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Sponsors of the SBID International Design Awards for the Office Design category reveals how they help to create happy, healthy, high performing working and learning environments with their range of smart, contract furniture solutions for office, workplace and healthcare spaces. Jonathan Hindle, Group Managing Director E.M.E.A of KI tells us more…

What are the origins of your brand?

KI (Krueger International, Inc.) is headquartered in Wisconsin, USA; was founded in 1941, and has been a contract furniture manufacturer ever since. Fully employee-owned, KI has grown to become one of the world’s largest, most respected furniture manufacturing groups. KI’s EMEA headquarters and showroom in Central London is supported by an established network of manufacturing facilities and distribution partners across the UK, Europe and the Middle East committed to providing customers with smart solutions for Workplace, Education and Healthcare Sectors.

How do you work with interior designers?

KI engages with interior designers and specifiers both directly and through a global network of showrooms and resellers. It has offered a unique Market of One manufacturing philosophy for many years and supports specifiers with the opportunity to design and build the furniture the want quickly and cost effectively through its Infinity programme. There are many online tools to assist designers such as See it Spec It, CAD and Revit Symbols, Image Libraries and Finishes options libraries to assist with Specification and Planning.

SBID Awards Sponsor KI Europe interior image with modular shelving
SBID Awards Sponsor KI Europe interior image with modular shelving

What value does your sector add to the interior design industry?

We provide a valuable furniture engineering design and manufacturing resource for workplace, education and healthcare interiors. KI’s furniture helps the world’s leading organisations create happy, healthy, high performing working and learning environments. We strive to improves productivity through the design and manufacture of furniture solutions which both optimise floor plans and stimulate users. We also know how diverse furniture requirements can be, so by working to understand what our client’s need, we can deliver the ideal solution.

How does your offering enhance an interior designer’s projects?

As above. Not only do our products represent cutting edge solutions to furniture requirements in workplace, education and healthcare environments, KI brings together good design, advanced engineering and sustainable resources to produce products that are durable, flexible and offer excellent value.

KI products can help designers meet client needs by improving productivity of the end-user through the design and manufacture of furniture solutions which both stimulate and provide efficiencies; meeting the demands of evolving workplaces. Customers throughout the world come to KI, not just for high-quality contract furniture but for the knowledge to make the right choices. Working with KI gives you access to our wealth of experience and innovation, so we can help you select the perfect furniture for the desired application.

SBID Awards Sponsor KI Europe interior image with modular shelving

What are the latest trends you’ve noticed in your client’s requests?

KI Europe has recently introduced the 800 Series Shelving System, designed to offer a flexible platform for designers to divide space in open plan offices with shelving systems providing a domestic aesthetic. We have introduced a new seating range utilising the latest injection moulding techniques to provide flexible comfort and a lightweight aesthetic called Grafton, a new injection moulded dining chair called Hatton an enhancement to the market leading education seating range Postura+ providing fully recycled plastic options and a new generation Sit/Stand Collection of desking and benching called Work 2.1 to meet the evolving requirements for enhanced wellness across major organisations.

Why did you want to become a sponsor for the SBID Awards?

We wanted to engage with the SBID in order to better promote KI’s capabilities and desire to work with the world leading design practices which the SBID attract.

Sponsorship for the SBID International Design Awards 2020 is now open.

To find out more about becoming an SBID Awards sponsor next year click here or email [email protected]

Workplace gurus have in recent years enjoyed looking through the generational lens to help predict behaviours and changes effecting corporate interior design. The impact that millennial’s have made upon the workplace for example, assisting organisations move from hierarchies to networks, has been significant. Attention is now being paid to the current school and university population – Gen Z or iGen (internet generation) born after 2000 and the suggestion is that technology impacts on design could continue to be profound.

SBID Education Council expert, Jim Taylour, Head of Design and Wellbeing at Orangebox sheds light on how workplaces and educational institutions should be adapting to suit this new wave of technology-fuelled behaviours.

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Member of the SBID Education Design Council, Lucy Richards is the Creative Director and Founder of StudioLR. Her practice is committed to how design makes people feel. They cut through complexity to connect with people and create experiences that improve everyday lives. Lucy shares her expert advice when it comes to designing learning environments and making sure your client’s needs are taken into consideration. 

We all know that the most effective design comes from listening to the people we’re designing for. But are we listening to the right people? Our client’s needs are important but it’s vital that we understand their customers so we can respond to what they need. . .

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Member of the SBID Education Design Council and Founder of Super Power Agency, Maxine Sloss shares how her life-long experience as a professional designer and history using art as therapy has shaped her perspective on creative environments and the essential impact they can have on wellbeing and learning. Her current realm of expertise is also informed by the Super Power Agency mentoring centre which aims to improve literacy, foster aspiration and boost self esteem through the most fundamental super power; the ability to read and write.

As a designer for almost 20 years, I saw first hand how aesthetics can change peoples behaviour and how creative environments can transform attitudes from outside in. I found joy in transforming a space into a more delightful environment for an individual, or a group. There is a clear body of evidence and understanding which highlights the direct link between our surroundings and our mental health. This in turn could be described as unconscious therapy, bringing out the best in us without us being aware it is even happening. Creating spaces for a client that use expression and communication is often life changing! Clients often get a clearer understanding of the language of colour, texture, harmony and abundance and also a greater understanding of the art and artisans used in the interiors. Changing the energy of their spaces was frequently very therapeutic for the clients.

After training as an art practitioner, I realised that Art Therapy and Design are one and the same thing. Working with children who needed time away from the pressure of mainstream school and were struggling to keep up in the school system, only confirmed all I had learnt.

The spaces created to help children engage are therefore essential to their wellbeing. There is no difference between the needs of a client wanting a secure, creative space in their home to write or unwind and a child who needs to feel secure and be given a great sense of wellbeing.

 

Aesthetics: Colour & Light, Abundance & Variety, Harmony, Play, Magic & Surprise, Celebration

There are many aesthetics that are required to help stimulate our brain with emotion and hopefully create a sense of natural wonder and in turn, a feeling of great pleasure and contentment. These are the same elements that were used when transforming a school classroom into a creative space for art therapy, or recently, in transforming a school bus into a creative library space to inspire creative learning for children with low literacy skills.

Colour & Light

Using colour was my signature design trait as it has always had a profound effect on my happiness. Transforming dark spaces using colour into light spaces for learning is key; natural light is essential and can make the best of classroom environments with the right choices of paint colours.

Colour has a very transforming effect on wellbeing. I have watched clients gasp with delight at a newly painted room and we have to ask ourselves, “why do most children paint rainbows and adults do not?” We are often preconditioned to think that as we age, colour is childish and frivolous, with neutral hues often being thought of as the more ‘mature’. Colour works on a deep emotional level, mentally and emotionally, changing our mood and sense of wellbeing. Knowledge of colour theory can help us express our feelings in an artwork. The importance of colour has been transmitted into our everyday language; you can be red with anger, green with envy and tickled pink. We often speak of cheerful bright colours, as well as sad and dull ones. A grey day may be depressing and result in the blues. Colour also has immense spiritual significance and has been intertwined into religious ritual throughout time. This can be seen in saffron robes of Tibetan Buddhist monks, to green being the sacred colour of Islam. Colours have the power to symbolise and communicate with an extraordinary immediacy, which words can never match. Colour therapy is a noted form of therapy, which can work alongside art therapy for children. Colour therapists believe that the seven colours of the rainbow relate to the body’s seven main chakras. How does creativity and colour contribute to our emotional wellbeing? It is believed that a catharsis takes place through positive use of colour. For example, if we are feeling sad or let down, wearing bright colours immediately changes our mood and a positive shift of energy occurs.

Red – gives courage and strength and shows a pioneering spirit. Red is the colour of exhilaration and often, a colour of war. For example, Roman Soldiers carried red battle flags and many nations have had red battle tunics. In the western world, red can also mean love/passion, action and dynamism.

Orange – an energetic colour, without aggression. It frees and releases emotions, stimulates the mind; renewing interest in life. Orange can lift spirits and is the colour of laughter and humour of frivolity.

Yellow – is happy, uplifting, optimistic and logical. It is also mentally stimulating and bright. In Jungian psychology, yellow symbolises the flash of insight called ‘intuition’, which seems to come from out of the blue – the visual field of the right side of the brain. It builds self confidence and encourages an optimistic attitude.

Green – creates a feeling of comfort and relaxation, calmness and space, lessening stress. Offering balance and links to nature, green helps us to connect with the natural world.

Blue – is the colour of communication. It is calming, relaxing and healing. Blue is used for the introvert to come out of their shell because it reduces nervous excitement. It relates to self expression, speech and the ability to communicate our needs.

Indigo – is a sedative colour. Soothing. It is believed in certain religions that indigo is the colour of divine knowledge. Indigo children are highly sensitive beings, with a strong sense that they want to make a difference. These children are said to have an indigo-blue aura. The aura is a field of luminous radiation surrounding a person and these auras can be different colours.

Violet – creative, intuitive and stimulates the imagination. It is associated with luxury, e.g. royal purple, as in some early cultures purple dye was extremely difficult and expensive to produce.

The painter who famously taught colour analysis, Wassily Kandisky (1866-1944) used colour to express emotional experience, rather than a reflection of nature. The painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970) used colour to convey a range of sensations near to what he described as a ‘religious experience’ thus illustrating that colour can transcend you to a happy place. Across every continent and every culture, colour dominates and permeates our lives. Colour surrounds us. Feeling and nourishing our senses; our minds, bodies and spirits are profoundly affected by it. Paul Klee (1879-1940), one of the greatest colourists in the history of painting, succinctly summarised its impact upon him; “colour possesses me. I don’t have to pursue it. It will possess me always. I know it”.

Abundance & Variety 

Providing a therapeutic space with a variety of sensory stimulation. Our brains cannot develop in isolation. It requires a constant dialogue with its surrounding environment. Children particularly adore the abundance of textures, colours, and shapes. This can be jars of pencils, a variety of books, coloured stationary, jars of badges, buttons, and art material. It is well known in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands, where therapy called Snoezelen is used for developmental disabilities to create multi-sensory environments, letting the patients gravitate to the sensations that feel good for them. Watching students rummage through jars and jars of crayons or feeling their way through jars of buttons in an art space is a joy to watch.

Harmony

Harmony offers visible evidence that someone cares enough about the space to invest energy in it. Often the students we work with come from disorder. Disordered spaces have been linked to feelings of fear, anxiety and depression, causing a negative effect on their behaviour. Creating ordered vignettes of beauty with colour and shape can almost certainly lift spirits. For example, the small things make a huge difference; from toys placed with books, to beautiful flowers and plants.

Play

Everyone is born with a huge capacity to play and it’s very important to reconnect with that in a creative space of learning. Our culture needs more play. When we play, we learn without even realising it. Time diminishes and often our fear of self consciousness fades. This is obvious by the amount of adults dying to dress up on the Super Power Agency Bus in our dressing up costumes, releasing their creative inner child. Children go wild with the amount of play costumes available and all books they can touch and read – their joy is wonderful to behold. This play also removes the stigma of the dull, uninspiring classroom as they are blissfully unaware that learning is just about to become a lot more creative!.

‘Creativity is intelligence having fun’ – Albert Einstein

Adults and children dressing up for Super Power Agency featured in how creative space can inspire children, SBID Education Council blog post by Maxine Sloss
Adults and children dressing up for Super Power Agency featured in how creative space can inspire children, SBID Education Council blog post by Maxine Sloss

Magic & Surprise

The permission to believe in magic is the true joy of childhood, from Santa Claus to fairies living in the garden. This magic is captured in thousands of books from Harry Potter to the Lord of the Rings. Creating spaces with the element of magic gives a huge sense of enchantment. Surprise an unexpected object can be in its contradiction, great for diverting the mind and creates humour and wit. Every student at the Super power agency adores the spider man hanging from the dashboard of the bus. They don a cape and immediately think they can conquer any disability in their writing skills!

Celebration

Reflective materials of all kinds can create sparkle; metallic, glitter, sequins are all associated with a celebration. The dressing up costumes and accessories on the Bus are designed to sparkle to celebrate the children who enter the Bus and in turn, the start of their creative learning with the agency. ‘Glitter celebrates’, Carrie Fisher once said; ‘Its happy. It makes you look like your up for a good time’.

Maxine Sloss
Founder of the Super Power Agency

Click here to find out more about the SBID Education Council

Project of the Week

This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features an inspiring and thoughtfully designed children’s educational centre and a picture book library. With health and safety for the educational centre and library a priority, the education-centric design incorporates features such as air monitoring, hand disinfection stations, temperature monitoring and strict security. In additional, all materials are eco-friendly, non-toxic and child-friendly. From the strictly monitored entrance, children can explore the space by following colours and ‘flight routes’ to arrive at their destination. The interior is equipped with children’s toilets, drinking fountains and features to assist the children in their personal development. Besides meeting the need for children to play freely, safely and happily, the design also ensures parents have a relaxing and elegant environment in which they can rest, read and enjoy a coffee break.

Sector: Education Design

Company: Taipei Base Design Center

Project: Dou Dou Education Center 

Project Location: Shanghai, China

Taipei Base Design Center, Dou Dou Education Center public space design project images for SBID interior design blog, Project of the Week

What was the client’s brief? 

“Fantasy Works” is a newly-established company, with the sub-brands of Fantasyland, which combines child fun and modern technology and of Dou Dou, which is separated into the two series of early childhood education and picture books. The major appeals include the collection of over 10,000 picture books and over 2,000 English picture books. The books of National Geographic Learning are introduced to Shanghai for the first time together with S.T.E.M. The future prospect is to open branches all over China through direct selling, franchising, authorisation or brand cooperation.

Taipei Base Design Center, Dou Dou Education Center public space design project images for SBID interior design blog, Project of the Week

What inspired the interior design of the project? 

Nothing “hard” can be found in Dou Dou Fun Reading Forest Picture Book Library. The differentiation in the content, service, and environment has been achieved. The super-large area, huge number of books, and cross-field cooperation have all manifested the positive attitude, or ambition, to become the best of the best. It will become a model in China. However, we also saw parents have loving interactions with their children on the furniture, which were designed to be sat on “uprightly,” to indulge themselves in the stories of the picture books. We have also seen some parents just leave their children to the guiding teachers and take time for themselves to go shopping. For TBDC, the value judgement of the parents and the way to educate their children are the keys to deciding whether the space is beautiful and was the driving force for inspiring the final design of the project.

Taipei Base Design Center, Dou Dou Education Center public space design project images for SBID interior design blog, Project of the Week

What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?

This project is located at the central of the Zen Himalayas Center, Shanghai. It was essential that the original ceiling, wall and floor remain intact during the project development; therefore, we employed props which can be used in random combination to satisfy all kinds of functions, as well as lower the cost and shorten time.

Taipei Base Design Center, Dou Dou Education Center public space design project images for SBID interior design blog, Project of the WeekWhat was your team’s highlight of the project?

The point of the education design focuses on the space being exclusively for children. Besides the basic elements of safety and sanitation, there are also proper arrangements for the operation flow and all kinds of activities, whilst catering to the needs of all ages. Seeing the impact this space has on the children and parents who are using it brings us the greatest sense of achievement.

Taipei Base Design Center, Dou Dou Education Center public space design project images for SBID interior design blog, Project of the Week

Why did you enter the SBID International Design Awards?

The SBID International Design Awards is one of the most prestigious interior design awards, which recognises the excellence of interior designs. It would be an honour to be recognised by SBID International Design Awards, which will prove TBDC and our project to be an inspiring and high calibre project within the high standard of the industry. Also TBDC hope that Asian design and the Asian market can be seen and appreciated worldwide. TBDC are more than overjoyed to be chosen as this week’s Project of The Week.

Taipei Base Design Center, Dou Dou Education Center public space design project images for SBID interior design blog, Project of the Week

Questions answered by Janus Huang and Roy Huang, Chief Designers of Taipei Base Design Center

If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring the biggest Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics store in the world, situated in the heart of Liverpool, click here to see more.

We hope you feel inspired by this week’s education design! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire

Taipei Base Design Center | SBID International Design Awards

Image credits: Zhong Han

The SBID Education Council puts effective design at the core of the learning process. With the aim of raising awareness in showing how evidence-based interior design decisions can transform learning experiences, member of the Education Council, Dr Pamela Woolner shares her views on learning environments. Pamela is the Degree Programme Director for EdD at Newcastle University and has carried out extensive research which centres on understanding and developing the physical learning environment.

The physical environment makes a difference to education – a setting will facilitate some teaching, learning and social practices while hindering others.  Therefore, the best results occur when physical space and material resources are aligned with pedagogical intentions.  It also means that space can be a powerful driver of educational change, but only if developed purposefully and in co-ordination with changes to other elements, such as curriculum, relationships and practices.

These ideas apply across a school’s premises, but furniture, furnishings and interior design form an interesting part of the overall environment. It is often possible to change the internal organisation and appearance of a school relatively cheaply and quickly, and there are considerable possibilities for involving school users, staff and students, in the process of planning and designing new spaces. So it is unfortunate that school interiors can be overlooked, particularly during times of big school building programmes, such as we have seen in recent years in the UK, Australia and elsewhere in the world. As an example of the potential power of interior design, consider the example of acoustics. Structural decisions, but also choices of furnishings and finishes, can reduce unhelpful reverberation and noise leakage between areas.  This can be vital in enabling teacher decisions to drive learning practices, balancing activity and stillness, group work and individual projects.  In contrast, in many schools, unsuitable environments, both poorly thought-out open space and enclosed rooms with thin walls, cause students and teachers to adapt their behaviour to avoid disturbing other people.

SBID Education Council member, Dr Pamela Woolner image for Education Design feature on SBID interior design blog

I’ve recently written about how two schools in the north east of England used their environments to support developments in teaching and learning to enrich student experiences and improve outcomes.  A primary school, which we’ve referred to as Southside, got involved with a skills and enquiry programme, Open Futures.  The intention was to change teaching and learning through four integrated strands of curriculum development centred on cooking, gardening, filming and philosophy for children.  Through a very different process, our other example school, Town End Academy, set out to develop an enquiry-based, cross-curricular approach to learning, which is challenging within the English secondary school climate of individualised, subject based learning and high stakes tests.

SBID Education Council member, Dr Pamela Woolner image for Education Design feature on SBID interior design blogSouthside

At Southside, involvement in Open Futures acted as an immediate catalyst for changes that the school had been hoping to make in curriculum content, teaching approaches and use of school space.  Cooking and growing spaces were developed, as was a base for the film strand, staff went on training courses for the individual strands, while timetables and budgets were adapted to accommodate and resource the programme.  These initial changes helped to support innovation, but it was subsequent developments that enabled the change to be sustained and, we judged, start to become ‘institutionalised’.  Less tangible, but important, changes to educational practices and values were underpinned by more self-evident innovation across the curriculum, staff training and the school environment, inside and out.  Finding school space for Open Futures, from the usual noticeboards to the ‘wonder tree’ in the corridor, which children across the school could use to ask questions and offer answers, demonstrated that the programme was valued and encouraged further engagement.

Town End Academy

At Town End, initial innovations centred on staff development and timetabling to support cross-curricular, enquiry-based learning.  However, teachers were also encouraged to rearrange the furniture in the classrooms to facilitate the necessary student collaboration.  Circular tables were put into some rooms, while, in others, desks were rearranged so that students could sit facing each other.  Further developments into learning through extended collaborative ‘projects’ made more demands on school indoor space, including space to research and develop project ideas, as well as areas for end of project exhibitions and displays.  Tending to work against the cross-curricular intentions was the school interior plan with its subject-specific offices that teachers use for planning, but also during breaks and lunchtimes.

Across both these schools, it’s clear to see that educational change is linked to the physical environment.  Existing space can either support or constrain change, with redesign offering a usefully visual and tangible focus for the development of new practices.  Furnishings, equipment and areas within these schools were used to support initial innovation, then embed the changes and enable ongoing development.

SBID Education Council member, Dr Pamela Woolner feature on SBID interior design blog

Dr Pamela Woolner
Degree Programme Director for EdD at Newcastle University

Click here to find out more about the SBID Education Council

For more information on these schools, discussion of the challenges of whole school change and ideas about using school space to entrench innovation, click here to read the free access article.

Full reference: Woolner P, Thomas U, Tiplady L. (2018) Structural change from physical foundations: The role of the environment in enacting school change. Journal of Educational Change, 19(2), 223-242.

 

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