Category Archives: Architectural / Interior Design

Project update – Contemporary apartment interior design

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Work has recently completed on a contemporary apartment interior in Leicestershire. The apartment is within a converted 1970’s office building – an unusual building type to convert to residential, however the results are entirely successful. With bold use of colour, interesting wall-art and a beautiful cast resin floor, the apartment interior design is cool and contemporary, whilst also being comfortable and practical. Keep an eye out for it to be added to the project gallery.

If you would like to discuss an interior design project get in touch >

Graduate internship position – Creative Design Technician

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The Heterarchy studio is currently looking for a graduate intern Creative Design Technician. The ideal candidate will have strong technical skills, be methodical, organised, a good communicator, with excellent skills on Autocad and Adobe software. You will need to have a BA in interiors, furniture or equivalent qualification.

The role will involve working as an integral part of the creative team. Your responsibilities will focus on taking initial interior design concepts and developing them into workable design solutions. This will include producing technical/CAD drawings, details for bespoke furniture, joinery items and construction. Training will be given to develop your knowledge of the technical aspects of design. You will also be required to work with the design team on other aspects of a project, such as producing final presentations.

The start date for the position is the 3rd October. Please reply with a covering letter/email stating why you think you suit the position, and examples of your work, to info@heterarchy.co.uk or send it in the post (see contact page for address). Please do not fill out the online enquiry form as your application will not be processed.

Interior design job/design intern in the Midlands, UK.

Project Update – Ashorne Hill Conference Centre

By | Architectural / Interior Design, Restaurant Design | No Comments

We are pleased to announce the recent completion of the design stage for the new restaurant interiors for Ashorne Hill Conference Centre in Warwickshire. Part of a larger programme of refurbishments, Heterarchy have designed the interiors for the restaurant, a mezzanine level cafe area and adjoining concourse seating areas.

Tony Matters, Managing Director of Heterarchy, says of the design; “Our concept was all about creating a contemporary equivalent for the Grand Hall, which is the beautiful double height interior within the existing Grade 2 Listed building. Using natural materials and a colour palette that draws directly from the stunning views of the Warwickshire countryside, it’s all about making delegates feel they are enjoying a privileged environment even if they’re just grabbing a quick coffee”.

The project is now on site, due to be completed by September 2011. To take a closer look at the Ashorne Hill refurbishment go to the project gallery page >

Hotels for the Chinese, please.

By | Architectural / Interior Design, Hotel Interior Design | No Comments

Chinese travellers are set to become the single largest consumer of hotel accommodation across the world. This possibly unsurprising fact comes to light as the Intercontinental Hotel Group announces its intention to develop a ‘Chinese’ hotel brand, with hotels in China and around the globe.

The Chinese place great importance on the value of brands – according to research some 49% of Chinese think that brand names equate to superior quality product or service, compared with 9% in the UK and 16% in the States. So it’s no surprise, therefore, that ‘the worlds most global hotel company’ is set to capitalise on this emerging situation.

So expect to see a ‘Chinese’ brand, with contemporary Asian inspired interiors and Chinese inspired food on the menu. I suppose it’s the equivalent of the Brits abroad, seeking out Holiday Inns and fried breakfasts. Something tells me the Chinese equivalent will be altogether more sophisticated.

In much the same way that the Shangri-La Hotels provide Asian inspired interiors and service, the Intercontinental approach should provide an experience that is distinctly Chinese. However this pans out, I think the rest of the industry should see this as a wake up call to an important new market segment.

Heterarchy provide interior design services for hotels, bars and restaurants across the UK. More info >

Back to the future…

By | Architectural / Interior Design, Architecture | No Comments

People can be unpredictable. Behaviour, social, cultural and economic circumstances are always changing. Rather than trying to design a utopia that can never exist, is it not better to think of our buildings and spaces as tools, built to evolve and adapt, meeting our needs now and into the future. We think so.

I was recently given a guided tour of a relatively new performing arts building at one of Leicester’s Universities, as part of a project we’re involved in concerning the design of modular, creative spaces.

The facility is impressive – a series of simple, flexible studio and performance spaces, which are used for rehearsals, performances and a multitude of other arts related uses. What seems most effective is their simplicity – essentially square rooms with a variety of adaptable fixtures for lighting, staging, audience layouts (from traditional theatre style to ‘theatre in the round’, with a capacity of up to 120).

Unfortunately, there are also considerable problems with the building, which are preventing it’s occupiers from using it as it was intended. The most notable of these is the poor sound and vibration insulation between the studio spaces (which are stacked one on top of the other in a four storey building). This impact of this is substantial – it’s not possible to use two adjoining spaces at the same time (for performance), meaning the occupants have to carefully plan their usage to avoid the problem. This is a fundamental deficiency, which cannot be rectified easily (if at all). There are other issues – no toilets for the audience; no foyer space for them either; a balcony on the third floor, for the use of students, that is fenced off because it breaks every rule in the ‘don’t give students vertical opportunities’ handbook.

What’s been done about it? Essentially, nothing. As far as I know, the architects have never been back. Perhaps they don’t even know, maybe no-one thought to tell them. However this has come about, something like £5m of public money has been spent on something that simply doesn’t work.

Re-visiting a building or interior once it is occupied should be a statutory requirement. Or, at least, considered standard professional conduct. How else can we learn? With the best will in the world, architects, interior designers and other professional building consultants will never be able to perfectly predict the outcome of their design. From gaining an understanding of how the occupants actually use the spaces, to seeing technically what worked and what didn’t, surely there’s no other way to do this.

It seems obvious to us. Perhaps it’s because most of our clients become friends, I don’t think there’s a single project we’ve completed that we’ve not been back to at least twice since it’s completion. In some instances we’ve worked with our clients for many years following completion, assisting them with the gradual evolution of their spaces as their needs inevitably evolve over time.

Heterarchy provide interior architecture and design services for business, private individuals and religious organisations. For more information contact us >

Flexibility and adaptability – the birth of the modern UK business park

By | Architectural / Interior Design, Architecture, Sustainable Design | No Comments

flexible interior design

We’ve always been interested in interiors and buildings that are flexible and adaptable – changing their use without any substantial or expensive alterations being required. It’s all part of understanding the ‘life-cycle’ of a building. It’s naive to think that when a building or interior is designed and constructed, it will be used exactly as intended for its entire life. Needs change over time, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. Understanding how these changes may affect a building can help a designer to make allowances for them, so that the owner can evolve their business without having to worry too much about the effect it will have on their premises (and their bank balance).

A really great example of simple, flexible building design are units on business parks. These are simple buildings with large volumes which can be adapted to a wide variety of uses. One of the first, and most successful, modern business parks in the UK is Milton Park in Oxford. Property entrepreneurs Ian Laing and Nick Cross purchased the site during the mid 1980’s, which was originally a British military ordnance depot.  Seeing the potential of these huge, simple buildings, and understanding how they could be adapted to almost limitless uses, they transformed the site into a huge mixed use business and science park. It’s amazing to think of some of the ground-breaking innovations that are taking place in what are, basically, huge sheds.

We see these types of building all over the UK now, however it’s nice to think they originated from a way of re-using what were previously considered to be worthless and redundant buildings. There’s a lot to be said for keeping things simple and inexpensive – as we can see, entire industries have been built on such foundations.

Heterarchy provide interior architecture and design services throughout the UK – for more information get in touch>

Image source – StubbsRich ‘less is beautiful‘>

Is our second city coming of age?

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Interior Architecture in Birmingham UK

I spent a morning last week listening to the editor of the Birmingham Post, Alun Thorne, giving his summary of the years events within the construction sector within the city. It was certainly interesting listening, with tales of ups and downs and an optimistic outlook for the next few years.

Biggest successes of recent years include the iconic Selfridges (Future Systems), the Qube (Ken Shuttleworth, MAKE) and Holloway Circus Tower (Ian Simpson Architects) to name a few, all of which have added to the vibrancy and quality of Birmingham. It has to be said that plans have been scaled down somewhat, given the economic situation across the entire of the UK. However, the over-riding feeling was that Birmingham has done enough to position itself firmly as the UK’s second city.

There was some debate about drawing comparisons with Manchester – a city which has always had a strength in self promotion. I suppose it could be said that Manchester has more to shout about from a PR point of view – football, the Commonwealth games, that whole ‘Madchester’ cultural scene which has embedded itself within the phyche of the nation (well at least a particular generation). In comparison to this, is Birmingham seen as the poor relation?

Look at Birmingham with a more objective eye, however, and a different picture emerges. You will see a city that is steadily piecing together a new urban infrastructure, with key elements of the city plan in place, with others shortly on the way. Of less obvious, but equally important benefit to the city, is the fact that the recent Conservative Party conference took place there, with the next one a definite and the one after that a distinct possibility. As Alun Thorne put it, ‘the tories seem to be in love with Birmingham’. This is no bad thing.

In 2012 Birmingham is to elect its City Mayor. Speculation concerning who this should be initiates an interesting conversation. Alun asked the question ‘does Birmingham need its own Boris?’. Whatever you think of the slightly eccentric chap, no-one can deny that in his own unique way he has imprinted a style of leadership and ‘un-pretentiousness’ that endears himself to many and enrages a few. What qualities should Birmingham be looking for in its new figurehead? The obvious names were touted – Karen Brady and Digby Jones to name a couple – however, given that Birmingham has one of the most diverse and vibrant multi-cultural populations in the UK, one can understand these suggestions from the cities commercial and construction sector.

So, is our second city about to come of age? Well, listening to Alun Thorne has persuaded me that it doesn’t really need to. With continual improvements in the quality of the built environment, key regeneration projects and a strong commercial and leisure sector, Birmingham is surely a prime candidate for international inward investment. As interior designers with an active interest in the leisure and hotel sector, we’re pleased it’s right on our doorstep.

Heterarchy provide interior architecture and design services across the UK – for more information get in touch>

Tags: Interior design Birmingham

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre benefits from a co-operative approach to design & construction

By | Architectural / Interior Design, Architecture, Construction expertise | No Comments

RSC theatreI recently attended a fascinating presentation about the soon to open, new Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford Upon Avon. The presentation, by Mace project manager Tim Court, gave an in-depth insight into the £58m construction scheme. As well as being an interesting presentation, showing the ups and downs of one of the West Midlands most iconic and important redevelopment projects, what also stood out was the benefits the project received by employing a more collaborative, co-operative approach to the design and construction.

Led by the RSC client team, Tim Court of Mace described an ethos and philosophy of open-ness and engagement. From tradesmen to specialist contractors, architects and designers to external consultants, everyone was aware how they played their own part in creating the ultimate vision. From regular on-site barbeques, to public open days to show them around the site, a real sense of ownership was instigated through every level of the project participants.

The benefits of this approach were clear – from reducing the amount of on-site damage and material wastage, to creating a construction process that was able to react to changes in design and specification, whilst keeping on track of both costings and programme.

Credit must go to the RSC for promoting such an approach. Immense credit must go to Mace, the main contractors, for delivering an incredible project, on time and below budget despite some 2800 variations over the course of the project. This can-do philosophy seemed to work its way down the production chain, with specialist sub-contractors and individual tradesmen all playing their part to deliver an outstanding result.

For us, this is simply more evidence to support our own ethos.

What does it mean for you? Well, if you’re thinking about investing a considerable amount of money into an interior design, architecture and construction project, you need to know there are ways of going about it that will significantly improve both the process and the end result. A collaborative, co-operative approach will ensure you get what you want, you get what you need, without unnecessary stress or cost over-runs. Find out more about our approach here >

Visit the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre >

Exciting New Lighting by Ingo Maurer

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BangBoom! Zettel'z' by Ingo Maurer, 2010

Inspirational lighting designer, Ingo Maurer has designed a new chandelier.  The design for the light is inspired by artist Roy Lichenstein with 80 printed sheets hanging from a frame of stainless steel wires and lit by halogen bulbs.  The illustrations on the printed sheets are designed by Thilo Rothacker and help in creating a colourful and playful chandelier.  The chandelier is called the BangBoom! Zettel’z and is limited edition design of the BangBoom! Zettel 5 which had the same form but featured, instead of illustrations, sheets covered in love letters.  The original chandelier allowed the owner to contribute to their own interior design by clipping their personal love letters to the chandelier.  Ingo Maurer has been creating inspirational lighting for interior design since 1966, when his first piece the ‘Bulb’ table lamp went on sale.

See this article in full here>

Heterarchy provide contemporary, bespoke lighting design and interior design for any size project. More information on our lighting and interior design services>