Tag Archives: commercial interiors

Somerset House a 2015 Design Is..Award Global Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms of Global Award 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.

David Skeels of Forme UK spoke with us about the design journey for this project.

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Describe this project in one word.

Renaissance.

How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

Design is not always obvious. It is often what has been rationalised and omitted rather than what has been added and flaunted. A simple walk through Somerset House will expose you to the Arts – performance, culture, product, literature, photography, to food, people, light, and spatial curiosity through the various modern interventions now crafted into the structure. Somerset House cannot be described merely as ‘a building’. Part of it being Nelson’s home and historic administration base, it is now essentially an all public access inner sanctum, a village in the heart of the City enabling work and pleasure to cohabit in one unique environment.

Our approach was not one of historic reinstatement.  As modernists, we sought to rationalise, excite and interject where appropriate, to ensure Somerset House continues to reflect history of yesterday and today and extending these spaces into the 21st century. Of its time, the interior spaces reflect the elevational order, controlling spatial status from ground to third floor.Our aim was three fold:

  1. To return derelict historical spaces to profitable use.
  2. To enable public access through deft co-joining of the historically purposeful composition of dwellings, community spaces, function rooms, workshops, workspaces, retail and art chambers.
  3. To support the Arts and Creative movements.

Derelict spaces found at upper levels comprised roof voids with large timber supporting structures, ostensibly unusable. We adapted these to suit SME businesses and to provide inspiring creative units with good daylight and views of the river or public courtyard.

At mid levels, interior spaces vary with well proportioned rooms with large windows.  Also with excellent views, these are generally used for business units, functions and gatherings.

Ground floor spaces are open to public access. These are large, tall spaces containing access points for tenants, galleries and restaurant spaces with internal corridors of stairs, light-wells and lifts. We adapted these so daylight penetrates from roof to ground and our subtle re-alignment of cores, stairs and lifts clarify and simplify internal circulation.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.

The process is one of research, history, heart searching, and of negotiating and aligning modern commercial demands over autocratic regulation. We had to consider how to respect the listed architecture and at the same how to satisfy the need to make the property financially viable on a self funding basis. Essentially this was a journey of teasing out the great and the few not so great elements of the historic work, aligning modern design with respect to structural order all whilst fighting a budget. This was not a journey of evolving one single concept. We had to deal with each space and each opportunity as an individual project, with a seamless detail approach throughout.

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

It is as important to have a great team of fellow design consultants as it is to listen to your client and your specialists. There is always a solution. It may take a long time to arrive at that point, but if you follow the train of thought already laid before you, the solution will emerge. You will feel it within when it is right. Where interjections are to be made on great existing works, it is important to justify in your mind what elements are not so good and how any new intervention you propose will complement any previous work. At the same time, it is also essential to be bold and to offer something of intellectual value.

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Santiago School of Rock a 2015 Design Is…Award Global Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms of Global Award 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.

Here, Enrique Gonzalez Barrenechea from EGBARQ addresses the design process for School of Rock in Santiago Chile.

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Describe this project in one word.

Roquero (closest translation:  rocky – like mountainous terrain)

How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

We focus design around experiences, how users live and how we can enhance, exalt it, feel and transmit. Santiago School of Rock is an experience of how music lessons and rehearsals can be experienced in different environments. Each room has an educational purpose. We worked with large image formats representing the different styles, classes and celebrities to help convey ‘rock’ in the classroom. Students are joyful regarding all aspects of the school – they don’t want to leave, they feel they are part of it. With a good design, the user wants to stay within the experience. Supporting the success of this institution, the school is listed second in enrollment world wide.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.

The start of the design process has different stages. The first is to establish the real needs of the program. Second, determine how they interact with each other.  This is followed by looking at the technical requirements,  and finally, identifying the resources you have to set up the project. When all of these things are clarified, you open the door to the intuition and interpretation of these goals – and start designing. After a final review of all parts again –  and then of the design, there is a period of back-and-forth – always increasing the quality of the design and to balance of all the inputs. We support our work with 3d images, models, sketchs, drawings, schemes, samples of finishing materials. We are obsessive.

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

Before advocating completely to the design of the expression of the project, make sure all technical aspects are in line. If  designing a kitchen, you would first make sure the user will be able to properly cook within this space.

Listen to the client, he knows his needs better than you do.

Allow others to participate in the design process. It´s always good to have the collaboration of others.

No matter the budget you have for the project, there are always ways to be creative. Review the elements and don’t overlook anything. There always ways to improve the design.

Practice coherence. All parts must add up to the major design. The language can be the same but not the expression.

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The Central Development a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms of Market Award 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.

Here, Josephine Maruca-Parker addresses the design process for The Central Development in Crace, Australia.

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Describe this project in one word.

Sophisticated.

How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

GID is committed to excellent interior design in aged care with a design philosophy focused on creating non-institutional urban environments with the user group at the core of the design process.

The collaboration between designer, architect and builder helped to generate sustainable outcomes for the client in terms of the environmental footprint of the project. Design consideration was taken in planning the apartments allowing for optimum natural light. This natural resource works with energy efficient materials so as to enhance the thermal properties of the apartments in Canberra’s winter months. The apartment was specifically designed for the end user in mind. The kitchens and bathrooms are streamlined and modern in aesthetic however have been planned and designed to allow for accessibility compliance and adaption to support ageing in place.

The success of this project is evident over the short few months that the facility has been open. The client and Crace residents love the development especially the Club House building, which is constantly booked out for functions and events. It is the end users opinion and experience of the end product which is testament to good interior design.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.

Gilmore Interior Design was engaged by the client for all stages of The Central development in the new Canberra suburb of Crace.

GID worked in collaboration with Canberra based architects AMC Design + Management. The development consists of 6 buildings with a combined total of 127 apartments, 8 two-storey townhouses, a Club House and several commercial premises. The client provided a clear brief of objectives – the creation of a sophisticated, high quality living environment. The architectural character was to be attractive and comfortable, incorporating contemporary forms and materials. The interior design was to reflect the architectural character with a modern palette of finishes and fixtures.

The brief was integral to the design concept. It was GID’s vision to produce an interior that worked in unison with the contemporary architecture of the building; balancing the refinement of modern design with a palette of rich finishes to make an environment warm, welcoming and timeless in appeal – bridging the gap from the exterior to the interior.

Kitchens and bathrooms within the apartments were ergonomically designed to comply with accessible codes to allow for adaptability for residents of all levels of ability and mobility. The apartments are a definition of great design as they can be easily modified to suit resident’s needs as their abilities change with ageing.

The design of the Club House was very important to the client as they wanted this building to be an integral part of the development and the larger Crace community, becoming a key component in the physical and social lifestyle of the residents.

The Club House is an example of a design solution that is sophisticated, attractive and comfortable for the people living within the space as well as those visiting – answering all elements of the original brief.

The success of the completed project is entirely due to the fact that the client had a clear and succinct brief and vision from the beginning of the project. The brief was clearly communicated to all consultants involved, making the process efficient as the project team was on the same page trying to achieve the same goals, which in turn saved the client time and money.

The project is an example of innovation and sets a new standard for the future of retirement and aged care design in ACT, serving to unite all members of the community by designing spaces that foster intergenerational interactions and a high quality of life. Resulting is a non-institutional environment that showcases the importance and relevance of interior design in the retirement and aged care sector.

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

1. It is important it is for the interior designer to be involved in the construction documentation stage of a project.

The contract for The Central allowed for the architect to coordinate and supply all construction documentation. The designer fed the architect information via mark-ups of design development sketches and interior finishes schedules. Due to the fact that the designer had limited involvement during this project stage, there were a number of subtle details that were over-looked by the architect

2. The difficulties of a consultant working on a inter-state project.

Due to the fact that the project was based in ACT and the design firm is based in Sydney, there was limited opportunity for the designers to be on site during the construction period.

This resulted in a number of defects being picked up once the construction stage was complete, making it difficult for defects to be attended to quickly.

3. The advantage of an interior designer being engaged for the specification and procurement of furniture, artwork and decorative items.

The inclusion of this stage within the design scope allowed the interior designers to hand over a completely finished and coordinated space to the client.

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Manzanita Hall a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms representing Market-Award 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.

Here, Stephanie LaVoy addresses the design process for Manzanita Hall in Tempe, AZ.

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Describe this project in one word.

Iconic.

How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

The design team was challenged with modernizing a 1967 building, making it more functional and welcoming to students, while maintaining the historic architectural character.  The common areas were opened up, connecting previously segmented areas, creating more cohesive communal amenity areas that are so important in a modern residential hall.

The addition of the two story lounges connects residential floors to foster community interaction.  the lounges span between the unused exterior interstitial space of the building, exposing the original triangular lattice structure.  These neighborhood spaces provide residents with communal kitchens, lounges, laundry facilities and study rooms & encourage student interaction.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.

The design team began with learning about the history of Manzanita Hall, analyzing the functionality and where improvements could be made that would impact student life.  The team was sensitive to the iconic quality of the existing structure and worked hard to incorporate existing elements where appropriate, like the original terrazzo tile, and to echo the unique geometry of the structure with custom carpeting, lighting and artwork.  It was also important to balance the striking architectural elements & bold use of color and pattern to use a subtle finish palette of white, silver and grey.

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

There are always unexpected issues when working with an existing structure, it’s important to be flexible and problem-solve when issues arise & find the most salient elements in order to maintain the integrity of the design.

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Element Restaurant and Lounge a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms representing Market-Award 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.

Here, Cara McKedy addresses the design process for Element Restaurant and Lounge in St Louis, MO.

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Describe this project in one word.

Adaptive.

How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

We believe that the positive reviews this restaurant has received are partially due to the unique atmosphere. We worked in conjunction with the entire restaurant team on this project to support their vision, and it turned out to be a really great showpiece of both design and food. This proves that the atmosphere of a restaurant can be just as impactful to visitors as the food on their plates.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.

We had a fixed timeline on this project, so we worked from the beginning with a team consisting of Remiger Design as the architects and designers, the owner’s rep, the chef of the restaurant, the general contractor and the food service consultant. This allowed us to include feedback from every party in the design and create a space that met everyone’s needs. The owner wanted to include enough seating to remain profitable, the chef helped our team understand the type of preparation space he needed, and the general contractor worked with us to ensure schedule and budget adherence throughout the process.

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

Creating a well thought-out, functional design is much easier when you have the input of both the contractor and the end user of the space. Our advice to future designers would be to incorporate as much feedback as possible from the end user while working with the contractor to keep the schedule and budget in check. This will help create spaces that meet the needs of the client and don’t exceed budget or timeline limitations.

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