2013 Market Winner: SCOR Global Life Reinsurance InIreland PLC by Henry J Lyons Architects

As the winners of the 2013 Design is … Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog which will last a year. Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 48 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Sarah Dixon, Associate at Henry J Lyons Architects, spoke with us about inspiration from global travel, controlled color & texture, and envious colleagues.

When did you decide to pursue a profession in design?
I think when I finished school at the age of 18, I wasn’t really sure exactly what I wanted to study, but I knew it would be something to do with Art or Architecture. I had always been interested in my surroundings and houses and when I was offered a 4 year degree course in Environmental Design it seemed like the right one to do. It was an Interior Design course including Art History, Textile Design and Furniture Design and I really enjoyed it.

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Did you ever stray from this path or think about changing course?
After finishing the degree, I worked in both Dublin and London for a couple of years before taking six months out to travel. I went to South America, mainly Chile and Peru. While I was there, I fell in love with the colours and everything I saw around me. When I returned to Dublin I was very interested in changing from working as an Interior Designer to going back to study Textile Design, but in the end I decided to do a night time course in Textile Design using all the inspiration I had gathered while travelling. That was great fun, but I stuck with the Interior Design!

What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
I think it is the ‘controlled’ use of colour and texture.

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What is your first memory of the project?
We started this project on a very good note. I got on well with the client and they had such a good sense of design and furniture and understood exactly what I was proposing. All was progressing well with the project up to tender stage, then unfortunately It was put on hold while issues about the lease of the building were being resolved. I thought at that stage the project had been shelved, but luckily 6 months later it came back and we were able to pick up exactly where we had left off. The client was still very happy with the concept, design and finishes and the project went smoothly from there onto site.

What was the happiest moment of the project?
Seeing the fit out completed! And looking like the early 3D visuals and realising that the selected colours had worked together so nicely and that the use of red fabric really ‘popped’ against the carpet tile and the colours used in the manifestations. The client was happy and I was happy.

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Tell me about your client.
Our client was great. He had such a positive attitude to the whole process, he listened to our suggestions, he understood design and the reasons we put something forward for discussion. He was quick and decisive in decision making. A pleasure to work with. It would be fantastic to get an opportunity to work with SCOR again.

What has been the reaction to the new space?
The client and staff who work there are all very happy with their new office space and by all accounts are also very proud of it. They had been working in 2 different offices spaces in the city and are now altogether in one location. They also have offices in London, Paris, the US and other countries around the world, and when colleagues from abroad visit, the Dublin staff are the envy of them all.

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