Tag Archives: People’s Choice

Microsoft Conference Centre named 2015 Design Is…Award People’s Choice Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms of 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.

Marjorie Marshall from Metaphore Design spoke with us about the design approach for the Microsoft Conference Centre project.

Describe this project in one word.


The Microsoft Conference Centre keywords required the environment to be a fun and casual place to exchange, learn and inspire innovation.

In what way does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

Although the Microsoft Conference Centre (serving visitors and employees alike) offers varied options for conventional meetings and training sessions-  the common areas are infused with enticing opportunities for spontaneous collaboration and quiet reflection. Whether the visitor is sipping a cappuccino at the bar, enjoying the view at the window seat, playing a lively game of XBox , or sharing a private exchange in the banquette nook – the process of  shared learning and creativity is reinforced by the stimulating environment.


Design is a process. Explain your journey.

Of course every project begins with a thorough exploration of our clients’ company. By understanding the Microsoft management objectives and challenges for this project, we could direct our design solutions to re-enforce their corporate goals.  The Metaphore Design creative process ensures that there is a direct link between the project Design Concept and our clients Corporate Soul. Beginning with client -directed KEYWORDS, we select images relating to the essence of these words. The next layer is architectural images inspired by the keyword images. From there, we develop the Design Concept connecting to the layout and clients functional needs. At every stage, we connected back with the Microsoft project team to ensure we were on the same wavelength. This way, they felt empowered to be part of our process and were very enthusiastic at the presentation of our ideas for the Conference Centre…

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

This project was an exciting one for our design team. It had to be great! Microsoft believed in Metaphore Design to create a space that would encourage collaboration and innovation.  We were so pumped to meet the challenge. The success of the Microsoft project was truly due to our ability to work together as a united team. By fully utilizing our individual strengths, and collaborating as a united force, we were stronger than the sum of our parts, and we became a better team in the process.

I would say to young designers – don’t be afraid to co-operate FULLY in a team… You won’t lose anything, and everyone will gain.

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Shaw Contract Group Design is…Award Global Judging

The ellipsis, signifying the omission from a sentence, holds an important significance to our award name. The 356 projects entered into the competition complete the meaning of what design is.

Last week, five industry leaders took this one step further.  Taking time from busy schedules and pressing deadlines, the global jurors reviewed our 41 market award winners and not only defined what design is, but what the best design is.


2014 Design is…Award Global Judges

Defining what “best” means, and selecting the projects that do this most successfully is a big task, and one taken quite seriously by our judges.  Through hours of discussion and contemplation it became clear that there is not just one way to define the best design, though a few themes came up repeatedly: consistency, risk and restraint, to name a few.


Good design can define a brand, it can create a culture, and define how people work and interact. The same design applied to two different spaces could be successful for one, and not for the other. Too much design can be overboard, not enough can be mundane, and the mix can be different depending on the project.



Pausing to think about these concepts and evaluate the work of others opens up opportunity improve one’s own work, to gain insight into how as a design community, we can improve lives around us. Taking a critical eye to the 41 amazing projects represented resulted in lessons learned for all, including the Shaw Contract Group team.



We look forward to announcing the global winners this fall. In the meantime, check out our 40 market award winners and vote for your favorite. A People’s Choice Award will be named along with our global winners this fall.

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Announcing the 2014 Market Award Winners

In its ninth 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 40 winners out of more than 350 entries submitted from 25 countries.

View this year’s winners on shawcontractgroup.com as well as in the 2014 magazine at NeoCon. Market Winners will move on the Global Award judging and People’s Choice, going on now through July 11.
Click HERE to view the winners and vote for your favorite project in People’s Choice.



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