As designers, it’s useful to experience as much of the world as possible in order to get new ideas for shop design, office interiors, homes, architectural work, product planning, furniture design, and everything else we might be required to undertake for our clients.
Here at Made In Place, we like to make sure we keep our brains thinking creatively and innovatively by visiting new places, indulging in hobbies, and changing our work environment to keep things fresh.
So, what have we been up to in the last few months?
The team are all set up for working on the move, so travelling never gets in the way of design jobs – if anything, it helps. We all have different ways of designing during a journey – sometimes the old-fashioned way using a notebook and pencil, other times using the latest in tablet technology. We lovingly call our tablets the ‘idiot pad’ and ‘bogomatic’.
Over the last few months we’ve travelled to Guernsey – braving stormy weather by plane and, we’re pretty sure, coming in to land backwards – Manchester, Bath, Sheffield, London, Newcastle, Woking, Prague, and Northern Ireland. During our visits to these places we:
- Dropped in on clients;
- Checked up on projects and undertook photo shoots of those we’ve completed;
- Attended meetings;
- Visited buildings dating back more than 100 years;
- Walked the decks and corridors of the SS Nomadic (a vessel which carried first and second-class passengers from Cherbourg in France, to the Titanic which was too large for the port);
- Strolled through the Ulster Transport Museum;
- Lightly jogged through haunted Irish prison “The Crum”;
- Lunched at the Crown Liquor Saloon – a listed building owned by the National Trust;
- Stood on the Mourne Mountains, which always provide spectacular views.
We’ve already got other trips in the pipeline too!
Most of the time we’re at the office, but we do enjoy hot-desking. One of our favourite spots is The Kennels at Goodwood – a clubhouse which provides a lovely working atmosphere. These past few months have been very busy, so sitting somewhere conducive to get stuff done has been vital.
We’ve also handed over one of our most recent design creations – the Paperchase store in Piccadilly. Later, this store’s interior design (we also designed the fittings) got a three-page spread in the Retail Week magazine!
We have also undertaken two surveys of sites we might be working on soon; one in Bath and one in Sheffield. Both buildings had quirky features we couldn’t help noting. The Bath property had an old green lift access, and the Sheffield property had a fire escape which led to the office next door.
As well as all of this, Made In Place went to a site meeting in Manchester, where we were treated to a tour of a creepy basement, and then went upwards through the building to say hello to a guard owl (protecting the roof from pigeons).
A big project Made In Place has been working on came to its conclusion. SURE telecom asked us to help with the creation of an office in Guernsey to which they could move all of the staff located on that island. They also have offices in Jersey and the Isle of Man. In order to increase design control and save costs, we avoided using a principal contractor. This was a recycling mission of monumental proportions: we wanted to reuse most of the existing building and its fittings as possible, and, by the end of the project, the furniture audit was near impossible since so much had been reclaimed for other parts.
Other ‘little’ jobs:
- A photo shoot of our design of Cellar Magneval – a bohemian, welcoming wine bar in Woking;
- A photo shoot of a prototype phone store for SURE;
- An email interview with Kate Hobson from the Chichester Herald;
- Further development of our new website;
- Work on a top-secret project involving cardboard…
Just as we finish a couple of projects, more take their place, and that’s the way we like it. While we were going about our business, we received an enquiry into our services from a restaurant – watch this space…
The tech we use for designing comes in useful during downtime. Ken Wingate has not yet managed to beat the artificial intelligence in the chess game on his iPad while on the highest difficulty level (but he’s getting close), and topping the fastest time for solitaire is becoming “acutely annoying”. Ah, the joys of gaming.
As a team, we’ve seen quite a range of films and interesting television programmes. On TV there’s been a Belgium series called Salamander, the Sochi Winter Olympics, Top Gear, and an architectural design programme with Jonathon Meades Bunkers, Brutalism, and Bloodymindedness.
The big screen (including TV showings of older films) has entertained us with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Great Gatsby, To Rome with Love, Last Vegas, Midnight in Paris, and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. We are really looking forward to Gilliam’s newest film Zero Teorum, which comes out this year. It’s the final part of a trilogy which includes Brazil and Twelve Monkeys.
But the Made In Place team aren’t just stuck in front of screens when we’re not at work – we love to read too! As well as swotting up on important aspects of our work using the Passivhaus Handbook and the Building Regulations (great for bedtime reading), we have also recently got our noses into The Crum by Patrick Greg, From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, and Relentless by Simon Kernick – which is a great thriller.
Finally, we have learnt a new expression which has become our ‘word of the month’. We think it sums up Made In Place brilliantly: Lagom – it’s a Swedish word meaning “just the right amount”.
Until next time…