The Future Heads

We went to the market and asked senior figures from leading design firms, dealers and manufacturers to nominate their ‘rising stars’.

Over the next few pages we’ll be revealing the next generation of talented designers, sales professionals and invaluable (albeit often unrecognized – until now) team players.

Their bosses and colleagues tell us why these fine young things deserve a little bit of recognition, and therefore represent this years 35 under 35.

Each of the people in our list is under 35 years of age (at time of going to press) and continues to impress bosses, colleagues and clients alike.

rosie-haslemRosie Haslem

Rosie Haslem leads Spacelab’s Workplace Consultancy team, enabling diverse clients to transform their businesses through new ways of working. Pioneering in-depth analysis methods and workplace strategies, she has helped to improve the work lives of almost 20,000 people.

Rosie shares her knowledge and insights with the industry and business community. She frequently speaks at events and shares her thought leadership to raise awareness of the impact that space has on engagement, productivity and the bottom line.

As a Director at Spacelab, Rosie’s fresh approach is helping to drive the future of the rapidly growing practice.

chris-crawfordChris Crawford

As a Gensler Associate and leader of the media practice area in EMEA, Chris takes pride in delivering intelligently designed workplaces for a wide variety of leading tech and media companies. Since graduating in 2013, Chris has become a valued member of the workplace interiors team. With a passion for cutting edge design, he is committed to growing the media practice area in the EMEA, and also co-spearheaded the pro bono design for Tower Hamlets Foodbank– winner of Mixology’s best Giving and Social Impact award. His noteworthy achievements include the National Association of Shopfitters (NAS) Future Designer of the Year award in 2014.


Dan Gardner

Not only is Dan an outstanding member of our KKS Strategic team, but he exemplifies a calm and mature individual whose pragmatic nature is filled with humour, best displayed nearing a deadline or at a darts match final! Dan is our rising star nominee for the way he embraces an occupier’s requirements, combining both data and logic, while creating interactive tools and reports, using technology to demonstrate quantitative and qualitative information. Designers have no option but to engage with his work, making the briefing process all that more robust when moving to the creative phase of a project.


Paul Arnold

Good design needs to be sustainable. Since joining Camira in 2012, Paul has been fundamental to the on-going development of the textile manufacturer’s sustainability ethos. Paul is passionate about creating beautiful new products from waste materials and working with like-minded organisations to build a more circular economy. No better example of this is the Survivor Sofa, a collaboration with the RSA’s ‘Great Recovery Project’ to renovate a skipped settee. As part of Camira’s takeback scheme and using fabric off-cuts, Paul developed a new ‘closed-loop’ herringbone fabric which was used to recover the furniture. The fabric will be launched commercially in 2017.


Rob Whitnell
Parcour Consulting

Rob is a Business Development Manager at Parcour and has been an integral part of the team for over four years. Rob has a passion for interiors, furniture and workplace design and has been instrumental in landing exciting new clients and projects. He immerses himself in each project and has a broad range of expertise, which has seen him working not only on furniture and soft seating packages as well as move management, workplace surveys and asset management. Rob is an all-rounder, understanding the technical, project management and creative aspects of project delivery and success. He certainly has a bright future to look forward to and one to watch around Clerkenwell.


Becky Spenceley

Her ability to work with global firms, from the technology sector to the financial services sector, with high levels of creativity to deliver flexible, adaptable and innovative spaces, has seen Becky appointed to Associate after only two years with Gensler. As a member of Gensler’s Design Performance Group, being able to maximise what interior design can deliver to support its users is at the heart of Becky’s work. Becky is also the co-designer of the award-winning Tower Hamlets Foodbank project – which won best Giving and Social Impact at Mixology 2015. Her strong conceptual ideas and passion for storytelling has led to Becky playing a lead role in design pitches and creative design projects, effectively capturing a company’s brand and ambitions to deliver distinctive and appealing workspaces that attract talent from around the world.


Jason Oak

Everyone starts as a diamond in the rough and Jason is no different. He came to SpaceInvader straight from university and, with each passing year, has become more polished and more capable. Five years on, he is now one of our most talented designers both creatively and technically, and with an incredible thirst for knowledge. As a result he has successfully designed and delivered some great projects including our multi award-winning scheme for the Regatta HQ. Conscientious and a natural problem solver, Jason has a proven track record of working on some of our most challenging projects. He is a joy to work with.


Natasha Cruder

Tash has a rare quality of engaging with people, making them feel at ease, whilst at the same time probing for the most creative solution possible. She has consistently grown year on year, bringing maturity to her design schemes. Don’t be fooled by her elfin-like outward appearance, Natasha is a force to be reckoned with: determined, experienced, professional and hugely talented. Tash is our rising star nominee for the dedication, design flair and fun she brings to every element of her life at KKS. Complacency is not in her vocabulary.


Amanda Halaka

Amanda Halaka has only been with Kinnarps a few months but we are delighted that she is now Kinnarps’ A&D Relationship Manager, with a responsibility for taking our unique Scandinavian products to the specifier market. Amanda has gained her commercial acumen from a time with Foxtons – the estate agents – but her heart is in design, having graduated in 2010 with a BA Honours in Interior Architecture Design. Whether developing designs for esteemed French linen house, Porthault or accumulating over $1M of sales for Bo Concept in Sydney, Australia, we know Amanda’s international experience, combined with her gentle personality and eye for detail make her Kinnarps’ rising star.


Sarah Haigh
Opus 4

Sarah has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the design ranks at Opus 4. She initially cut her teeth on some major house account clients, including the silver circle corporate law firm, Macfarlanes, and transport giant, First Group. It has taken Sarah less than three years to progress from being an enthusiastic Junior Designer to demonstrating enough flair, passion and drive to head up the design team. Andrew Jackson, Marketing Director said: ‘Sarah has been a breath of fresh air to our business. Not only has she transformed the way we think about design, the feedback we get from our clients is phenomenal. Her innovative designs, attention to detail and positive attitude have been the determining factor in us securing the biggest contract in our 20 year history.’


Farrell Jacobi
The Furniture Practice

Nominated by Informare. Farrell approaches her role within a dealership in the way it be. She works hard to learn about businesses, manufacturers and products so she can recommend, advise and facilitate the needs of the architectural and design community with authority.


Alice O’Keefe

A Gensler Associate, Alice is a talented interior designer with 10 years of experience that spans several of Gensler’s practice areas, including hospitality, retail and workplace. Her development of loyal client relationships is a testament to her spirit and passion for design, and played an instrumental role in the repositioning and rebranding of several hotels, casinos, restaurants and retail spaces across the globe. Described by Gensler Principals as an ‘Outstanding, award-winning, and highly creative designer of evocative spaces’. Alice is known by her clients and colleagues alike for her ability to listen and produce designs that have become the character around which clients build their brand.


Jamie Fitzgerald
Colebrook Bosson Saunders

Jamie’s been with us for six years now and seeing him grow both as a person and through his career has been really rewarding for everyone, especially his manager, Vicky Richardson. He started off young and hungry in Sales Support and has progressed steadily into his current position as Account Manager for the likes of KI, Spacecraft, Sedus, Task and Wagstaff. He’s built a great client list, won major projects, and is genuinely well liked and respected by clients and colleagues alike. Jamie’s got excellent knowledge of systems furniture and ergonomics, he gets the job done and provides outstanding customer focus, he’ll definitely go far.


Emma Kennedy

Emma was initially sceptical about the value of our strategic offering at KKS, preferring to dive straight into solving a design problem without understanding the reasons behind a solution. Today Emma is our rising star nominee for her complete commitment to the almost forensic approach she takes in her analysis of large development schemes, combining a deep talent for understanding both the human quality and technical requirements of a building – Emma understands completely that she must interpret the needs of the occupier within the built environment. An unusual talent for one so young.


Sean O’Hagan
Specialist Joinery Group

As Contracts Director for Specialist Joinery Group, Sean juggles a plethora of roles. He oversees every aspect of project delivery from design development and product engineering to ensuring that we keep our 100% snag free delivery promise on site. Sean’s passion for joinery, precision and quality is exemplified in his wide portfolio of projects, which includes National Grid, Estée Lauder, Rolls Royce, EDF Energy, CCI, Hammerson PLC and Google. His claim to fame is working alongside global country star Garth Brooks to build 150 emergency relief homes in Haiti for the international charity Haven.


Leanne Wookey

Leanne Wookey is a board director at NoChintz. Impressively, this board level role was achieved after less than 10 years in the industry, at the tender age of just 30. Leanne is an expert in commercial design, working closely with developers (Urban Splash, Peel Holdings, Capital and Centric and Henry Boot Developments) as well as architects and owner-occupiers to design and deliver fantastic workspaces suitable for the 21st century. In her time with the company she has helped bring in some of the best designers around to help reinforce NoChintz’s ever-growing team. Her accolades to date include being part of the team that won two Mixology Design Practice of the Year Awards.


Vanessa Lee

Vanessa is passionate about design and creativity, believing that good design brings better quality of life, as well as bringing commercial advantage to our client’s business. Since joining us in 2008, Vanessa’s work has covered a variety of sectors and scales, from The Bishopsgate Goodsyard masterplan to smaller mixed-use developments. Most recently, the award winning Henry Wood House, a 75,000 sq ft refurbishment and fit out for The Office Group. With the client she developed the brief and helped develop a new standard for the client. In 2015 we were very proud to see Vanessa awarded the AJ Curtins Inspiring Graduate Prize.


Chloe Richardson
Herman Miller

Chloe joined Herman Miller in 2006 as a design engineer, after completing her degree at Nottingham Trent University. She has a fantastic enquiring mind which balances creativity with strategy, so I suggested she move into the Product Management team to gain commercial and customer experience. She quickly showed a deep understanding of our products, as well as an innate sense of market need and future strategic direction. She was promoted to Director of Product Management in 2015, and under her guidance, the Product Management team have helped develop numerous products, including the recent Ratio desking system and Keyn
Chair Group.


Aaron Clarkson
Boss Design Group

Born in the UK in 1989, Aaron studied Industrial Product Design at Coventry University and graduated with First Class in 2013. Throughout his studies Aaron took a keen interest in furniture and upholstery, designing furniture for smaller spaces for his final major project. He worked in China in 2012, exploring mass production as well as culture differences of consumers around the world. A product-based background gave him a practical and considered approach towards design, exploring various manufacturing techniques and materials as well as interesting forms. Upon graduating, Aaron worked for luxurious furniture brand Duresta, gaining experience in traditional furniture manufacturing as well as exhibiting at the NEC, before moving on to the innovative furniture brand Boss Design Group.


Rob Cannon

Rob’s career with Hunters is a true example of working your way up through the ranks. He joined us a short-term temp in 2005, covering a member of staff on sick leave and quickly established himself an important member of the permanent team. He is now our senior project manager, successfully overseeing multi-million pound installations with blue-chip clients and is renowned for his client focused, can-do attitude and meticulous attention to detail. He is a valuable asset and a key member of the future growth of Hunters.


Joe Huddleston

Nominated by Interface. Joe is currently involved in a wealth of national projects, specialising in office fit-out and workplace transformation – providing high-end and bespoke design solutions to impact staff-wellbeing in offices country-wide. Joe recently produced a free 10-step industry guide to wellbeing and is also involved in live studies to capture data, which will help measure wellbeing in the workplace. Additionally, Joe is dedicated to mentoring and nurturing the next generation of professionals in the industry through his work with the British Council for Offices. As a member of the BCO NextGen Committee in the Midlands, Joe helps to provide a platform for young talent to air their ideas and grow into future leaders.


Sarah Bunch
HLW International

As a Senior Interior Designer Associate in London, Sarah’s strong love of design, ability to work with a varied range of clients, her exceptional client care and service, plus her personal ambition to deliver all projects to exceed expectations, sets her apart from others. Her all round seamless approach has most recently delivered projects for a wide range of clients, from Brit Insurance, Jupiter Asset Management, MasterCard and Regus Group. On top of this, Sarah is one of the most respectful and caring people in the industry, she loves getting involved and her hands dirty in fundraising and CSR activities and helping mentor and encourage younger designers to realise their ambitions.


Amy Skipsey

Amy has been a rising star within Orangebox for 15 years. Since starting as a showroom assistant in 2001 Amy has grown and developed into a sales role and now manages a team of 5 with a responsibility for £13 million revenue with a personal turnover of £4 million. To a large number of our client base she is the face of Orangebox. Trust is everything and she has earned it the hard way, supporting our dealers through being honest, responsive and hardworking whilst working as part of their extended teams. In addition through her personality and professionalism she has managed to build an enviable collection of corporate relationships and accounts.


Sarah Bryan
HLW International

Sarah is one of HLW’s fast rising stars what with her passion for design paired with an excellent ability to listen to her clients and deliver spaces which are all about them. This care and passion run right through her all round approach from design and delivery. When Sarah talks however, those that listen are mesmerised both by what she is saying but the unmistakable smoothest sexiest voice in the industry! A real team player Sarah has fantastic experience designing projects across multiple sectors with recent great success in delivering for organisations such as CCI and HPE, connecting client teams between the UK and the US.


Safia Laher
Scott Brownrigg

Safia has an excellent balance of confidence and creativity. She is a talented designer with outstanding attention to detail and unique leadership skills – she seamlessly adapts her management style to suit every individual, which is very insightful and achieves the best results. Safia is highly respected by her colleagues at all levels – both as a designer and as a friend. She has a professional, proactive and positive attitude, always providing calm and considered responses, which is appreciated by her colleagues and clients alike. Safia is a natural leader who deserves every success she has earned. She is also lots of fun, especially after a few cheeky cocktails! Her creative flair and sense of fun shines through her work – she recently delivered a fantastic fit-out for Volkswagen.


Andrea Williams-Wedberg
Area Sq

Andrea started out her career in 2007 as a Junior Interior Designer at Area Sq which – after spending time with a number of leading design agencies – she returned to in 2013 as a member of its senior team. Andrea specialises in commercial design, interpreting a client’s aspirations and translating them into interiors which reflect a company’s personality, ethos and culture. Andrea has a real passion for creating exciting, innovative designs through problem solving. One of Andrea’s significant achievements includes design management of 90,000 sq ft for Bechtel, which is among the most respected engineering, construction and project management companies in the world. Her work for leading organisations include Access Industries, SVG and Iris Worldwide.


Siobhan O’Leary

Nominated by Humanscale. Siobhan moved to the UK from Dublin in 2011 and joined Perkins+Will 2012. Her client list includes Google, IMG Media, Discovery and, recently, QBE Insurance & A+E Networks. Siobhan was the lead designer for the office floors of News Corp UK headquarters in 2014 delivering 470,000 sq ft CAT A & B fit-out. She worked with the team to develop an overall narrative to unify the company while designing unique identity for each of the seven brands to complete the fastest and largest project at the time in London. Her work is often flamboyant and she likes to take risks. She has become a key champion for excellence in design within our London studio.


Rosie Richardson

As Gensler’s EMEA Practice Area Leader for Financial Service Firms, Rosie has over 13 years’ experience as an interior designer, specialising in workplace and office design, focusing in particular on the financial services, professional services and media sectors. Rosie has a strong conceptual background and thrives in challenging and fast-paced environments, this allows her to work directly with clients to develop ideas into the technical solutions needed to achieve the project’s vision. Rosie is seen by her clients as their trusted advisor for their design projects.


Alex Kendrick

Alex studied architecture in Brighton, and left with his 1st class degree to earn a living in graphics and photography. He started with us as a graphic designer but took on more roles, and three years later is in charge of our burgeoning visual communication department. His photography, film-making, video editing and, of course, graphics inspire his team, and keep the rest of us on our toes. He has made us realise that the skill we wanted was not just graphics, but the ability to capture and communicate ideas.


Laurence Shanks
Area Sq

Laurence Shanks joined the Area Sq team as a Junior Designer in 2009 after working for an architecture and public art company, based in LA. After two and a half years he then moved to Munich, into a position with Gensler, working on the Google headquarters there. After this project came to a close he moved back to Area Sq, where he was promoted to the position of Lead Designer for the regions side of the business – he is now a Senior Designer. Laurence is an energetic, personable and passionate asset to the Area Sq design team. He has achieved so much in his career already, and we know he’ll continue to make positive waves at Area Sq, and in the industry.


Gemma Newell
tp bennett

Nominated by Humanscale. Prior to joining tp bennett, Gemma spent six years honing her creative skills in the high-end luxury world of super yacht and private jet interior design. With nine years’ industry experience, her portfolio ranges from luxury yacht interiors to large-scale financial projects in Canary Wharf.

Working in the luxury design sector has given Gemma a critical eye for detail, allowing her to bring refined and bespoke detailing into the world of commercial interiors. Gemma uses her knowledge and experience across a number of disciplines to produce creative design solutions. Gemma’s skills include concept and detailed design, as well as furniture and finishes specifications.


Hari Milburn

Hari’s a shining star who’s been at I-AM for two years. She’s living proof that design is a sparkling and joyful thing, as opposed to the deadly serious, religious discipline that it sometimes appears.Hari’s tender years belie her innate talent, and her positivity lights up the studio. I-AM runs on team spirit and collaboration, and no one exemplifies that more than Hari, always sparking opportunities for gathering with each other and the design community. Hari’s an inspiration, from her spirit, to her work, to her fund-raising – including two (count ’em) marathons this year. With people like her in design, the future’s bright.


Keeley Smith

Keeley Smith, affectionately known as the ‘Camira Girl’, has a passion for interior design. Promoted last year from Northern Area Business Manager to UK A&D Sales Manager Keeley has worked on projects such as HSBC, National Grid, AstraZeneca and Regatta; with top practices including BDP, Gensler, Sheppard Robson, TP Bennett and Space Invaders. Keeley has a design degree and was a practising designer before moving into commercial roles in furniture and now fabrics. Keeley loves networking and attends all major industry events in the UK and overseas. She provides insight into product development, colour and trend direction, and harnesses the power of social media to reach her global followers.


Shelley Quinn
HLW International

Shelley is one of HLW’s international globetrotters – joining the London team after previously being based in our Los Angeles Office. An amazing designer with a clear and articulate design eye, she has joined the London design community with amazing verve and has delivered projects both locally and throughout Europe, exceeding her clients such as Willis Insurance and GTM Lawyers expectations. She brings to London a vibrant Californian zest for life, adventure, people and design and truly is a rising star both within the London Industry but globally also.

the-team-at-bdpTHE team
at BDP

We are blessed with an abundance of talented young designers at BDP in our London and Manchester studios. Around 30% of our London team alone fall into the ‘rising star’ category and it is impossible to single out one, two or even three of them. So we have cheated and nominated all of them. Our photo shows Virginie Huque, Chris Gibbs, Iliana Mitova, Amy Simpson, Justine Hall, Anna Carnevale, Tut Zhu, Anca Niculescu, Cora Granier, Sophie Brown and Luke Barran-Bisset (with apologies to Nathan Potts, Rebecca Finney, Charlotte Smith, Alice Wardle and Sejal Mistry in Manchester).