Where we learn matters: Cut & Compose collection making a difference

All students should have the opportunity to attend a green school, and with the help of Shaw Contract Group’s new education collection, we can help make this a reality.

Cut & Compose brings bold, typographic design to interiors, while supporting the Center for Green Schools at the US Green Building Council in its mission to create green schools for everyone within this generation. 1.5% of all sales from this collection will go to the Green Apple initiative to transform educational spaces into healthier, safer, more sustainable learning environments. Rachel Gutter, Director, Center for Green Schools said, “We are excited to work with Shaw Contract Group to advance the message that where our children learn matters.”

Cut & Compose supports USGBC's Center for Green Schools' Green Apple Day of Service by driving awareness and   donating 1.5% of all sales of the product to the Center for Green Schools.

Cut & Compose supports USGBC’s Center for Green Schools’ Green Apple Day of Service by driving awareness and donating 1.5% of all sales from this collection to the Center for Green Schools.

Read more about this collection at usgbc.org here  and at centerforgreenschools.org here.



Posted in Education | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 Market Winner: Melton Library and Learning Hub by FJMT

As the winners of the 2014 Design Is…Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog.  Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 40 winning projects.  These are their stories.

Fleur Downey spoke with us about the design approach to this community-focused project.

Describe the project in one word.



How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact user in a space?

This project has given the people of Melton a space that is community-based and collaborative.  Because of the design approach, varied community facilities are grouped within the building, including Maternal and Child Health Services, Lecture Spaces, Office Space, Cafe, Bookable Community Meeting Rooms and Children’s library and external playspace, along with the library itself.  This encourages the end user to engage with their community on more than one level and in many different ways.  Spaces are both intimate and open, and create a social flow through the building, encouraging patrons to use the spaces in a variety of ways.  Individual groups are catered for, with specific ‘teen’ and kids spaces, the design of which is reflective of their retrospective uses.

Since the opening of the library, memberships have increased by 1000 people per month, reinforcing the sense that the library is now the central community hub.

Design is a process – explain your journey

The journey began with a client (Melton City Council) which was committed to providing a building to serve as more than just a library for their community.  The brief and design was created through detailed consultation with the client, and importantly, end user groups.  The site located in the old township of Melton originally housed the 1970s original municipal library. The brief was to provide a new contemporary library and hub for the local community. The project features a double height reading space, multiple community meeting, theatre and teaching spaces. The project has a very high environmental agenda and will provide a new central civic space for the people of Melton, unlike anything in the existing town centre.

This challenging mix of influences assisted with the delicate refinement of the building and interior design, as what sometimes appeared to be a constraint in fact opened doors to new ingenuity and careful detailing.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

The public library is a trusted and recognised feature of a local area that makes a vital contribution to the social, educational and recreational development of local communities.  In this way, fjmt feel that true involvement by the architect in the briefing and development of an understanding of the desired outcomes for the community is essential.  This includes workshopping with user groups and stakeholders, as well as gaining a deep understanding of the community itself.  This detailed design process is resultant in buildings that are truly responsive to users.



Posted in Design Award | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 Market Winner: Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator by RMTA

As the winners of the 2014 Design is…Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group Blog.  Throughout the year, readers will learn about the 40 winning projects. These are their stories. 

Matt Murphy, Design Associate, spoke with us about this one-of-a-kind venture.

Describe the project in one word.


MOF14002_c How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?

Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator is unique venture powered by Sprint Corporation and Techstars, dedicated to the growth of the Kansas City tech and entrepreneurship community. The Accelerator is a beacon for entrepreneurship in the region, bringing start-ups from around the world into Kansas City to work on the future of mobile health technology.

Design is a process. Explain your journey.

Understanding these needs, RMTA concluded the space needed to echo exactly what Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator stands for – creativity, diversity, innovation and first to market. The building was originally erected in 1903 as an ice house. The 12,000 square feet second floor space underwent significant renovations while retaining the original structure to accommodate activities within three distinct sections: Community, Accelerator and Co-working.

Sprint desired an environment to inspire and advocate work-life balance; a place where people would want to be. To address their needs, the space was designed to inspire creativity and collaboration. Sprint also sought a backdrop that would let one know they are indeed in a Sprint space without overwhelming visitors with their universal brand. To formulate this distinct subculture, Sprint provided approvals to set aside conventional use of corporate branding identity including color, logo, icons and typography. These subtle, yet complex reminders of Sprint’s presence in the space radiates throughout without being trite or obtrusive.

The project moved at an expeditious speed; wherein RMTA was retained to survey the space and start the design process at the beginning of August and construction was completed by the end of December that very same year. This meant we had to make clear and succinct decisions without jeopardizing the acuity of the design. Each of the team members had their roles and worked within in them, always putting the project first which made for a great and synergistic process. This practice echoes throughout architecture and design on a daily basis; that each of us plays a small, yet significant part that when churned in unison with hard work, knowledge and passion can result in measurable successes.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

The uniqueness of the design comes from a team whom truly collaborated on all levels. The key to the project’s success was based on pushing the design limits and never accepting the status quo while maintaining the schedule and the budget and never losing sight of the project vision.




Posted in Design Award | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mural Artists Changing the Urban Experience

betterblowingkisses_garage-thumb-560x560Mural artists are changing the urban experience – exposed surfaces are opportunities for expression – and now companies are even commissioning well-known artists to inject more color to their properties – as is the case with Whole Foods’ newest Miami location, which added nature-inspired murals to its parking garage. Read the full article here.


The trend isn’t localized – it’s everywhere. And often it makes an impact greater than coloring our world. Atlanta is home to Living Walls,  an annual conference on street art and urbanism that began in 2010. Along with changing the urban landscape, the conference aims to highlight a number of problems facing the city – opening a platform for much-needed dialogue. The building above is a 2010 design by Tika, a Zurich-born artist who holds a Master’s Degree from Zurich’s University of Art & Design. This mural is located on the corner of Spring Street and W. Peachtree Street in Atlanta. The mural arts are big business. The time has come where we can finally wave goodbye to the stigma of graffiti – and welcome a new wave of art as it happens on sidewalks everywhere.  Keep calm and color on.


Posted in Color, Design, General, Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Designing the journey..

civita bagnregio

Italy’s Cavita di Bagnoregio sits atop a plateau of volcanic tuff overlooking the Tiber river valley. Shaw Contract Group Creative Director, Reesie Duncan, spent time here earlier this year. Admired for its ancient architecture – the town’s unaltered condition is due to its relative isolation.

Scenes from a weaving co-op in Goreme, Turkey as snapped by Shaw Contract Group VP of Marketing John Stephens while on vacation.

Scenes from a weaving co-op in Goreme, Turkey as snapped by Shaw Contract Group VP of Marketing John Stephens while on vacation.

Design is a journey that awakens our senses.  As we immerse ourselves in the global community, we are  enlightened by culture and captivated by contrast.  We expand our craft, learning time-honored techniques from long-practiced artisans.  We revel in the process and find balance in the pauses.  All the better to step outside our own world and become part of something greater.  

These words are on the opening page for our 2014 Design Is… magazine, but they represent much more than well-placed copy.  At the Shaw Contract Group offices, we celebrate the sense of place.  It defines where we work, where we play, where we rest and where we reflect.  Design is all around us and channeled through us. Design is Place.

Click here to scroll through a few of the sights from Creative Director, Reesie Duncan’s Mediterranean excursion as well as images shared by John Stephens, VP of Marketing on his recent vacation in Turkey. We’ll be adding more images here to document our adventures so make sure you are following us on Pinterest.

Posted in Design, General, Inspiration, International | Leave a comment