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Market expectations and perceived building standards are holding back the country’s progress to construct net-zero buildings, according to the UK Green Building Council, UKGBC. The organisation would like to see developers adjusting investor and owner-occupier expectations about green buildings and this should be set out early in a development’s narrative.

It is often said buildings were completely fitted out to maximize appeal during the leasing stage, resulting in over-provision and waste as typically incoming occupiers remove final fit-outs.

UKGBC head of business transformation Alastair Mant said: “Achieving the necessary reductions in embodied and operational carbon requires large scale changes to how buildings are designed, constructed, and operated. There are many barriers along the way and we must work quickly to identify them and the corresponding opportunities to overcome them.”

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Mineral and graphene technology paints company Graphenstone, are reporting unprecedented demand for its’ sustainable range of air-purifying, CO2 absorbing, VOC free hygienic paints. Patrick Folkes, CEO & Founder of The Graphene Company – Sole Distributor of Graphenstone, UK shares insight behind the increasing desire for more purposeful paint specification.

Wider implications of paint selection

The health impact from toxic petro-chemical, plastic-based paints is now more widely recognised. Historically, the area of key interest for consumers was just colour. However, most didn’t appreciate the costs to both people and planet, of this simple selection criteria.

Heavily polluting paint production processes, as well as the highly negative impact in homes and offices of toxic fumes on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), from solvents and VOC’s (for many months after application), went largely unrecognized.  Did you know that after painting, the VOC levels in your room can increase by hundreds of times?

Greenwashing in the industry

Manufacturers responded to some of the most egregious issues of the past decades, by removing lead content and some of the worst offending VOC heavy products, as regulations tightened.

Recently however, times have changed. The ecological crisis, so effectively documented by David Attenborough and others, boosted by the recent Covid pandemic, are now forcing real evolution… at a much faster pace.

Prior to recent scientific developments, there was typically a compromise on performance in the selection of more ecological products. Furthermore, many manufacturers climbed aboard the ‘eco-friendly’ marketing bandwagon, often with no genuine, independently verified certifications to support their claims. This resulted in an inevitable ‘green-washing’ backlash. Who can we trust?

Why environmental certification matters

Graphenstone has now secured over 20 of the most recognised ‘harm-free’ certifications from the best known product evaluation specialists globally, including Cradle to Cradle (certified Gold and Silver). Cradle to Cradle Institute look at all aspects of your product, down to 100 parts per million of ingredients; how the materials were sourced; water and energy use in production; local social responsibility, as well as how the products die out; all in all a thorough and demanding process. In addition, Graphenstone’s paints are BREEAM, WELL, and LEED compliant and benefit from Ecolabel and EPDs (European Product Declarations).

Graphenstone has a totally unique profile in the paints market. Our range has no toxicity. In fact these products actively CLEAN and PURIFY the air, our pure lime based ranges removing CO2, SOx, NOx and other pollutants.

Highly breathable, anti-bacterial (inhibiting all micro-organisms), Fire-proof (A1 EU, Class ‘0’ UK), Vegan, VOC free, Class 1 strength and in a range of over 1000 colours, we’ve created a beautiful matt paint reinforced by graphene technology, a form of carbon which is the strongest material on earth. Odour free and super quick drying, with no preservatives, chemicals, plastic or microbeads, our products contain no MIT or BIT. That’s a lot of valuable features in a single product range!

Driving innovation for sustainability

Strength is a fundamentally important asset in more ways than one. To make the sustainable, environmental claim, the regularity of painting is crucial. Mineral products would normally not compete in terms of durability and life-cycle with synthetic-binder based paints (such as vinyl or acrylic), thus creating a negative footprint ecologically, given the requirement for more regular repainting. By introducing graphene technology, which provides structural support to the minerals at the molecular level, Graphenstone’s range offer Class 1 strength like an acrylic, yet with none of the negatives in production or use, in homes and offices. Once applied, our paints could stay on your wall in a healthy and sustainable condition, for decades!

Consider paints that purify!

The Graphenstone pure limes can absorb up to 5.5Kg’s of CO2 per 15 litre pot! Imagine converting your walls into an air-purification system, as opposed to a constant emitter of toxic fumes, impacting on the health and respiratory systems of your friends, family or work colleagues. It’s like painting trees into your house or office.

In conclusion, our message to designers in this challenging era, is to carefully evaluate what product they specify, to ensure that it’s in the interests of the people who’s lives will be impacted by that selection. Do ensure too that the claims made by brands can be independently verified and the impact on people and the environment is truly ‘harm-free’.

The future of clean, durable paints is in fact available today.

Click here to explore the range.

About the Author

Patrick Folkes is the CEO & Founder of The Graphene Company – Sole Distributor of Graphenstone, UK. An independent entrepreneur since 1990 with a background in finance, Patrick founded PJ’s in 1995, the UK’s first fruit smoothie business, which sold to PepsiCo in 2005. Patrick was intrigued by the potential of Graphenstone. Natural, highly sustainable, air-purifying paints reinforced by graphene, a 21st Century Nobel prize winning carbon technology, offered the perfect product at a time of urgent need.

If you’d like to become SBID Accredited, click here to find out more. 

SBID Accredited Partner, KI Europe has published new Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its portfolio of UK-manufactured products to help customers meet their sustainability objectives. Valid for five years, these documents help to achieve credits towards SKA, BREEAM, LEED and other certifications and standards.

KI’s furniture helps the world leading organisations create happy, healthy, high performing working and learning environments for their people; bringing together good design, advanced engineering and sustainable resources.

An EPD is a standardised and verified way of quantifying the environmental impacts of a product based on a consistent set of rules known as a PCR (Product Category Rules). Conformant with ISO 14025 (ISO 14025:2006 Environmental labels and declarations – Type III environmental declarations – Principles and procedures), these cradle-to-grave EPDs are concise and include environmental information and life cycle assessments (LCA) which have been conducted by Giraffe Innovation Ltd. LCAs cover materials, production, distribution, use, through to end of life; helping specifiers and customers to confidently make more sustainable procurement decisions.

Jonathan Hindle, KI’s Group Managing Director, EMEA, comments: “Sustainability is a top priority for a growing number of public and private sector projects. These EPDs show our commitment to tackling our shared issues such as climate change, carbon footprint and environmental impact. Additionally, analysing the environmental performance of our products over their lifetime can help us to develop even better products and processes in the future.”

KI’s products manufactured in the UK with third-party verified EPDs, published on Environdec (www.environdec.com) include:

Additional KI products including bespoke items have self-declared third party reviewed EPDs that have been produced by using the same calculator and standards.

If you’d like to become SBID Accredited, click here to find out more. 

Episode Five

SpeakEasy with Patrick Folkes

In this episode of the SpeakEasy podcast, host Grant Pierrus talks business and sustainability in interior design with entrepreneur and founder of The Graphene Company, trading an innovative and ground breaking line of natural paint.

Patrick explains the origins of the Graphene Company and how the process of combining Graphene and minerals developed to create this new healthy and high-tech range of ecological paints.

As a globally certified sustainable paints company with credentials in environmental performance, cradle to cradle practices and social responsibility, Patrick shares his approach to achieving genuine sustainability throughout the entire product lifecycle.

Shedding light into the concept of what “eco paint” really is – he talks green washing in the industry, how levels of VOC impact biophilic design and the integral role of lime in air purification. Discussing the future of the paint sector for interior design, he explores the importance of health considerations, ecological characteristics and indoor air quality in the industry.

Tune in to the whole conversation to discover more.

Patrick Folkes

Patrick Folkes has focused his career on a range of financial and entrepreneurial activities. He began in 1980 when he was involved in derivatives broking and gold and silver bullion market-making in London and New York. In 1990, he founded his own fund marketing and advisory firm, Folkes Asset Management. Later, in 2016, he founded The Graphene Company, trading Graphenstone Paint UK with its innovative range of sustainable, healthy and high-tech ecological coatings that are air-purifying and free of plastic and VOC.

Stay up to date with the latest episodes and click here to find out more.

Episode One

SpeakEasy with Vanessa Brady OBE

The SBID teamed up with Pierrus Agency to launch the new ‘SpeakEasy’ podcast series. Hosted by founder, Grant Pierrus, we’ll be sitting down for insightful and thought-provoking conversations with leading design professionals across the field of interior design, from international interior designers to innovative product suppliers to uncover their unique perspectives on the industry, the key factors driving industry change, and what they intend to do about it!

Grant gets candid over a coffee with some of the biggest names in the interior design industry. The first episode in the new ‘SpeakEasy‘ series will feature a conversation with award-winning interior designer and founder of SBID, Dr Vanessa Brady OBE, where she sheds light on how climate change is effecting the interior design and construction industries.

Vanessa comments on how she can see the design sector unfolding in the next decade; driven by the newly emerging consumer attitudes which weren’t so prominent in the 90’s, where people were more concerned with showing off their wealth.

“For very first time designers, and people in general, have a conscience … and that conscience says people are interested in how things are made. Obviously if you’re in business you have to be looking at the bottom line – but it’s not the only driver. It’s a social conscience on the things that are involved in making a business tick – giving back, looking after other people, being decent again, and I think that did get lost a little bit in the past.”

Armed with over 30 years expertise in the design industry, she continues to share her thoughts on the broad topic sustainability, how integral this will become for the future of design and what role technology, innovation and manufacturing will need to play in this process.

Highlighting important considerations for designers, whether of interiors or of products, she adds “Sustainability is something that effects everything, from the beginning of the idea to the end user, so it is a sort of cradle to grave process. And I think it’s not just during the use of a product … it’s when its use is over. What happens then?”

Tune in to the whole conversation to discover more.

Upcoming episodes will feature the talented founders of Hill House Interiors, Helen Bygraves and Jenny Weiss, as well as director of Life Kitchens, Oliver Stephenson.

Stay up to date with the latest episodes and click here to find out more.

SBID Accredited Industry Partner, Schneider Electric provide energy and digital automation solutions to residential and commercial markets with an emphasis on efficiency, reliability, safety and sustainability. Committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, Louisa Buckley, Residential Segment Marketing Manager at Schneider Electric tells us about the brand’s 180 year history, and how they are moving even more towards a sustainable future.

What are the origins of your brand?

Schneider Electric is originally from France and was established over 180 years ago by the Schneider brothers. It is a global organisation specialising in Energy and Digital Automation solutions. Our technologies ensure that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone at every moment. Schneider Electric has gone a long way since it first started in the steel and machinery industry in 1836. A few years later it then entered the emerging electricity market. After experiencing two world wars, Charles Schneider restructured the company in 1949. Throughout the 20th century, different companies were acquired and the focus was more on electricity. Then, during the beginning of the 21st century more on products and solutions. Schneider Electric has always kept efficiency, reliability, safety and sustainability at the heart to all of products and solutions for their customers.

As a global company, we committed to the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ to help end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. As part of these goals, we have committed to carbon neutrality by 2030. We are committed to help our customers on this journey to help the planet with our products and solutions.

How do you work with interior designers?

Our electrical accessories are built to complement inspired interiors. Designed by award-winning craftsmen in the Schneider Electric Design Labs, our range of light switches bridge the gap between form and functionality to perfectly fit in any interior. We have a wide range of beautifully crafted, high-quality devices to suit every taste and budget.

Scheider Electric Smart Home Solutions on radiator home interior

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

Introducing Electrical Safety, Smart homes, Style and Net Zero products and solutions. This is important for customers who want to be stylish but still be sustainable. Wiser, KNX and C-Bus are smart home solutions that can be implemented in the home to help contribute towards net zero.

How do your services/offering enhance an interior designer’s projects? 

We have an inspirational and visualisation tool called ‘Find your Style’. Our smart home offerings will help futureproof interior designer’s projects e.g. C-Bus/KNX/Wiser. We also have a tool on our website to find an Electrician/Installer to come and install our products for peace of mind. They are approved partners who have had all the relevant trainings to safely install Schneider Electric products and solutions.

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

Sustainability. This is a ‘hot’ topic at the moment from the government and press. Our customers want high quality products that meet their styles whilst improving the energy efficiency and comfort of homes.

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

We are proud to sponsor the SBID International Design Awards. This is a great opportunity to connect with Interior Designers and other professionals from the interior and décor industries. It is a brilliant place to also view some of the best interior design projects, which will support us in inspiring our customers.

Residential Apartment Under £1M Category Sponsor  |  SBID International Design Awards 2020

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

Project of the Week: SBID Awards Finalists 2019

This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features the timeless explorer’s lodge which beats with the pulse of wild Africa. Lying on the edge of Botswana’s mysterious Savute Channel and within Chobe National Park – where the big five roam, the skies are large and the land is washed with the muted colours of the Savute – the Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge has undergone a full redesign and has since become a tented retreat infused with the romance of a bush camp. This is the result of a robust collaboration among Belmond (owner/operator), Luxury Frontiers (project manager and architectural, infrastructure and back of house design), and Inge Moore of Muza Lab (interior design). Together, the team designed entirely new public areas including an arrival lobby, dining room, lounge and bar, library, pool, spa and game-viewing hide – while also refurbishing the guest accommodation suites. The resulting design is a contemporary tribute to the golden age of exploration. And while the design rightfully evokes a sense of adventure and discovery, guests are also drawn to connect with the natural world and slow down to the rhythm of the land that surrounds them.

SBID Awards: Hotel Public Space finalist sponsored by Viva Lagoon

Practice: Luxury Frontiers

Project: Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge

Location: Chobe, Botswana

Sustainable hotel design by Muza Lab and Luxury Frontiers featuring outdoor dining and seating

What was the client’s brief? 

The Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge has long enjoyed a beautiful location within Chobe National Park, Botswana’s most biologically diverse park with one of Africa’s largest concentrations of game. However, the lodge had become tired, it was not engaged with its location as an experience and it did not reflect Belmond’s commitment to sustainable development and practices.

In addition to design responsibilities, as Lead Consultant and Project Manager for the project, Luxury Frontiers was responsible for the full coordination and contracting of the professional team, bringing on board the local expertise of general contractor Lodge Builders of Botswana and the hotel interiors talent of international designer Inge Moore. With the lodge’s state of affairs, Muza Lab and Luxury Frontiers were tasked with reinvigorating the resort not only to reflect Belmond’s principles, but to also engage guests through curated spaces and to showcase the natural beauty of the locale.

Sustainable hotel design by Muza Lab and Luxury Frontiers featuring living room

What inspired the interior design of the project? 

The goal was to create spaces which both reflect the greatest sense of place and are where people can embrace their surroundings, all while paying the highest respect to the environment through sustainable design. Materials are simple and natural, including limed and white painted saligna wood floors, rattan furniture and fabrics combining bright geometric prints with earthy tones. The tented public areas which include an arrival lobby, dining room, lounge and bar, and library are a collection of tented rooms which flow outdoors onto large terraces with magnificent views. The public areas have been designed to lend a comfortable, lived-in feeling with layers of collected artefacts, yet bring in plenty of local context with clusters of carved poles recalling the sticks used by the indigenous people, traditional decorative screening details and locally crafted lights inspired by the region’s clay pots.

Befitting to Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge’s location within an unadulterated wilderness area, all structures were designed to celebrate the great African bush, frame spectacular views and have a truly experiential function. Take for instance the game-viewing hide which allows guests to inconspicuously watch the area’s beloved herds of elephants and other exotic animals which gather around the lodge’s watering hole. Added to that are the hide’s beautifully simple design and its composite bamboo walls, which cast striking, spindly shadows throughout the space.

What was your team’s highlight of the project?

A real point of pride for the team was the fact that the project was devoted to minimising environmental impact to the lodge’s stunning site and to supporting local businesses and organisations. All of the lodge’s structures were constructed on suspended, timber-based platforms and made of composite boarding and canvas. The previous lodge’s timber was recycled and reused, and the lodge’s decks were rebuilt using composite bamboo – one of today’s highest green timber alternative products. In the guestrooms, local thatching grass purchased from communities in Northern Botswana was chosen to cover the roofs. In fact, all the furniture, fixings and equipment at the lodge was sourced locally in Southern Africa, including gorgeously crafted pieces produced by The Blind Society of South Africa.

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

A design challenge – but one which was embraced – was the team’s commitment to making the lodge completely self-sufficient. As a specialist in infrastructure and back of house design in off-the-grid locales, Luxury Frontiers was excited to think outside the box and come up with efficient, cutting-edge solutions. Previously, the whole lodge was run on generators, which could consume up to 300 liters of diesel daily. This was replaced with a state-of-the-art solar farm of 665 panels and a Tesla battery system (one of the first in Botswana), and this has cut fossil fuel consumption by approximately 90%. Luxury Frontiers had installed a new anaerobic Sewage Treatment Plant, replaced the gas-fired hot water heaters with power-efficient thermodynamic geysers for each of the guestrooms, and put in an automated biodigester (the first of its kind in Botswana). The machine processes five tons of kitchen food waste monthly and turns this into compost, which is then bagged and used in local community-based farming initiatives.

Why did you enter the SBID Awards?

The Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge project team was excited to enter the SBID Awards to give credit to the complexity of the project, which was further heightened by the sensitivity of the project’s site (an unadulterated wilderness site within a national park). As projects are judged by SBID on both aesthetic creativity and technical merit, we knew the work done at Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge needed to be highlighted and heralded in the design community as world-class interior design was thoughtfully married to the utmost sustainable design considerations. Through our work here, we hope the design community (and the hospitality world) witness and strive to further the push the boundaries in sustainable design.

Questions answered by Graeme Labe, Principal & Managing Director at Luxury Frontiers with support from Inge Moore, Principal at Muza Lab

If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring Art Déco inspired interiors for a luxury residence, click here to see more.

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

SBID Awards 2019 | Hotel Public Space finalist sponsored by Viva Lagoon

Sustainable hotel design by Muza Lab and Luxury Frontiers featuring outdoor dining and seating

Project of the Week

This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features the immersive metaphor for managed forests and the future of renewable construction designed in a collaboration between STACKLAB, Community Agency, and Great Gulf.  This public space design presents an abstracted representation of a house being gradually overgrown by a nascent pine forest. At the centre of the 60-square-metre exhibit, a twig-wrapped base-building column acts as the figurative tree trunk. Suspended around it were the ‘leaves’: 4,085 glass test tubes, filled with soil and pine saplings, hanging from a CNC-milled birch plywood trellis bolted to the existing concrete ceiling. The Lightframe display system integrates programmable multi-colour LEDs within reconfigurable structural aluminium modules, allowing for infinitely customisable spatial forms and lighting patterns. That attribute was exploited to make Wild Abode an immersive, multi-sensory experience, with slowly undulating waves of light from the LEDs timed to simulate a body’s breathing and heartbeat.

Sector: Public Space Design

Company: STACKLAB

Project: Wild Abode 

Location: Toronto, Canada

What was the client’s brief? 

The Wild Abode is a collaboration between Stacklab and a Community Agency in Toronto for visionary developer, Great Gulf. It was Launched at the inaugural EDIT festival; The Expo for Design, Innovation, and Technology in Toronto from 28th September to 8th October 2017.

Great Gulf asked our partnering firms to demonstrate their leadership in efficient, and environmentally-sustainable-construction systems.

What inspired the interior design of the project? 

This was an immersive metaphor for managed forests and the future of renewable construction – a living, breathing, growing attraction, beautifully and starkly contrasted by an efficient, integrated building system.

The Wild Abode features the first public launch of Stacklab project’s prototypic “Lightframe” system, which they developed in collaboration with architect, and University of Waterloo professor, Jonathan Enns in 2015 and 2016. Wild Abode used the Lightframe system to present an abstracted home being gradually consumed by a nascent pine forest. Arrayed around a central, sculptural tree trunk made of salvaged twigs, were 4870 pine saplings and soil in test tubes, ready to be planted for later use as a renewable building material. The Lightframe prototype was programmed with slowly undulating waves of light from the LEDs, timed to simulate a body’s breathing and heartbeat. The scale of the Lightframe module’s 8 by 8-foot bay relates comfortably to the human body. The dimensions permit easy, flat-pack shipping, and hauling inside a standard elevator. All of the Wild Abode exhibit components fit inside an 18-wheeler truck.

STACKLAB'S public space design with immersive exhibit, Wild Abode
STACKLAB'S public space design with immersive exhibit, Wild Abode

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

Lightframe is a modular, structural lighting system – a design that strategically alters an existing, pre-engineered German-made aluminium extrusion. These modifications took over a year to develop successfully. Once designed, they enabled the creation of a new series of four standard modular lightbars, each embedded with complex wiring runs and LEDs. Each lightbar is individually addressable and is programmed from a central computer.

What was your team’s highlight of the project?

We wanted to see a genuine confidence in an informed return to the basics. Our audience reported that they felt energised about the future of smart, sustainable building systems and encouraged by the scope of the research surrounding it.

Why did you enter the SBID Awards?

We feel that SBID is committed to recognising meaningful design innovation, and often brings industry leaders together to engage in provocative discourse that is relevant across many disciplines.

Questions answered by Jeffrey Forrest, Founder of STACKLAB.

If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring an office overflowing with inspirations to help spark the imaginations of clients in search of creative ideas, click here to see more.

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

SBID International Design Awards 2018 Finalist  |  Public Space Design category sponsored by Sans Souci

Project of the Week

This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series took a dilapidated former department store from 1906 and re-imagined it to create an inspiring and multi-disciplinary architecture and design practice. The building was stripped of years of incremental additions to reveal original features. Existing interiors were assessed to ensure that elements such as 111-year-old Burmese teak flooring, a grand tiled-staircase and historic colours were preserved, as well as artworks created by squatters dating from the 1990s.

Voids cut through the building, provided volume and connections between levels. A striking reception and model-shop animate the ground floor, while a large basement event space includes cycle storage, changing-rooms and showers. Open-plan office design concepts were used to create workspaces and meeting areas which are also located on first to third floors. Topped by a new rooftop bar/restaurant for staff and the public, comprised of a series of oak-framed pavilions and a bespoke glazed dome that marks the end of a south-facing terrace.

Sector: Office Design

Company: Squire and Partners

Project: The Department Store

Project Location: London, United Kingdom

What was the client’s brief? 

Our brief was to take an unoccupied, dilapidated former department store from 1906 and re-imagine the building to create a series of inspiring office design which serves as work and social spaces for our multi-disciplinary architecture and design practice.

We sought to sensitively restore the Edwardian building, retaining and recycling as much of the building fabric as possible to bring it back to life, whilst also delivering a workplace that meets current and future needs in its offering of excellent facilities, with a forward-thinking approach to sustainability and wellbeing.

What inspired the interior design of the project? 

Stripping the building back to its raw state revealed a decayed grandeur and an extraordinary commitment to craft and detail by the original artisans. We looked to reveal and highlight these elements, in their found state, as well as exposing remnants left by more recent inhabitants, whilst adding a series of contemporary interventions in order to re-purpose the building as an inspiring modern workspace.

All aspects of the building’s history have been revealed, from its grand beginnings through to periods of misuse and decay, including a decade of use as a squat. Original graffiti sits alongside high end finishes, and modern furniture pieces co-exist with antique retail display cases in a highly curated interior filled with crafted curiosities which span the lifetime of the building.

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

Working with an existing building that had remained unoccupied (aside from squatters) and neglected for 40 years was challenging given its state of dilapidation. However, the building was of a robust construction, and after investigations it was decided that enough of the original fabric and character remained to provide a glimpse of its illustrious past and inform the approach of the new design, where possible embracing and capturing the building’s mistreatment over the decades.

A challenge during the restoration process was communicating to the build team the level of rawness and the overall aesthetic we wanted to achieve, as it was a non-standard finish and often a process of trial and error. During construction it was harder to see when surfaces were at their desired level of finish – we had a strong presence on site throughout the process and would stick signs to walls saying ‘this is finished’!

What was your team’s highlight of the project?

Re-activating the street level, which comprises a series of creative and retail units for local businesses, including an independent coffee roastery, café and record shop and a new home for the community Post Office. The café/bar at The Department Store’s apex is in the spirit of Café de Floris in Paris, which supported the original Bon Marché.

Squire and Partners’ own windows are utilised as a platform for creative arts within the local community, with a rolling programme that ranges from work by established and emerging artists to collaborations with local school children, as well offering views into the dedicated Downstairs events space used year round. These animated uses have transformed the building’s existing impermeable and hostile frontage into a friendly and open part of the community, bringing the building back into their hands following years of neglect.

Why did you enter the SBID International Design Awards?

The chance to be recognised by the SBID International Design Awards is a chance to be recognised internationally, by industry experts, and alongside the world’s leading designers of interiors.

Office Design by Squire & Partners
Squire and Partners, The Department Store office design project images for SBID interior design blog, Project of the Week

Questions answered by Tim Gledstone, Partner at Squire and Partners

If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring a traditional Cape Dutch style house inspired by South African street art, click here to see more.

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

Squire and Partners  | SBID International Design Awards

Creating spaces and buildings that are as eco-conscious as they are design-forward is becoming a pressing requirement for the interiors industry. Russell Owens from Zip Water UK explains why the future lies in making sustainable design beautiful. ‘Sustainable design’ aims to reduce or eliminate negative environmental impact through thoughtful design. This means working to create buildings and products that are more energy-efficient, reduce waste and use limited resources throughout their life-cycle. Further to this, specifiers and designers can give preference to materials that will contribute to people’s health and wellbeing – another important element of sustainability that is often overlooked. . .

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