Architect@Work London took place in January, at London’s Kensington Olympia, in association with The Society of British and International Design. In addition to the rows of sophisticated exhibition stands, an array of seminars and panel discussions took place, with a heavy focus on the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible: light. Topics included lighting in workplace wellness, achieving a balance of light and dark, designing to embrace natural light and light as a building material and/or a surface. A topic disscussed was our circadian rhythms – how we’re naturally tuned to experience light – play a key role in understanding its biological and psychological effects on us. We’re now exposed to more light, from a multitude of sources, for increasing periods of time. For this reason, it seems that 'tuneable' sources – using apps and mood settings – are highly important for overall wellness and should make an appearance in the planning and design stages of any project. The best dynamic, unsurprisingly, seems to be a two-way, collaborative relationship between lighting designers and architects. If this can be achieved, the possibilities are not only endless, but they’re also effective and beautiful. Architect@Work was a classy and enlightening affair. We’ll certainly make another appearance next time – in a well-lit spot, naturally.

COPY DATE Penketh Group has acquired one of the North West’s most established photocopier and office supplies businesses as part of its ambitious growth plans. The company has bought Wirral-based Currie Business Services and added its six employees to its own 80-strong team. Penketh Group has its own head office on the Wirral, along with its Manchester-based Worklife showroom. This latest acquisition coincides with another successful year for the Group, with revenues rising to £12.5million, up from last year’s £11.3million.

OFF TO GOODWOOD Here’s another fine example of the world of consumer and commercial blurring. The Goodwood coffee table is the most recent edition to Morgan’s Collection, designed by Katerina Zachariades. Launched at Sleep towards the end of last year, the table includes a sculptural, profiled timber column that echoes the same distinctive chamfered edge as its sister armchairs. The foot can be epoxy coated in black or finished in bronze, while black timber spacers connect the base, sculptured column and top. The console table has a veneered solid wood lipped top, as well as being available in laminate.

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Founded in 1991 by brothers Brian and David Currie, Currie Business Services boasts customers across Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales. The company’s photocopier business will continue to trade under the Currie name, with other services, including office supplies and furniture, transferring to Penketh Group. Mark Penketh, Managing Director of Penketh Group, said: ‘Our two businesses have a very similar ethos and were a natural fit when the opportunity came along to acquire Currie. ‘We had an existing photocopier division in our business but Currie’s moves us to another level, particularly in terms of engineering excellence. ‘This is the latest strategic acquisition for Penketh Group following our purchase of Manchester Office Supplies earlier this year. ‘Our goal is to become a £20million turnover business by 2020 by providing our customers with a modern, diverse, knowledgeable and flexible offering. We have made significant progress in the last 12 months and have further plans to accelerate our growth plan over the coming months.’

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2 1 u y e r g l a natur s u l p l e M c a p Com

A greener alternative to compact laminate CompacMel Plus is the greener alternative to compact laminate that saves you time and money. This eco-friendly product is 100% recyclable, plus anti-bacterial properties and easy machinability make it perfect for a huge array of applications including office, education and healthcare furniture.

View our full range of decorative panels & services on our website. W: www.lawcris.co.uk E: sales@lawcris.co.uk P: 0113 217 7177 Mix 181 February 2018 | 19

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Upfront | News


GOOD NEWS FROM CROXLEY Croxley Park (formally Croxley Green Business Park) has signed a second significant deal in the last couple of months. Corona Energy, the business energy supplier, has recently taken 20,700 sq ft of space – and this comes after researchbased pharmaceutical company, Glenmark, signed a deal to take 20,000 sq ft in November 2017. Croxley Park, Watford, has undergone significant refurbishment since 2017 and has over 60 businesses in its 700,000 sq ft of office and business space. Keep an eye out as planning has also been granted for an additional 85,000 sq ft of space next door and, combined, an offer of approximately 150,000 sq ft of high quality office space in a best in class business environment. Matt Gray, CEO of Corona Energy, says: ‘At Corona, we believe in making a positive difference today. This delightful move marks a strategic investment in the next chapter of our journey, giving us more space to grow and enhance wellbeing and collaboration for the benefit of our growing base of customers and staff. ‘The on-site facilities, such as a gym, nursery and conference centre, will help us to motivate and develop our staff, host our customers and partners in a stunning waterside environment and support the team to enhance the outstanding service for which we are known.’

We got news a couple of weeks ago that Ocee Design had made the Sunday Times Fast Track 100. Not surprising perhaps, as there does appear to be a regular source of good news from the Northampton manufacturer. The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 analyses the financial performance, over the last three years, for all businesses within the UK – and identifies the top 100 fastest growing companies. Set up in 1990, Ocee designs and manufactures furniture that features in offices and universities around the world. Chief Executive, Alistair Gough, bought a 45% share in the company with a business partner in 2010. He then led a management buyout in 2016, helped by £5.6m of funding from Barclays and £10m from growth-capital firm BGF. Later that year, Ocee purchased Denmark-based Four Design, its manufacturing partner since 2012. We’re informed that overseas sales accounted for 55% of this year’s total turnover of £33.5m. Impressive.

REFRESHING G&T Let's finish this month's UpFront with some more good news. If you didn’t get the text alert, then here is the annual financial news from leading construction and property consultant, Gardiner & Theobald. The business reported another strong financial performance for 2016/17. Turnover increased by 14% (£172m 2016/17 / £150m 2015/16) and its headline profitability margin was maintained at 27% (£47m (27%) 2016/17 / £40.5m (27%) 2015/16). The firm also increased its global headcount from 990 to 1072. ‘Being financially strong and independent allows us to focus on delivering the very highest service levels in the industry and helping clients to minimise risk and maximise the value of their developments and property assets,’ says Simon Jones, Managing Partner. ‘It also enables us to continue to invest in the personal and professional development of our workforce, support industry initiatives and create positive social impact through charitable giving.’



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We’ve been working hard to provide even more product choice and improved resources for our customers, specifiers and end-users. This includes a brand new website, a stylish 20-page brochure and redesigned shade cards, which include new colour options. Contact us to request our new shade cards and brochure

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Call 01924 413637 www.heckmondwike-fb.co.uk/samples

Upfront | Perspective

PERSPECTIVE Founded by a small group of great minds at a Paris start-up incubator, Criteo has rapidly become a global leader in commerce marketing. Having met back at Orgatec, it was about time we reconnected with Head of Workplace Experience, Mike Walley.

How many are currently in the Criteo workforce? 3,000.

lunches, breakfast events, summer outings etc.

How many offices are under your watchful eye? 13.

What was your most challenging or favourite project to date (and why)? The recent renovation of the 3rd floor in our Paris HQ. It was challenging as we had to do it around a busy finance team at close quarter and year end, so it took some very smart programming – but, also, it was the first time we had been able to bring our latest thinking on design to the largest office in the company.

And where are you at with those facilities right now? The offices are in a constant state of evolution. In the last year we have touched 30% of the current portfolio with either an expansion, relocation, or renovation. How long have you been in the role? Two years. What skills and attributes from any of your previous roles do you use to great effect in your current role? Hospitality industry level customer service. 'Client First, Colleague Second', is the mantra I use with my team. Can you share with us a lesson learned and never repeated? Never give a stakeholder a blank sheet in a design meeting. Always go in with a preliminary plan to work from – or the 'flights of fancy' mean you spend the entire meeting saying 'No'. Not a good message. What are you doing now regularly in your day-to-day role, which five years ago you weren’t? Organising social events for the workforce. Part of our role is to drive and support social interaction across the company. The millennial worker does not separate work life and social life to the same degree that older generations did; the circles on the Venn diagram definitely overlap. So, we play our part and create opportunities for coming together. Monthly social events,

Is there a new fad, buzzword or trend starting to surface in your world? Gameification. Example… if you book a hotel for less than the company average price, you get points and they will add up to a free stay for you and your family. Reinforce correct behaviour by making a game of it.

when you raise an adjustable height meeting table, it 'improves collaboration'! Really? Open plan space either enhances or destroys collaboration, depending on your point of view. Collaboration is the only life goal of the millennial. We must work collaboratively or we will be doomed to a lonely, unproductive existence. Unless, of course, we are talking about 'Focused Working' – then we must be alone and quiet... Name one thing that will have disappeared from the workplace in the next decade? Desk phones. They are already on their way out. This is major infrastructure investment that is outperformed by the smartphone in your pocket.

What are the biggest challenges you and your team face? To constantly bring excitement and surprise to the workplace.

What is the one thing that you would change when working with architects and designers? Oh Boy! I think it is the 'form over function' argument. Too many designs I get offered post-brief are built around the look, with little thought to actual usage or are based upon a stylised view of usage. (Images of happy people with fully charged laptops and no cups of coffee, whereas the reality is stressed people running to a meeting with a dead laptop and slopping a cup of coffee on the floor). There is not enough thought about the impact a design can have on my OpEx budgets in terms of day two maintenance and cleaning. There is also a 'Cult of the Classic' in certain furniture elements.

Tell us one thing that gets on your nerves? The word…collaboration! It is applied to absolutely everything as though it bestows some kind of magic. I was told recently that

Do you think the subject of productivity in the knowledgebased workplace is relevant? Simply put, no. I don’t think it is possible to measure good ideas as

What is the best thing about working for Criteo? There is a real drive to be the benchmark company for the Tech industry. When people talk about great places to work, we want our name to be on their lips. This gives great opportunities to be creative and push the envelope a little. We recently were No.1 in France on the Glassdoor survey. Id like to see that result globally!

if they were widgets off an assembly line. The man who has a game changing idea that sets fire to the industry...is he productive? He only had the one idea! How many people are involved in the initial brief for an office transformation? Harking back to an earlier question, often the initial brief is done by me and we take the resulting ideas to the stakeholders for refinement. This helps keep the grammar of the design within the overarching principles we have and provides a springboard for discussion. What tech is occupying your thinking at the moment? Monitoring sensors and beacons. They will help me manage everything, from meeting room availability to washroom cleaning frequency. They can let me build apps to direct you to locations within the building and tell you which hot desks are free for use. The potential is huge! If you had to choose one, which is more important in a workplace setting – the chair or the monitor arm? Or other? I really wish I didn’t have to choose! I see them as being part of an integrated whole, but it all starts with the chair, I guess. We have recently replaced nearly 2,000 chairs in the company to ensure we meet the highest standards possible.

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Our friends at Rawside bravely volunteered to try some of the best beers, ales and stouts, in some of the great craft brew houses of London, so that you don’t have to – although we heartily recommend that you do. 1. Meantime Founder Alistair Hook started with a mission statement we can all appreciate: Proper beer for everyone. Meantime has since built into a household name for fans of said ‘proper beer’. Their secret (if it is one) is making simple ideas…great – something very close to our own hearts. Hard to have a pick of a very big bunch of great gear, but in this instance it’s appropriate to choose either the London Lager or London Pale Ale. Something familiar, done as well as it can be. That’s about as good as it gets. 2. Orbit Beers Founder Robert, and best friend Brian (who happened to be a VW Camper Van), decided that Scotland might be rightly famous for the amber dram, but could be just as well known for its brewing. The result? A book called the Tea Leaf

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4 Paradox (no, us neither, but it’s a great read) that took in smart beer-based thinking from all across Robert’s native land, from Shetland to the Borders. After making this epic journey he knew Orbit Beers just had to be started. Now residing in Walworth, Orbit is well named, as Robert’s roving mind takes in all corners of the globe for inspiration. We like the Nico and Neu models, bit of Vorsprung Durst Bottling right here in London. 3. Brick Brewery Fellow South Londoners, Brick, started from a shed in 2013, and whilst they’ve expanded more than a little, to a brewery in a large railway arch, they still reside in their beloved Peckham – but despite being local, London and proud of it, there’s also a wealth of worldly expertise they’ve picked up on their travels and brought home that goes into every brew. Our winner? The Peckham Pils they’ve made since day one. Czech-style, classic (with a twist)

and crisp and clean as you like. The sooner spring gets here, the sooner we can stick a bunch of them in a big bucket of ice and get cracking. 4. Beavertown The story apparently starts with founder Logan, a 50 litre rice pan, a coolbox, a tea urn and a headfull of ideas inspired by the best brews in the world. Present day, Beavertown is globally well known as ‘the cool beers with the crazy can designs’. We’re big fans of the classic Neck Oil, or smoked porter Smog Rocket, if needing something ‘different’. However, Beavertown’s restless eye on the world of brewing often results in great limited edition collaborations like the West Side Beavo, made with their friends at Firestone Walker, California. 5. Fourpure Founded by siblings Dan and Tom in 2013, Fourpure is a great example of international

ideas coming together in little old London. It's all based on four great ingredients: grain, yeast, hops, water (clue’s in the name). Give those four things the respect they deserve and the rest is gravy – like us, they know the difference between ‘experimenting’ and just ‘screwing around’ – and, sometimes, simplest is best. A great example of this philosophy is our favourite, the Session IPA. A New York vibe is given oomph with Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic, Ahtanum,and Crystal hops. Big, bold…but session-able.



6. Brixton Brewery One of the most established names in the London craft scene, it all started when four friends (two couples in fact) decided that every neighbourhood deserves a great brewery – and so Brixton Brewery was born in their local manor. Ingredients sourced as locally as possible? Traditional techniques? A very English small-batch approach but with influences from across the globe? Check, check and check. We like the fact they live local and think global – that’s a very Rawside thing too. We’re currently rocking their Block 336 Pale Ale, which was brewed to celebrate Brixton art gallery and artist space, Block 336, which is hosting the Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition this January. Launchpad for artists such as Damian Hirst way back when, this was the first time this event had been sighted south of the river. Plus, 336 artists helped design the label. How holistic. 7. The Five Points Brewery Company. Despite being northerners (they’re north of the River in Hackney), Rawside loves everything about Five Points. Outside of their great beers, they are a true community company; charity outreach, apprenticeships for 18-24's, a living wage and all their electricity comes from 100% renewable sources. Something we aspire to as well. Rawside’s pick has to be the Hook Island Red, a Red Rye ale. A little spice and dryness in there, we reckon? Anyway, it really let’s the rye shine through. Careful though, it's 6%! Can sneak up on you. Trust us on that one.

a cage full of ideas. cage– a cabinet system that impresses with its striking design language and authentic blend of materials. wiesner-hager.com

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Upfront | Forward Thinking

FACTS AND FUNCTIONAL FICTOIDS Steve Gale tries to distinguish between fact and fiction...

There are things people want to be true, so with the backing of a big name, they can easily become imbued with ‘truthiness’

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void dementia by eating curry. More people see bus advertising than use social media. Coffee cures cancer. I made the last one up, but the others are quotes from the real world, encountered on my way to work this week. Are any of these statements true? How would we know? How do we identify a fact, and do facts even actually exist? Does it matter? Who cares? 'Like Santa Claus and Unicorns, facts don’t really exist', according to Scientific American last year, an organ that understands peer reviews and the value of evidence. But in the pursuit of scientific proof, you are allowed to be a bit sniffy. We can disagree with nitpicking scientists because some things are obviously facts as they are simply known to be true – like we know that swallows fly south for the winter. But some very simple claims have caused a lot of problems in our recent past – and it feels like it’s getting worse. Maybe it’s time to be picky about facts, sceptical even. Statements of 'fact' from well informed sources have badly misled us. We have heard duff claims about Weapons of Mass Destruction, £350m a week for the NHS, and the birthplace of Barack Obama that exploit our credulous nature. There are things people want to be true, so with the backing of a big name, they can easily become imbued with 'truthiness'. Have a look at these three statements below: '32% of MPs in the UK parliament are women.' '2% of Americans are concerned about losing their jobs because they believe their industry is shrinking.' 'Green buildings improve decision making performance by 8%.' I am going to guess that you thought the last one looked the most suspect. All of these are from sources you would recognise, but the third has so many holes, it makes a Swiss cheese look like an anvil. The other reason the third statement rings alarm bells is because it implies a pretty tall claim about

the future. With the other two, we feel we could go back and check the evidence. They seem more open to scrutiny. Can we perhaps have two standards for defining facts? One to describe things in the past or present, where evidence can be re-examined, and another to predicts the future. Obviously nobody can reliably predict the future, otherwise Theresa May would look a bit more comfortable in her press photographs, but the job of science is to attempt a reasonable fist of it. For example, a basic calculation allows us to predict the velocity needed to escape the earth’s gravitational field, and the temperature at which magnesium will spontaneously combust is a dead cert. These are things that you would not bet against. But I would not want to guarantee the increase of 8% in decision making performance by placing people in a green building. Although the odds would be long, I don’t think I will be nipping down to Ladbrokes with a fiver on that one. Let’s not make unreliable claims – and let’s release workplace predictions from the chains of scientific proof, because design and the study of people is not a science. In fact, let’s stop making predictive claims altogether before it gets embarrassing. The design industry rightly wants to burnish its reputation through study and engaging findings, but we should tread carefully. There is a protocol to making reliable claims, and we all occasionally fall short. So next time you see a claim that 'The US economy loses $411 billion due to sleep loss' or an image of 'The largest audience ever to witness an inauguration' or 'Stress lowers average employee productivity by 5%', you can either pursue it and check the source credentials, methods, reviews and statistical analysis (if they exist) – or take it as a discussion point, but not a fact.

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

Upfront |


New ege collection: ReForm Artworks Ecotrust Mark-making, collage and the aesthetics of chance transfer readily to the floorscape. The multi-level loop construction defines shapes, brushstrokes and layers in three co-ordinated patterns. Made of regenerated ECONYLÂŽ yarns from used fishing nets, Artworks is a truly green choice. Available as tiles and broadloom. THE URGE TO EXPLORE SPACE

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Upfront |

Imagine • Design • Create www.karndean.com 28 | Mix 181 February 2018

Upfront | Material Matters





MATERIAL MATTERS In this month’s Material Matters, the experts at Material Lab explore surfaces with an element of the unique. www.material-lab.co.uk 1. Exotic landscapes and magical murals underpin Modern Love’s collection for Tektura The brainchild of Sarah Arnett and Kim Hunt, Modern Love hails from the world of high-end fashion, having designed collections for Liberty, as well as collaborating with Christian Dior and Escada. For their first foray into interior design, the creative duo has teamed up with Tektura to create a range of wall coverings, featuring landscapes inspired by ancient art, oriental pattern and African and Asian artefacts. In addition, these stunning patterns are also available as window films and acrylic panels. www.tektura.com 2. All that glitters: Versital introduces Gold Stratos The luxurious Gold Stratos by Versital comprises a hand-made solid surface material that combines a polyester resin with natural minerals, fillers and

pigments. Also known as ‘cultured marble’ or ‘imitation marble’, each piece of the stain resistant and waterproof design is manufactured to order, allowing clients to specify exact sizes and colours, of which there are over 100 variations. The ‘Metallic Marbles’ collection simply oozes glamour and sophistication – the perfect match for both residential and commercial projects alike. www.versital.co.uk 3. Mayfair Granite’s Volga Blue enhances surface material through dramatic, iridescent tones Although you’re probably familiar with granite as a material, you may not be as acquainted with its countless variations – many of which boast impactful, aesthetic benefits. Take Volga Blue, for example. Offered by Mayfair Granite, a combination of grey, white and blue tones catches the light for an unprecedented effect. This is not your average

black granite – expect something that’s slightly out of the ordinary, and pair with a dusty pastel palette for powerful results. www.mayfairgranite.co.uk 4. Nathan Allan’s handcrafted, ‘kiln formed’ glass guarantees bespoke beauty In a fascinating process, Nathan Allan produces architectural glass for its design-led clients. Utilising a ‘kiln formed’ method of melting, individual moulds are formed and carved according to each project’s bespoke specification. During the melting process, the desired pattern is embossed into the glass, giving it a 3D surface shape. Suitable for various applications including feature walls, dividers, doors, facades and even staircases, a material perhaps once rarely considered robust now becomes a cornerstone of show-stopping décor. www.nathanallan.com

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Upfront | Desert Island Desks

DESERT ISLAND DESKS Lara Conway Lara Conaway is a freelance sustainability and wellbeing consultant, with over 20 years' experience in the built environment. In recent years, her focus has been on the practical integration of wellbeing into the workplace. She is delighted that what should be a natural thought for office design and staff management is finally getting the attention it deserves. Outside of work, Lara rows competitively, is a rowing coach and is currently undertaking training to be a rowing umpire. Here are the key items she would take with her on an extended stay on our desert island...


A proper, big old knife. The uses are endless, and I could potentially need it to protect myself from someone wanting to take over my desert island. I have a beautiful, engraved scimitar with a tooled leather handle from Mali. It’s a stunning piece of handwork, which is functional and made with pride – something we see less of, it seems.


Is this cheating? To get off when I want to? It also makes a great shelter from the tropical rains. I spend a lot of time in racing boats on the river – but this one would be a proper rowing boat. Think Jerome K Jerome, with rowlocks and oars and a canvas cover. And a Union Jack.


Of course, as I can now power it. Loaded with as many box sets, books, music and films as I can possibly muster. I never thought that I would be a gadget, ‘internety’ person, but it’s no longer something I can deny. The opportunities to learn, engage the brain, switch off the brain…has got me hooked. And it’s got a torch built in!

Portable solar panel unit

This is my practical side taking over. I mean, why wouldn’t you? Limitless sun, ergo, solar power. I’m glad my time on a desert island has coincided with this technology. If the human race gets properly on board, it might actually go some way to solving so many of our rapidly approaching issues. Oh no, wait, I forgot, apparently ‘clean, beautiful coal’ is the answer, according to some bloke recently…

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My bed

I love my bed – my safe and relaxing place, familiar and comforting. I’d need it to fit under the boat – or the boat needs to fit over the bed! Chicken/egg. A good night’s sleep is hugely important. I’ll need all my wits about me to find food with my knife. Oh, a mozzie net for my bed. On that point…

Tel 01925 850500

Upfront |

Email info@sixteen3.co.uk

Copious amounts of Citronella...

...or DEET as insect repellent. Mozzies love me. They drive me insane. My time travelling through Central Africa showed me what utter tormenters they are. Not just from the furiously itchy bites, but the diseases you can get from them. I know they have a function somewhere in the eco system but for me (and hundreds of thousands of other people)…I even picked up malaria from the little blighters!

Vast vats of red wine

Ideally bottomless! I love my red wine. I subscribe to a service that provides selections from smaller vineyards, from all over the world. You never know what you are going to get – and I think that variation would be great to while away the days. Some lovely sheep’s cheese would be rather good too. London Showroom The Gallery, 21-22 Great Sutton St. EC1V 0DY / Manufacture/Showroom Chesford Grange, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 4RQ


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Spotlight |

Elliptical Public Seating configuration

Designed by Simon Pengelly for Boss Design

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bossdesign.com |

wearebossdesign |


Spotlight | The Dealer Report


THE BIG QUESTION 34 Are manufacturers doing enough to suppor t the dealer network ?

The Dealer Repor t 36

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Spotlight | The Dealer Report



Are m a n u fa ct u re rs d o i n g e n o u g h to s u p p o rt t h e d e a l e r n e t w o rk?




The traditional manufacturer’s route to market

As in every industry, there are good and bad

Are they? One could argue that it depends on

has never been under more pressure than it is

manufacturers. It is our job to know who are the

who you ask? I’m sure that most manufacturers

now. As many of the major players look to take

exceptional ones, who are the mediocre ones

would say they are, whilst a number of dealers

their model online, the dealers must show their

and take that into account on our clients' behalf.

would say they are probably not. In order for any

added value more than ever. The successful

Generally, the level of commercial acumen, loyalty,

element of support to work, there has to be an

manufacturers, going forward, will be helping their

innovation, service and support within our industry

understanding from both parties as to how they see

dealers augment their brand through delivering

is high. We strive to only work with manufacturing

that relationship working – both sides' expectations

an excellent overall client experience and ensuring

partners who understand the importance of

notwithstanding. It is hard for a manufacturer to have

that performance benefits are achieved through

quality, design, value and service.

a ‘one size fits all’ dealer strategy – as so many can

training and behavioural change management,

have such specific requirements of that relationship.

rather than just through box shifting.

But, as a dealer, there has to at least be a bare minimum service level agreement, with finer points worked out between the two.




The majority of manufacturers Rainbow work

Some are better at grasping what a quality

All manufacturers are at different stages of

professional reseller requires than others. There are

development, however, I must say that they are

ones that don’t put their heads above the parapet

all in better shape than they were five years ago.

and, unfortunately, are still looking at the bottom

Manufacturers who open too many dealerships

line. This has a great influence on both service

is a frustration, so less of that would be good. The

and standards, and our customer engagement –

biggest problem for most is reacting to changes

unfortunately this also has a high impact on our

in the marketplace to catch trends. Some of the

client's experience. My advice to a manufacturer is,

manufacturers are leading the way – but the

don’t over promise and under deliver – exceed your

majority just follow.

with do a fantastic job supporting us – and have invested in improved showroom experiences, development of new products and excellent sales support material. Whilst they all have great products, several allow us to show different work environments, which is a huge help for us and our clients. A few manufacturers did the opposite and chose to tighten their belts – they are now suffering as their products and service have dropped.

reseller's expectations.

Umbrella editorial banner Mix Interiors October 2017 copy.pdf 1 25/09/2017 9:33:50 C








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Design: Jessica Engelhardt

Spotlight |


The styling of the slender backrest instantly signifies maximum ergonomic comfort. Striking product details, such as the aluminium backrest together with the refined aluminium components and elegant seams, make Signo an executive and conference chair range. To get your copy of our Signo catalogue, please call our UK Sales Director, David Sellars +44 (0) 7775 798 877, or email at d.sellars@dauphinuk.com.

NEW ADDRESS LONDON OFFICE Dauphin HumanDesign® UK Limited 1 Albemarle Way I GB London EC1V 4JB Phone +44 207 2537774 I Fax +44 207 2531629 www.dauphinuk.com I info@dauphinuk.com

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Spotlight | The Dealer Report

DEALER'S CALL For our latest in-depth annual look at the dealer market, we decided not to spread our net quite so far, and instead grill a 'handpicked' selection of our finest furniture providers. Rather than asking for the odd fact or figure, we've gone further under the skin to discover a little more about origins, workings and opinions. Enjoy.

Kimpton De Witt Hotel – InterContinental Hotels Group

The Department Store Squire & Partners – James Jones Photography

Dodds & Shute Founders: Stefan Dodds & Nick Shute. Describe your business for us: Design-led procurement of contemporary furniture. We’ve a strong reputation for introducing new brands to the market and a portfolio of innovative designs to make our projects unique. What is your greatest business achievement to date? Our growth since the business was founded (in 2015), working from Nick’s flat. We’re three years ahead of expectations, something that’s reflected in the lovely office space we are moving into. We are very proud of our company culture and the fantastic team, who are essential to the running of the business. What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? Pinterest is a very valuable tool for us, it’s the platform from which we curate our furniture portfolio and engage with the interior design community. We get 1,500+ daily views and when we upload new designs we get immediate feedback from followers.

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Are your customers’ expectations changing? Millennials are taking on positions of influence and demanding businesses be transparent and relatable. Ownership, manufacturing origin, supply chain traceability and sustainability credentials – these are major influencers on consumer behaviour. The predicted rise of Blockchain will force businesses to be transparent and accountable.

Heatons Office Solutions Founder: David Fielding. What is the origin of your company name? The name Heatons was derived from David Fielding’s middle name – David Heaton Fielding. Describe your business for us: Passionate about interiors. Passionate about our clients. We are a caring and friendly company that always goes that extra mile to exceed our customers' expectations.

What is your greatest business achievement to date? It has to be our project win of Stockport Homes Group in 2017. From a financial perspective, our largest ever project win, but from a perception perspective, it has been just as important. As a multifaceted business, it demonstrates our experience and ability to work in this sector. Are your customers’ expectations changing? Without a doubt. Design and interiors are all around us now. Television programmes, magazines, and retailers are all influencing a client’s ambitions. Your normal customer is far more design ‘savvy’ than they have ever been, no longer wanting ‘run of the mill’ or ‘me too’ products.


COLT - Photo Credit David Churchill

Showcase Interiors Founders Nigel Boreham & Emma Collings.

Stockport Homes

What is the origin of your company name? When we started the business, the majority of the work was automotive retail and we wanted a name that summed up our core objective – to ‘showcase’ the client’s products. That objective still stands true today, but these days we help showcase clients’ spaces so that they get the best from them – and provide the best possible facilities for their teams. Describe your business for us: Showcase is an independent furniture dealer, with no contractual ties to any one manufacturer, working in the best interest of the design team and our clients. We deliver major projects as either a traditional dealer or on a fee-based consultancy and procurement basis, where we work to an agreed resource and procurement fee. We have unrivalled knowledge and experience of delivering projects up to the value of £11m. We provide impartial and unbiased advice, recommending products from a variety of suppliers, based on our clients’ business objectives and their criteria for function, design and budget. Over the past 11 years we have built excellent

relationships with leading manufacturers and suppliers. It is this combination of purchasing power and our knowledge of the furniture market that provides our clients with the right solution – which helps deliver our client’s objectives for function, design and budget. What is your greatest business achievement to date? In 2015 Showcase was able to celebrate its amazing growth, being ranked in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast-Track league (which ranks the 100 fastest growing UK companies). This was only surpassed in 2016, when we climbed 43 places to be ranked at no. 44. It was a fantastic accolade and we are so proud of our amazing team. Are your customers’ expectations changing? Yes, clients are much better informed and product aware – they expect more from their suppliers both in terms of expertise and in complexity of projects. Furniture is now expected to provide a performance link that adds considerable value, from staff attraction and retention to increases in productivity. The move from ‘packing in staff’ to how we can provide agile, dynamic spaces means that furniture becomes a key component. Clients demand flexibility and want to see innovative ways to understand cost – its not just about chipboard and steel you know!

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Spotlight | The Dealer Report

Wellworking Founder: Luke Munro. What is the origin of your company name? Wellworking is everything about working well. That means delivering great products and a great customer experience in order to improve performance and productivity for our clients, and we’ve been doing that since 1999. Describe your business for us: Wellworking brings together a world-class commercial projects team, workplace wellbeing experts and an award-winning online store to deliver fantastic service, knowledge and value.

CEG's new offices at their first flagship office development – Number One, Kirkstall Forge

Ultimate (Commercial Interiors)

What is your greatest business achievement to date? Being recognised at Mixology 2017 was a huge moment, given the prestige of the awards.

Founders: Mark Hickey, Mark Naisbitt & Dan Platt. What is the origin of your company name? When the business was founded, we wanted a name that showed we were the best – Ultimate does exactly what it says on the tin! Describe your business for us: Ultimate work closely with designers, architects and end users to create high quality and visually stunning interiors for offices, hotel and leisure, education and healthcare facilities. What is your greatest business achievement to date? Every satisfied client is a great achievement, although from the personal point of the Directors, it has been watching the company grow over 15 years – and the success of the apprentices we are now bringing through the business is very rewarding. Are your customers’ expectations changing? The business environment needs to reflect the wellbeing of the employee more than it has ever done before and the place of work, when planned properly, can be used as a sales tool to attract the best talent.

We’ve always said that a great customer experience is what sets Wellworking apart, so to be recognised by the Institute of Customer Service, with a national award for our customer focus, was also a proud moment. Are your customers’ expectations changing? Absolutely. We’re helping them choose beyond the traditional desk and chair, towards a greater product mix, which promotes movement and drives performance. And we're ensuring that they make best use of those products, by sharing our expertise and product knowledge after sales from our commercial, online and workplace wellbeing teams.

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Spotlight |

PARTITA | Faruk Malhan

Koleksiyon is a global, design-led producer of award winning furniture and accessories. Visit our flagship showroom in Clerkenwell, newly refurbished for 2018, to see the full portfolio. Koleksiyon Furniture Limited 9 Brewhouse Yard London EC1V 4JR United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)20 3405 1885 info@koleksiyon.co.uk www.koleksiyon.co.uk New York / Chicago / Dallas / London / DĂźsseldorf / Vienna / Paris / Barcelona Bogota / Moscow / Breukelen / Warsaw / Sidney / Singapore / Hong Kong / Dubai

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Spotlight | The Dealer Report

Technique Resolutions Founder: Roger Croft What is the origin of your company name? From the 1989 New Order album, Technique. Describe your business for us: Furniture broker – offering true independent advice to the interior design market, free of any manufacturer bias, uniquely, since 2000. What is your greatest business achievement to date? Maintaining our independence through some troublesome industry times. Are your customers’ expectations changing? Facilities Management has become so much more professional than when it ‘evolved’ from the office or services manager. Clients are now so much more aware of what constitutes ‘good practice’ and continually engage ID professionals and dealers to deliver the correct solution. Windsor House Student Accommodation

Momentum Contract Furniture Founder: PJ Statham, Lyn Statham & Nicole Daniels. What is the origin of your company name? The right name is crucial to a business. Finding a name that we all agreed on and had real meaning was difficult. A friend later dreamed the name and we thought it was perfect for a forwardlooking, contemporary design business – and so Momentum was born. Describe your business for us: We consider Momentum unique in our coverage of market sectors, our customer service, our knowledge of our furniture and lighting portfolio and our many years’ experience in this industry, combined with all the best things about a family business. What is your greatest business achievement to date? Through extremely difficult economic conditions, we worked hard to remain in business when many others in the industry could not. Investment in improving our product and customer knowledge has ensured we give our customers the best possible service.

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What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? E-mail, better website development and access to clever computer programmes enable us to do our work far more quickly, shortening response times to customers and architects. Are your customers’ expectations changing? Customers are looking for trusted, experienced dealers who offer impartial advice, allied to full service provision, so they get the best outcome for their project. Their businesses are working in different ways, and generational expectations and market forces are driving changes for every market sector. Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth? Furniture frameworks and restrictive practices can make some projects difficult to work on. It would be wonderful if there was a return to sensible trusted FM’s or procurement people capable of making their own decisions, rather than several companies tendering all the same furniture. How do you feel the market will look in three years? We think there will be fewer dealers who offer good, inclusive, experienced service to customers who are knowledgeable, working differently and embracing new work practices. Collaboration is the key word.


Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch

Upfront |

Great British carpet since 1968 +44 (0) 1706 846 375 newyheycarpets.co.uk newheyexpress.co.uk Mix 181 February 2018 | 41

Upfront |

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Spotlight | The Dealer Report

Rainbow Founder: Tony Antoniou What is the origin of your company name? I found it ridiculously hard to pick a company name and toyed with ideas for weeks on end. Then, one day, I was sitting in the living room and saw a Rainbow comic with Bungle, Zippy and George on the front, and really liked the name because rainbows are fun, bright and colourful – everyone loves a rainbow!

Formica Group

Describe your business for us: We’re in the business of forging strong relationships, recommending furniture with our clients’ best interests in mind. Relationships matter! What is your greatest business achievement to date? Maintaining our high level of service for 28 years. We have an abundance of clients we have worked with for over 17 years, several over 20, and a global brand for 28 years because we are honest in our recommendations and deliver high levels of service continually – not just on day one.

Corporate Workspace Founder: Simon Thrussell. What is the origin of your company name? We took the Ronseal approach – it does what it says on the tin! Describe your business for us: Corporate Workspace provide a full one-stop-shop for all commercial interiors by clearly establishing the client brief, careful and meticulous product selection, smooth supply and installation and the establishment of a care plan to protect our client’s investment. Corporate Workspace also provide full contracting, fit-out and design. What is your greatest business achievement to date? We have been fortunate to deliver some exceptional projects for some exceptional clients, working with world leading products but always strictly adhering to ethical sourcing and polite business etiquette. Integrity is always at the heart of our business.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? The rise of more mobile and intuitive technology over the more traditional fixed IT format, the classic examples being the iPad and the smartphone. We also love Google Maps. Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth? Our customer expectations have always been good value for money, future-proof products and good service. This is always a win/win.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? Being able to show clients what their space will look like in a 3D render has been a huge benefit because it makes everything so clear to them, plus it allows us to make tweaks and changes to projects to perfect a space before ordering. Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth? The most frustrating piece of red tape that we come across is government frameworks. The government can provide an abundance of business to SMEs that would make a huge difference to companies like ours, however they have chosen to create a framework that only benefits larger organisations – it’s ridiculous. Mantle Business Centres - Officers' Mess, Duxford

How do you feel the market will look in three years? There is currently a reliance of the Public Sector on rigid frameworks, which inhibit agile buying. In most cases products could be sourced more cost effectively outside of these frameworks. Are your customers’ expectations changing? We very much hope that, as the market develops, we can adhere to core competencies; designers design, manufacturers manufacture and suppliers supply. Anything else is a conflict of interest and clients should be wary of this.

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Spotlight | The Dealer Report

NCC Group Designed by MCM, for Havas Media

Penketh Group


Founder: Walter & Dorothy Penketh.

Founder: Jim Meier. What is the origin of your company name? We won’t just be there Day 1, we’ll be there ‘Day 2’! Yes, you might say it’s cheesy, but our commitment to ongoing customer service is one of the core principles of our business. Describe your business for us: Day2’s mission is to take the pain out of sourcing furniture, managing every stage of the process, from specification through to installation and aftercare. What is your greatest business achievement to date? In 2011, our 10th year, we set out to build our own independent brand, with the aim of targeting major projects with blue chip clients in the A&D and traditional marketplace. We focused on offering a creative and skilled resource to support the professional teams that deliver landmark projects, alongside our commitment to the best possible customer service. Our greatest achievement has been fulfilling these goals. What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? Our cloud-based IT system and bespoke procurement software has given our team the ability to work anywhere at any time, whether it’s on site, on the train…or pulling an ‘all nighter’ on the eve of a deadline! Are your customers’ expectations changing? Absolutely. Our clients continue to become more and more knowledgeable about the marketplace and the focus on implementing new ways of working is still prominent. Budgets are tight but there’s no room for compromise on design and quality. It’s a good job we like a challenge.

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NLP Planning, Manchester: Fit Out & Furniture

Spatial Office Environments Founders: Phil Simmonds, Paul Eatock & Elliott Pace. What is the origin of your company name? Spatial, as in ‘relating to or occupying space’. It’s the position, area and size of things in a ‘space’ and how those objects fit together. For us, it’s the spatial relationship between the workplace, the people in it and their FF&E surroundings. Describe your business for us: Providers of Category A&B fit-out solutions; Design & Build schemes; FF&E and contract furniture provisions.

What is the origin of your company name? We are a family run business, founded on family values – as Walter and Dorothy Penketh founded our business in 1976, they choose to use the family name. Describe your business for us: Over the last 40 years, we have always looked forward to bringing new innovations to our customers. We understand that people are an organisation’s most valuable asset. We work to understand your organisation – how you work, where you work and what your people need. By understanding this, we are able to create a perfect working environment to achieve your business goals; for this reason we are the trusted, first choice, office interior design company for leading organisations.

What is your greatest business achievement to date? Our current trading year. We successfully completed a 200,000 sq ft dilapidation project whilst fulfilling a 40,000 sq ft premium office fit-out in Manchester – all whilst designing and building our own high grade showroom and serviced office complex in Altrincham. Not to mention we also won a prestigious industry award!

What is your greatest business achievement to date? A competitive tender process to become the Steelcase Partner for the North West, combined with an ambitious growth strategy – this brought subsequent success and has seen us move into our new home at Bruntwood’s Neo building. The space supports our five-year growth plan and positions us as a creditable furniture partner for projects throughout the whole of the North West and saw us win our first Mixology Award for Furniture Provider of the Year.

How do you feel the market will look in three years? As flexible working becomes more prominent, the standard 9-5 working day is slowly eroding. More and more businesses will require office spaces that reflect this by facilitating better collaboration between peers and departments and which increase task-based productivity and wellbeing through the effective use of technology and space.

How do you feel the market will look in three years? As a result of continued research and insights, more companies are beginning to acknowledge and understand the value that comes from a great workspace. We anticipate that this will create more opportunity and scope for larger workplace projects throughout the North West, in turn creating more intense competition.

Spotlight |



With its simplicity of form, combined with modern connectivity points, Crew tables provide a more modern, intelligent approach to table solutions in meeting rooms and breakout zones. Available in a number of sizes, shapes and wood finishes, the Crew table and bench combination provides the perfect answer for a less corporate modern office and promotes a more social aspect to the working day.

Designed & manufactured in the UK by

Mix 181 February 2018 | 45 Yo u r O f f i c e F u r n i t u r e W h o l e s a l e r

Spotlight |

Hilly The NEW modular collection designed by Ray Hills

London Showroom 20 Old Street Clerkenwell London EC1V 9AB

Ocee Design Design House, Caswell Road Brackmills Industrial Est. Northampton, NN4 7PW

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01604 674674 sales@oceedesign.com www.oceedesign.com @OceeDesign @OceeDesign


Spotlight | The Dealer Report

Aptos Create Storage with Surround Us Booth by EFG

EFG UK Founder: David Murphy. What is the origin of your company name? As a Group, EFG is one of the largest producers of office furniture in Europe. We have been producing office furniture for over 130 years. From the beginning, user experience and an enthusiasm for bringing customer ideas to life have driven the company’s success in establishing excellent products for the interiors market. That same gusto for a great interior is what keeps our business thriving and successful today. Describe your business for us: Crucially, we are EFG UK, a British office furniture supplier with a proud Swedish heritage. We utilise our international network of suppliers daily to bring transformative and eclectic solutions to our customers. What is your greatest business achievement to date? We have transformed our business over the last 18 months into a customer-centric, solution-driven team. As an independent UK company, we remain very much part of the EFG Group family, with an entrepreneurial spirit that enables us to move quickly to our customers’ changing objectives. Are your customers’ expectations changing? Our customers expect that previous differentiators are now a given. Today we add value to their business through innovation and long-term thinking – it’s all solutions-driven.

Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth? Our own growth is only hampered by ourselves, how we communicate and interact with our customers, suppliers and our colleagues. We’ve spent a huge amount of time applying new ways of engaging with all our stakeholders. In many ways we feel like we have clipped our red tape, developing a new culture of transparency and openness, engaging with our suppliers in a genuine partnership that will ensure our mutual long-term growth and listening to our customers more than ever. How do you feel the market will look in three years? Option 1: We expect a significant increase in focus on initiatives and working environments that encourage wellbeing. The UK market already has great momentum around this and, as we begin to see larger clients investing, we expect to see even more businesses having the confidence to adopt this way of thinking. Option 2: We hope and expect that the way we do business and the solutions we provide as an industry will have the environment at their heart – as responsible businesses, working in a competitive market, we simply must deliver products and solutions that protect our planet and natural resources. Option 3: With Virtual Reality becoming more and more a part of our everyday business at EFG, we have seen the value it brings to our clients first hand. We can see the applications this could have for the industry as a whole and expect this to be seen as less of a gimmick and more as the fantastic visualisation tool that it is.

University of Oxford

Phusei Founder: Ed Mullett & Tim Nisbet. What is the origin of your company name? Phusis is the ancient Greek word for ‘nature’, cognate with the verb ‘to grow’ (phuein); as in English, it can be used both for the natural world as a whole and for the ‘nature’ (ie. the essential or intrinsic characteristics) of any particular thing, which it has ‘by nature’ (phusei). Describe your business for us: Furniture broker. We’re a market leading furniture dealership, with unrivalled experience and a close-knit team of experts. We love furniture and the role it plays bringing spaces to life Are your customers’ expectations changing? Defining the full furniture requirement scope is so much more than just picking products from a brochure. Our customers expect us to have a broader understanding, with a consultative approach early on in the process that can balance all the requirements into unique furniture solutions. How do you feel the market will look in three years? We’re finding a focus on wellbeing, comfort and maximum flexibility with light-touch technology integration (moving away from cumbersome/bulky). It’s so important to think creatively and balance all business needs with the commercial purse strings, whilst ensuring the workplace provides comfort and calm in a world that can, at times, be very stressful.

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Spotlight | The Dealer Report

Reception area

Egan Reid Office Environments Proper Food Drinks Company

Hunts Office Founder: Egon Hunt. What is the origin of your company name? Named after the man himself, Mr Hunt. Describe your business for us: Hunts empower organisations to reach their full potential by curating meaningful workplaces through insight and product knowledge. Since starting up in a shed back in 1999, Hunts has evolved from a one-man band to a multi-millionpound turnover (and growing) business, working on a global scale. It was more recently crowned as the UK Steelcase Platinum Partner for the past two years and currently has the largest showroom in the UK. This year will see the launch of a brand new website, focusing on Services, Insight and Product, to support the newly renovated 23,000 sq ft showrooms and help end users to keep their finger on the pulse through the click of a button. The Hunts team has expanded and evolved to accommodate the shift in demands from end users. More and more clients are taking advantage of a full consultation experience; including identifying workplace issues, trends and being able to create meaningful, personal environments that will help their businesses and people flourish. Forever ambassadors of change for the better, Hunts' vision is to inspire companies to embrace change and make their working environments a destination where people can be well, productive, appreciated and genuine.

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Founder: Jack Reid & Jim Egan. What is the origin of your company name? Egan Reid Office Environments is the furniture and interiors division of the Egan Reid Group, and the name takes its origin from the co-founders. Describe your business for us: We provide space planning and design, fit-out and refurbishment, supply and installation on workplace furniture and interiors projects of all sizes. What is your greatest business achievement to date? Having celebrated 60 years in business last year, we have grown over the years to now employ over 80 staff across three locations (Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and Isle of Man).

Langstane Founder Colin Campbell Snr, John Campbell & Jim Campbell (The Campbell Brothers). What is the origin of your company name: Our name originates from the street on which the company was first located – Langstane Place. The Lang Stane (Long Stone) in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a granite Menhir type standing stone that sits recessed into an alcove at the south-east corner of 10 Langstane Place. Describe your business for us: We provide a complete workplace solution, from concept through to completion, to meet our client’s budget and workspace requirements. Our office interiors team work closely with our clients to design a workspace that reflects their culture and encourages collaboration, which will lead to inspiration, creativity and increased productivity

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? Investing in CAD first of all changed how we worked and allowed us to offer our clients a complete service package before many of our competitors did. More recently, the Internet and mobile technologies have enabled us to trade and communicate more efficiently and smartly.

What is your greatest business achievement to date? Langstane was successful in helping to create the UK headquarters for tenants Nexen, Transocean and Apache at Prime Four. This was a very unique group of projects, which all had their own individual challenges. Langstane delivered, installed and handed over four separate sites within Prime Four, containing a combined staffing of 1,650 within a six-week deadline. All targets were hit without compromise.

Are your customers’ expectations changing? Flexibility and wellbeing now feature at the top of our clients’ priorities; they want multipurpose furniture and spaces that can multitask to suit their needs, comfortable work and social spaces, as more realise how furniture and interior finishes impact on health and productivity.

Are your customers' expectations changing? The expectation of our client is definitely changing. We are finding our clients are a lot more focused on how we integrate with their project teams and what we can bring to the table during this process to assist them in the delivery of a successful project.

Another month, another amazing workspace project Spotlight |

Feeling At Home With Breakout At Clarion Housing

Dining In Style At Addison Lee

Think Furniture Founder: Tony King. What is the origin of your company name? Something simple and straightforward that explains our main business activity. Describe your business for us: Helping clients on the journey from boring offices to enlightened and inspiring places of work, ie. furniture dealer. What is your greatest business achievement to date? Ensuring continued investment into our website and maintaining product diversity. What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? The Internet – for both reaching out to clients but also communications, both internally and with our supply partners. Are your customers' expectations changing? Absolutely! They feel more empowered to review costs and compare online and now have higher expectations, which we naturally reflect in our service and communication to them.

Seeing the end result of our workplace and furniture expertise come to life, makes us proud to be a part of these amazing workspace projects.

How do you feel the market will look in three years? Back to that Brexit thing again. It's hard to predict, but we are certainly not battening down the hatches…or taking payments in crypto currencies – yet.

Mix 181 February 2018 | 49 www.penkethgroup.com

Spotlight | The Dealer Report

K2 Space Founders: Mark Phillips & Geoff Osman. What is the origin of your company name? Both founders previously worked for leading US furniture manufacturer, Kimball, and K2 actually started operating from the old Kimball offices – and so K2 seems right! Describe your business for us: Office furniture is part of the K2 Space DNA and our dedicated team help companies to furnish amazing new workplaces. What is your greatest business achievement to date? Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we’ve been in business for 14 years and, while there are lots of achievements and projects we are proud of, our greatest business achievement has been building a strong team and trusted relationships and friendships with clients who we’ve worked with since day one. What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? Technology has radically altered how we work and, importantly, how we engage with clients and will continue to do so with the emergence of VR/AR. The most tangible difference for us has been our increasing use of software tools to create amazing 3D visuals and walkthroughs – which clients love. Are your customers’ expectations changing? While value for money, product quality and customer service are still key factors and are as important as ever, we have witnessed a large shift towards sourcing sustainable products that meet BREEAM and/or LEED standards. Clients also expect a full breadth of services, which has led to K2 offering a full office design and build service. How do you feel the market will look in three years? Crystal ball time! We think the lines between residential and commercial furniture will become even more blurred as workplaces become increasingly homely. Also, the rise of co-working spaces like WeWork and the concept of Space as a Service (SaaS) will also have a major impact as large corporates look at flexible space solutions.

Love Your Workspace -with Yelo Architects

Love Your Workspace Founder: David & Jo Blood. Company name: Love Your Workspace (sister company of Posture People). What is the origin of your company name? Love Your Workspace was created out of the success of our sister company, Posture People. Their reputation in the world of ergonomics led to an increasing demand in overhauls and fit-outs of workspaces, healthcare, education, and hospitality environments. We thought it was high time that our projects arm had its own unique identity and, in 2017, Love Your Workspace was born. In consolidating our extensive knowledge of ergonomics with our aptitude for design, we’re able to create happier, healthier and more productive environments that our customers can be proud to call their own. Describe your business for us: Design-led furniture consultancy.

ESCA Estates at St. Katherines Dock, London

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What is your greatest business achievement to date? Growing the team substantially on both sides of our business has been our biggest achievement to date. As well as having the capacity to launch the Love Your Workspace brand, we also have the good fortune to work with an extraordinarily talented bunch of people every day.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? The BuzziSpace acoustic app has been an excellent tool for helping our clients understand their office soundscapes better. Are your customers’ expectations changing? We’ve seen a shift in end user expectations of their workspaces. Now better educated in flexible and agile working practices, they are expecting thoughtfully planned task focused furniture that complements the way they want to work. Open plan offices have come a long way from just adding a bit of soft seating. Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth? The new rule on travelling time to work that came into force this month, is a good example. Since permitted development planning changed, we’ve seen a scarcity of affordable office spaces in favour of residential developments. How do you feel the market will look in three years? The commoditisation of house ownership is already hampering business. In addition to clients craving flexibility in their physical spaces, we’ve also noticed that they want more malleable leases that can allow them to sublet excess space or switch to bigger offices with ease. This model is working so well for modern shared working spaces and serviced offices that we’d be surprised if commercial agents didn’t follow suit over the next three years.

Spotlight |

Be inspired at Frovi’s new showroom. View our latest collection in Clerkenwell.

Furniture for social spaces Frovi designs handcrafted furniture to meet the demands of today’s changing workplace, enabling spaces where people love to work and relax. Please visit our new showroom to browse the latest collections and feel free to use the space to catch up on emails and relax with a coffee. Our workspace is your workspace. Get in touch on +44 (0)1608 652411 or email info@frovi.co.uk.

28 St. John’s Lane Clerkenwell London EC1M 4BU

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Spotlight |




Be the first to offer USB Type C charging to your customers 52 | Mix 181 February 2018

Spotlight | The Dealer Report

Vestas offices, Warrington

Ikon Furniture

Workpattern Founder: Daniel & David Wilkinson (Albany Contract), & Paul Glaister. What is the origin of your company name? Created along with NWD, it came from simply looking at workspace plans – patterns appear and variations of the word fitted our business model. Work clearly puts it into our own context. Describe your business for us: Workpattern was created in 2010 as a brand of Albany Contract to assist the local A&D community better, bringing a real touch point to explore new ways of working where products and solutions could be experienced, discussed and better understood. A place to inspire and inform clients. As a business we are fascinated by the workplace. We are highly knowledgeable about the products we provide, how they work and how they will support clients. There is never a ‘one size fits all’ approach when providing great workspaces – we understand this and our role in delivering appropriate products, along with insight and research to improve workplace awareness. At the same time, we respect the values a good design consultant brings to a project and embrace each journey with shared purpose.

Co- Founder: Kevin Rawcliffe.

JS Office Environments Founders: David Johnson & Stan Schuster. What is the origin of your company name? Johnson and Schuster is JS. A nod to our heritage! Describe your business for us: It’s been 50 years this year since Dave and Stan established JS, offering a repair and re-upholstery service to end users for their office seating and supplying one or two new products if asked. The repair division is now a small part of our business, with the provision of new furniture being the main part. Being Independent consultants, we can broker from a wide product portfolio of suppliers, enabling us to cater all requirements. Although we are based in Bromley, we have supplied furniture throughout the UK and into Europe In addition to our product portfolio, JS is committed to quality and client satisfaction, which is reflected in our Investor in People, ISO 9001 and SSIP certification.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? Whilst our new CRM system is beginning to really transform our business and inform us in very new ways, it has to be how the iPad and mobile networks have provided the catalyst for change – the freedom and untethering has ultimately reshaped our industry in just eight amazing years.

What is your greatest business achievement to date? Founded in 1968, we have achieved many things over the years. Despite being a small family run business, we are extremely proud of our client portfolio. Most of our work comes from relationships that have been built upon over the years and, if you can offer the right product backed with a good service, the rest falls into place.

How do you feel the market will look in three years? There is no getting away from Data & AI. As tools and methods increase to monitor and extract information from the workspace and its occupants, it will change what we provide and how we deliver service. We must ensure the right things are measured and the right people employed to interpret this, add understanding and value.

Are your customers’ expectations changing? Presentation has been a big change over the years. Clients would look at a brochure, choose furniture and you maybe had to produce a layout plan and the occasional factory visit. Now they expect 3D visuals/walkthrough and plans showing highlighted dedicated areas. We now include method statements, KPI’s…the list can be endless but is, nonetheless, required.

What is the origin of your company name? We wanted a name that reflects the market and the services we provide. There are lots of office furniture companies and we wanted to create a brand and a name that was synonymous with design and quality. The ethos of the company was to produce ‘outside the box’, innovative quality, design-led products, at a cost and budget that meets your pocket book. Describe your business for us: We are a design-led, quality furniture company, we can design bespoke joinery pieces and mainly operate within three key areas – commercial offices, hotels and hospitality, as well as residential furniture projects. We are a reseller of design-led brands, and specialise in specific manufacturer partnerships. We are in our fourth successful year, and each year brings with it both new challenges, opportunities and clients – as well as our existing ones. We are proud to exceed our clients’ expectations and love to work on ‘outside the box’ design projects. Our company has grown by referrals and this is the best type of recommendation. What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? This must be having the ability to produce 3D working drawings to illustrate to our clients the details of a product design. The speed of the Internet has also increased the quickness of responses. Are your customers’ expectations changing? Our clients want projects delivered on time, first time, to the budget required. Customers are interested in dealing with companies like ourselves as we offer USP’s such as personal service and considerate installations. Clients are moving away from wanting to deal with a manufacturer directly as they see the added value and ease of support that we can offer. We are the custodians of the design classics of the future.

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Spotlight | The Dealer Report

Clockwise, Glasgow

UK pensions company

Office Furniture London Founder: Steve Fitch.

What is the origin of your company name? Ultimately, the company name has been devised to maximise online search engine optimisation in this ever-changing digital age. Describe your business for us: A truly independent, experienced office furniture dealer supplying fast-track, vintage and inspirational furniture solutions from the world’s pre-eminent manufacturers. What is your greatest business achievement to date? As a newly formed company, we are humbled at the high level of support that has been provided by our manufacturing partners and the design community, as well as our client base. The number and calibre of projects completed since our formation has been phenomenal, however our greatest business achievement to date is that every client that we have worked with since formation has acknowledged the massive value that we have added to the process.

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What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? The Cloud – the complex nature of furniture specification relies heavily on a strong structure with clear processes and procedures. This is fundamental to the professional service we provide and, with any member of the team being able to access that information from a phone, tablet or laptop anywhere and at any time, this is paramount to providing that instant high level of service. Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth? Uncertainty around the Brexit deal and the level of red tape left in its wake does not help growth, however, entrepreneurs find ways to get things done – you innovate within whatever market you’re in. How do you feel the market will look in three years? We offer our high value knowledge and expertise at no cost to our clients; the dealer can add tremendous value to the specification process and we feel that our market will continue to grow with more clients experiencing the value of the dealer.

Bureau Founder: Andy Russell. What is the origin of your company name? When sitting around at the business planning stage, our thoughts turned to what we should call the business. With the dual meaning, Bureau seemed a perfect fit! Describe your business for us: Bureau is a UK-wide commercial furniture consultancy. We build long-term partnerships with our clients to deliver amazing projects. What is your greatest business achievement to date? Our merger with online furniture group, Houseology, is very exciting for the business. We’ve built an amazing team, and this has been recognised by being shortlisted for the Mixology awards at such an early stage, along with two projects with c2:concepts being shortlisted for regional BCO awards. What technology has made the biggest difference to your business? We always strive to drive value to our customers. We endeavour to run a lean business by employing automation in order to benefit the customer most. Are your customers’ expectations changing? Expectations of the workplace are changing across the globe. Every office has to attract and retain the very best people by creating a unique experience – and furniture plays a significant role in achieving this. Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth? We are living with uncertainty, predominantly caused by the political climate. Although we remain energetic about what the future holds, we hope that disruption through increased red tape is kept to a minimum. How do you feel the market will look in three years? We believe that tech will play an increased role in our market and Bureau aims to position itself at the forefront of these exciting developments.

Spotlight |

#loveyourworkspace KI’s portfolio of workplace furniture helps some of the world’s leading organisations to create happy, healthy, high performing working environments for their people.

Designed to perfectly suite together, KI’s storage, workstations, tables, seating and third space solutions make optimising the office landscape easy. Well designed and built to last, they can be configured and reconfigured to meet an organisation’s evolving needs over many years.

KI Europe New Fetter Place 8-10 New Fetter Lane London EC4A 1AZ E workplace@kieurope.com

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Book Extracts

Wise Words Just before Christmas, The Times ran extracts from Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff’s juicy insights into life in the White House. More specifically, it confirmed what we already knew about the circus that is the seat of US Government – great fun, but we suspect little will change. We hope that the extracts we are delighted to share with you over the next few pages will have a longer lasting impact. We regard the following authors – BDG’s Andy Swann, Reward Gateway Founder Glenn Elliott and former Sky property supremo, Neil Usher – as friends of the magazine and therefore we’re only too happy to support them in that desire to do what most of us just think about doing – publishing a book. As Steven Covey suggests in his phenomenally successful book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we should always be looking to ‘sharpen the saw’ (the suggestion being that you should enhance, by whatever means, your greatest asset – you). You’d do well to make three better purchases this year. Happy sharpening.

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Spotlight |

The Human Workplace This extract comes from The Human Workplace by Andy Swann (©2018) and reproduced with permission from Kogan Page Ltd. The human experience A 2014 study by the University of Warwick discovered that happy employees are 12 per cent more productive, while unhappy workers are 10 per cent less productive than the average (Oswald, Proto, Sgroi, 2014). It makes logical sense that a working environment should create that impact on the people who work there. When I asked Neil Usher, purveyor of the Workessence workplace blog and then director of workplace at Sky, how he would define a human work-place, his response was: Perhaps a more interesting question is why a space intended to be inhabited by human beings wouldn’t be conceived as a human workplace. The use of the word inhabit is an interesting and fundamental one. Because we can now work from home (or anywhere else), we need to be at home at work. We need to be able to have the optimum experience that enables and actively supports us to do our best work at any given time, in a world where defined hours are being eroded fast. Human workplaces are places that enable people to thrive. When people thrive, organisations thrive too. This is the most powerful reason why the actual place where people come to align with the organisation matters. It’s their touchpoint with the platform. It’s where the connection between people and organisation is strongest. It’s the home of the community.

Workplace as a clubhouse Every strong community has a central meeting place that performs a function. It’s where the community congregates to do what it does, in the most connected way. It’s where the bond is most powerful. Thinking of the workplace in this way creates a new dynamic. Clubhouses aren’t places of transaction, they are places of belonging. Far from a location purely to exchange hours for time, modern workplaces need to facilitate work and emphasise the connection between people and business. They need to make people want to be there and provide a benefit in that. This benefit can be increased through enhancing collaboration, creating a more intense connection, fostering a sense of belonging, providing better opportunities for productivity, creating choice, offering social connections, or any other way a workplace can create the right UX for its specific...

enable, the experience people receive is essential. Positive experience enhances connection, and strong connection makes the community around the business more coherent. The more coherent a community is, the better it functions. The physical workplace acts with the virtual tech and comms that bind the community in and around it to create the right experience.

Being part of something There are two things that a physical workplace is particularly well-placed to foster: 1) maintaining the connection between people and business that enables them to do their best work; and 2) fostering the collective identity by creating a sense of belonging. By providing the most intense, immersive experience possible for all people, the workplace in the broadest sense can provide this. People-first organisations are enablers rather than controllers, and in order to

For this to happen, not only does the workplace need to embody the best of the collective identity, it needs to recognise that, as individuals, people work in different ways at different times. Our best work is not a linear thing, it’s a dynamic thing that changes daily. The conditions that best support my contribution today may be the same ones that block what I need to do tomorrow. Equally, what helps one person to work well, may prevent another from doing so. w

That experience needs to: • reflect the shared vision; • drive the right behaviours; • enable best work; • enhance the connection between people and business; • create the conditions for the business and its people to thrive; • unleash everyone through freedom within parameters.


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Understanding Employee Engagement Adapted from Glenn Elliott's Build it : The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement, published by Wiley, 2018. Of all the things we do in modern business, the link between employee engagement and business results is one of the most clearly proven. Gallup, Great Place to Work, Best Companies and Glassdoor all analyse employee engagement and correlate it to stock market performance. Whichever data you look at, the results are the same – companies with engaged employees beat their competition. The Gallup index alone has 30 million data points going back nearly two decades: They interview 500 American adults every day, collecting data on employee engagement 350 days of the year. We proved the link between employee engagement and business performance years ago. Many leaders seem to know that but with disengagement running at 70% globally, companies still struggle to take meaningful and effective actions to make things better. The truth is that we’ve known for over 100 years that treating people better gets better business results. It’s important to focus on those words, so let’s repeat them: 'Treating people better gets better business results.' We have disengaged employees because we lie to them; treat them as adversaries; and give them crappy jobs without autonomy, excitement or accountability.

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Sorry if that sounds harsh, but we’ve spent too long making little progress for me to pull any punches. Now if you’re reading this thinking that you’ve already done work on engagement and it didn’t work, ask yourself: Did you really change how your organisation treats people? Because if you only focused around the edges – installing a new intranet, a tool that helps staff know whose birthday it is, or something to count how many steps they walked – then nice as that is, it won’t have been enough. To make a difference you have to fundamentally change how you treat your people. So what is engagement? We define someone as engaged when they: 1. Understand and believe in the direction the organisation is going – its purpose, mission and objectives – so they feel part of something bigger than themselves. 2. Understand how their role affects and contributes to the organisation’s purpose, mission and objectives. 3. Genuinely want the organisation to succeed and feel shared success with the organisation. They will often put the organisation’s needs ahead of their own. You’ll find that engaged employees build better, stronger and

Book Extracts

more resilient organisations. They do this in three ways: 1. Engaged employees make better decisions because they understand more about the organisation, their customers and the context they are operating in. 2. Engaged employees are more productive because they like or love what they are doing – they waste less time and get less distracted by things that don’t further the organisation’s mission or goals. 3. Engaged employees innovate more because they deeply want the organisation to succeed. And before we go any further we need to talk about happiness. It’s easy to get happiness and engagement confused and I’ve even seen some companies with a Chief Happiness Officer. It’s also common to think that a good employer creates an easy place to work. Neither is true. You do not need employee engagement to have happy employees. You can achieve that (at least temporarily) with a combination of good working conditions, low ambition and low accountability for results. This tends to result in the best people leaving and an average group of people staying and finding meaning and self-actualisation outside of work. It’s pretty dreadful for organisational performance, and you can guarantee those companies won’t have the durable and resilient cultures needed to navigate the tough years ahead. Employee engagement is something deeper, more meaningful for the employee and more valuable to the organisation. And with the pace of business accelerating by the day, we need engaged employees more than ever. Technology is making the world move faster, and when the

world goes faster, competition gets harder. Companies are innovating and changing at a rate previously unimagined. Product life cycles are shorter, links between manufacturing and the customer are closer, and the demands for process improvement and process change have never been greater. We’ve never needed our staff on our side more than we do now. This speed generally makes better outcomes for the customer, but it also brings huge instability. With technology, new players with small, highly engaged teams can outmaneuver and outperform their larger, slower competitors – look what happened to Nokia, Polaroid, Blockbuster and Borders. Each of these companies failed because when the winds changed, they couldn’t move fast enough, reorganise themselves quickly enough or stay connected to the customer closely enough. You could say they all failed because of a failure of their corporate cultures. Great cultures are full of openness, honesty, courage, connection to the customer, and vast swathes of passionate, engaged employees doing tough jobs, jobs that have meaning, jobs that have ups and downs, jobs where you know you’ve had a great day at work when it all goes your way. These are the cultures that enable companies to react and respond to fast-changing markets and fast-changing environments. Through the rest of Build it : The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement we’ll explain The Engagement Bridge model and show how you can use it to fundamentally change your organisation and create a highly engaged culture. w

Glenn Elliott was the CEO of employee engagement specialist Reward Gateway from 2006 to 2017 and now advises businesses on company culture, leadership and growth. He is the author of Build it - The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement (Wiley, 2018). This article was adapted from Chapter 1 of Build it. www.glennelliott.me www.rebelplaybook.com

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Spotlight |

Why create a fantastic workplace? This extract comes from Neil Ushers new book 'The Elemental Workplace' and is published on 1 March

This Ridiculous Book The Elemental Workplace is intended for everyone, whether managing a property portfolio or a project, owning or running a business, or just interested in the workplace to which they are treated, or subject. It has had the corporate bullshit and buzzwords surgically removed. The Elemental Workplace is not a ‘business book’ – it is equally not a disruptor, and introduces only a simple, bite-sized and easily digestible concept. As long as physical workspace is required, this book will remain relevant. The Elements will apply, however automated our lives and buildings become – or, at least, until delivering on the contents of this book becomes automatic. It is also not a niche book for workplace professionals. While some parts or ideas may seem obvious to those within the discipline, most organisations have someone responsible for the workplace, yet a lot of work still needs to be done. The Elemental Workplace is not, like many in the field, a travelogue decked out with rafts of enviable pictures of just-completed workspaces occupied by a few friends of the architectural photographer; it is independent of the aesthetic outcome. It deals with the components of the space and how they relate to one another and function, not how they might look.

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What this book will not tell you: How your culture will be impacted The phrase 'Culture eats design for breakfast' is often heard in workplace circles, paraphrasing a regularly uttered statement about strategy attributed, rightly or wrongly, to Peter Drucker. Rarely does anyone know what it means; it just sounds lofty and complicates where it need not, by assuming that intangible notions will conspire against us. Most struggle to describe what culture means, too, and rarely are any two definitions alike; it’s the stuff of conversations after the bar has closed. Very often, workplace transformation is seen as an investment that will help fix cultural problems. A new workplace will certainly influence local culture, yet the nature, degree and likelihood of positive impact are almost impossible to assess, being bound up with other internal and external influences in play at the time. To pin all hopes on workplace alone is unfair – it has to be partnered with an awareness of the issues and a willingness to change behaviours and processes from the top down. It is again a matter of balance: physical workplace in tandem with visible senior-level commitment. Behaviour is often modelled to a far greater extent than instructions are followed.

Book Extracts

Most problems of – and therefore solutions to – organisational culture usually reside in management and leadership. Physical workplace changes supportive of resolving them are the taking down of physical barriers (walls, offices), increased visibility of leadership and a conscious reduction in management-bypresence. Conversely, poorly designed and with inappropriate or inadequate change enablement, these actions may exacerbate the issues. Culture may well eat design for breakfast, if we let it. Let’s not let it. Better that they have breakfast together. The 12 Workplace Elements: Sense A workplace plays to the senses. This is not something that can be avoided, and so needs to be understood and addressed. If we assume that taste is satisfied by the crushed avocado on sourdough toast with a poached egg at the reception café, it leaves a craving for stimulation of sight, sound, smell and touch. The original idea in the earliest post on the Elemental Workplace was simply colour, but the thinking has moved on to encompass the full sensory palette. Everywhere we turn, it is a bombardment. When we start to consider space in this manner, we open up a range of possibilities – and, once again, the possibility of getting it wrong. We may never attain in the workplace the emotional impact of Stendhal’s Syndrome (hyperkulturemia), in which the great French writer fainted at the sheer multi-sensory splendour of Florence in the early 19th century, but we are innately drawn to beauty and are stimulated by it. Not absolutely everything needs to make a specific functional contribution; some things serve simply to prompt our imagination. It therefore needs to be recognised that, in their own way, such things are still functional.

From the former Workplace Director of the multi-award winning Sky Central offices, we learn about The Elemental Workplace from Neil Usher’s new book published on 1 March by LIDpublishing www.workessence.com

Beyond the (occasional) wonder of the sweep and curve of the external building form, the architecture of interior spaces is a restricted playpen; yet, though scale limits form, it does not restrict impact. In response we must consider how we think about and use colour, texture, sound and scent. w








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Case Study | Plexal

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Be Here Now Over the past decade, we’ve seen the transformation of Stratford in East London from pretty close quarters. On an almost daily basis we’ve travelled from Essex into London, watching this wasteland metamorphosise into something far more than an Olympic hub and major shopping destination. Left Plexal entrance

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Case Study | Plexal

Right Legacy Place

Where we come in is we’re the innovation centre at the heart of all of this. We help connect people in what is a real melting pot of innovation


very Olympics talks about legacy – and one of London 2012’s legacy is all too visible here. Just 15 years ago we’d have been walking through abandoned goods yards and long-forgotten freight haulage businesses. And yet here we are today – despite the pouring rain – marvelling at both the scale and the change of what is now beyond West Ham’s stadium and Westfield shopping centre. The regeneration now brings together sporting and creative facilities, major academic institutions, global business and small business, canal-side restaurants, cafés, bars and an inspiring landscape of green leisure space. Indeed, such is the scale that we started off our walk through the Olympic Park with Google Maps to hand. It soon became very apparent, however, that we could put phones away, thanks to our destination’s massive ‘Here East’ signage, which can even be seen from back on the railway line. We’re here to see Plexal – a worldclass innovation destination for technology entrepreneurs and corporations, which is located at Here East within 68,000 sq ft of the Queen

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Elizabeth Olympic Park. Designed as a mini-city, using principles of modern urban planning and technology clusters, Plexal offers technology start-ups and scale-ups a range of flexible working areas from open studio membership to tailor-made private offices and feature spaces, including a high street, leisure park and main square. Plexal offers a unique package of business support services, including accelerator and innovation programmes, rapid prototyping, bespoke mentorship, entrepreneur training, community events, professional services and a suite of personal development programmes. Grimshaw designed and delivered the fit-out for a new innovation centre at the Here East campus following a swift 12-month design and build programme. Plexal opened in June 2017 as the venue for the launch of London Tech Week, and is now one of the largest innovation centres in Europe. Having been greeted with friendliness and plenty of sympathy for our soggy demeanour, we’re given the chance to dry off a little before we take the tour of this innovative space.

Conceived and brought to life together with Plexal CEO, Claire Cockerton, Grimshaw’s design emulates the urban streetscape and the resulting layout includes public and private spaces, streets, squares and civic areas. ‘As well as delivering a beautiful, flexible and functional office space for 'startups' and scale-ups, we’re providing innovation services to big business, facilitating the prototyping, commercialisation and culture training needed to address the 4th industrial revolution,’ Claire says. ‘We're proud to use urban design principles and insights from the world's best incubator spaces to provide an inspirational space dedicated to the entrepreneurial process.’ Spaces are designed to intersect and weave together, contributing to a sense of community, and each zone has a distinct identity within the various quarters. ‘This was previously the Press Office for the London Olympics,’ we’re informed. ‘After the Olympics, the vision was to turn it into a hub for business and technology. The campus itself stretches right around this area and now has the likes of Loughborough University, UCL’s robotics lab, Hobbs Studio…some really interesting

Case Study |


In Short


Plexal was opened in June 2017. CEO and Founder is Claire Cockerton. The space was previously the Press Centre for London's Olympic Park. A 68,000 sq ft facility, Plexal is one of the largest tech innovation centres in Europe. This forward-thinking innovation community brings together 'startups', scale-ups, enterprises and academics under one roof. Specialised facilities include 3D printing and prototyping.

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Case Study | Plexal

neighbours and there’s a really good mix of academics and big business. ‘Where we come in is we’re the innovation centre at the heart of all of this,’ we’re told. ‘We help connect people in what is a real melting pot of innovation.’ When Claire started designing and conceiving Plexal, she was – as we previously mentioned – really inspired by the idea of cities and how they are places where people from different walks of life come together and collaborate. She worked with Grimshaw to develop this city concept and really bring that to life. ‘So, you can see that the space has been designed as a mini-city. Where we are stood, close to the entrance, is the Town Hall space and then we have the High Street, which runs along the centre of the facility. The idea is that, just as with a normal high street, you have to walk along Plexal to get to where you need to get to – and then bump into people along the way.’ The innovation centre is divided into a ground and first floor layout, where a street mezzanine structure allows open plan workstation areas to sit above the ground floor’s private offices. Other office spaces are formed using a high-performance ‘kit-of-parts’ Tecno partition system, which can be reconfigured to accommodate expanding and

contracting businesses, or to set up new work areas. The main High Street links workspaces to civic areas on upper/lower and east/west axes, indeed reflective of a city planning grid. The wider layout offers a range of quiet and social areas, including Legacy Place, which is a contemplative place to work, while Monument Square is the bustling entrance we started out at, which incorporates high-top flexible hot-desking spaces, a café zone and a stunning 5m high green wall, with screens streaming business data. At the heart of the hub is Plexal Park; a 200-seat capacity, multipurpose events space with a busy programme throughout the year, which is designed to facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas between Plexal innovators and visitors from a variety of industries. This, incidentally, is something that we can absolutely confirm, as there is a major event being held throughout our own visit. We ask our hosts to tell us a little more about how Plexal works. ‘We have a series of co-working spaces – so our members have a hot desk or they can place themselves in various places throughout the space. What really differentiates Plexal is all the services we offer our members. We do have some very specialised services and facilities we can offer, such as 3D printing and prototyping. The idea was

Essentials Client Plexal Design Grimshaw Furniture Supply Umbrella Furniture Bisley, Boss Design, BuzziSpace, Davison Highley, Edsbyn, Frem, Fritz Hansen, Gubi, Hay, Howe, Icons of Denmark, Interstuhl, Jennifer Newman, Lina, Kristalia, Muuto, Naughtone, Orangebox, Pedrali, Plus Halle, South Sea Deck Chairs, Stage Systems, Tolix, Vitra, Werner Works - ei2

Below Monument Square

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The right option whichever way you look at it Hush by

Come and see them the right way up in our Clerkenwell Showroom, 25 Britton Street, London EC1M 5NY

Case Study |

Case Study | Plexal

Right Plexal Park Below right Plexal workspaces

always to offer those things that a tech start-up might need – and to have them in-house. ‘We’re already well over halfway full. A lot of the fixed office spaces were the first to go – and we’re now finding more and more members joining on a hot desking basis.’ Claire was keen that there was a real balance to the space – so you tend to find that there is more activity and social gatherings on one side of the building – where you’ll find Plexal Park and the events space – and on the other side of the building it is a lot quieter, so that members can focus on their work. There are even signs in these areas asking people to keep the noise down. Further contributing to the wellbeing of Plexal innovators, the centre includes ample community spaces, green areas with indoor planting, and casual environments for workers to wind down or work in a more relaxed atmosphere. Lighting can be programmed to match natural circadian rhythms, while private phone booths dotted along the High Street provide respite from the hustle and bustle. ‘Co-working spaces are rapidly becoming the home for start-up companies as well as the more established businesses that want to collaborate with them,’ Grimshaw Partner, Jolyon Brewis, says. ‘In designing Plexal, we wanted to avoid the clichés of this building type and offer a space that is flexible, long-lasting and has an authenticity that provides an enjoyable home for serious innovation.’ ‘Our Makers’ Yard, executive boardrooms, indoor Plexal Park and events stage are critical and distinct places, enabling business innovation and acceleration to flourish,’ Claire adds. ‘We're proud to build upon urban design principles and the insights from the world's best incubator spaces to provide an inspirational space dedicated to the entrepreneurial process.’ There is an awful lot to like and admire about Plexal. The smart, commonsense approach to the delineation of space and the issues of noise/ quiet space, for example, is something that many could learn from. We love the feeling of height and space throughout – and should also give a special mention to the impressive and comprehensive furniture choices here, which were supplied by Umbrella. The one thing we haven’t been able to fully appreciate, given the adverse weather conditions, is the amazing outdoor space that runs alongside the canal. We’d better come back in the summer! w

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Case Study |

Because good design demands simplicity. ™

We're proud to build upon urban design principles and the insights from the world's best incubator spaces to provide an inspirational space dedicated to the entrepreneurial process

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Case Study |

The t h g i r B Stuff 70 | Mix 180 January 2018

Case Study | The Bright Building

lves) ishing (even if we say so ourse ton as the ed tic no ve ha ll wi rs Regular reade to review sed projects we’ve been able ba stWe rth No e siv es pr im of variety g jor financial blue chips, leadin ma at d ke loo ’ve We . so or ar over the past ye ns, public sector innovators tio cia so as ing us ho , ies an mp ng telecommunications co might just have added somethi we r, ve we ho re, He . ies ilit fac and co-working t something unique full stop. bu t, lis r ou to st We rth No not only unique to the


Left Central spine

echnology and innovation lie at the heart of The Bright Building – an amazing new facility, which provides a tech-hub for both Greater Manchester and the Northern region as a whole. Conceived as a place where discovery and adoption of innovation and open collaboration is nurtured, The Bright Building is the first phase of a wider BDP masterplan for Manchester Science Park (MSP). The Bright Building acts as the hub for the entire MSP campus community of over 150 businesses and the wider city centre innovation district. The majority of the building’s ground floor is given over to an expansive, flexible open space for up to 200 people to gather, with meeting rooms, breakout spaces, a café and shared outdoor areas to help bring people and businesses together. Having made our way out of the vibrancy of Manchester city centre, and despite the rather typical seasonal weather, we’re both surprised and delighted to find a whole new vibrancy out here at MSP. We meet up with BDP Architect Designer Mike Hitchmough and Tom Renn, Managing Director, Manchester Science Partnerships, who are happy to give us a tour of the facility. ‘We’re hitting the lunchtime rush right now – which is a

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Case Study | The Bright Building

Left Central hub space in ‘lunch’ mode Right Central spine of the building locks in to the University campus

nice time in a way,’ Tom begins. ‘We’re now seeing all the customers of MSP – some 2,000 people, working across 10 buildings. The design of this building was all about bringing that community together into one place – so rather than having pockets of community in different buildings, and customers or tenants of each building staying within their own smaller community, the idea here was to create an active heart for the park. ‘We have a lot of companies here at MSP who have spun out of academia – and this is a great facility for them to be able to continue to interact with the community.’ ‘This was actually two commissions for us,’ Mike tells us. ‘The first commission was the base build – which was literally the shell and core. We didn’t do anything with upstairs because the sort of tenants that Tom is getting in are not looking for a traditional office fit-out. 'So we designed a bare shell that kept the wind and rain out – which is extremely handy on a day like today! ‘People can then come in here and use this space as a hub. A lot of the work is research-based or lab-based, so a typical office fit-out wouldn’t necessarily work for them.

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We have a lot of companies here at MSP who have spun out of academia – and this is a great facility for them to be able to continue to interact with the community

‘Tom and the team then commissioned a separate piece of work for the fit-out of the ground floor space. The entire building is around 70,000 sq ft. Including Cisco’s own space here, we’ve probably got about 10,000 sq ft of space that a typical developer would immediately want to shrink down. There is pretty much an open-door policy here – we needed this space to be given across to anyone who wants to come in here and use it, have a coffee etc. Obviously, the tenants here – such as Cisco – use the facility, but it is also very much open for anyone within the science park.’ ‘It was designed to Cat A with an exposed ceiling,’ Tom continues. ‘So we weren’t going to put in grid ceilings – we always wanted to expose the concrete and if tenants then come in here and want to put in a grid ceiling for their own lab space, for example, they can do that – it works really well for that. Flexibility is absolutely key to the space. ‘We have an Innovation Centre here, which we run in partnership with Cisco, and which is designed to help scale small businesses. The main street space, which runs throughout the building, features our shared operating office and also the R&D Centre for Cisco in the North. We run Innovate UK’s national ‘Internet of Things’

Case Study |




In Short The Bright Building is Manchester Science Park's newest, state-ofthe-art workspace, designed to function as the heart of MSP.


The building is the first new build on MSP in more than 15 years. Home to digital incubation hub MiIDEA, a collaboration between MSP and leading technology company Cisco, which supports start-ups to scale and provides a space for co-innovation in the region. The building also serves as the centre of operations and demonstrator for CityVerve, Innovate UK’s Internet of Things city demonstrator, for which MSP is a lead partner.

Davison Highley London, Lower Ground Floor, The Old Brewery, 16 Brewhouse Yard, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 4LJ

www.davisonhighley.co.uk +44 ( 0 ) 207 871 1089



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Case Study | The Bright Building

Left One of two atria spaces at each end of the central spine Below Cosy ‘snug’ spaces below meeting rooms

demonstrator project here – so we engage with a lot of tech SME’s and a number of life science companies. ‘We are a little way out of the city centre, so it was vital that we brought the right amenities to the site – so as well as the food and drink provision, we have a gym studio, for example. After all, what is it we’re offering here? An innovation campus where you can work with over 150 like-minded businesses, in close proximity to the University and the largest NHS hospital trust in the country – but we also needed that really good café offering and gym studio.’ The clear span, pre-cast concrete frame solution enabled MSP to offer tenants clear, open space with no internal finishes, so that tenants had the maximum flexibility on their fit-out. The building is designed around this central open spine that is open to the public – a key aspect of the wider masterplan – and facilitates connectivity between the University and the Science Park. The natural flow and energy of people through and around the building is harnessed within the vibrant ground floor hub where, as Mike informs us, ‘We have used the often-overlooked metric of three dimensional

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Photography Oliver Perrott

Case Study | www.jennifernewman.com Showroom 8 Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0DE


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Case Study |

phusei (foo-say): Phusis is the ancient Greek word for “nature,” cognate with the verb “to grow” (phuein); as in English, it can be used both for the natural world as a whole and for the “nature” (i.e., the essential or intrinsic characteristics) of any particular thing, which it has “by nature” (phusei).

phusei.com 76 | Mix 181 February 2018

Case Study | The Bright Building

volume to create an unfolding series of diverse spaces, using objects, furniture and lighting to create both formal and informal settings, bright places, dark spaces, open and cosy, inside or outside, where people can connect on whatever level they choose’. The ground floor’s central open space – the real beating heart of the facility – is designed to accommodate a range of functions. In its ‘everyday’ mode, it is furnished with tables and benches where people can enjoy food and drink throughout the day, provided by Friska – a caterer whose ethos is focused upon how food makes you ‘feel’. Very Scandinavian and very cool! Mike tells us that Tom and the team spent a great deal of time deliberating over the right partners for the building. ‘It was incredibly important – because it’s so important for them to get the right people visiting the building. The food here is first-class, by the way,’ he enthuses. Lacquered plywood terraces provide informal places to sit, lounge and work. Tom tells us that, with the tables and benches removed, these platforms and seating either side create a natural performance space. Filled with seating, the central space becomes a 200-seat conference space with the raised platform as the stage area. Fantastic elevated black meeting rooms cling to the exposed concrete soffit and emphasise the generous height of the ground floor. ‘Each has a deliberately different orientation, offering inward and outward looking views and different room proportions to offer a variety of meeting configurations and settings,’ Mike explains. ‘The additional booth-style spaces below are deliberately tight and intimate – in contrast to the lofty central space.’ An important aspect of the openness and accessibility of the building was to establish seamless connectivity between inside and outside. The external landscape concept was developed around the notion of creating external rooms where – weather depending – people can work, meet, and play as easily outside the building as they can inside. To this end, the landscape incorporates, power, data, lighting and ground sockets to accept temporary structures for a range of shelters. Of course, we do have to bear in mind that this is Manchester, so perfect alfresco dining and working will always be slightly limited. On a fine day, however, this will certainly add a whole new dimension to the facilities here. Users have access to latest telepresence technology, enabling them to work with anyone, anywhere in the world. The building is a living lab for new technology development and deployment, with a particular focus on smart cities, Internet of Things and digital health. It is a building that celebrates and uses technology and physical space to allow people to connect both digitally and physically. w

Above Ground floor client workspace Below Timber terraces leading up to the Meeting Room suites

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Case Study | Integro

Integro Differential We’re in the City of London to take a look at the new workspace of the Integro Group. Now, while researching our hosts for the day, we got a little trigger-happy with Google and opened a completely different site from the Group’s own and – totally accidentally – came across English translations for the word ‘Integro’.

Left Reception space

The list of English words included: renew, renovate, refresh, integrate and replenish. We haven’t even looked at the Group’s site and already we have a really good, positive feeling about this project. Integro (we eventually discover) is a global insurance brokerage and specialty risk management firm driven to deliver dedicated, quality benefits consulting and insurance brokerage services through client-first, transparent business practices. Since 2005, the business has pioneered a unique approach to managing risk, beginning by taking the time to get to know its clients inside and out. It then deploys superior analytical methodologies to deliver the in-depth and timely information necessary to recommend the best programme design and coverage to fit clients’ specific needs. Resonate were asked to bid on a 45,000 sq ft enquiry for Integro, who were relocating all existing offices and congregating under one roof, in the heart of the city at 71 Fenchurch Street – the classic Richard Rogers building. The site is defined by existing buildings on two sides, including the Grade II listed 71 Fenchurch Street, constructed for Lloyd’s Register in 1901, which has now been extensively restored and incorporated into the new headquarters. The building has stepped up from six- to 14-storeys of office space and two basements, covering a total of 24,000 sq m. Highly transparent glazing offers instant legibility and animates the building’s exterior as people use the 'fully glazed' wall-climber lifts and stairs. The glazed façade forms part of an integrated cooling and heating system, which enables the building to achieve a 33% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with conventional air conditioning. Integro occupies two floors here – the 1st and 2nd – so we head up to the new serene, elegant reception space to meet with Integro’s Martin

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Case Study | Integro

Spencer and Resonate’s Pernille Stafford. Martin can tell us a little more about the business. ‘We’re a Lloyd's insurance broker,’ he explains, ‘and have various different classes of business – ranging from racehorses and boats through to pop stars. We came from four different locations into this building. We now have 327 employees – and with agile working and expansion space we could get up to 400. ‘We did face some challenges with the shape of the building – which is somewhat irregular. It is a sort of letter ‘H’ with an extra arm! ‘This project first came about when Integro looked to bring those businesses together under this one roof,’ Pernille tells us as we head through the reception lounge space, towards the impressive meeting suite. ‘They were extremely keen to stay in this area – which is very much the heart of insurance broking – and they have clients and underwriters coming in and out of here all the time. ‘We wanted to try to do something really different for them here and to add a number of new elements and ways of working – for example, you’ll see that we’ve added lots of agile working areas throughout the space. This 2nd floor has the client

meeting suite, but overall the two floors are quite similar, with plenty of open plan working on each. ‘For this reception area and meeting suite, we wanted to create an extremely professional, contemporary impression. We had a really tight budget, so the reception desk is faux marble or ceramic tile, for example – but the really big challenge was the chilled beams and concrete soffits, which cool the slab. When it came to subdividing this, it was really complicated. I’d say that, in terms of M&E, this was the most challenging job we’ve done as Resonate to date. ‘Confidentiality was also super important for them. It was vital that both clients and brokers could work here and not have to worry about privacy and confidentiality.’ The palette for the front of house facility consists of muted greys and purples in soft tones, with the reception lounge leading directly to the large meeting room suite. The backdrop to the reception is a carefully considered backlit logo wall, hiding coats and providing storage, with a long marble reception desk in front. The client lounge houses a long stone bar to accommodate client functions and breakout facilities, including smart Verco booths, for the suite of meeting areas. The feature wall is a

They were extremely keen to stay in this

area – which is very much the heart of

insurance broking

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Above internal meeting rooms with chilled beam ceiling detail Right Open plan workspace

Case Study |

In Short The name Integro comes from the Latin word, which translates as…‘make better, make well’. Globally headquartered in New York. In 2005, Integro developed a strong presence in the UK by acquiring Lloyd’s specialist broker Humphreys Haggas Sutton Ltd. Since 2005, Integro has pioneered a unique approach to managing risk, deploying superior analytical methodologies to deliver the in-depth and timely information necessary to recommend the best programme design and coverage to fit its clients’ specific needs.

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Case Study | Integro

They selected this building not only because of the location, but also what it offers in terms of energy reductions

show-stopping mirrored tile panel, reflecting the finishes and colours around it. Manifestations to meeting rooms were carefully considered to add both design flair and also that necessary privacy. ‘We did debate about that tiled wall,’ Martin admits, ‘but actually I think it looks fantastic! This is the one side of the building that is not affected by the soffits so we could do a little more here – and it’s also the area where a lot of the technology spend went, bringing in new screens etc. We have had to update our technology overall and we’ve taken the jump from single screen to double screen on desks throughout the open plan areas, for example. Actually, we’ve been able to do that while reducing the footprint of each desk, thanks to smart new monitor arms.' Resonate’s design brief was to provide a bright and contemporary working environment consisting of a complete open plan concept that in turn allows teams and staff to be agile and supported. The robustness of the base build, with those concrete chilled beams and strong glazed façades, was a huge inspiration for the design, Pernille tells us – while the interior adds to the palette with its bold use of yellows, blues and greens throughout. ‘They wanted to be sustainable,’ Pernille says. ‘They selected this building not only because of the location, but also what it offers in terms of energy reductions.’ As was mentioned a little earlier, the space needed to accommodate some 400 staff – who all have the same desking solutions – and also had to maximise storage space for a vast amount of insurance documents. To break up the dark, open floorplates, plants and bold colour were added wherever possible. The workspace is successfully disrupted by glazed meeting rooms, with bright

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pops of texture and colour, and furnished informally with smart Vitra DSR chairs. As we walk through the open plan space, we ask Martin about the collaboration with Resonate. ‘We originally had a list of five firms – and we were simply looking for the firm who we felt would fit us,’ Martin recalls. ‘So we went with Resonate for the design – and also Parkeray for the fit-out. Resonate were a relatively small practice compared with the others and we felt that we would be important to them rather than just another tick in the box – and that’s exactly how it turned out to be. We’re quite conservative as a business and Resonate came up with some pretty whacky ideas! They listened to everything we said though and took everything on board. They were great to work with – as were Parkeray. They understood us.’ The communal breakout lounge in the heart of the first floor was deliberately located right at the centre of all the activity, providing seating for 100 people in a variety of settings. Beautiful, bespoke banquette seating in a dark teal velvet is paired with furniture in brighter colours to create a vibrant space away from the desk. Indeed, the furniture selection throughout – courtesy of Rainbow – is well considered, adding far more than just a place to sit or a flat surface to work at. The bar counters, in a recycled sparkling stone, allow staff to gather and enjoy a brew. This is truly the 'heart of the village' type of space, where the newly formed Integro community can thrive and make new collaborations. For this thriving office in the heart of insurance land, Resonate aimed to create an inclusive environment where the business will flourish and grow. We think they’ve most definitely succeeded, creating a home for Integro for years to come. w

Above Client lounge

Essentials Client Integro Interior Design Resonate Main Contractor Parkeray Project Manager Colliers International QS BAP Furniture Supply Rainbow Furniture Narbutas, Forma 5, Euroworkspace, Metal Office, Hitch Mylius, Marelli, Morgan, Hay, Verco, Muira, Lyndon, Task, Dynamobel, ICF, Vitra, Pedrali, John Hitch, Frem. Carpet Quadrant, Bolon

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Profile | James Ludwig

The SILQ Road It feels like the perfect timing to bring you news of a new product innovation. You’ll have seen from our Big Question at the start of this month’s Dealer Report that we asked a number of leading furniture providers whether manufacturers are doing enough to support dealer networks – with extremely interesting responses.


s a magazine that, on a daily basis, receives press releases from furniture manufacturers who (more times than not) use phrases such as ‘new product innovation’ for something that often simply isn’t, our heads will be turned by anything that is genuinely new or innovative. So, when Steelcase first talked to us about a new product that would ‘transform seating design’ we were a little skeptical – but a whole lot intrigued. It turns out that this latest development is completely and absolutely new and innovative – and we were fortunate enough to get a preview from James Ludwig, Vice President, Global Design and Engineering at Steelcase. James has been in this prestigious role since 2008, with global responsibility for the product design direction of Steelcase, Turnstone, Nurture and Details, overseeing teams in Europe, Asia and the United States. Additionally, he is responsible for the design direction of all Steelcase showrooms

and WorkLife facilities. In November 2013, James added global project management to his responsibilities. The product in question is SILQ – an all-new chair design that intuitively responds to human movement without the use of mechanisms. Through an innovation in materials science and a patent-pending process, Steelcase’s designers and engineers have created a new high-performance polymer material that emulates the qualities of carbon fibre at a mass market price. This material, combined with the sensuous curves of the design, allows SILQ to respond to natural movements of the human body without the mechanisms typically required in highperformance seating designed for the workplace. The result is a chair that behaves more like an organism than a machine – a new archetype in office seating. Just think about that for a second. We’re talking about a workplace chair – an operator chair, if

Left James Ludwig, Vice President, Global Design and Engineering at Steelcase

Mix 181 February 2018 | 85

Welcoming you to ABL’s new London Showroom based at the Vault

Review |




ABL’S SHOWROOM ADDRESS: The Vault, 8 St. John’s Lane London EC1M 4BF

NEW ABL catalogue available early 2018 POWER MODULES MONITOR ARMS CABLE MANAGEMENT CPU HOLDERS Tel: 0800 082 1444 Email: sales@abl-uk.com


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Central reservations

01933 428 156 POWER







Ergonomic Office Accessory Specialists

Profile | James Ludwig

Left The Steelcase design team work on SilQ

you like – that does not have a ‘unique synchro mechanism’. It doesn’t have a mechanism at all! We begin by asking James about the origins of the concept itself. ‘It started back in 2008. I had done this sketch for a task chair project – which eventually became Gesture. The original sketch was something very different. It was based around the idea of these four ‘tendrils’, made from some material that we hadn’t invented yet! We worked on it for a couple of months and realised that it just wasn’t time – we didn’t have the material knowledge to do this. ‘So we went about doing what we do really well, which is inventing exquisite machines. I still call Gesture the ultimate sitting machine. A couple of years later, the CEO challenged me to start understanding carbon fibre. Boeing was doing the Dreamliner, which had elements of carbon fibre, aerospace was using the material and car manufacturers were talking about moving away from steel and gas towards carbon fibre and electric. There was definitely something of a zeitgeist happening. In our industry we’d seen a couple of individual attempts at using carbon fibre. We did this experiment – which eventually became

The visual language, performance language and material composition should come together to create something that’s truly unique

the LessThanFive chair. While we were working on that with Michael Young, we were sitting on the roof of a carbon fibre supplier in Shenzhen – and they do BMW, Lamborghini and more bike frames than I could list – and I started thinking that this chair is all about lightness and stiffness, a lot like aerospace. But there are other aspects to carbon fibre – such as the prosthetic legs that Paralympic athletes use. ‘I went back to the US and asked my chief engineer, ‘Do you think we could go back to that idea we shelved about eight years ago?’ So, for about 18 months, with a very small team, we worked on this. 'I commandeered a space in the Innovation Center, we put paper on the windows, a lock on the door and didn’t tell anybody about what we were working on. We didn’t tell the CEO, we didn’t tell the head of marketing – because we didn’t know if there was really anything there! ‘The result of that is SILQ – which I really believe is a technological tour de force; to be able to replace all that machinery with something so complex yet so simple. A typical task chair has upwards of 200 parts – this has 30. The notion of

Mix 181 February 2018 | 87

Review |

0 4 .1

Mix Design Collective New for 2018. Part of Mix Week. www.mixdesigncollective.co.uk

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2 .18

- 06 .12 . 18

Profile | James Ludwig

Right SilQ chairs in situ Below right SilQ can be customised to compliment any office Below left Steelcase’s innovative SilQ chair

this material-based solution replacing all those parts seems so simple.’ What we already know from James is that this has actually been a far from simple project, spanning a decade in total and throwing the 50-something-year old rulebook on office seating out of the window. Although James and the team now realised they had created something special, they also knew their job was far from done. ‘We’d solved it – but the problem is that there is a certain premium to carbon fibre, as you know,’ James continues. ‘So I asked, ‘Can we do this in a way that we can reach more people and allow more people to have an intuitive sit?’ They were pretty pissed off for about a week – and then they came back and we worked on a non-carbon version. We essentially created a proprietary material to replicate the entire experience.’ A proprietary material? We’re intrigued. However, James is giving little away about the team’s brilliant materials research and development, which has led to what is now a commercially viable product.

‘We can’t really talk about the material right now,’ he grins, before expertly changing the subject by inviting us to take a sit on the new chair. ’There’s only one adjustment – height adjustment – and everything else is you. People don’t want to spend time adjusting their chair. This is based upon your stature and posture. The energy you’re driving into this is what’s activating the system – rather than sitting on a chair, you are part of this. ‘The visual language, performance language and material composition should come together to create something that’s truly unique. As I said, we took inspiration from aerospace, the motion of a high-performance prosthetic leg and sculpture, among other things, to understand how the combination of advanced materials and shape could create a simple system that is incredibly thin, extremely strong and highly responsive ‘There are three principles here; the first is about material innovation, the second is about performance – this is more organism than machine in many ways – and the third is about artistry. You

can have the Tom Ford version or the Scandinavian styling – there are unlimited and unprecedented possibilities and personalities here. I really believe that the world’s ready for something more intuitive – we already have enough complexity in our lives. Our CEO asked us to produce something more simple for the user – and I believe we’ve done that. ‘I think there’s something magical – and this is a personal design philosophy – when you have the visual language, the performance language and the material science – and they become inseparable. I’ve only ever really seen that in really simple systems, like the contact lens or the heart stent. The challenge was whether we could translate that into a more complex system – and that’s what really drove the engineering team. How simple could we make this with the materials-based solution? While we love the sculptural qualities of the product, the curves are necessary because they create resistance in the energy system. There was all this push/pull – and it was really great fun. I kept telling the guys to go home!’ w

Mix 181 February 2018 | 89

Review | Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair

’Holm Guard

When some extremely bright sparks suggested that it would be a smart move to combine Stockholm Design Week and Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, they must have known they were on to something. Stockholm has now become the February destination for many buyers, architects and designers from all over the world, who can enjoy not just one of the best and most accessible trade fairs around, but also a beautiful city, buzzing with some 200 events, installations and parties throughout the week. The fair is still very much at the centre of it all – and although our schedules didn’t allow us to get out to Stockholm this year, we’d be doing a disservice not to bring you a selection of the most interesting products on show at both the fair and further afield, from Scandinavia’s finest.

Fritz Hansen - Pot

Bolon - Elements

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EFG - Archie

Kinnarps - SPACE

Review |

Bolon – Elements Bolon’s new flooring collection brings the harmony of the natural world to interior spaces. Discreet and versatile, the Elements range acts as a bridge between objects and their surroundings, demonstrating the positive effect that good design can have on our senses and wellbeing. The Elements collection reflects the tonality and textures of the natural environment. Its two warp threads have a grey and beige base, inspired by the warm and dusty melanges found in nature. These are woven into weft threads, whose shades evoke elements such as linen, oak, ash, cork, birch, marble, walnut, flint, wool and silk. The flooring has an artisanal appearance and a tactility reminiscent of linen. EFG – Archie The smooth, organic shape of EFG’s new Archie chair is inspired by the human body – both in design and function. ‘Archie is not only an aesthetically appealing chair,’ says designer Carl Öjerstam. ‘It is a chair that gives support to sitters of all sizes, all day long. To achieve this in such a minimalist chair, you need to go further than simply the look – you need to pay careful attention to different aspects of user ergonomics. There are thousands of chairs out there, but not all of them get the comfort right – so that is what we set out to do.’ Fredericia – Swoon Ottoman Designed by Space Copenhagen, the ottoman is a comfortable addition to the iconic Swoon lounge chair, which was designed to ‘elevate luxurious relaxation to the next level’ – making it the perfect choice for any lounge setting, from home to hotel. In line with Space Copenhagen’s signature style, the look is both organic and contemporary. The fully upholstered ottoman has been developed to supplement the chair, creating a sophisticated lounge set that invites hours of comfort. Fritz Hansen – Pot Fritz Hansen has reintroduced the Pot lounge chair, designed by Arne Jacobsen. The chair was created along with the Egg and the Swan for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen in 1959. With improved comfort, modern materials and new playful fabrics, the Pot returns in better shape than ever. The low, comfortable lounge chair embraces everyone who sits in it without ever taking over the room. The chair works as beautifully standing alone in a home lounge setting as it does arranged in pairs in a welcoming cocktail bar or informal meeting room. Kinnarps – SPACE SPACE is a furniture concept designed by Stefan Brodbeck of Brodbeck Design for both today's and tomorrow's way of working, meeting and storing. The range is based on a large number of storage modules, which are connected and combined, depending on the functionality and look you want. The flexibility of the range allows for concentration or discussions, as well as offering space for group and private working. ‘Design creates differentiation as well as orientation,’ Stefan explains. ‘So does the storage system SPACE, which has exciting features and options to create functional but also emotional and inspiring office space solutions.’

THANK FIKA IT’S FRIDAY! [Swedish ‘Fee-ka’: to take a break with cake and coffee]

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Mix 181 February 2018 | 91

Review | Surface Design Show

Lisbon Lion It is the final afternoon of another successful Surface Design Show – and what better way to finish than with the eagerly anticipated Surface Design Awards presentation ceremony? It’s pretty much standing room only in Islington’s Business Design Centre, as those nominated wait with baited breath. The Surface Design Awards were first launched in 2013 – and each year have grown in significance. This year, the awards received an impressive total of 80 entries. Furthermore, the awards are now truly international – projects were entered from an astonishing 16 different countries, with finalists’ projects hailing from 10 different countries. The judging panel was co-chaired by Ab Rogers of Ab Rogers Design and Tina Norden of Conran and Partners, while the judging panel comprised: Jenny Jones, Studio Jenny Jones, Sacha Leong, Studioilse, Howard Sullivan, YourStudio, Constantina Tsoutsikou, HBA London, Jo Littlefair, Goddard Littlefair and Nir Gilad, Nous Design. To start proceedings, Christophe Egret, Founding Director of Studio Egret West, delivered a fascinating keynote speech, before our own Mick Jordan took to the stage to preside over the awards. The Supreme Winner of the Surface Design Awards 2018 – the award that goes to the project that, in the opinion of the judges, is the very ‘Best of the Best’ of all the winning entries – went to AL_A’s fantastic Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon. The afternoon’s well-deserved winners are shown here:

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Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon, Portugal winner of Public Building Exterior Surface Award and Supreme Winner

Light and Exterior Surface Award Beach Hut Monument for Beachy Head Lady, Eastbourne, UK

Retail Interior Surfaces Award Cannavacciuolo Bistrot, Turin, Italy

Housing Interior Surface Award House 13, London, UK

Housing Exterior Surface Award (joint-winners) Presidente Arriaga Building, Lisbon, Portugal John Ruskin Street, London, UK

Public Building Exterior Surface Award Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon, Portugal

Sustainable Exterior Surface Award Valley Villa, Vilnius, Lithuania

Public Building Interior Surface Award The Science Museum, London, UK.

Light and Interior Surface Award Soundscapes

Temporary Structures Award The Bolt, London, UK

Commercial Exterior Surface Award The Friendly Border Apartments, Lisbon, Portugal

Commercial Interior Surface Award The Vanke DayPark Sales Office & Culture Exhibition Center

The Supreme Winner Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon

Mix 181 February 2018 | 93

Review |

Inspire. Inform. Entertain. Join us at MixInspired London

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Sponsored by: 94 | Mix 181 February 2018



Design Decadence with Wilton Carpets Decadence is the latest carpet collection from Wilton Carpets, reinventing Art Deco by pushing the boundaries of its structure and introducing sophisticated textures. Fused with fearless 1960's tones of orange and brown, teal and flashes of rich salmon pink, the collection brings a refreshed and reinvigorated approach to Art Deco, avoiding archetypal repeats for a new perspective. Designed by Becky Smith, Senior Designer at Wilton, Decadence is a truly extraordinary showcase of what is possible in carpet when constraints are lifted. www.wiltoncarpets.com

A touch of velvet from modulyss Domotex sees the launch of the latest carpet tile collection from modulyss – Velvet&. Through a 1/12th gauge random tip-sheared loop pile texture, modulyss presents lavish contrast; a tight and dense structure interspersed by areas of luxurious velour for a rich-velvet feel. By combining bright and dull yarns with an organic design through rising/falling textures and pile heights, Velvet& delivers a striking 3D effect. In a palette of 18 colours, Velvet& presents tonal duality that redefines sophisticated carpet luxury for today’s work and hospitality spaces. www.modulyss.com

Quadrant Demonstrates Depth at London Offices of Integro Carpet tiles, planks and woven vinyl from Quadrant have transformed the London offices of insurance broker, Integro. With a brief for an open plan concept that allows teams and staff to be agile and supported, Resonate Interiors turned to Quadrant to supply flooring solutions that could work to meet this need. James Scully, Managing Director, Quadrant, says: 'This is a project that demonstrates our position as a multi-disciplinary flooring supplier capable of fulfilling the most diverse of briefs.' www.quadmod.com

Verco to the Max The Max Collection has been designed to be a sophisticated, but affordable, task chair, perfectly adapted to the latest working practices. In today’s complex workplace, it’s good to keep things as simple as possible, so Max is easy to specify and simple to use. Max’s minimalist aesthetic is ‘lighter’ in form and feel, reflecting the way we work today and, through a combination of inherent strength and visual transparency, the chair maintains a clarity of thought and simplicity of style demanded in today’s agile workplace. www.verco.co.uk

Mix 181 February 2018 | 95

The Last Word | Opinion

FORGET OFFICE DESIGN... ...we need some basic job design - agile smagile! Tech entrepreneur Glenn Elliott thinks we might well be missing the bigger picture.

One of the biggest mistakes we make with people at work is to think that they can play an effective role as a part of a machine

Glenn Elliott was the CEO of employee engagement specialist Reward Gateway from 2006 to 2017 and now advises businesses on company culture, leadership and growth. He is the author of Build it - The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement (Wiley, 2018), where you’ll find much more on the subject of Job Design. www.glennelliott.me www.rebelplaybook.com


e can faff around with our physical environments as much as we want but if we don’t go deeper into what people actually want then we might as well be rearranging the deckchairs on the proverbial Titanic. The problem, as I see it, is that while we’re getting quite decent, in some places anyway, at office design, we are universally quite awful at job design. Most jobs that I come across, aren’t actually designed at all – we’re lucky if they are a list of loosely connected tasks and we rarely, if ever, think about how the person doing them will feel. As a result, we end up putting people in boring, repetitive jobs; frustrating jobs; and jobs where the person can’t tell if they’ve had a good day or a bad one. One of the biggest mistakes we make with people at work is to think that they can play an effective role as a part of a machine. All the evidence I’ve seen is the opposite – people make terrible components in machines. Slotting people into roles without freedom, creativity and self-determination simply makes for miserable people who resent life and then become petty and annoying with others. It’s a result that we then tend to call ‘normal office life’. HR then typically makes matters worse by documenting these positions with ‘job descriptions’ – some of the most awful documents to ever come out of business. I often think these have a primary aim of being waved at someone as we fire them, saying, ‘See, you didn’t do any of these things’. And then, as if this weren’t enough, we convert the descriptions into job advertisements that paper over the cracks and make the key responsibilities even less intelligible or understandable. The issue of job design is so poorly understood, it is missed by some of our best thinkers. In his book Leaders Eat Last, management consultant, Simon Sinek, discusses a gate agent at an airport who was yelling at a man attempting to board an aircraft before his number was called. When he asked the agent

why she treated the man poorly, her response was, ‘Sir, if I don’t follow the rules, I could get in trouble or lose my job’. His conclusion is that a lack of safety and trust in her leaders is why she behaved badly to the passenger. I think he’s wrong. The issue with the gate agent’s behaviour wasn’t what she was doing; it was how she was doing it. She could have gently explained to the customer that it wasn’t his turn, rather than shouting and making him feel small; that would still be following the rules. But she didn’t; she was mean and aggressive, and the reason isn’t a lack of safety. The reason is that she was stressed, frustrated and angry with her role. Being a gate agent at an airport is a tough job with high demands and low control. Agents drive the jetway, open the door, check in crew, board hundreds of passengers in increasingly complex sequences and deal with reactions to overbooking, all while using archaic systems. But they have almost no control; the rules are there to be followed, it’s a safety- and security-critical job, so there is no autonomy. Even the freedom to pick which passenger is deserving of an upgrade if there is a spare seat in business class has been long given up to automation, based on frequent flyer status. As far as job design goes, being a gate agent sucks. The attributes of a good job are not complex and, as usual, we’ve known them for ages – we just choose to ignore them. People need to deploy and develop skills, believe they are producing something meaningful, have enough challenge and demand to be stimulated over the long term, and have enough freedom and autonomy to make mistakes and innovate (yes, those two things go hand in hand!). Many leadership jobs will tick many of those boxes, which might be why we’ve become so bad at this area. Maybe all the people with power have decent job designs and can’t empathise with the people who don’t.

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

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W: www.opus-4.com


Simple to specify, Simple to use_ www.verco.co.uk Head Office: Chapel Lane, High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP12 4BG Verco London Hub: 67 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1R 5BL

At the heart of the Max task chair lies a sophisticated synchronised mechanism with automatic tension adjustment. Recognising that we are all individuals, we aim to take the complexity out of selecting the right task chair. Simple, versatile and adaptable seating should be the standard for all ergonomically designed chairs.

This stylish monitor arm, arguably one of the slimmest of its type on the market today, has been awarded FIRA’s prestigious Ergonomic Excellence Award and is now supplied with a 10 year extended warranty.


Head Office

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