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Beginning with fresh insight into the Vectorworks® 2020 to help designers and architects harness the latest software tools and workflows, October is punctuated by the announcement of the SBID International Design Awards winners for 2019. The month culminates with the eagerly anticipated SBID International Design Awards ceremony to celebrate global design excellence on 25th October, as well as SBID’s popular annual networking event which is due to return with a brand-new series of business seminars.

1st October 

Vectorworks Annual Design Day – London, United Kingdom

Meet the Vectorworks team in London on Tuesday 1st October as they present the powerful new workflows in Vectorworks® 2020 at Vectorworks’ Annual Design Day 2019. Explore the future of Vectorworks while enjoying opportunities in the following areas:

To register your interest in attending, email [email protected]

SBID Education Design Council event featuring an image of a design-led classroom learning environment

9th October

Learning Environment Transitions – Edinburgh, United Kingdom

The SBID Education Council invite both Designers and Education professionals to an event hosted by University of Edinburgh and City of Edinburgh Council on Wednesday 9th October to hear a presentation from Anne Knock on Learning Environment Transitions. Having spent 17 years as a primary school teacher and 15 years working directly with schools, systems, teachers, school boards and architects to facilitate change and create collaborative learning environments, Anne has learnt the language of design. Anne will be visiting Edinburgh as part of the International Study Tour that she hosts, with guests including educational leaders and architects. Earlier in the day the tour group will visit a local nursery and schools. During Anne’s presentation she will be sharing her insight about design principles and shaping the educational brief with a focus on the Learning Environment Transitions. This will follow on to an open discussion about the observations and considerations of the transitioning between learning environments form Nursery through to University.

To register your interest in attending, email [email protected]

15th October 

Designs From the Past, Inspiration for the Future (CPD Talk and Tour) – Maidenhead, United Kingdom

Join this CPD talk and guided tour on the origin and history of the Textile Design Archive held by the John Lewis Partnership in their Heritage Centre based in Maidenhead. Starting at 11am, this talk focuses on historic textile printing techniques, the work of reputable designers and how these have inspired more recent designs and products. This is followed by a Q&A session with a John Lewis Partnership Archivist, then a guided tour of the Heritage Centre including the textile gallery where the original artworks for many designs from c1800 onwards are displayed.

To register your interest in attending, email [email protected]

24th October

SBID Meet the Buyer  – London, United Kingdom

The Society of British and International Design’s popular annual networking event returns on 24th October with a brand new location and even more opportunities for attendees. Set to be the biggest to date, the one-day event will feature a new series of business seminars, new manufacturers and a new home – Grosvenor House, Park Lane in London. The SBID Meet The Buyer event brings together some of the best interior designers, architects and specifiers to meet face to face with leading, design-led product manufacturers from around the world. Complete with networking opportunities, face to face contact with decision makers, the event also presents a brand-new series of business seminars for designers and manufacturers to gain valuable advice – as well as engage in discussions about challenges the industry faces from some of the most esteemed experts in their field.

Click here to find out more or book your place now

25th October

SBID International Design Awards 2019 – London, United Kingdom

The SBID International Design Awards became the first interior design award scheme to be accredited with the GOLD Standard Awards Trust Mark by The Independent Awards Standards Council, who commended the programme as “exemplar in how awards should be operated”. The SBID Awards programme is set to culminate with a dazzling ceremony at one of London’s most iconic locations in the Ballroom at Grosvenor House hotel in Mayfair on Friday 25th October. In opulent surroundings, the finalists, judges and sponsors from across the world come together to celebrate being part of a community that represents excellence in global design; where the winners across 15 categories will be presented with the beautiful SBID International Design Award 2019 trophy, expertly crafted by Czech glass specialist, Sans Souci Glass Deco.

To rub shoulders with the world’s leading interior designers, click here to book a table

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. . .

This content is available exclusively to SBID members with SBIDPro.

To access exclusive member-only content,
click here to find out more about becoming an SBID member.

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 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.


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!


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

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