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Explore the latest projects from the UK’s commercial interiors industry, featuring the best of workspace, hospitality, residential and public sectors.

Another certification scheme? Fitwel is the new kid on the block.

Fitwel has been created from a desire for a wellbeing standard that could be applied to any property of any age and condition, not just the Grade-A city monoliths. Written by: Georgia Elliot-Smith, Director, Element 4

26/11/2019 3 min read

Interviews, opinions and profiles from industry experts

In conversation with Atul Bansal, Sheila Bird Studio

Introducing Mix Sessions: conversations with key industry influencers from the world of commercial interior design. First up, Atul Bansal, founder of Sheila Bird Studio, on how the studio got its name, all things Mix Design Collective and much more.

02/12/2019 2 min read

Key industry articles and insights looking at the latest news from the world of commercial interior design

Relax, don’t do it: the scope for relaxed office floorspace

We all need to relax – seriously. So is the office property business learning how to chill, or is it manic from too much coffee? David Thame investigates the scope for relaxed office floorspace. Stop. Calm down. Take a break. Above all, relax.

13/11/2019 5 min read

Discover the latest and most innovative products curated by Mix Interiors.

EGGER to launch new Decorative Collection

February 2020 sees the introduction of the new Egger Decorative Collection 2020-22: the company’s biggest product launch since 2017

23/11/2019 2 min read

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Industry Events

A-Z of trends: R-V

Letters R-V in our annual A-Z of trends.

13/11/2019 5 min read

R – Recycling

‘The war on waste’ is a phrase heard almost on a daily basis. One of our clients is helping lead the way in recycling as part of their bed and mattress scheme. Bensons for Beds has seen around 40,000 beds taken for recycling; meaning 1,800 tonnes of mattresses have been saved from going to landfill.

As designers, we have a responsibility to be conscious of the impact we may be having on the environment. It is now becoming easier to supply good quality furniture that is either recyclable or has been made from recycled materials.

Japanese studio, Nendo, has created a collection of stackable chairs from recycled household plastics in the shape of the N02 Recycle Chair for Fritz Hansen.

Fashion and textiles have a huge impact on the environment and Nike GRIND is doing its bit to combat waste from trainers. The Nike ‘re-use a shoe’ scheme has collected 28 million shoes for recycling since 1990. The shoes are transformed into Nike Grind; a material used in creating athletic and playground surfaces.

The medals for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics have been designed by Junichi Kawanishi from old electronic devices, donated by the public. Hopefully, with a recycled product taking centre stage, it will showcase to the world how something recycled can be beautiful.

Rosie Flynn, Senior Designer, John Evans Interior Architecture and Design

 

S – Sustainability

As interior designers, our role ‘in simplistic terms’ focuses on the client’s functional needs and the aesthetic that enables these. As an interior design professional going into ‘the 20s’ and beyond, there is also an increasing emphasis on designing sustainably, being environmentally conscious and the importance of user wellbeing. This is not a trend; sustainable interior design is not a new term, but with the wide reach of social media and rising global environmental issues, sustainability is coming to the forefront of business agendas and is gaining momentum.

With socially conscious Millennials looking to dominate the global workforce by 2020, the environments they work in and company they work for has become more vital. This generation better values the sustainable credentials of their employer and the carbon footprints of their workplaces. We have the power within our design selections to guide and educate our clients on sustainability, whether on product materiality or how it can galvanise the workforce and enhance a brand’s green credibility. In previous decades, a limitation on the type of products available in the marketplace, which had true sustainable credentials, had limited aesthetic choice. Often these products would also come at a premium cost to the client, meaning ‘good intentions’ would often, unfortunately, fall by the wayside. The products available to designers now are much vaster, and the strong stories behind them are clear. Sustainable design will continue to grow to become a firm part of the workplace of the future.

Rachel Withey, Associate Director, SpaceInvader

Rachel Withey, Associate Director, SpaceInvader

T – Technology

Discussing technology applied to interiors can evoke thoughts of sci-fi movies, full of unlikely gadgets and gizmos, but some of these have already moved into the real world. Bear in mind, in my lifetime (and I’m not that old), drawing boards have been upgraded to computers and virtual 3D goggles are almost pedestrian now. But in the excitement of all these shiny toys, it’s easy to forget that technology is here to be our servant and not our master.

As such, we believe the best current uses for technology in interior design are those that are invisible, yet beneficial to the user.

We’re seeing this in a recently developed range of paints, which uses nanotechnology to control thermal conductivity. This means that the paint itself can reduce the amount of insulation needed inside the walls and, furthermore, if connected to a low current, can transform any wall into a radiator.

We’re also working with low voltage LED lighting systems that feed from network cables, both reducing the high voltage use in our buildings and also allowing for enhanced control of each luminaire. Lighting can be programmed to follow circadian rhythms or customised with a mobile app. The next step is Li-Fi – utilising light to transmit data wirelessly, making Wi-Fi equipment redundant.

In short, good technology can and should simplify human interaction with spaces and we’re looking forward to seeing more advances in this area (and perhaps the occasional robot and lightsaber).

Enrique Soler, Head of Interior Design, Willmott Dixon

Enrique Soler, Head of Interior Design, Willmott Dixon

U – Upcycling

Unlike recycling, upcycling drives materials back up the supply chain without needing to break down the original material. Imaginative repurposing within construction and in the workplace is on the increase, transforming by-products and waste material into new and often unique solutions of a better quality and environmental value. In a world rightly focused on reducing our carbon footprint and improving environmental responsibilities, it’s a positive step to see our industry embrace and promote upcycling.

With clients challenging the norm and embracing less corporate workplaces, furniture and material trends are more varied, opening the door for alternative solutions. Knowing no boundaries, designers have embraced this opportunity, merging an eclectic mix of new and upcycled products. Away from the workplace, one of the most iconic upcycle considerations is the sea container. Not only does this offer considerable flexibility on how it can be reinvented, it is also serving as an intrinsic tool, contributing to affordable modular housing solutions. The benefits are clearly there to see.

With the government introducing a transformative Bill to Parliament to tackle the biggest environmental priorities of our time, the challenge is to acknowledge our industry’s positive interventions and maintain the momentum. Equally, better recognition and integration of upcycling into environmental accreditation assessments is surely a good starting point.

Neil Thomas, Head of Design, Denton Associates

Neil Thomas, Head of Design, Denton Associates

V – Values

As a graphic design agency, we work at the intersection of branding and architecture. So, from where we are sitting, the biggest trends in the workplace are all feeding what is now being recognised as the aorta for all businesses – values and culture.

Where businesses have previously focused purely on finance, then customers, what is now being realised is that, if you want to gauge the temperature (and ultimately profitability) of a business, speak to their employees.

Businesses are now bending over backwards to understand what their people really want, and the general consensus is that the values and mission of the business outweighs the wages and benefits. People are driven more by inspiration, connection, flexibility, wellbeing and learning.

Businesses are now looking to deliver all those things in order to get the things they want – productivity, top talent, innovation and collaboration. The most used words in all our interactions with workplace professionals are ‘human’ and ‘experiences’.

Enlightened companies recognise that a well-designed hub that encourages collaboration and interaction is essential for them to transform into culture-first enterprises – and interior designers and architects re currently doing great work to deliver this.

Our passion is brand, of which values and culture is an integral part. We find (too often) that this is forgotten in the built space, or is applied in a heavy-handed way. Now that agile working is becoming the norm and people have the option of where they want to work, the workplace should become a creative and engaging space that captures the values and culture of the business for its staff.

It’s our mission to get clients and designers to consider brand and values earlier in the design process.

Dan Moscrop, Founder, Them

Dan Moscrop, Founder, Them

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