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Inside Out, SBID Professional Industry Partners, are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of quality covering a broad spectrum of industries. All of their furniture is designed to meet the specific requirements of the restaurant, café, hotel, bar, leisure, club, health and educational industries.

Both durable and aesthetically pleasing, essential qualities for a contract environment, Inside Out furniture combine functionality with quality design at the most competitive prices. The team at Inside Out are happy to help with every stage of a project from design and space planning through to furniture delivery and installation.

Below, they tell us about their latest project: Westbourne House, London

westbourne house 1

Designed to bring a touch of elegance to the heart of Westbourne Grove, Westbourne House’s contemporary interior is a sophisticated mix of Parisian boutique and Manhattan loft. Inside Out were recruited to renew their interior and exterior areas, and offer a touch of the interior luxury for the exterior space.

Inside Out supplied Westbourne House with Whisk Chairs, a contemporary classic; paired beautifully with Manhattan Circular Tables, quintessential choices and a recognised staple for exterior environments the world over.

The use of Whisk Chairs paired with Manhattan Circular Tables gives Westbourne House’s exteriors a contemporary and luxurious feel, whilst ensuring they can maximise on their use of space.

Furthermore, Inside Out provided Westbourne House with chic and sophisticated bespoke length Lobby 1 sofas and Bespoke Units to complement the boutique style interiors. The project was a success with furniture perfectly complementing the style and atmosphere desired at Westbourne House.

Whisk Chairs

Whisk Chair

The competitively priced Whisk Armchair from Inside Out is an inspiring alternative to the established classic. This stackable chair although only designed in the eighties is already regarded as a classic piece of design.

Originally a chair for the terraces of Spanish street cafes, the durable Whisk is completely weatherproof and suitable for a wide range of uses. Unusual for a mass-produced chair of this type, solid cast aluminium is used for the arms and seat in place of the cheaper and flimsier tubular alternatives. This leads to a reassuringly solid chair, which due to its ergonomic design is also very comfortable. The whisk chair is customisable and available in a wide range of colours.

Bespoke Length Lobby 1 Sofa

westbourne house 3

The Lobby 1 Sofa is a Georgian inspired design, typified by its deep buttoning and curving arms. Further attention to detail is paid with legs finished with brass castors. Our craftsmen and upholsterers pay outstanding attention to detail and every sofa is hand-made to exacting specifications, Westbourne house featured bespoke length Lobby 1 Sofas, and these durable and elegant pieces are available to any size specifications.

Bespoke Units

Inside Out can bring any ideas to life with our bespoke seating service, providing furniture made to exact specifications for any venue. Inside Out pride ourselves on our proven reputation for quality seating, and a professional friendly service. Our skilled production team are able to manufacture a truly diverse range of bespoke seating, which is both durable and design led.

Interior Designers have regularly been regarded as untrained in business acumen, often quite justifiably but often it is due to third party suppliers taking designers deposits and then going bankrupt, leaving the designer without the product and having spent the client’s money.

Edward Davey, the Minister for Employment Relations, has launched a consultation about bankruptcy and company winding up. The consultation document sets out detailed proposals to reform the application process for bankruptcy and compulsory winding up by replacing the current court route with a new administrative process.

Uncontested applications would be determined by an adjudicator and the court would be involved only at the application stage to the extent that there is a dispute that can be resolved only by judicial intervention. The minister proposes to allow electronic applications to be made to an adjudicator, who will be a person appointed for that purpose by the Secretary of State and whose office would be within the Insolvency Service.

Debtors who want to apply for bankruptcy for themselves would have the choice of submitting electronic or paper applications, and the option of making the requisite payment to enter the process by instalments. Where creditors are looking to instigate proceedings, a new mandatory pre-action process would incentivise debtors and creditors to communicate with each other and thereby reach a mutually satisfactory solution to the debt problem without recourse to a bankruptcy or winding up application.

This reflects the government desire that people are empowered to make the right decisions for themselves about their finances, as set out in the government response to the call for evidence about personal insolvency.

Litigation can be costly and time consuming. This new process should therefore deliver a more efficient service as well as saving valuable public and private resources. In order to ensure that the interests of both debtors and creditors are protected, the court would still have an important role and the route through the courts will of course remain as an independant solution of resolve. Not only would it decide the outcome of disputes, but certain petitions for the winding up of companies, such as those based on public interest grounds, would continue to be determined by the courts.

We intend actively to engage with interested parties throughout the consultation period, and welcome views on whether the proposals will deliver a workable and efficient application process for bankruptcy and most compulsory windings up.

Britain was represented at the European Council of Interior Architects (ECIA) by the official representative, The Society of British Interior Design (SBID), among sixteen other member countries at this year’s annual meeting. Each member country shares an interest to promote standards through a unilateral agreement on education requirements, competence skills and the EU code of conduct.

This year, the ECIA’s Annual General Meeting was held in Valencia on Saturday 24 September. Frazer McDonald Hay, Chair of SBID’s Education Panel, attended with SBID President Vanessa Brady, and gave a presentation about his activities and experiences after being appointed as representative for the ECIA Educational Recognition Program. Frazer will serve as the liaison between educational institutions and ECIA.

The French National Association had unfortunately reported bankruptcy and was represented in observer status only. An application was received by a French Federation and will be considered for membership in wp-content/2012. Malta has now met the ECIA standard and their application to become an ECIA member was approved; Malta will be represented and inducted into the European Council at Brussels in wp-content/2012 among all other member country organisations.

The annual general meeting was represented by the President of the leading organisations of each of the 16 member countries in Europe and was chaired by the ECIA President Joke van Hengstum. The outgoing Secretary General Gerrit Schilder said goodbye after his official six year term (constitutionally this is the time limit on holding a position). Germany proposed Elke Kaiser, member of the German national organisation BDIA, as the successor Secretary General and the vote was passed.

Next year the European Council will celebrate its twentieth year and the AGM will be held in Brussels where its headquarters are registered.

During the constitutional six year term of her post as Founding President of SBID, Vanessa Brady  also put forward Britain as a hosting country for 2014 before her departure as President of SBID in 2015. In 2013 the AGM will be hosted in Amsterdam.

This year the continuing importance of London on the world design stage was very much brought to the fore at 100% Design, and SBID was pleased to partner in its promotion of innovation and quality showcased by so many of its members.

It was the first time SBID had exhibited (stand A50) at the show taking full opportunity to educate stakeholders (designers, architects, manufacturers, students and consumers) on what the organisation does: our plans for the future as well as our achievements over our first two years of existence.

We also displayed some of our members’ latest products; including a Villiers Console table, a Lasvit lamp, a DecoFlame Ellipse fireplace, flooring from KarndeanDesign Flooring from Van Gogh range, and a pair of Natuzzi Vani vases.

Over 500 visitors registered for membership information to join SBID at the four day event.

Our stand was also the venue for a breakfast talk on Saturday by The Times’s Style Editor, Dr Richard Dixon, to a group of American interiors bloggers (pictured below).

Vanessa Brady, SBID President, opened the seminar session on Thursday 22 September with a talk on ‘Design Law and Order,’ addressing issues such as designer fee rates, intellectual property and qualification criteria.

SBID also organised a networking event in conjunction with Prato Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK – over 170 guests attended the Made in Italy evening, supported by MP Mike Weatherley.

As the UK’s first and leading contemporary design show, 100% Design outdid itself this time round and remains a hub of creative talent from the UK and around the world and a key event in the international design calendar. It brought together three inspiring exhibitions under one roof: world-class interiors show 100% Design, innovative surfaces at 100% Materials plus emerging talent showcase 100% Futures.

Our Education Panel Chairman, Frazer Macdonald Hay, recommends a few of his favourite books on Interior Design and Architecture – with one written by Ro Spankie, also on the SBID Education Panel!

Drawing out the Interior by Ro Spankie from AVA’s Series ‘Basics Interior Design & Interior Architecture’ is easily the best academic book of its kind, I haven’t enjoyed or been inspired this much since reading Ed Hollis’s book titled The Secret Lives of Buildings.

Ro Spankie’s book is beautifully structured and written with the right balance between text and image to engage the reader visually and intellectually. The book will, in my view, be a big hit with students but strangely, I also feel, it should be an even bigger hit in the realm of professional practice.

I have lost count of the amount of colleagues which have voiced an insecurity and/or a frustration about drawing without CAD. It’s this type of book which will inspire and rekindle a lost love for some, and for others it will inspire and energise their learning and practice.

I am very relieved to see Ro Spankie has written and researched this book with rigor and depth. I am so tired of seeing publications of so called authors, who just catalogue their past students’ work. Although this is at times interesting, it’s one dimensional and shallow, with little impact value to student’s education in my opinion. Ro Spankie on the other hand has written a document with authenticity and integrity, which works on many levels.

The AVA series in general is well worth a look, I feel their range of Design Topics and their authors are excellent. I was fortunate enough to read yet another book from the same range earlier this year, by Graeme Brooker and Sally Stone, the book is titled Context and Environment and I immediately recommended it to my students…”

Frazer is also Director of the Big Stone Collective ltd.

As students head back to university this September, Frazer Macdonald Hay, Director of Big Stone Collective Ltd & Educational Panel Chairman of SBID, gives interior design students a bit of advice.

‘Design education is similar to the practice of any construction activity [architectural or cerebral] in that all processes from the past to the present, modern or traditional require a firm and reliable foundation from which to build upon.

Within the context of education, assessment systems are part of an academic foundation, from which educational structures are built. If these assessment systems fail or crumble in any way, cracks appear in the learning process. When cracks show, the integrity is lost. Once flaws appear, doubts surface, trust is lost, communication breaks down and the whole process unravels.

Within the Process of assessment it is incredibly important to fully understand and support needed within a student cohort with regard to its make-up and the different student’s individual needs.

Student support is such an important element to an Interior programme. In many instances the student cohort is regularly made up from a complicated mix of traditional and non traditional student background, such as, mature, international and first generation students, all individually creative and often have particular issues such as dyslexic [which is often overlooked, stigmatised or seen as an affliction suffered by the creative mind].

A student’s educational career is difficult and complicated. In order to be successful and productive within design and architectural education [and beyond] the student must overcome many conflicting emotions. The student must by creative and passionate, however, they are also required to structure, timetable and contain their expression and creativity. The students must be confident in their design solutions, however, it’s very helpful [and natural] to be insecure about it too, the student should always question themselves [and others] as to how to improve their designs and should never be completely satisfied with the final outcome [complacency is a real pitfall to designers in my opinion] . The students need a strong character that promotes individual style, design perspective and interests, however, they must also be a team player and work well within a studio environment adapting themselves and their designs to the rules and hierarchy of studio life, [whilst constantly thinking outside the box].

Education is truly an emotional rollercoaster, once a student has created a piece of design work, it is often extremely confrontational, in that the work often exposes weaknesses and strengths but equally promotes their interests and passion [which have often been suppressed throughout their school years due to bullying and social exclusion]. It is now imperative however that the student learns to embrace that which makes them individuals and show their talents in a structured and passionate manner.

To complicate matter still further the student whilst addressing these conflicting set of emotions and skills, they must embrace their competitive nature. It is very useful [not always necessary though] to be competitive and is often useful in the future. The design profession is structured around competition. The winner of a competition will build their design, the best graduate are quicker employed, the best designer will get paid more, the best design will make the media and so on…

Whilst studying Interior Architecture and design it is essential that the student and their tutors are aware of these issues and understand the support that is available to them. However more importantly, it is the ability of the academic staff to sensitively, recognise and deal with the potential problems inevitable in such an emotional and complex environment.

To help successfully manage a group of creative students, an academic should quickly recognise the potential issues and the warning signs, should communicate clearly and fairly and understand their student’s support structure whilst recognising their own professional limitations. It is also equally very important the students realise that this process is difficult and full of contradiction and pit falls but that they are not alone and that we [designers and academics at all levels] have been through the process and continue to face the challenges that this incredibly difficult  but wonderful profession puts our way, so please don’t suffer in silence…..

The necessity to become a little mad is not part of an Interior education but it helps. To dare to put forward ideas, to offer up visions to realise the unexpected requires pushing the imagination. But how crazy should we get? Not too much: people still have to use the costly stuff that we produce. Not too little: let’s be less boring in the future.

The design imagination should be a combination of utility and philosophy. It responds to the specification and utility and philosophy. It responds to specific needs and situations, but keeps in mind that interior design and architecture is also a thought about how we want to live in our world. These two, utility and philosophy, should not drift apart. The secret is to unify them and to always let them be mutually enforcing. How do we reconcile deep thinking with utility? Be curious, always ask “do you have an idea for us?” Be interested in other philosophies and in fantasy, play and experiment. Extend and deepen reality. Be prolific. Keep churning out the works so as to get better and so as to grow in your own thinking. Above all, know the world in which we are living and being skilful at developing combinatorial models to get the most out of every technique, effect and idea…

Design education is a slippery process, the topic is complicated and has a diverse method in which, it is hoped that the student leaves after three to four years with the confidence to create and manage an innovative response to their clients brief. The student must learn to facilitate the clients brief whilst on one hand adhering to the rules and regulations of the construction industry and on the other responding to current cultural and aesthetic issues, ever conscious that the public and their peers will critique the end product…’

Susanna Cots, of the Estudi de disseny in Barcelona, is an SBID member whose philosophy in work revolves around the colour white. Below, read her thoughts about the implications of one single colour in the world of design.

“White, as a colour and concept, has been related to cleanliness and light. To purity and quietness. To all those holes of air that surround typography. To get right on the spot. To sol-fa and the white quaver. Nevertheless, sometimes white is related to a creative block, the fear of the white paper. That’s it: white is more than a colour, is a concept that goes through all the artistic disciplines in both positive and negative ways.

As a colour, white is the base and the union of all colours and it’s the starting point of any creative process. That’s why, as a designer, I’m not scared of working with it, because I believe that in the authenticity of its purity and brightness. I believe in its simplicity and sensibility and the stimulation that it provokes in our senses.

White is the colour of the solar light, that’s why gives width to all spaces. We use white as the base of all our interior design projects, because over it we can apply any other colours and we create great contrasts. We like specially combining it with black, which means “the absence of all the colours” and it helps us to create atmospheres with pure colours.

Nowadays, trends are one-colour based and it gives birth to a new style. For instance, the use of golden makes us think of baroque style. There’s no arguing about taste. That’s why people use colours depending on trends. I don’t follow this way of working: using different colours in one space don’t get to a visual harmony. I firmly believe that we need to search for a chromatic continuity to create long-term projects.

The way I understand white is very similar in other disciplines. White is the base of a painting. White in graphic design gives importance to every single space. White in fashion means freshness and happiness and make us think of good weather. Imagine the typical summer: white houses, blue sky, white linen dresses… Isn’t that enough to imagine the power of white? Gastronomy is also absorbed by white colour: cheese, cream… means sensuality. There’s even a white diet, which helps to reduce cholesterol. Apart from that, white is associated to hygiene and we prefer white towels, cloths, and kitchen apron, doctors’ uniform…

I don’t want to finish without mentioning white colours infinity of applications: not only in tonalities, as beige, grey white, dirty white, bone white… but also in textures where white can be the perfect star. White has been one of the motivations that made me design Blancollection for Camamilla Design ( and : a collection where everything is from and for the white colours, using white lacquered wood, aluminium or dalian.”

More information:
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Alan Crawford, architect and director of Crawford Partnership, tells us about building regulations in the event of major internal changes to a house.

“Building regulation approval will normally be required for any major internal changes to a house, such as removing or partly removing a load-bearing wall, beam or chimney breast, or if creating an open plan layout which would affect fire precautions or escape routes.

A load-bearing wall supports other elements of the building, such as the roof, floor joists or a wall above. Seek professional advice from a structural engineer (, architect ( or building surveyor ( before attempting any structural work. A structural engineer or surveyor can be employed to determine if a wall is load-bearing and then design a beam which will cater for the loads that the wall was originally taking.

If any new beams bear onto a wall shared with a neighbouring property, then, by law, you will also need to engage the services of a Party Wall Surveyor to agree the works with your neighbour.

You also need approval if, in altering a house, work is necessary to the drainage system.

If you intend removing a wall between the main house and a conservatory then calculations for heat loss may be required.

As the home owner it is up to you to contact your local building control officer before starting any work. They can explain current building regulations. If you go on to sell the house your buyer’s solicitor will require a report which will include a date when walls were removed. The good news is that planning permission probably won’t be required for purely internal works, unless the building is listed – in which case listed building consent will be needed.”

As the clock slowly ticks by and your once steaming coffee begins to get cold you can hardly disguise your anticipation, because this morning you are having your new kitchen fitted. Then slowly in the distance you see a lorry turn the corner. Inside this delivery truck is months of thought, planning and anticipation; a quiet voice in the back of your head asks; “I hope it looks okay” but you find reassurance in knowing that the designer you worked with was a professional, inspiring you and offering quiet reassuring confidence in equal measure. So how is it that in the past so many kitchen and bathroom designers have been under appreciated and overlooked by clients, other design professionals and even the very industry in which they work? But is this historical undervaluation of good design now turning the corner?

In many ways it is unbelievable that the designer of any product could be simply seen as a consequence of the actual product their employer is trying to sell. An underappreciated by-product of the bigger picture; kitchen and bathroom sales! In many ways the KBB industry has systematically turned things on their head, bypassing the source of inspiration and focusing solely on selling as quickly and as cheaply as possible, and because of this the kitchen and bathroom industry is riddled with holes. It is ironic that many companies choose to fill these holes with salespeople, in the guise of designers and wearing a name badge.

In a capitalist economy it is only right that manufacturers and retailers search for more efficient ways of delivering cost effective style solutions to the public, allowing the conveyer belt of product to keep trundling forwards.

But at what cost?

You cannot underestimate the power of product anticipation as each client, from whichever price bracket will undergo a personal journey leading up to having a new kitchen or bathroom installed. Clients may have made personal and economic sacrifices in order to afford their new installation which brings with it an overt expression of who they are and what they aspire to be. It is unfortunate therefore that in some instances, both in the multiples and the privately owned retailer, that the basic human connection between client and designer is overlooked, and because of this, things start to go wrong.
Kitchen and bathroom design is about communication, empathy and experience and it is combining these tools with an understanding of function, design and architecture that one can truly be confident of delivering a good, client specific design.

It is important for the industry to understand that design is the source of everything, every kitchen, every worktop, every sink and that without the connection between consumer and designer the industry would have nothing to sell, because there would be no-one to sell to!

The kitchen and bathroom designer works on many levels. Some designers have the knowledge and experience to combine multiple, constantly changing components to create functionally astute and aesthetically pleasing products which will not break the bank. Creating a complex product like a kitchen on a budget is a skill that needs to be appreciated more. Other designers will be presented with the unique opportunity to be flamboyant, to reshape our expectations and deliver fantastic functional art installations that will have magazine editors clambering for a pen in order to get the unique, first hand insight into the vision of the designer. In a situation like this there is a desire to tap into the individual’s inspiration and suddenly the lowly kitchen or bathroom designer is allowed to step from the shadows onto the bigger and greatly more appreciated design stage.
And so cometh a change! The pace of change has been slow and could be likened to water dripping on a stone, but just like the water, kitchen and bathroom designers are beginning to make a hole just big enough to let in some light.
Some large multiple retailers are now advertising the fact that they employ good designers exploiting the personal connection and the reassurances that a good designer can offer. However it could be argued that some of the bigger names in the industry did not value the designer at all, instead they promoted a campaign of destructive discounting which damaged the industry and ultimately consigned their own names to the history books. But just as in any blockbuster movie depicting apocalyptic scenes of self destruction the KBB industry has been offered an opportunity for re-birth, a new avenue to explore, a faint light at the end of the tunnel. A small band of mavericks have broken away from the traditional retail model choosing to offer kitchen design on a “design only” basis. These “design only” companies are offering a new way of buying a kitchen and presenting a new opportunity to manufacturers to source clients from places they had never dreamt of. Design is flexible and not geographically restricted therefore the possibilities offered from these “design only” companies must be explored by manufacturers, retailers and even other design disciplines.

Remember, design is the source of every product, and the kitchen and bathroom designer is fast becoming the gate keeper between client and manufacturer. Independent designers can offer flexibility and clarity to the buying process, acting as industry translators and as an easy source of new clientele for manufacturers. Independent designers also offer the industry a comprehensive range of design solutions on a pay and go basis allowing struggling businesses to stay open and more celebrated enterprises to flourish.

Independent designers should not be feared, they should be celebrated! Kitchen and bathroom design is changing!

Talent, whether it is established or new, is what makes the very essence of our being as interior designers. In a world where undertaking your own pillow puffing appears to allow the title of ‘interior designer’, it is up to us to identify and nurture true and raw talent. But the challenge remains that age-old one: How do we find it? This is why I am a firm believer and supporter of SBID and its ethos. As dedicated interior designers, we strive for fresh ideas, styles and indeed, look for inspiration from fellow designers to continue to raise the bar. SBID is a key driver in the all important search for the elusive true talent that I am talking about, someone who can go further than buying a roll of wallpaper from John Lewis to match the new curtains. I am talking about the rare talent that brings with it originality, flair and a deep-rooted desire to invent and to lead the way. I began my career over 30 years ago. As you can imagine I have crossed paths with many industry experts and many more who claim to be experts! These have, on some occasions misguided me, but mainly have inspired and encouraged me with their passion and individuality. I consider it an honour if I could help inspire a new breed of original and inventive talent waiting to break in to the interior design world. How can I, and other established designers, do this successfully? Well, we, that is the SBID, are firm believers in nurturing creativity and this is how we are guiding the latest aspirants. We know, from experience, that design goes much deeper than throwing together some paint colours and a matching throw. It is within a person. Saying that though, education and having a solid grounding is a vital component. Artists often have a strong desire to produce those creations they see in their minds eye. However, it takes time to refine a style, like in any industry, skills need to be nurtured and developed. While to those outside of the industry, it may appear that creating a desired interior is an easy task, we all know that this is not the case? I am a huge advocate of getting the foundations in place for any project. Working alongside SBID, we are guiding and mentoring talent across the world to cultivate imaginative and original ideas whilst teaching control and the ability to temper creativity to satisfy a brief. I, like many other experienced SBID members, feel strongly that our years in the industry can help direct the future designers of the world. Hands-on experience is priceless. Back in 2009 I began to mentor a capable student named Raymond Watkin, he is now a trusted member of my team and has a bright future ahead of him.

So believe me, combining the groundings of a solid education in design with first hand industry know-how will help many more talented designers to break in to a market that is characteristically difficult to make a name in. As a committed designer and devoted SBID member, I am not here to just design interiors, or to simply mentor prospective designers but to help maintain our industry’s great profile among the other artistic and design-led industries. We want, and need, brave, astute and creative men and women to continue to push the boundaries. Let’s go out and find them!!


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