Tag Archives: 2013

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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2013 Market Winner: The Centennial Project – Lau Family Wing at Crescent School by CS&P 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.

Craig Goodman, Principal at CS&P Architects, talked with us about spatial organization & personal growth, harmonious design and honoring family memories.

When did you decide to pursue a profession in design?
Growing up in a quiet corner of Vancouver surrounded by leading designers and artists (Arthur Erickson and Cornelia Oberlander were each around the corner) as well as the vital energy of UBC and the dynamic natural landscape.

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How did you find your love for design? Is there anyone who played a major role in that?
My mother was a natural designer.

What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
The Headmaster of Crescent School and I have a history of working together since 1999. We share a passion for exploring how qualities of space impact the day to day life of learners. Even when we do not have a specific project to address, we are discussing ideas about new forms of spatial organization and personal growth. These explorations are at the heart of how I see architecture benefiting and enhancing our lives.

What is your first memory of the project?
A free hand sketch during a meeting with the Headmaster that launched a new path of thinking about his needs.

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What was the happiest moment of the project?
Watching the young boys moving the furniture around in endlessly unexpected groupings as they developed collaborative work.

Is there anything about this project that touched you personally?
Watching the honest joy and humility of the prime donor (the Lau family) as they dedicated the building at opening. The glass piece etched with Chinese characters to honour the Lau Family in the front entry area was fabricated by my brother (Jeff Goodman). It was the last project we worked on together as he passed away suddenly in the spring of 2011.

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Tell me something that was unusual about the project.
While the site is surrounded by a beautiful heritage building, a formal garden, and a natural ravine, the Heritage approvals were delayed by the presence of an existing cedar hedge deemed valuable.

What are you most proud of?
The preservation of the existing natural assets of the site, and the renewed connectivity this project offers.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during this process?
The difficulty of achieving high quality concrete.

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Think about a situation when things turned out different than you expected. How did the outcome impact the end result of the project?
Many challenges with the concrete trade required some rethinking of the exposed concrete finishes.

Tell me about your client.
A highly proactive group of educators that have focused upon the specific needs for boys.

Tell me about the selection process for this project. What do you think made them select you for this work?
We were not competing for this assignment, but chosen as part of a longer term master planning with the School.

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Do you think this is will been a new trend in education design (the central, communal space for teamwork and study areas)?
The resulting design provides a test for a hybrid of spatial solutions. It is a mix of some regular classroom spaces combined with ample flexible break-out social spaces and collaborative work areas. The plan is organized around providing these choices for both the learners, and the “head learners” or teaching staff. The school was comfortable with moving forward with the more experimental areas by preserving some aspect of more conventional space. Our further contribution was to add shared break-out rooms between classrooms that are another vehicle for learning space options without increasing staff presence. Also the maximized transparency between the various spaces adds a key element of community definition to the whole middle school. This reflects the direction that learning spaces are moving towards. Eventually the quantity of classroom spaces will diminish in importance, as we trust learners to explore in a more independent and collaborative fashion.

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The space is very much inspired by nature. Tell me more about that.
My west coast roots as noted above. It is a prevailing theme that we need to find ways to make buildings that integrate with their sites and emphasize a form of harmony with the seasonal and regional character.

What has the reaction been to the new space?
Very positive.

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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: Royal Selangor Vistore Centre by SWOT Design Group

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.

Sean Yip, Founder & Executive Creative Director of SWOT Design Group, spoke with Shaw Contract Group about the “Malaysian brand icon,” enhancing customer experiences and creating the best way to display the products.

How did you find your love for design? Is there anyone who played a major role in that?
I have a passion for design since junior high. Always like to design new creations especially 3-Dimensional elements and architecture. Therefore, I’ve decided to enroll in an Interior Design programme in order to experience & expedite the Design results/outcome.

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Did you ever stray from this path or think about changing course?
Yes, I did wanted to become an Architect at certain point in time so that I can combine the designing of both the exterior and interior of a building to achieve a more desirable results without any design constraints.

What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
Royal Selangor Visitor Centre’s project presented a good challenge for me & has given me an opportunity to bring a local product & to introduce this brand into the international scene/market via the Interior Design of this project.

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What is your first memory of the project?
I was apprehensive at first, was a bit concerned that this client might be conservative in their thinking. However, I was determined to introduce new design ideas to bring this brand to life & was glad that the client had a forward thinking mind & was receptive to my proposed ideas.

What was the happiest moment of the project?
The warm & receptive end result from the public & media. An innovative design that breaks away from the traditional store design.

Is there anything about this project that touched you personally?
Being able to translate the proposed design concept into reality. And the improvement of the overall product displays.

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Tell me something that was unusual about the project.
Royal Selangor is a Malaysian pewter manufacturer and retailer, the largest of its type in the world. It is truly an unique Malaysian brand icon.

What are you most proud of?
Having achieved the balance between the brand & operational requirements, and the ability to provide an unique retail experience for customers and products visibility. We’ve also managed to improved the lighting to accentuate each delicate and intricate details on the beautifully crafted pewter products.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during this process?
The various display heights & sizes for each product’s SKUs played an important role. A careful understanding is required to introduce materials/finishes to enhance/highlight the monotoned products.

Think about a situation when things turned out different than you expected; how did the outcome impact the end result of the project?
The client was concerned about the product’s SKU display. Client’s manner of displaying the products was a conventional wall display. I’ve finally persuaded the client to accept new design ideas by focusing or showcasing the product using a long-ish loose fixture display and to forgo the wall display instead.

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Tell me about your client.
The client was supportive, forward thinking and willing to accept new design ideas and challenges.

Tell me about the selection process for this project. What do you think made them select you for this work?
Perhaps, it was due to the client wanted to try working with a radical Interior Designer? You may want to check with the client on their reasons for hiring me?

Do you have any stories you want to share about project?
The design journey on how to bring a traditional/classic household brand into a modern & contemporary context.

What were some of the challenges working with an existing building?
The site constraints of low ceiling height and existing M&E services which cannot be removed or relocated.

How did you decide to base the design on the pewter craft in Malaysia?
It was a natural narrative design progression to bring the heritage of pewter craft & to illustrate the mining process & to use these elements in the Interior Design of this project.

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The light fixtures are focal points in the space. Tell me more about them.
We’ve re-used the old light fixtures from the previous premise and were able to create different ambiance and brought the lights fixtures down from the double volumned ceiling.

What has the reaction been to the space?
The reaction of the public & client to the space has been positive thus far. The Interior Design of RSVC definitely has a better flow of conducive spaces for both retail & visitor centre, enhanced products display & enticed customers to pick-up and appreciate the products better. This in-turn has helped to improve the overall sales of the merchandize & products.

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2013 Market Winner: Clifford Chance by Space Matrix

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.

Shagufta Anurag, Founder and Managing Director of Space Matrix, talked to us about influence from travels, vibrant colors and designing for your location.

When did you decide to pursue a profession in design?
I always had an inclination towards design. I initially started my career with the aspiration to be a fashion designer but soon changed by mind after some coaxing from my father. It was a good decision and I have no regrets. I love what I am doing now, which is very important to being happy and successful.

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How did you find your love for design?  Is there anyone who played a major role in that?
Throughout my career and early design school days, I’ve been influenced by my travels and day-to-day experiences. A series of arches, a flight of rugged steps, the texture of a mossy wall are all clues stored away towards a bigger creative inspiration for me.

For me, great design is intuitive, inspirational, and practical, yet poetic in its approach. It has a quality which leaves little to be said. Design creates experiences — visual, spatial or tactile — for us to enjoy. I have strived to imbibe these aspects in my work, and the quest continues.

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Did you ever stray from this path or think about changing course?
Once I made the decision to enter the design profession, I stuck to it. Running a business is difficult; and today I do multiple other things that involve making Space Matrix a successful company, but design remains my true passion.

Tell me something that was unusual about the project.
Here we created a collaborative work environment and we pushed the boundaries by introducing vibrant colors instead of the traditional timber palette used in many law offices. This helped give them a modern, up-to-date look.

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How do you think interior design is different in Singapore than in other parts of the world?
Interior design needs to be localized to respond to the needs of the user as well as the climatic and economic environment for which you designing. Local construction, knowledge and availability of materials will also impact the final output. Therefore, yes, designing a project differs based on location and it is the duty of an architect or interior designer, to understand these nuances and implement details flawlessly.

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