Microsoft Conference Centre named 2015 Design Is…Award People’s Choice Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms of winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects. These are their stories.

Marjorie Marshall from Metaphore Design spoke with us about the design approach for the Microsoft Conference Centre project.

Describe this project in one word.


The Microsoft Conference Centre keywords required the environment to be a fun and casual place to exchange, learn and inspire innovation.

In what way does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

Although the Microsoft Conference Centre (serving visitors and employees alike) offers varied options for conventional meetings and training sessions-  the common areas are infused with enticing opportunities for spontaneous collaboration and quiet reflection. Whether the visitor is sipping a cappuccino at the bar, enjoying the view at the window seat, playing a lively game of XBox , or sharing a private exchange in the banquette nook – the process of  shared learning and creativity is reinforced by the stimulating environment.


Design is a process. Explain your journey.

Of course every project begins with a thorough exploration of our clients’ company. By understanding the Microsoft management objectives and challenges for this project, we could direct our design solutions to re-enforce their corporate goals.  The Metaphore Design creative process ensures that there is a direct link between the project Design Concept and our clients Corporate Soul. Beginning with client -directed KEYWORDS, we select images relating to the essence of these words. The next layer is architectural images inspired by the keyword images. From there, we develop the Design Concept connecting to the layout and clients functional needs. At every stage, we connected back with the Microsoft project team to ensure we were on the same wavelength. This way, they felt empowered to be part of our process and were very enthusiastic at the presentation of our ideas for the Conference Centre…

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

This project was an exciting one for our design team. It had to be great! Microsoft believed in Metaphore Design to create a space that would encourage collaboration and innovation.  We were so pumped to meet the challenge. The success of the Microsoft project was truly due to our ability to work together as a united team. By fully utilizing our individual strengths, and collaborating as a united force, we were stronger than the sum of our parts, and we became a better team in the process.

I would say to young designers – don’t be afraid to co-operate FULLY in a team… You won’t lose anything, and everyone will gain.

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