Tag Archives: 2013 Market Winner

2013 Market Winner: AECOM Hong Kong Office by AECOM

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.

We spoke with Jane Chen, Vice President of AECOM Shanghai, about time constraints, designing for core values and enhancing corporate culture.

When did you decide to pursue a profession in design?
When I was in high school, I wanted to be a designer. But I didn’t know the difference between different majors. So I applied for Landscape Design. So my major is Landscape.

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How did you find your love for design? Is there anyone who played a major role in that?
I loved painting, and I didn’t want to be an engineer or a scientist. I wanted a job that I can always have fun. That is why I chose design related majors when I applied for colleges.

Did you ever stray from this path or think about changing course?
In fact, I started as an Architect after graduate from Landscape Architecture. After 15 years of being an architect, I stray from this path to Interior Design.

What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
I believe a good interior design, particularly for corporate interior, is tailor made to best suite the image, culture and operational requirement of the client. Our HK office is the Asian Headquarter of AECOM, and our design is to best represent the images and core value of AECOM.

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What is your first memory of the project?
It is a renovation project. My first memory of it was my first site visit, low ceiling, dark spaces, sea of working stations…

Tell me something that was unusual about the project.
My client is my boss’s boss’s… boss. He is the head of AECOM Asia! But it was fun working with him.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during this process?
Good design can change people’s working behavior, can reveal/ or enhance corporate culture and core values.

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Tell me about the selection process for this project. What do you think made them select you for this work?
We did our own Shanghai office first and everybody loves it. Ha!

How do you think interior design is different in China than in other parts of the world?
No time for design, short construction schedule.

What are the challenges in designing for your own space?
Everybody knows me, if some of users don’t’ like the design, they know who to blame on!

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2013 Market Winner: W.L. GORE Associates by Francis Cauffman

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.

John Campbell, Principal at Francis Cauffman, spoke to us about his family’s design influence, engaging the client and strengthening people through good design.

How did you find your love for design?  Is there anyone who played a major role in that?
From an early age I have always enjoyed drawing and exploring new places. While I did not realize it at the time, my grandmother, who was the first female architect in the United Kingdom, occasionally took me on site visits of her projects, which were always interesting. I was fortunate in my youth to spend time in the south of France, where we had the opportunity to see a mixture of architecture from Roman times to current. My uncle saw my love of sketching and exploring places and suggested that I should consider studying architecture. This love of sketching, photography and traveling to experience different places and cultures remains just as important to me today.

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What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
WL Gore is a very successful company and the strength of its people, culture and values are what drive this success. At the end of the day, architects and interior designers are in the “people” business, with the design of great spaces being our medium. At the beginning of a project, many clients do not understand the full benefits good design can bring to their workplace.

For this project we were hired to lead the employees of WL Gore on a journey to explore a new workplace that would align with their business needs, culture and values. We helped them challenge the norm of cubicles and perimeter offices. It was a great feeling at the end of the “journey” when the Gore employees experienced the significant benefits that the new workplace design had on their effectiveness and well-being.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during this process?
The most critical lesson is the importance of user engagement at all stages in the design process, from the initial development and planning to the final implementation and post-occupancy feedback. In addition, asking probing questions is key to helping clients challenge the norm and inspire smart design.

In the case of WL Gore, employees explored new possibilities and Francis Cauffman created an array of different work settings that allow employees to select the appropriate space for a particular task. WL Gore embraced alternative workplace design to the extent that the leadership decided to leave individual offices and assigned spaces in the past and become completely mobile within their space.

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2013 Market Winner: PlentyofFish Media Inc. by SSDG Interiors Inc.

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.

Kenna Manley, Interior Designer, talked with us about creating quite spaces in a not-so-quiet office, aquatic inspiration and being driven by creativity.

When did you decide to pursue a profession in design?
I was in my third year at the University of Alberta, studying Elementary Education with a Visual Studies minor when I realized it was my creative side that really drove me.  I decided to change my direction and focus on my love for art, design and the built environment.  I moved to Vancouver and spent the next four years completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Interior Design at Kwantlen University College.

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Did you ever stray from this path or think about changing course?
It took me some time to find the path of design and as soon as I found it, I can honestly say I have never thought of doing anything else.  Interior design is what I feel I am meant to do.  It’s a big part of who I am.

What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
This space was designed with unique elements which created and enhanced connections; between staff, their surroundings, to the brand and most importantly, to their workplace.  The new office provides an open work environment to foster creativity and promote collaboration amongst their team.  Its results such as these that illustrate how being an interior designer enables you to have positive effects on others and their daily lives.

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 What is your first memory of the project?
This is the second office we have designed for Plentyoffish Media.  I recall getting an email from our client with the news that they wanted to expand by opening another office and hire SSDG Interiors again. We developed a strong concept for the previous project, and this new office space gave us the opportunity to raise the bar even higher.

What was the happiest moment of the project?
For me, it is the reaction of those who use the space that gives me joy.  When people experience it, without being prompted, in the way it was intended I know that it’s a successful project.

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 Tell me something that was unusual about the project.
The client wanted to have an open concept with bench-style workstations to encourage collaboration and the interconnectivity of the space, however there were noise and acoustic concerns that they wanted addressed at the same time.  In order provide an open planning that would allow for natural light to filter through the space required unique design features to prevent potential acoustic issues.  Congregational spaces like the boardroom and café are divided with tall planters and laminated glass to decrease sound transmission.   Additionally, departments are divided by centralized quiet rooms and highly populated areas like reception and the café are designed with sound-absorbent wood slats on the ceiling to decrease noise from travelling.  The end result gives an overall open feel, while the noise of this youthful team is managed as the client had hoped.

What are you most proud of?
I am proud of the end result and the design solution as a whole.  All the elements of the space work together seamlessly to give the team what they were after, supporting variety of functions required day to day, plus a little bit more that was unexpected.

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You created an aquatic motif without being obvious. Tell me more about your design process on that.
Along with the carpet design, subtle elements were included to reinforce the brand and convey the concept of water movement and fish.  Penny round mosaic tiles and blown glass light fixtures provide visual texture and resemble bubbles.  While a backlit kitchen backsplash is reminiscent of waves.  Colour was also essential to the concept and vibrancy of the space.  The use of colour blocking makes feature areas stand out against the primary neutral background.

What has been the reaction to the new space?
The office has been very well received by PlentyofFish’s team as well as visitors that have walked through. Because the office is busy all hours of the day, the space supports staff’s needs from the typical work day to the late night work sessions.

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The space has many different work areas. How was the client’s involvement in creating those spaces?
Based on the type of work this group does, they needed several different styles of rooms to support a variety of functions.  The client gave us an idea of what was required and we planned the space in a way that allowed multi-functional space that can be used by staff over the course of a typical day.

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