Category Archives: Education

Haskell Architects | Wyndham Vale Primary School – 2016 Design Is…Award Global Winner

Shaw Contract conducted interviews with all firms of all Market Award winning projects from the 2016 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we always like to share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn about the winning projects. These are their stories.

Describe this project in one word.


How does this project demonstrate design impact?

Expanding on our one-word description, we really wanted to explore notions of place and memory in primary school design. Time spent at school should be a rich and stimulating experience and we felt this needed to be reflected in the design. This idea translated into a gathering place at the core of each of the learning ‘clusters’ – a place for students from different classes to collectively meet and share in learning together. The hexagon carpet tiles appear to disperse from this core, influencing the way students move in and around the space. It also provides a blurred transition from individual classrooms to open learning spaces that is fun, engaging and memorable. It’s these central activity hubs that really have the biggest design impact in this project.

Each project is a process. Explain your journey with this space.

Architecturally, we began with a central, external meeting space for the school around which ‘clusters’ of buildings catering for different year levels branch off. These provide a variety of flexible learning spaces. Internally, this translated into open spaces with no corridors so that every space could be utilised as a learning space. In this sense, connectivity between staff and students is enhanced. And so, by thoughtful planning, we have managed to create a school design that works incredibly well to cater for many and varied teaching and learning modes.

Tell us about any challenges or lessons learned from working on this project.

We had a tight budget, which meant that we had to be very selective and creative about how, and where, we spent the money we had! We selected the premium coloured hexagon carpet tile in the maximum design impact areas, fading out to a budget carpet tile elsewhere, to achieve a value for money solution. We also had an issue with high moisture levels in the concrete slab, but with the use of the LokDots by Shaw, we were able to overcome this issue easily, saving time and money.

On trends: Is there anything in particular with this project that is reflective of current culture/society?

The final design is, in itself, a direct response to current cultural trends in education planning; collaborative, technology driven and flexible learning spaces that can be configured in different ways to meet modern teaching and learning methods.

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Mars Interieurarchitecten | School of Aeronautical Services – 2016 Design Is…Award Global Winner

Shaw Contract conducted interviews with all firms of all Market Award winning projects from the 2016 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we always like to share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn about the winning projects. These are their stories.

Describe this project in one word.


How does this project demonstrate design impact?

Education in The Netherlands is changing. Albeda College innovates by making the transition from education to working easier. The way things look is as important as how it works. In this case the impact is so successful that there is a student application stop.

Each project is a process. Explain your journey with this space.

Every project is a journey. There are always new challenges which need to dealt with. The way teachers used to instruct students is totally different. We had to design a space that enabled students to get a new and inspiring education.

Tell us about any challenges or lessons learned from working on this project.

Get inspired, get out of the office and create your own journey.

On trends: Is there anything in particular with this project that is reflective of current culture/society?

Dialog is most important, email, youtube, facetime, texting are fantastic tools but there is no substitute for personal and face to face meetings.

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Design Thinking Is…A Field Trip!!

Last October, Shaw Commercial VP of Marketing Brenda Knowles and Shaw Contract Group designer John Crews traveled to Dalton, GA to speak with a precocious group of fourth and fifth graders at Westwood Elementary School about “design thinking.” The students sought extra inspiration for their ambitious yet imaginative mission — redesign the school media center.

design thinking

What Is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a formal method for practical, creative resolution of problems and creation of solutions, with the intent of an improved future result. In this regard it is a form of solution-based, or solution-focused thinking – starting with a goal (a better future situation) instead of solving a specific problem. By considering both present and future conditions and parameters of the problem, alternative solutions may be explored simultaneously. – Nigel Cross, “Designerly Ways of Knowing”

Design thinking is all about creating holistic, ideal solutions for the future, instead of solving immediate problems. This solution-first approach is accomplished through an iterative process of divergent thinking that yields as many “out-of-the-box” ideas as possible and refine down to the most feasible options. That “a-ha moment” will happen as long as you adhere to Meinel and Leifel’s four principles of design thinking:

    The human rule – all design activity is ultimately social in nature
    The ambiguity rule – design thinkers must preserve ambiguity
    The re-design rule – all design is re-design
    The tangibility rule – making ideas tangible always facilitates communication

This group of gifted and talented students truly exemplified these principles, because they not only absorbed design thinking theory, but wanted to get up close and personal with design thinking in practice. Fortunately, Shaw Commercial’s headquarters at Plant 94 are only a 45 minute bus trip away!


Design Thinking in Action

“I’m used to organizing mill tours, not field trips”, exclaimed Custom Studio Senior Design Manager Brandy Sutherland, “but I’ve never had more fun planning an event in my 12 years at Shaw!!”

Sutherland had plenty of help from Shaw Contract Group’s best and brightest to plan a full day of engaging activities to make design thinking tangible, social and most importantly, fun. First, the students revved up their imaginations with Shaw Hospitality Group designer Omoleye Adeyemi. First, Adeyemi handed each student a piece of paper with a few squiggly lines drawn across it in no particular order. She then instructed them to grab a crayon and connect the lines to draw shapes or figures that fit into whatever narrative they could imagine. Needless to say, many entertaining tales of dragons, dinosaurs and stick figures unfolded across each piece of colorful scratch paper. The creative juices flowed more freely once Adeyemi showed them how to magically swirl pigment on top of water and transfer it to paper. Check out the Noble Materials video and see if you can do any better!


After an eventful and productive morning, the children were treated to a little lunch-and-learn in the form of pizza and our very own ColorSense video. Shaw Contract Group designer Ashley Olsen then guided her captive audience on a sensory journey through the Altered and Studio Painting collections and how they were inspired from cultural artifacts across the globe. By this point, the students were practically giddy to go on a tour of our design studio to see, feel and hear all of this design thinking happening in real time and gain a better understanding of how ideas become tangible.

The wide-eyed pupils were then handed off to Sutherland and West Coast Custom Design Manager Trish Hagedon to learn how our Custom Design Studios customize any design to fit a variety of floor plans. Like any group of 21st century youngsters, they had the most fun with our interactive Foundry Tool which enabled them to plug and play with the ideas already percolating in their young minds with a few clicks of a mouse. Senior Estimating Manager Tony Gentry even showed them how a carpet-to-fit, or seamless design concept flowing between rooms, might look on their own media center floor plan via AutoCAD. Now knowing the capabilities of our custom design team, Sutherland handed each child a paper version of their floor plan and let their imaginations fly, as long as they colored within the lines.

design thinking-3

“Some students came up with very colorful carpet-to-fit concepts, while others decided to assign certain patterns and color palettes to individual rooms,” said Sutherland.

What’s Next?

After a long day of design thinking, doing, drawing, coloring and playing, the Westwood students returned to Dalton with a veritable treasure chest of creative ideas to unleash upon their media center. They have already designed the furniture and dreamed up a new maker space, and keep a close eye on design trends, so the sky is the limit for bringing their collective vision to life. We’ll keep you posted on the unveiling of their media center makeover later this year!

“We are very thankful to everyone at Plant 94 for creating a very meaningful learning experience for my challenge classes!,” said Challenge Class Coordinator Martha Thomason.

design thinking-4

Education, innovation and community engagement are bedrock principles here at Shaw Contract Group. These events are just as much a learning experience for us, as they are for the students. Who knows, maybe one of these bright pupils will join our team in a few years and teach us a thing or two!

To find out more about our education market and how we invest in sustainable development of healthy learning environments, please visit our education page.To read more about design thinking and education visit Stanford University’s REDLab Group,Hasso Plattner Institute or Tools at Schools.

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#ShawLocalConvo encourages discussion on sustainability drivers

As part of Shaw Contract Group’s prequel to GreenBuild 2015, we decided to engage Twitter followers directly with a tweet chat focused around safe building practices, material health and trending issues around sustainability. Followers can chime in using #shawlocalconvo to answer questions, share resources and respond to other  opinions. Featured guests @RachelGutter, SVP of Knowledge for the U.S. Green Building Council, and Shaw Industries Product Sustainability Manager Kellie Ballew shared their insight and provided clarification as needed. Some of the condensed highlights from this conversation is shared in the feed below:


The conversation about designing for a positive impact is ongoing – stay tuned for additional content around material health and sustainable topics leading up to GreenBuild.  Another tweet chat is scheduled to occur during the event – so make sure to follow our feed.   We’ve also slated several speakers for Conversations in the Park, so make sure to visit us in booth #1305 for these opportunities to engage with sustainability leaders.

Visit for detailed information about our approach to material health and product sustainability.  Shaw’s corporate-wide sustainability goals and initiatives are communicated in our 2014 sustainability report.

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Young Talent Takes the Floor at Shaw Singapore


As part of Shaw Contract Group’s social responsibility efforts in Singapore, Shaw welcomed the bright young minds and their mentors to its newly opened space for a night of networking evening in commemoration of Temasek Polytechnic’s Mentor Apprenticeship Pilot Program on 21 October 2015.

Temasek Polytechnic’s Mentor Apprenticeship Pilot Program was designed to provide the rare opportunity to eight eager Interior Architecture and Design Year Two students of the School of Design to shadow an industry leader and to work closely with him/her on a current project. It is a unique program designed to connect students with an industry leader on a one-on-one mentoring opportunity giving them an eye-opening experience beyond the confines of their school walls.

The program at its pilot stage has seen huge support from the Design and Architecture industry with big names such as Simon McDonald, Design Director at Studio HBA, Simon Raper, Director of MMoser Associates, Matthew Burke, Regional Leader Asia at Geyer, Camy Tan, Director of Marketing and Design Communications, Matilda Sung, Design Leader at Woods Bagot, Vanessa Lin and Archie Cruda, Brand and Communication Manager and Head, Design Excellence Centre at Space Matrix, taking part as mentors to help steer the programme to a more robust regular offering to Temasek Polytechnic design students.

The networking event was the first time where all stakeholders of the program came together to collectively share their experiences and provide feedback for the pilot. Each student apprentice gave a short presentation on their key  takeaways from the first-hand experience in the industry during their last semester break. The student apprentices spent their last vacation break shadowing their mentors and are expected to continue to work with their mentors again in their next vacation break in March.

As a design hub and catalyst for design excellence, Shaw Contract Group hopes to continually attract more creative minds to its creative space where the local economy will have access to and come together to collaborate, share and exchange ideas and applications.

With the take-off of this pilot, Temasek Polytechnic hopes to have student apprentices tagged to their mentors throughout their three year diploma program, including their compulsory six-month internship during their third year. This unique program is designed with the objective that student graduates will have the opportunity to gain relevant background and work experience for them to integrate into the workplace seamlessly.

Based on insightful feedback from students and mentors, it was agreed that the pilot has gotten off to a good start. One apprentice even had the rare chance to tag along for an interior design photo shoot. Student apprentices also expressed their appreciation and gratitude for their mentors by presenting them with heartfelt gifts at the end of their presentations. The mentors also commented on the potential of the program and the students, such as building their confidence in sharing their ideas or creativity in design, a critical skill required in the workplace.

Two Temasek Polytechnic scholars also had the opportunity to showcase their installations on that same evening. These students spent about three weeks prior specially designing the installations which were inspired by Shaw’s latest collection – Hand Drawn and Altered.


Inspired by Shaw’s Hand Drawn carpet collection, Muhammad Nor Nazul created ‘Hand Drawn’ to to depict how imperfections and irregularities can be transformed into beautiful designs. There were markers alongside the art installation, urging people to add on and “complete” to the ‘imperfect, unfinished’ installation. The piece was the artist’s attempt to convey the beauty in imperfections.


Inspired by Shaw’s Altered carpet collection, Darren Ng created ‘Altered’ with the mind-set that everybody has a different perspective. The curved surface of the installation allows one to have changing perspective from every angle with the reflecting mirrors, creating a sense of illusion.

The evening concluded with mentors and mentees both feeling inspired to do more and better when the next semester break happens in March 2016.

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