Working my day job as a painter and decorator gives me opportunities to talk to clients about colour choices, wallpaper designs, bringing their existing space together with all aspects of design. On one occasion in the summer of 2021, a company we worked for wanted their office and communal spaces decorated, they had an idea of colours and so we transformed the spaces for them. They also have a room they call their breakout room, which currently occupies a few comfy chairs, a table and chairs but lacks in good design and isn’t used as a space for employees to relax when they are not sat at their desks. I approached the Manager, explained I was currently studying my ID degree and asked if I could have the opportunity to design their breakout space, which they jumped at the chance of having done. They also threw in the ladies and gents toilets! I was more than happy to oblige.
I took photographs of the spaces. After many hours brainstorming ideas I came up with a couple of different scenarios for each space. Firstly, the breakout room. The company is made up of a number of people with different job roles, some of which are office based, some of which are workshop based. With this in mind I wanted to create a fun space for them to spend their break time in. Their work either involves sitting at a desk, in front of a computer screen or on the telephone or sitting at a workshop space designing intricate quartz crystals. Their office environments lack character or colour and so to have a space to retreat to during their breaks, would be a great idea. Even the toilets have a fun botanical theme to them.
Taking on board what I have already learned during my first year at OCA, I brainstormed ideas for the breakout room and the WC’s, then using photoshop I transformed the spaces from characterless walls and interior elements, to fun, bright, cheerful spaces to want to spend time in. This process was quite time consuming, I am self taught with Photoshop and so learning as I go along takes time, it was at points frustrating but I’m pleased with the end result. I then created mood boards, using Indesign, showing the different elements of colour, texture that would work in this space.
I was inspired by local artists work and so added some paintings based on their take of the local area. By adding a mural on one end wall adds an element of fantasy, by adding colours with accessories brings warmth and fun to the overall space. There is a table and chairs in the room, I thought that maybe by painting a chessboard on the table would give the staff an opportunity to play chess during their break, giving them chance to switch off from their job and calm their minds. The idea of having other board games in the room would give them choice as well. The room would also benefit from having real plants, flowers, this will help with boosting moods, lower the feeling of anxiety and help improve their working performance, all of these elements are vital for good working relationships, especially working in an office environment. The breakout room only has one wall of windows with natural light coming in so colour and impact is needed to bring this space to life.
Again, using brainstorming ideas of mind maps, I chose botanical themed wallpaper as feature walls for the WC’s. These spaces are used for only a short time and so I wanted to make an impression in a fun and colourful way.
The Manager really liked my designs and fed them back to some of the employees. Until such time as they know whether they are staying in the rented building, the designs are on hold, they have assured me that once a decision on whether they stay in the building or move to new premises has been reached they will arrange for us to go ahead with the designs for the spaces, they are being smart by not spending their money on areas that they possibly won’t be able to enjoy. I look forward to transforming the spaces.
On reflection of my designs, I have so much more to learn with the software but feel that I have made a good start. I made a design proposal, using Indesign, that I emailed to the Manager, which covers my design idea process from start to finish.
This process was an opportunity for me to create good design within existing spaces, taking into consideration the wants and needs of the staff employed on site. A specification was that the existing furniture and flooring would need to stay, based on that principal I chose colours and designs to fit. If eventually they do go ahead with my ideas I would propose they look at changing the furniture and encourage that they have new flooring installed to compliment the colour scheme of all the rooms.
How splendid to have a chance to apply your academic stuff for real! And what a boost to have it received so positively.
Thanks Simon, hopefully the start of many!
Thanks for the share!!