Perspective with Jayne Crampton-Walker

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Jayne Crampton-Walker is Lead Designer at TSK Group where she’s worked for the past four years for a range of clients, including Arup, Eversheds Sutherland and, more recently, the new headquarters for Swinton Insurance. With over 20 years’ experience, Jayne creates intuitive and truly bespoke interiors with the clients’ culture, people and vision at the heart. She passionately believes in creating workplaces to support people and in the power of great workplace design as an enabler for increased performance.

What are you doing now regularly in your day to day role that you weren’t 10 years ago?
Writing this stuff…and listening more.

I’ve learnt (the hard way) that listening goes a long way. 10 years ago, ‘we’ thought we knew best and we’d roll out the newest, trendiest, most up to date ‘innovative’ scheme and think it would win design of the year or give our clients the coolest workspace…that’s not enough.

Maturity and experience has taught me to listen to what our clients do and don’t say. Engage with them, then you really know what to deliver.

Name one trend that is referred to more than any other by your clients?
Staff engagement. It’s not a trend though, it’s fundamental. It’s been around for a while but people are now recognising and understanding the complexities of the subject.

What’s the best thing about working with TSK?
I’ve personally come a long way in the last 10 years and have made the greatest strides professionally in the last four years, since joining TSK.

The way the management constantly strives to do better for both the business and the entire team makes you feel special. They’re not afraid of re-evaluating when things haven’t quite worked and taking new approaches to being better employers for us all.

Working with truly amazing clients is also something to mention – and this is not just for print purposes, but a reality. Working with clients that want to do the best for their people and who inspire you to design the best scheme is fantastic.

What are the biggest challenges you and the team have to face?

Our clients being in a state of flux. When we meet our clients they are looking at change and change breeds uncertainty. They’ve turned to us for our experience and help. Our initial approach is to calm the waters. Engage, understand and reassure in the first instance, before any design or costs come into it.

It’s not necessarily about the ‘design’ or the ‘build’, its often about the ‘and’.

How do clients measure success?

Clearly it depends on the whole company ethos, their business strategy and the initial drivers and expectations of the project. No organisation is the same and every client wants something different. However, ironically, it usually boils down to the same.

As part of a consultancy interview I carried out last week, a rather engaging HR Director replied when asked for three points on what success looked like:

1. Noticeable pride amongst the troops

2. Admiration by visitors

3. Envy by competitors.

Boom! How’s that as a measure?

What designer or design period inspires you?
I’m not a ‘funky’ designer. I like simplicity and honesty (and no BS).

I don’t believe in design for designs sake, however, that said, I’m in awe of those who push against the norm and create the ‘impossible.’

Zaha Hadid – when you look at her designs you just think ‘how’?

Jon Pawson – when you look at the simplicity of his work it takes my breath away.

Charles and Ray Eames – how do you take such simple materials and know you can mould and craft them into classical pieces of functional art.

A quote I try to design by is Joseph Chilton Pearce.

‘To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.’

One thing that gets on your nerves?
The M62. Full stop.

What is more important – the ‘look’ or the ‘experience’?
Experience. 100%. We all know looks fade but experience lasts a lifetime. Although to me the most important is how it ‘feels’. As humans we feel before we think and that goes a long way to forming our experiences.

Name one thing that will be gone from the workplace in the next decade?
The idea that the desk is dead. I’m a realist.

Which project are you most proud of?
I’ve recently had the most wonderful pleasure of working with an international client to design and deliver their new workspace, and, I’ve got to say that their general manager is the most inspirational man I have ever met.

On pitch day he opened the session by giving his version of the brief and, at the end, I was on my feet clapping. I’ve never been so inspired to want to do an amazing job. It certainly made us raise our game to the max – a real 212° moment (shout out to Nigel Risner).

What are you working on at the moment?
A project for a global lifestyle brand, a wellbeing blog and, always, being a better mum.