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

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Future gen design: Ashton Holmes, Senior Project Designer, Peldon Rose

The next generation of creative talent on radical ideas, lessons learnt and tomorrow’s design landscape.

21/03/2024

4 min read

Described as one of the most exciting designers on the Peldon Rose team, Ashton Holmes always challenges the norm and is never afraid to flout the rules of interior design. Peldon Rose has watched Holmes share concepts and ideas with clients that the studio had never imagined and pushing the team out of their comfort zone – securing his spot in the Mix 30 under 30 Class of 2023.

What do younger designers bring to the table?

Innovation and unfiltered creative minds. During the earlier stages of concept design, I believe it is important for creativity to flow free, with obstacles addressed during the development stage to allow the outcome to be an innovative concept. Young designers may not have faced the challenges that come up over the many phases of a project, and therefore can approach the concept in unique ways.

What are the greatest challenges young designers face?

Remaining relevant. Rapid changes within technological advancements, for example, the increase in accessibility to AI, mean that we are sure to see more prevalence of AI generate content within the design industry. Whilst it is easy to create a ‘beauty image’ through text-to-image platforms, the ability to curate a collection of meaningful images to sell a concept takes knowledge and skill. Young designers that become early adopters of new technologies, will inevitably become the pioneers of our future.

What does creativity mean to you?

For me, it is liberation from the mundane. It is the catalyst that combines imagination and functionality to produce innovation.

What is your radical idea for the future of design?

Living architecture and biomimicry. Cityscapes made from sustainably sourced timber – becoming ‘super forests’ instead of ‘concrete jungles’. Interior walls made from algae that breathe clean oxygen. Spaces that have the potential to expand and grow based on the demand, like the metabolism movement of the 1950s – which saw the likes of the Nakagin Capsule Tower built.

What makes you most worried, and what makes you most hopeful, about the future of design?

With online media playing a pivotal role in how and where content is shared, trends may dissipate at a quicker pace, leading to over consumption and an increase in unsustainable practices. However, designers are becoming hyperaware of the long-term impact – specifically to the environment, that trends can have, and that there’s much progress to be made within the industry. Driven by a shift in mindset, designing for longevity has been pushed to the forefront of our agenda.

Who or what has shaped your approach to design?

I mostly find myself drawn to a collection of architects and artists who have a refined approach to their designs but are still comfortable with the abnormal. Daniel Arsham, the co-founder of Snarkitecture, is a forward-thinking artist and designer whose main concept centres on the idea of creating relics of our present from the year 3023. The design studio itself plays with eroded organic forms, and repetition of elements intersecting with minimalistic architecture.

Tell us about a project you worked on that has most shaped your work.

Recently I have been working with a media company to design their new London office. We looked at how functional spaces could be used in multiple ways to adapt for a variety of uses and needs during the 9-5. We developed fluidic plans in which flexible furniture and textiles like curtains could replace the conventional requirement for static meeting rooms. These spaces then evolve throughout the day, from: content studios to agile working; informal meeting to townhall space; winter garden to coworking café. These spaces help to form a busy cultural hub of activity throughout the day.

What do you love about the industry and what do you hate?

I love how rapidly it can respond to change, be it technology, global circumstance or user requirements. The design industry is in a state of constant evolution and, for the most part, striving for positive change.

Something I dislike, which isn’t industry specific, would be imposter syndrome, typically creeping out of nowhere, mid-project, creating doubt in my capabilities as a concept designer. Over the years I have learnt to use this as an intrinsic motivator to push harder and accelerate the design further.

What would you do if you didn’t work in design?

I’ll always need a creative outlet and I liked the idea of being an author. I have fond memories of losing days during summer break to fantastical odysseys others had written about. I would probably write sci-fi or fantasy-related works, exploring impossible realities set in distant worlds!

What is the trend you most want to see die and what is the trend you want to bring back?

Trends themselves. When we cling to trends, it becomes an ouroboros, leaving us in a cycle of destruction and recreation. Instead, we should seek timeless elements, or reimagine what already exists, with lighter touches that don’t have such a negative impact on our planet. I’m not sure it has ever had its moment in the spotlight, but I would love to see Afrofuturism gain more momentum. Although a fictional country, the architecture of Wakanda in the Black Panther films presents a vision of what could be possible within the movement.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learnt?

Never settle. Design should be fluid and without boundaries, and always pushing for progress.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Sketch everything. A designer’s greatest asset is the ability to convey conceptual ideas. Communicating through this medium helps bridge together the aspirations of both designer and client.

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