INSPIRATION: Cover Story Viva Magazine

Well, I meant to share something sooner than this, but what can I say…..baby, Christmas, getting the opportunity to go out whilst the other half is on holidays….it took up my time!

However, I do want to share a visit to an exhibition I went to at the beginning of December – it was organised by Viva Magazine, who produce free magazines focussing on local businesses and events in Brighton and Lewes. As you might expect, they have a wealth of creative people in that area, and this has resulted in a back catalogue of beautiful and inspiring cover pages, each corresponding to that particular issue’s theme. My sister, Rebecca, works for the Brighton magazine, and this exhibition has been her baby for the past few weeks, so I couldn’t wait to go down and see it!

I headed down last Friday afternoon, and arrived to a fabulous sunset on Brunswick Square. The exhibition was being held at The Regency Town House, an amazing house which is being restored to its 19th Century glory by a group of volunteers, which I have been keen to see for a while! As far as I have heard, it is one of the only houses left on the square that is still retained as one full house, as opposed to others which have been separated into flats. I am so late posting about this, so the exhibition is now closed, however, keep an eye on their website for upcoming events that you can attend or opportunities to volunteer.

These are a few photos I took whilst in the exhibition:

Keep your eyes peeled for a project post coming up soon!

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PROJECT : The Common Room

So I was thinking that I would mostly be setting myself hypothetical projects, but then I remembered I actually have a real one which I can show you the before and after of, which is a bit more satisfying!

The Brief

To give you some background, this was a volunteer project I did for a local school, who were looking to improve their Sixth Form Common Room, and inject a bit of energy into it. On meeting with the Head and Deputy Head Teachers, the main points for the brief were:

  • to use the existing furniture available, which was already to regulation standard for a college. The room also had an air hockey table and football table, and a separate gaming room with X-Box, which they wanted to keep
  • to provide interactive areas, where students could change displays to be in line with ongoing activities in the college
  • the room had to be comfortable and inviting
  • it had to feel more informal than the typical formal classroom set up
  • due to physical special needs of some of the students, access around the room was key
  • the room should provide a sensory area for students to engage with
  • to provide options for ongoing and future developments of the room, which students could participate in choosing which they liked best
  • Limited budget – re-use furniture where possible and propose cost-efficient renovations
  • Limited time – New items specified should be ready-to-buy and able to be procured on a short lead time

Here are a few before photos so you can see what the original room looked like (and yes the child in the room is mine!):

Before

The Concept

Basically, whilst it was a big space with quite a lot of natural light, it still felt like your typical school room and needed something to elevate it and give it energy. Following the meeting at the college, I put together a concept board, which broadly shows the aesthetic and design features I wanted to propose for the room. This was designed to be displayed to the students, once approved by staff, to show them the overall look and feel we were going for.

Priory Common Room Design Concept

The starting point was to make a feature of the Gaming Room – with its walls being lower than the rest of the room, it had the quality of a separate pod-like area. To really accentuate this quality, I proposed painting its two adjacent walls in a bright zesty orange colour, with white signage which would stand out.

From here, I tried to bring together the colours of the existing furniture and create a cohesive colour palette. For this room, it seemed appropriate that a variety of colours should be used to create the energetic atmosphere I was looking to create. Also, I feel using a few complementary colours, rather than a one or two colour scheme, means that you are able to bring in new items or displays into a room, without risk of clashing with the room. I thought this would be a good opportunity for the students to get involved, and give them a choice about which they preferred.

Next was looking at the configuration of the furniture in the room. Because I was working with existing furniture, the options were slightly limited in terms of arrangement, but I feel they were a good starting point for this room and met the requirements for what was needed. I proposed that there were a few different spaces required for this Common Room, along with the Gaming Room:

  • Entry Space – A welcome to the Common Room, where general notices could be displayed, and also a Selfie wall showing all members of the Sixth Form, which was an idea that came from the initial meeting at the school
  • Main Seating Space – this would be where the students could sit whilst looking at presentations or films on the TV screen, or be addressed by members of staff
  • Breakout Seating Space – a more informal seating area with furniture that could be moved around/rearranged to suit the students
  • Sensory Area – as mentioned before, a sensory space providing a variety of sensory experiences – for example, different textures and lighting effects
  • ‘Play’ Area – this would be a space for students to use the existing air hockey and football tables

I came up with a couple of options for configuration, and again thought this would be a good way to get the students involved and choose which they preferred. Take a look at these presentations below, again designed to be presented to the students and allow them to choose which options they would prefer.

Priory Common Room Design Colour Scheme

Priory Common Room Design Furniture Layout

The Outcome

The way this project worked is that I provided the above material to the school to present for the students, and also a schedule of finishes and furniture for them to procure themselves, once the students had decided which options they would choose. I did go in for an afternoon to help lay out the furniture and also put up the cut-out vinyl signage for the Gaming Room – it is definitely more difficult to do than it looks! It is an ongoing development, but they did send me some photos of what they have achieved so far…

After

The photos aren’t great, but I think its a good example of house a little paint and textiles can go a long way to giving more energy to a space. Hopefully I will be working with the school on some other projects soon, so will try and get photos to show a bit more of the room!

To Conclude

On review, this is one of the speediest projects I’ve worked on, and so there wasn’t a lot of time to produce great renders or go back and forth on decisions, but it was fun to be a part of! Normally, with the projects I do at work, the design phase can take at least 3 months, let alone any building and fitting out time, so seeing ideas come into reality on such a quick turnaround was really satisfying. As mentioned, this is an ongoing work in progress, so I will keep you updated!

A small hello!

First of all, thanks for taking time to have a look at my blog and welcome! My name is Jasmine and I have started this blog as a space where I can have an outlet for my creative side whilst I am on maternity leave, and hopefully share my thoughts and interests with like-minded people. My baby is currently 4 months old, and we are starting to get into a routine with actual prolonged naps (for me, this is a very exciting prospect!), so am hoping to be able to give my brain a little indulgence in something other than sterilising bottles and singing ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ via this blog.

So, a little bit about me…I’m an interior designer, working for a company in London which specialise in both private and development residential projects. I started off studying architecture for my undergraduate degree (RIBA Part 1), and following that, got my first proper job working for a design and build company as a designer. This was mainly working on kitchen, bathroom and bespoke joinery designs for our clients, who would have already engaged us for building works. As I progressed in this role, I started to realise that perhaps continuing along the path of architecture, which would mean a further 4 years attaining masters degree and then passing professional exams, might not be for me. I loved opportunities to create functional yet beautiful interiors, and with being based in London, where developments working within an existing building were far more common, I figured shifting direction into interior design would suit me far more. So, after a couple more years with the design and build firm, I moved to the role I’m currently in, where I’ve been working for almost 3 years.

The truth is, I’ve attempted starting this blog before and it fell to the side when work took a busy turn and then having a child! But, with a backlog of creative energy growing, I feel like this time will be more successful. As for what you can expect, I think I want to look at a few hypothetical, and perhaps even potential, projects of rooms and spaces that can be improved by renovation. Wherever I go, I’m constantly assessing how the space I’m in can be reworked to provide a more comfortable and functional space, so rather than bore my partner to death by telling him all about, I’ll share it on here where people might appreciate it more. Alongside that, there will be snippets of things that inspire me in my work, and perhaps a deeper insight into working as an interior designer. I hope you will enjoy the posts that follow!