Tag Archives: education

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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“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.

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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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Design Students Share Their Experiences at Shaw Singapore

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SINGAPORE, 23 October 2015 —
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.

Shaw-Singapore-2

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.

Shaw-Singapore-3

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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Young Talent Takes the Floor at Shaw Singapore

shaw-singapore-1

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.

Shaw-Singapore-2

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.

Shaw-Singapore-3

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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Monash International Bachelor of Business City Campus 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, Natalie Boston from Jackson Clements Burrows addresses the design process for Monash International Bachelor of Business City Campus in Melbourne, Australia.

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Describe this project in one word.

Connectivity.

Design is a process. Explain your journey.

The original site had evolved via the ad-hoc connection of five separate buildings into a 3200 sqm single floor plate spanning an entire city block. The outcome was a large floor plate with very little natural light, disjointed planning and difficult wayfinding.

Our key objective was to enable the planning and design of the college to facilitate a level of interaction within the college community that would lead to a strong and cohesive student cohort. Our journey commenced as a highly collaborative process in which the idea for an internal urban campus was developed to meet Monash’s vision of a design solution that would explore and challenge the preconceptions of traditional tertiary teaching spaces.  Our planning strategy which embraced the key principles of Connection, Experience, Diversity, Journey, Engagement and Choice.

Following these key principals, we proceeded to forge cross-campus connections via a primary pathway that connected and linked the entire floorplate.

The result is a unique urban campus that offers a balance of sophistication and fun in a flexible functional environment that complements Monash’s vision of a visionary design solution for the International Bachelor of Business.

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

The brief called for a diverse facility that would allow teaching and learning to occur in an innovative and flexible way, to support a ‘student-centered’ pedagogy of active learning.

A variety of informal & more structured learning spaces were pivotal to a successful design, providing the users choice.

Enabling both independent learning and collaborative group work, both formally and informally to encourage knowledge sharing and spontaneous exchanges.

Bookable ‘formal classroom’ spaces are available in varying sizes, rich in AV and designed to accommodate both collaborative group work & AV centric information delivery modes, including two large 70-80ppl flat floored Lectorial spaces, provide choice and options for lecturers and students alike to choose the right format space for the specific task to be undertaken, be that a lecture, flip-classroom workshop or discussion group.

The final result provides the following;

  • Space planning with a hierarchy of ‘campus’ connections to form the basis of a collegiate cohort.
  • A spatial solution informed by the urban context, providing an aspirational ‘inner-city’ experience, enhanced by planning that encourages ‘travel’ and spontaneous interaction.
  • A vibrant environment conducive to networking that encourages peer to peer interaction
  • Classrooms, each with a unique identity, that can be easily reconfigured to suit different teaching styles and disciplines
  • A variety of convivial communal and individual break out spaces, providing choice and opportunity to study or socialise between classes, promoting a ‘sticky’ campus.
  • An easy interface between the teachers and students to encourage discussion and interaction.

CARPET

We searched for a flooring product that could work harmoniously with both the planning and the design requirement for diverse spaces, each possessing a unique identity across a wide spectrum, from subtle sophistication to stimulating and vibrant.

The interlocking and non-linear nature of the Hexagon range was ideal, for a number of reasons, including;

  • to control the flow and pattern of the carpet and colour in any direction, particularly important in reinforcing the circulation and connectivity of the meandering primary pathway.
  • playing with pattern and colour allowed us to blur the thresholds between spaces, which reinforced their flexible and free flowing nature.
  • designed layout so colour ‘flowed’ across room thresholds and into the primary pathway; this identified rooms from a distance and assisted in intuitive wayfinding
  • Each learning space was prescribed a distinct colour, as part of the desire for theses spaces to feel different. The choice of different tones of the same colour, allowed us to colour-block rooms and create an intensity at the centre of the room that dissipated towards the rooms perimeter.

The Hexagon carpet tile significantly contributed to this project’s success outcome by supporting a strong design concept through the product’s innovative form and unparalleled flexibility.

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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?

In a fast paced, accelerated programme project where the client brief is not fully developed, it is critical to produce a return brief for client sign off to capture and describe your best understanding of the clients aspirations, and in doing so become a valuable brief development tool & tracker.

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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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