Thursday 8 September 2016

Brand alignment

Companies looking to maximise the potential and impact of their brand should always consider the importance of their working environment as part of the brand experience. We've worked with lots of companies helping them implement their brand values within their working environment.  The interior should be a physical embodiment of the brand both in terms of the visual impact/aesthetics and the use of space.

Here's a visual guide to how to match furniture finishes to your brand palette, matching the proportions of use that you'll see in your printed documents and website.  This continuity reinforces the brand experience and enables your working environment to be a fully integrated part of your brand without the need to plaster your logo everywhere.

Its a scaleable approach, easy to understand and implement.  You can see this approach in action with our refurbishment of the ACCA offices in Glasgow.

Employee Engagement boosts wellbeing

Had a great day yesterday running a 'employee engagement office design workshop' with members of the Business South West networking group at Dartington Hall Trust in Devon. A great location for some hands on office design. Employee engagement in the design process can massively increase employee productivity, wellbeing, job satisfaction and heath as they take ownership of the design process. We're piloting this approach with our clients at the moment. Get in touch if you'd like to know more about the process. Thanks to Helen Bennett and Russel for the set up.

Friday 27 February 2015

Tying the room together

As The Dude said, the rug “really tied the room together.”  Fans of the Cohen brothers will of course recognise the significance of floor finishes in helping to create a coherent room design and appreciate it’s importance to the lead character in the 1998 classic The Big Lebowski.  The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges, had his rug stolen and was left, much to his annoyance, with a living room that felt incomplete.

A good rug can provide the finishing touch to a room design.  It’s an opportunity to inject some colour, either in harmony or contrast to the surroundings.  It provides a centre piece around which all the other elements co exist.  Often used alongside a harder timber floor it provides a soft warming contrast, which is great under bare feet, and will soften the acoustics of any space.

The trend towards graphic and experimental techniques is exemplified by the Radient Gradients range by Top Floor Rugs, which feature shading and colour graduation that gives the illusion of depth to flat surfaces.

Designed by award-winning rug designer Esti Barnes, who combines her design expertise with the skill of Top FloorΚΌ s master dyers and craftsmen, the designs perfectly demonstrate the smoothest of colour shading across the cut-pile wool surface.

If you need help tying your room together contact Multi Story Thinking and we'll show you how to make the most of rugs in your home.

Thursday 19 February 2015

Light fantastic

When you're looking for something to provide a dramatic and memorable impact within an interior , light features can deliver a cost effective and stylish solution.  There’s always something special about seeing multiples of objects and these pendant lights, set in clusters can great the dramatic wow factor sought after by designers and clients.  

These North Lights from e15 hang like the planets above your table casting light down onto the surface below and creating a subtle range of tones across the gently angled surfaces of the shades.

Prices start from £308 inc VAT for a single pendant; from Viaduct, T: 020 7278 8456

Friday 2 January 2015

New teaching, new classroom. How space can help delivery of new teaching practices.

Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary uses newly designed classrooms to help introduce their innovative teaching programme.

MULTI-STORY-THINKING have been working in partnership with Devon and Cornwall Police force to re design the training rooms for their Police Training College at their Middlemoor Headquarters in Exeter. 

The design of teaching spaces has long been recognised as having a positive impact on the learning experience.  Well-designed spaces can improve performance and transform the experience of the learner.

The college had been training both police officers and special constables for over 15 years and teaching methods and the teaching environment have changed little over that period.  Picture a drab and dull classroom with a horseshoe arrangement of desks led by a teacher at the front of the classroom.  It’s hardly inspiring and brings back memories of school days.

The initiative, which fuses teaching approach with changes to the physical space, was prompted by the introduction of extra targets of recruiting an additional 65 new recruits to the 120 already planned for 2013/14. 

To cope with the additional numbers the force’s Learning and Development Department have introduced a new open learning programme, which is similar in format to the Open University.

The importance of changing the physical environment alongside the teaching methods was recognised by Acting Sergeant Tiffany Macedo-Dine, from the Learning and Development team, who worked with us to realise the project.

“As well as changing our teaching approach we wanted to make a
statement with the space to signal a shift in approach.  We wanted a
more professional and grown up space that was modern, flexible and
responsive to the changing methods we were introducing”

A change of environment can trigger a shift in behaviour and expectations and underpin the changes by both enabling the different activities but also creating a change in perception of how the space will be used.

MULTI-STORY-THINKING worked collaboratively with Tiffany to develop the new design that enables the introduction of the more dynamic and responsive teaching methods, which embrace technology, encourage peer learning, improve interaction between tutor and student and create a more professional environment. 

The changes reflect wider trends in the education sector.  In creating the interior we sought inspiration from the revolutionary teaching spaces of the Stanford d. school but also from our recent projects for Plymouth University and ACCA.  The designs create a modern, professional, and more grown up interior with the flexibility to create the range of different teaching modes that will be used.

Selection of flexible furniture creates a ‘toolkit’, which enables a number of different teaching modes, both informal and formal, including presentations, group work and brainstorming/idea generation.  Teaching sessions can be dedicated to one activity or split to create multiple activities and students can move between areas as the nature of their learning changes.

The combination of interior design and new teaching methods is taking the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary forward in terms of technology, accessibility and the learning environment, putting them at the leading edge of police training in terms of innovation and best practice and excellence in learning delivery. 

Friday 8 August 2014

Being prepared

We're working with the Topsham Sea Scout Group to help them redesign and rebuild their scout hut. Built in the early 1960s this timber hut is typical of scout huts across the country.  It's recently fallen fowl of its low lying position in relation to the River Exe and during the recent high tide and storms it was flooded with 2 feet of water causing irrevocable damage.

The hut is coming down and a new design is planned to take the scouts through for the next few decades.  It's a sad moment in a way but provides and opportunity to redesign the space to reflect the activities and the increasing numbers of Sea Scouts, Scouts, Beavers and Cubs who use the building on a weekly basis.

We're consulting with the local planning department and the environmental agency (we need to raise the building up about the flood risk) but most importantly we'll be talking to the scout leaders and the children that use the building to create a space that really works for the way they want to use it.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Picture perfect

Digital printing has long been a way of introducing individual imagery to interiors and with production costs coming down it’s easy to introduce unique designs into your home.

Wallpaper, shower screens, kitchen backsplashes all become a canvas for your creativity helping to stamp your own personality and style.  Images from your phone or computer can be printed onto almost any surface.

Caroline Shortt from Barc Architects is a big fan of the process.  Her halo lit panel of trees transforms the humble toilet into a natural haven.  It feels a bit like the wardrobe in Narnia, where you might end up in an enchanted forest.  The vaulted room is clad in cedar and an led strip lights the paper and emphasises the curve of the vault drawing the eye to the back of the space.  

AnniePhilips’ innovative and uplifting images work well in kitchens and shower rooms.  Her designs are printed onto a film and laminated between panels of toughened glass.  

The composition can be adapted to fit the available space and the colours matched with the rest of your decoration giving you total control.  It’s a simple and effective way to create something different and individual.