Tag Archives: Design is…Award

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.


Describe this project in one word.


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.


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.


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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Design Is… Award Market Winners Announced

Firms recognized for global design excellence

June 12, 2015 – In its tenth year, Shaw Contract Group’s Design Is… Award program honors architecture and design firms that are changing the very idea of what design is. Today, Shaw Contract Group announces the winners of the Market Award, which represent the highest caliber of work within an industry segment. An esteemed group of design professionals selected 48 winners out of more than 470 entries submitted from 30 countries. The Market Award winners will advance to the People’s Choice program.

“The design showcased in the entries signifies the global reach of our brand and utilization of high performance, Cradle to Cradle Silver CertifiedTM products across the globe,” says John Stephens, Vice President of Marketing for Shaw Contract Group. “This year’s winners reflect how design profoundly impacts the intent of the space and its positive effect on the people that use it.”

Winning projects include:

Large Office (Greater than 40,000 sq. ft.)

  • AECOM | Los Angeles CA
  • Project: Large Financial Institution | Los Angeles CA
  • Nando’s | Johannesburg South Africa
    • Project: Central Kitchen | Johannesburg South Africa
  • Gensler | Washington DC
    • Project: Intelsat | Mclean VA
  • Perkins+Will | Atlanta GA
    • Project: Colliers International | Atlanta GA
  • RMTA | Kansas City MO
    • Project: The Barney Building | Mission Woods KS
  • KMD Architects | San Francisco CA
    • Project: Zappos.com Corporate Headquarters | Las Vegas NV
  • Edifice Consultants Pvt. Ltd. | Mumbai India
    • Project: Jsw centre | Mumbai India

Mid-Size Office (10,000 – 40,000 sq. ft.)

  • Space | Mexico City Mexico
    • Project: Grupo CP | Mexico City Mexico
  • Roxby Architects | Perth Australia
    • Project: Toyota WA – Head Office | Perth Australia
  • + Architects | Santiago Chile
    • Project: Showroom Multicarpet Rollux | Santiago Chile
  • SmithGroupJJR | Washington DC
    • Project: SmithGroupJJR | Washington DC
  • Interiors For Change | Johannesburg South Africa
    • Project: Joe Public | Johannesburg South Africa
  • Space Invader Design | Manchester UK
    • Project: Astra Zeneca Da Vinci HQ | Cambridge UK
  • 5plus Architects Limited | Manchester UK
    • Project: Your Housing HQ Fit Out | Warrington UK

Small Office (Less than 10,000 sq. ft.)

  • Curtis+Whitfield | Sydney Australia
    • Project: Liberty International Underwriters Brisbane | Brisbane Australia
  • Brook | Tokyo Japan
    • Project: Diamond Head Co.,Ltd  | Tokyo Japan
  • Alex Szeto | Hong Kong China
    • Project: Nu Skin | Hong Kong China
  • Metaphore Design | Montreal Canada
    • Project: Microsoft | Montreal Canada
  • Shearer Licensed Interior Design Inc. | Calgary Canada
    • Project: Louis Dreyfus Commodities | Calgary Canada
  • graphite architects | Sydney Australia
    • Project: Mingara Leisure Group Corporate Offices | Central Coast Australia
  • Perkins+Will | Atlanta GA
    • Project: Beeline Group | Atlanta GA
  • OARQUITECTOS | Santiago Chile
    • Project: Security Sat | Santiago Chile
  • James Liang & Associates Ltd. | Canton China
    • Project: Baoli Metropolitan Innovative Showroom | Canton China


  • EGBARQ | Santiago Chile
    • Project: School of Rock Santiago | Santiago Chile
  • SHW Group | Berkley MI
    • Project: Lansing Arts and Sciences Renovation | Lansing MI
  • DLR Group| Denver CO
    • Project: Casper College + UW Student Union  | Casper WY
  • Jackson Clements Burrows | Melbourne Australia
    • Project: Monash International Bachelor of Business City Campus | Melbourne Australia
    • Sixthriver Architects | Austin TX
      • Project: Manzanita Hall | Tempe AZ
    • Jones Studio | Phoenix AZ
      • Project: Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center | Mesa AZ
    • Gow Hastings Architects | Toronto Canada
      • Project: Durham College Centre for Food | Whitby Canada


  • Emmett Phair Construction | Lake Oswego OR
    • Project: Dr. Judah Garfinkle | Portland OR
  • Gilmore Interior Design | Sydney Australia
    • Project: The Central Development | Crace Australia
  • Staffelbach | Dallas TX
    • Project: Chase Tower Fitness Center | Dallas TX
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Ewing Cole | New York, NY
    • Project: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center : West Harrison | Harrison NY
  • Stantec | San Francisco CA
    • Project: UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay Benioff Children’s Hospital | San Francisco CA


  • Prellwitz Chilinski Associates | Cambridge MA
  • Project: Eco | Boston MA
  • Moncur Design Associates Inc. | Toronto Canada
    • Project: King Edward Hotel Model Room | Toronto Canada
  • Remiger Design | St Louis MO
    • Project: Element Restaurant and Lounge  | St Louis MO
  • Delawie | San Diego CA
  • Project: Snow King Resort | Jackson Hole WY
  • Nineth Design | Beijing China
    • Project: Kung restaurant Kongyiji Restaurant private room | Beijing China
  • GGLO | Seattle WA
    • Project: Cedarbrook Lodge Expansion | SeaTac WA
  • ForrestPerkins | Dallas TX
    • Project: The Fairmont San Francisco | San Francisco CA



  • Forme UK | London UK
    • Project: Somerset House | London UK
  • Burkettdesign | Denver CO
    • Project: Science Pyramid | Denver CO
  • Senger Design Group LLC | Colorado Springs CO
    • Project: Colorado Army National Guard Readiness Center (COARNG) | Colorado Springs CO
  • Anne Phillips Architecture | Berkeley CA
    • Project: Girls Inc. Simpson Center for Girls | Oakland CA


  • HKS Architects, Inc | San Francisco CA
    • Project: AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah – San Jose Branch | San Jose CA
  • MaRS, Mayfield and Ragni Studio | Houston TX
    • Project: TX Contemporary VIP Lounge | Houston TX


Twenty distinguished members of the design community evaluated each project based on its design solutions beyond aesthetic quality. The jurors reviewed the challenges, processes and results of each project and how each design team defined design.


The panel of judges included:

  • Bradley Barnett, Guild 13
  • Ron Bateman, HOK
  • Brian Berry, Gensler
  • Stephanie Clements, THW Design
  • Sandra Cortner, Hirsch Bedner Associates
  • Tim L. Cowell, The Walt Disney Company
  • Victor Feingold, Metrobuilding
  • Cynthia Ann Haight, ThenDesign Architecture
  • Joan Insel, Callison
  • Shane Kelly, tp bennett
  • Jonathan Kim, Steven Leach & Associates Inc.
  • Jiayi Li, Shanghai Architectural Decoration and Landscape Design Research Institute
  • Geraldine Maher, Jackson Architecture
  • Karen Miller, NBBJ
  • Bill Puetz, Huntsman Architectural Group
  • Keith Rushbrook, II BY IV Design
  • Rob Toner, Cox Enterprises Inc.
  • Erica Wickes, 34F Design Inc.
  • Elisa Worden, Gresham, Smith and Partners
  • Charles Young, Ayers Saint Gross Architects

Winning firms are recognized in Shaw Contract Group’s annual NeoCon magazine, featured on shawcontractgroup.com, and promoted through social media outlets.  Additionally, winners are included in the People’s Choice voting, where public voting establishes the winner.


About Shaw Contract Group

As a global leader in floor covering, Shaw Contract Group defines design through great appearance, performance and sustainability.  Its’ Cradle to Cradle Silver Certified products are 100% recyclable and perform in commercial spaces around the world.  Shaw Contract Group has received Best of NeoCon awards for its carpet collections every year since 2002; was rated “best overall business experience” by facility managers and designers; and was recognized among Contract magazine’s top ten “Brands that Inspire.”  A brand of Shaw Industries, Shaw Contract Group combines the expertise of the world’s largest carpet manufacturer with the financial stability of a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. For more information, visit shawcontractgroup.com.


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2014 Market Winner: Melton Library and Learning Hub by FJMT

As the winners of the 2014 Design Is…Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog.  Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 40 winning projects.  These are their stories.

Fleur Downey spoke with us about the design approach to this community-focused project.

Describe the project in one word.



How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact user in a space?

This project has given the people of Melton a space that is community-based and collaborative.  Because of the design approach, varied community facilities are grouped within the building, including Maternal and Child Health Services, Lecture Spaces, Office Space, Cafe, Bookable Community Meeting Rooms and Children’s library and external playspace, along with the library itself.  This encourages the end user to engage with their community on more than one level and in many different ways.  Spaces are both intimate and open, and create a social flow through the building, encouraging patrons to use the spaces in a variety of ways.  Individual groups are catered for, with specific ‘teen’ and kids spaces, the design of which is reflective of their retrospective uses.

Since the opening of the library, memberships have increased by 1000 people per month, reinforcing the sense that the library is now the central community hub.

Design is a process – explain your journey

The journey began with a client (Melton City Council) which was committed to providing a building to serve as more than just a library for their community.  The brief and design was created through detailed consultation with the client, and importantly, end user groups.  The site located in the old township of Melton originally housed the 1970s original municipal library. The brief was to provide a new contemporary library and hub for the local community. The project features a double height reading space, multiple community meeting, theatre and teaching spaces. The project has a very high environmental agenda and will provide a new central civic space for the people of Melton, unlike anything in the existing town centre.

This challenging mix of influences assisted with the delicate refinement of the building and interior design, as what sometimes appeared to be a constraint in fact opened doors to new ingenuity and careful detailing.

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

The public library is a trusted and recognised feature of a local area that makes a vital contribution to the social, educational and recreational development of local communities.  In this way, fjmt feel that true involvement by the architect in the briefing and development of an understanding of the desired outcomes for the community is essential.  This includes workshopping with user groups and stakeholders, as well as gaining a deep understanding of the community itself.  This detailed design process is resultant in buildings that are truly responsive to users.



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2014 Market Winner: Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator by RMTA

As the winners of the 2014 Design is…Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group Blog.  Throughout the year, readers will learn about the 40 winning projects. These are their stories. 

Matt Murphy, Design Associate, spoke with us about this one-of-a-kind venture.

Describe the project in one word.


MOF14002_c How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?

Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator is unique venture powered by Sprint Corporation and Techstars, dedicated to the growth of the Kansas City tech and entrepreneurship community. The Accelerator is a beacon for entrepreneurship in the region, bringing start-ups from around the world into Kansas City to work on the future of mobile health technology.

Design is a process. Explain your journey.

Understanding these needs, RMTA concluded the space needed to echo exactly what Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator stands for – creativity, diversity, innovation and first to market. The building was originally erected in 1903 as an ice house. The 12,000 square feet second floor space underwent significant renovations while retaining the original structure to accommodate activities within three distinct sections: Community, Accelerator and Co-working.

Sprint desired an environment to inspire and advocate work-life balance; a place where people would want to be. To address their needs, the space was designed to inspire creativity and collaboration. Sprint also sought a backdrop that would let one know they are indeed in a Sprint space without overwhelming visitors with their universal brand. To formulate this distinct subculture, Sprint provided approvals to set aside conventional use of corporate branding identity including color, logo, icons and typography. These subtle, yet complex reminders of Sprint’s presence in the space radiates throughout without being trite or obtrusive.

The project moved at an expeditious speed; wherein RMTA was retained to survey the space and start the design process at the beginning of August and construction was completed by the end of December that very same year. This meant we had to make clear and succinct decisions without jeopardizing the acuity of the design. Each of the team members had their roles and worked within in them, always putting the project first which made for a great and synergistic process. This practice echoes throughout architecture and design on a daily basis; that each of us plays a small, yet significant part that when churned in unison with hard work, knowledge and passion can result in measurable successes.

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

The uniqueness of the design comes from a team whom truly collaborated on all levels. The key to the project’s success was based on pushing the design limits and never accepting the status quo while maintaining the schedule and the budget and never losing sight of the project vision.




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2014 Market Winner: Hotel Tobaco by EC-5

As the winners of the 2014 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 40 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

The EC-5 team (Luiza Jodłowska, Martyna Nowak, Hanna Pietras, Piotr Płóciennik, and Dorota Szafrańska) spoke with us about revival, mixing old with new, and going back to the 1950s.

Describe this project in one word.

The hotel is part of a historic factory building complex. Since 1895, Karol Kretschmer had operated a cotton and wool textile factory there. The factory functioned until the beginning of World War I. Despite the devastation and destroyed by fire, in 1932 the factory changed the profile and resumed production as the National Tobacco Monopoly. Before the outbreak of the Second World War the factory produced several brands of cigarettes. Until the late XX century (during communism period) the factory was known as “Lodz Tobacco Monopoly”. This project converted existing, devastated building into modern hotel.

EC-5_Tobaco Hotel_reception_2

How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
Tobaco Hotel’s guest enters into modern space, but he never forgets that he stays inside XIX century textile factory. He can see bare concrete, red brick, wiring and pipes exposed in all spaces. There are factory safety signs and posters used as decoration in restaurant.

Interior design has been done according to the newest trends. In lobby there can be found vibrant and joyful colors with energizing connection between blue, violet and green. Yellow used as the leading colour here is also appearing in the rest of the hotel’s interior. Furniture, lighting and accessories have been chosen from recognized designers.

Violet color dominates in single rooms, white and light gray has been used as a background. Colorful accents like a landscape graphics over a bed, chairs and bedspread enliven the whole interior. Furniture made of hazel timber finished with high gloss have been designed especially for Hotel Tobaco with a style of the 50’s.

EC-5_Tobaco Hotel_room2_1

Design is a process. Explain your journey.
First, we spent a lot of time on getting familiar with the building history and it’s industrial character. The main design assumption was to expose the factory background of the complex and to emphasize industrial and rough character. These were the most important for us in every stage of the project – during conception, computer visualisation and technical project. We wanted to create a connection between old and new.

EC-5_Tobaco Hotel_corridor_2

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?
We have learnt how important is to keep original character of historical building and how difficult is to design modern architecture without destroying what is the most valuable from the past.

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