CoLAB Project: 2017

To finalise the end of a successful academic year, we will be working in groups of 5 for two weeks to prepare for an exhibition on May 9th. The groups are a mixture of first and second year students, collaborating together is important as this is what would be expected of us professionally and as designers often all projects are done as a group.

The focus is on Fitzalan Square, Sheffield, which is where our interior design studio is situated. Currently, the council is putting forward plans to completely change the square in order to deal with the anti-social behaviour problems which have been occurring in the square for many years.

Map showing location of Fitzalan Square, Sheffield
Some of the existing shops located on Fitzalan Square. The large number of betting shops may be a part of the reason for anti-social behaviour
Panoramic View of the Square

Through researching the square and finding out what other people think of the square and how they would like to see it improved, our group will come up with a proposal for the development of Fitzalan Square. The new proposal will be showcased at the end of year interior design exhibition through a large graphical poster.

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The images above show a survey our group decided to do of the people who work in the companies around Fitzalan Square. We asked companies such as Bingo, William Hill and Cooplands what they think the current issues are with the area.

Through this primary research it was clear to see what had to change with the Square. Within our Proposal for Fitzalan Square there will be:

  • New shops replacing the current shops, bringing in a wider variety of people and making the area safer for students and the public
  • The shops will include: Pret-A-Manger; Tesco; Costa Coffee; Nourish; Revolution; Wasabi; Deli; Jessops; W.H.Smith.
  • A large area of greenery will be implemented in the square creating a tranquil, fun area where people can eat and relax
  • Seating and sheltered areas
  • Removing one of the roads through the square to create a larger seating area
  • An interactive screen where people can; watch the recent news; locate other destinations; find out about local events.

To demonstrate our proposed ideas we were asked to create a quick poster exploring the history, current condition of the site, and inspiring images.


Landmarks: The Sensory Garden

What is a sensory garden?

Sensory Gardens, also known as healing gardens, are user friendly and encourage the users to touch, taste, admire and listen. Creating a sensory garden is an exciting and worthwhile project that provides limitless opportunities to teach and exercise horticultural healing therapy techniques.

The sensory garden being re-designed for Landmarks must be designed specifically for the user. Details such as materials, plant types, and layout are extremely important here as the students could be easily affected by just the smallest design error. It is important that the garden is easy for the user to move through and also that it is a safe area for the individuals to be in.


The Sensory Garden Currently

A Sensory garden should satisfy all senses, as well as having a variety of different coloured plants and textures. As you can see the ‘sensory’ garden is really just a basic area of land, with a bench, trees and football nets, something which you would see in a normal college/school. However the individuals in which we are designing the space for have much more complicated and specific needs therefor good, well thought out design is vital here.

Landmarks Specialist College: Design Project

Landmarks is a specialist college for people with learning difficulties and disabilities, located in Eckington, Sheffield. The college offers a variety of educational programmes for the students. The building was bought 3 years ago and converted into a college, however the interior layout hasn’t been specially/specifically designed to cater for people with disabilities and learning difficulties.

The college is located in a idyllic setting surrounded by greenery and a picturesque landscape, creating a tranquil environment for both the staff and students here.


After visiting the site, the staff made us aware of the current problems with the building and it was also clear to see for myself what the issues were which the staff wouldn’t so much notice not being designers.

Firstly, the space is too warm which is a problem which may affect the concentration of the students and may cause them to become frustrated and stressed. This it because the windows cannot be opened however the staff stated that there was air conditioning, but it didn’t seem very effective at this time.


There is only 1 disabled toilet which is quite small and wouldn’t be practical if a student in a wheelchair was trying to wheel in and out of the toilet. This is definitely one of the biggest problems as this could also be a safety hazard.



The corridor leading through the ground floor of the building is quite narrow, and the dark purple and blue walls are quite dim and unappealing. The purple and blue  colour scheme could still be implemented in the refurbishment but in a different way which opens the space up and makes it seem less enclosed.

The mixture of such contrasting colours could confuse the students.

The teachers at the college said that the sensory room was full of equipment with a value of 26,000. It wasn’t said how often the room was used or in fact how effective it was, but I believe the room could definitely be improved at a small cost.

The sensory garden is a large outdoor space for the students, here they can enjoy some fresh air, grow vegetables in the green house and play football. There are no other pieces of equipment in the garden which was unusual, as I think the garden could be a great breakout space and if designed effectively could really stimulate the brains of the students and also influence social activity between the students which is very important.


Becoming a Designer: Personal Branding

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Now that we are in our second year of the interior design course, it is time to think about getting ready to take those big steps into becoming a true designer. It isn’t just about creating great work anymore, we need to think with out business heads and start creating a brand for ourselves!

“Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization.Personal branding often involves the application of one’s name to various products.”


Take real estate mogul turned president of the United States Donald Trump for example. If we see the world trump on any airline, casino etc. we instantly get an image of Donald Trump in our heads. He has decided to use his last name in capital letters for his branding, which targets an older perhaps richer crowd.

When creating a brand for ourselves, we must first determine what our profession is and what type of business we are wanting to succeed in. In my case this would be interior design, so my brand would be expected to reflect my design approach. I.e, if I design childrens’ play areas and nurseries, my branding would be younger and perhaps more colourful. If my designs were for luxury bars and restaurants, I would change my branding to attract an older crowd through the use of different fonts, colours etc.

My Current Retail Project: The Birds and The Bees

After much sketchbook planning, exploration, inspiration and ideation, I have decided to now name my retail ‘The Birds and The Bees’ with inspiration from the hard working bumble bee. The name was inspired by the saying ‘the birds and the bees’ which relates to the talk which parents give to their children about their body parts and growing up. I felt this was a relevant name to give to my retail as it will be a space where customers (mainly mothers) will come and meet and discuss their feelings with each other and take part in different activities. Not only this, but the products sold within my retail will all be honey based as this is a natural, readily available product which is very popular when used within skincare products and foods.


Initially my store was going to retail baby and women’s clothes as explained within my blog post ‘Bambino Piccolo’ but after much inspiration and research into a retail which is truly different, I decided my USP would be selling honey based and inspired products.

The sector which my retail fits into is Health foods, and skincare products. Similar retailers in this sector include Holland and Barrett and Burt’s Bees. It was interesting to find out that Burt’s Bees have a mother and baby skincare range which influenced my project proposal even more.

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The Meeting Area

The meeting area idea came around after speaking about my project idea with a tutor. I had decided on what products I would sell, and how I would implement the ‘honey’ theme within my design, however he was interested to see what else could make my retail different. It is important to give customers a reason to come back and treat the store as a ‘Third Space,’ this is hard to achieve without understanding experiential retail. After studying experiential retail for 1 month, it was clear to see what I could do to get my customers to revisit my store.

Creating the meeting area for my target market of new mothers felt like a necessary and clever implementation for my project. New mothers usually suffer with feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness once having their new baby and adapting to their new lives. Through research and Facebook surveys it was interesting to find out how little support there is for mothers with these feelings, therefor I deemed it only right to bring this new meeting space to Sheffield. (Post natal depression in women is something I will discuss deeper in a following blog post).

Example of a mothers meeting group

Now the hardest part of the design process has been overcome, the product and the purpose, it is now time to get into some technical drawing and floor plan designs to make this idea a reality.

Navigate to my following blog post which explores how I wish to incorporate the ‘Honey’ theme within my design.

“For Inspiration Only”

This post is inspired by a presentation given today in the design studio by lecturer Gihan. It was a light lecture just focusing on projects and existing buildings which may inspire us within our current projects or just as out thoughts as designers.

First we looked at Archigram

Archigram was an Avant-garde architectural group which came around in the 1960’s in London. The group was neofuturistic, anti-heroic and pre-consumerist movement, drawing inspiration from technology to create a new reality which was completely hypothetical.

main members of the group include  Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton, Michael Webb and David Greene.

  • Cedric Price – Interaction centre, Kentish Town
  • Sou Fujimoto – final wooden house – Milan 2016 “only light”
  • Diller & Sofido – The blur building – The art of scent 1889 – 2012
  • The cineroleum- petrol station into a cinema
  • Tree hotel in Harads
  • Sleepbox: Dubai Airport
  • The suitcase house
  • Steven Hall

Project Proposal: Bambino Piccolo

Bambino Piccolo is a new fashion and home furnishing retailer located on 22 and 24 Chapel Walk, Sheffield. Bambino Piccolo focuses on mothers with babies, expecting mothers, and mothers with children up to 6 years old. My ideal mother will be middle/working class and aged around 28+ years as the product materials, quality and pricing will be the most appropriate for this target market.

The idea was founded as a twist to Victorias’ Secret. Whilst working here I noticed that mothers with young children felt slightly embarrassed whilst discussing their bra sizes and trying to manoeuvre through the store with pushchairs whilst young girls spritzed perfume everywhere.

Victorias Secret promotes confidence in women, and presumes women shouldn’t be embarrassed when talking about bra sizes etc. However, I noticed that many women especially new mothers, are not comfortable in that environment. This is due to the bright colours and the way in which VS sales associates approach the women. Image: (Retail design blog, 2014)

Mothers want a calm, relaxing environment especially when shopping with young children. In the day time mothers and babies spend a lot of time together, and after becoming a mother, women need new loungewear/lingerie to accommodate their probably, new figures, as well as baby clothes and accessories.

ByPias is a fashion and home wear brand with retailers in Norway and the Netherlands. This will be the mood of Bambino Piccolo, I have been inspired by the relaxing colours and the juxtaposition of clothes and furniture, designed in a way to look like somebodies home. Image: (Retail design blog, 2016)

Not only am i designing a retail space, but after researching postnatal depression and isolation within new mothers I have decided to make my retail a hybrid space. Bambino Piccolo will also sit as a meeting and activity centre for mothers, our women can chat and eat with our employees and other new mothers to lower the feelings of isolation after adjusting to their new lives.

To implement this within my design, I will ensure there are relevant seating and eating areas within my retail space whilst also ensuring the integration of products is also at the forefront of the design planning.

I will also look into the psychology of colours, scents and sounds, to influence my design process and meet the needs of my target market.

My Space: Chapel Walk

After visiting the three sites I have decided that 22 and 24 Chapel Walk will be the ideal spaces for my project proposal which I will talk about in more detail within my next blog post.

Throughout this post I will be researching my site, including the history and current stores located along Chapel Walk and how this has ultimately affected my project proposal decision.

Google (2016)

From studying the map above, it is obvious to see how much of a popular route Chapel Walk is as it connects major destinations. People travelling between Norfolk Street and Fargate will tend to use Chapel Walk to commute between the two as it is a historical, exciting route to use opposed to Norfolk Row, Mulberry Street etc. Chapel Walk is the main route used to access to popular tourist attractions including:

  • The Lyceum 
  • Sheffield Library Theatre
  • Crucible Theatre
  • Ponds Forge
  • Graves Gallery

It is clear to see why Chapel Walk is the best site to locate any business as it is bound to be noticed by thousands of people every day. I will later be conducting a study of exactly how much footfall hits Chapel Walk between different times to see exactly how popular the route is, the gender ratio, and the most popular times.

Chapel Walk


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