Posts Tagged ‘interior design’

Dementia-friendly design

August 27, 2013

I interviewed Diana Cellela of The Drawing Room Interiors as part of a case study I created for Karndean Designflooring, showcasing the use of their stone-effect Art Select luxury vinyl flooring at the EachStep dementia care centre in Manchester.

Karndean Art Select EachStep

Diana is a specialist in dementia-friendly design, and is the chairman of the SBID Healthcare Advisory Council, which is currently launching.

She explained a few of the tips and tricks when creating an environment for this particular user group.

There are many different views on what ‘Dementia Friendly’ design is but overall any area should be as comfortable and non-institutional in appearance as possible.  A home-like or cosy look will make the residents or patients feel more at ease.

Dementia-friendly design helps to prevent accidents amongst dementia sufferers, who can have difficulty distinguishing between, or can trip and fall over, surfaces or objects with a similar light reflectance value (LRV). Flooring and furniture, for example, is recommended to be specified with at least a 30% contrast in LRV.

Conversely, they can become confused when they see two adjoining floor surfaces that have a strong contrast in LRV. Two different floor materials or finishes may appear as a step, or the dementia sufferer may perceive a hole or hollow in the floor. Flecked patterns can appear as dirt on the floor and motifs may look like actual objects, and the person may bend down to wipe the surface or pick something up.

When selecting fabric for curtains, blinds or upholstery, try to avoid large busy patterns as these have been known to cause frustration.  Also avoid flowers as some suffers may try to pick the flowers, or bold stripes as may be seen as bars at the window.

Acoustics are extremely important; background noise can lead to extreme  frustrations, so minimize noise, by using soft fabrics or acoustic panels.

Furniture should have rounded edges and is good to have fronts which allow the patient to see what the furniture is used for, for example, scooped or Perspex frontage where some of the contents are visable, this can act as a prompt to the resident.

There are so many changes, some small, that can be made to an interior that can make a massive impact on the life of a dementia sufferer, from signage, to use of reminiscence rooms, rummage boxes, artwork and colours to name just a few.

EachStep Blackley is a dementia care centre run by the not-for-profit social and health care provider CIC Group. For the reception area flooring in this project, Diana specified a stone-effect finish, which would avoid the problems described above, and also had the necessary durability to withstand the high traffic levels expected.

Dementia friendly design can be studied at the Dementia Centre at Stirling University, and  the Centre Director Professor June Andrews is also on the Society of British Interior Design’s Healthcare Advisory Council.

Diana Celella runs The Drawing Room Interiors and is Director of the SBID’s Healthcare Advisory Council.


SBID International Design Awards 2013

July 2, 2013

As the SBID’s 2013 awards deadline nears, the video above has some interesting chats with the judges of the 2012 panel, as they explain why the awards are important to them.

The 2013 judges panel includes:

  • Nicholas Candy, CEO, Candy & Candy
  • Theo Williams, Head of Design, John Lewis
  • Azhar Azhar, Director, Conran & Partners
  • Tony Ash, MD for UK & Middle East, Vitra
  • David Lewis, MD, Sunseeker
  • Peter Biewirth, Presidend, European Hotel Management Association
  • Trevor Kruse, Interior Designers of Canada
  • Theresa Dowling, Editor, Progressive Market Intelligence (design titles FX, Blueprint, FMX, X2)
  • David Kester, Director, Thames & Hudson
  • Carolina Calzada, Marketing Manager, Global Color Research
  • Patrick Talyor, MD, Taylist Media
  • Inger Bartlett, President, Bartlett & Associates
  • Sarah Butterfield, Architect
  • Gem Barton, Lecturer in Interior Architecture, Brighton University

SBID 2013 awards wordle

See more news from the SBID on
News from the UK Interior Design industry

Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2012 review

November 14, 2012

The Restaurant & Bar Design Awards have stated that their 2012 program was the most successful to date.

There’s no doubt that the awards shortlist is full of inspiring projects, and to celebrate, RABDA have produced a PDF review of their year.

If you are involved in hospitality design, it is well worth downloading the review to browse through for inspiration and see RABDAs plans for 2013.

Pumphouse (Winner North America & Canada) / Yabu Pushelberg

Restaurant & Bar Design Awards

Finding interior design products online

October 5, 2012

Finding products online can be a challenge for interior designers.

In this video, Su Butcher of Just Practising talks to interior, landscape and garden designer Francoise Murat about how she used to find an FSC certified timber flooring product. Francoise uses the website in all her projects, to identify the right companies before she gets in touch.

As the amount of material available online increases, finding quality information quickly is more and more difficult, especially when you are responsible for purchasing materials for an interior design or landscaping product. can make identifying the right products so much quicker than a conventional search engine. The designer can drill down to ensure they find the right type of material, with the right performance characteristics and the necessary certifications.

Francoise’s use of reflects the range of disciplines she works in, and illustrates how effective the website is in finding relevant solutions for a wide array of built environment projects.

She concludes with some advice for product manufacturers and suppliers who can help designers like her choose and use their products, by adding useful drawing or model files to websites like

Next steps
Find products on now by using the search box.
Register for a account and save time contacting suppliers.
Register for monthly email eNewsletters.

Join the discussion
I’d love to hear about how you usually search for interior products online.
-How does it work for you?
-What do you find frustrating?
-How could it be made easier?

Comment on this blog below, or join the discussion on Twitter: hashtag #ESIinfoTV or tweet me @ESIInteriors

Thanks to Su Butcher and Francoise Murat & Associates.

RJV Designs on fabrics and curtain treatments

September 20, 2012

Rowena Vaughan on twitter Fulham-based interior designer Rowena Vaughan of RJV Designs provides her thoughts on trends and styles in fabrics, curtain treatments and blinds.

The use of fabrics and curtain treatments in interior design has, of recent years, fallen somewhat out of favour. People have leant toward the minimalist shutters and roller blinds. But things are beginning to change. Heavier fabrics and intricate designs for window treatments are making a comeback in some rooms. People appreciate that there are some window treatments and fabrics that, used judiciously, can enhance the look of your room and there are some eco friendly bonuses too!

Poles and finials
What is new to the market? Poles and curtain tracks have changed and become technical with solutions for most awkward windows – be they bay windows, tall windows, half windows, attic windows – there are solutions. Byron & Byron (left) have a fantastic range of eye poppingly colourful poles and finials, zingy enough to cheer the unhappiest soul up.

Walcot House (right) continue to innovate with interesting and useful curtain hanging systems, innovative poles and attachments. They have a range of poles and finials that would look good in any modern and not so modern interior in jewel-like colours made of glass and acrylic – with lovely clear poles of different lengths and diameter.

Silent Gliss have a fantastic range of tracks and blind systems. No longer do you have to worry about having a bay window and not being able to draw the curtain round, as there are poles with special rings that slide over the brackets that hold up the bay window pole. Clever! Innovations include electric corded tracks and blinds, or black-out blinds that run in channels along the edge of the window, stopping any light from getting through. The options are endless and as varied as your imagination.

Few people install full-length, lined, interlined and pelmeted curtains – finding them too heavy and cumbersome for current interior design trends. But long sheer curtains hanging off a pole either side of a window, with a working blind, can add colour, sound deadening and softness to a room. The eco payback for curtains used in old houses without double glazed windows is huge: keeping heat in and the cold out during the winter. If you don’t feel up to having a full set of lined and interlined curtains in your windows, there are other ways of using fabrics. Voiles (no not the old fashioned nets of old), beautifully coloured and textured, hung as dress curtains on either side of a window, on a lovely pole, add interest and colour to a room.

Bespoke curtains – Christopher James

Fabric collections
Most fabric houses issue between two and three new collections each year. These collections will include a range of fabrics for upholstery, curtains/blinds, accent details and wallpaper. If you follow both interior design and fashion you will often see aspects of the fashion parade in interior design a season or so later. So the hot colours of last year, tangerine orange and purple, are beginning to find their way into the collections of the fabric houses this year.

Read your fashion magazines if you want to know what will be hot in interior colours for next year!

Image: Clarke & Clarke

Thanks to Rowena from RJV Designs for this post. RJV Designs offers design and project management, from the initial concept to the finishing touches. Projects range from a set of curtains to the complete refurbishment of a whole house.
<Rowena Vaughan on twitter
RJV Designs website

Match of the Day and ITV studio design

June 12, 2012

In 2010 I enjoyed posting on the BBC’s studio for the FIFA World Cup in Cape Town.

That space was not without controversy, for various reasons, and neither was the BBC’s move to Salford last year. The Media City complex received a carbuncle award from Urban Realm, not necessarily for its poor aesthetics but more for its lack of ambition.

Last summer, flagship Saturday night football programme Match of the Day moved to a new studio, which has been used throughout the 2011-12 season.

via MOTD facebook page

The lighting and visual feel of the studio and graphics have a neon nightclubby feel to them and are a bit ‘in-your-face’. I like the angular feel and the chairs for Lineker and the pundits. It looks like the Kruze Chair by Boss Design.

The studio is flexible, apparently, as series producer Ian Finch told the BBC’s Ariel blog:

Upcycling – not just for the amateurs

September 20, 2011

Everybody has heard of recycling in this day and age and most people have heard of upcycling but I have to (shamefully) admit that before I visited Ecobuild this year I hadn’t realised just how big the concept was, despite it being around for over a decade.

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of a better quality or higher environmental value. The first recorded use of the term was in 1994 when Thornton Kay of Salvo interviewed Reiner Pilz of Pilz GmbH.

“Recycling? I call it downcycling. They smash bricks, they smash everything. What we need is upcycling, where old products are given more value, not less.”

When you think about it, you’ll probably realise you’ve been upcycling for years without realising it, the box you’re using as a CD rack, the old CD’s that you’re using as coasters, or even the fairy liquid bottle that the kids turned into a work of art (with a little help from Neil Buchanan, Art Attack and copious quantities of PVA glue).

Away from the domestic side of things, many companies specialise in ‘upcycled’ pieces or produce one off upcycled products.

Bel & Bel, expert Spanish upcyclers with a contemporary/vintage style recreated vintage Vespas as seats.

Vespa Seats are made from upcycled 'dead' Vespa scooters. Picture from ©bel&bel.


The language and archetypes of interior design

September 4, 2009

Jan Jennings, a professor of design and environmental analysis, along with colleagues at Cornell University, has produced a searchable online database for contemporary design with imagery from real buildings. One of the key aspects of the project was to choose vocabulary that has been used in the field but has not been formalised.

“We had to invent a naming practice, a vocabulary, for students to use in talking about design,” Jennings said. “Interior design had borrowed language from architecture and visual arts, but when you came down to it, we didn’t have a typology for contemporary design practices that have been occurring across history, style and culture.”

At its inception in 2009, the project, already 13 years in the making, had named nearly 70 interior archetypes.

“Some of our alumni are using these words in the field,” Jennings said. “When they do that, they hear the word being used later by their colleagues. If the word is used without translation or definition, then it really has become a word that contributes to a design language.”

Update: after two years, the Intypes Project has continued to grow in research content, images and functionality.

Research has been completed for the following practice types: apartment, hotel, house, resort & spa, restaurant, retail, showroom and workplace. Bar & club is nearing completion. Graduate students have begun research for theme dining and school K-12 (kindergarten to 12 years).

The following elements have also been completed: artificial light, material, and transformative interior. 

There is now also an Intake Intype Sampler tool where one can choose and organise up to 12 Intypes as a take-away list (PDF). When the Intype is printed, it includes its icon and definition. 

Some of the Intypes of interior design:

• Lonely couple — Two chairs of the same design that are situated side by side within the space and are isolated from every other furniture configuration.

• Dressed column — Structural or nonstructural columns that are “dressed” by decorative or ornamental means; altogether the columns act as multiple repetitious showcase features.

• Marching Order — A series of repeating vertical display forms organized along a grid that act as consecutive backdrops for display and spatially divide the retail interior.

• Wunderkammer — A historic exhibition aesthetic in which entire walls or ceilings were covered by a multitude of artifacts arranged by taxonomy. Contemporarily, the term refers to assemblages that cover entire interior planes of related or disparate objects

I have found some examples of these on our product specification site,, which provides specifiers with shortlists of UK suppliers and products for contract, commercial and high end residential projects.

Lonely couples? by connections interiors

“Down the line” – Tango Outdoor furniture

A “showcase stair” from Kigi Joinery