In the latest installment of Icon Minds hosted by Quadrifoglio, experts from a range of practices discuss the changing nature of interior design
At a time when our lifestyles seem to be changing faster than ever before, interior designers and architects are increasingly called to work within existing structures. It is no longer sufficient to specify curtains or a few pieces of furniture, though, as Maria Cheung of Squire & Partners points out, that sometimes does happen. Instead, interior designers go beyond the traditional boundaries of their profession – reimagining their own design process, questioning the constraints of the brief and collaborating with other stakeholders.
In this edition of Icon Minds in partnership with office furniture brand Quadrifoglio in its London showroom, three designers discussed how the profession is evolving and what making spaces now means. Shai Akram, co-founder of multidisciplinary Studio Alt Shift, and Paul Gulati, director of Universal Design Studio, joined Cheung to discuss hybridity in interior design and offer new perspectives on the changing nature of the practice.
Each designer discussed their own work and several projects that represented the concept of hybridity, with the overall event showcasing the blurring lines between spaces and uses.
Talking about Patterns, an events space in Brighton fitted out by Studio Alt Shift, Akram discussed the choice of furniture made and the need for flexibility in how the space functioned. 'It expands and contracts, depending on what's happening within the space,' she explained, also discussing how clients in hospitality have expectations of filling areas for a certain time period, rather than with a simple function such as 'the bar' or 'the performance space'.
The trio also discussed the rise in reuse and refurbishment, something that has risen in profile for its environmental credentials, but also offers an opportunity to transform imposing or impressive buildings in unexpected ways. Gulati discussed Universal Design Studio's work on At Six, a hotel inside a 1970s brutalist former bank in Stockholm. 'It was conceived of as almost an overlay of an art gallery,' he explains, adding that, 'Rather than the artwork being a superimposition at the end, we worked closely with a curator throughout so the architecture was developed in tandem.' Some of the artworks become inspiration for the interior design, with a statue in the space providing inspiration for the stone used for the staircase.
Cheung discussed Squire and Partners' own headquarters in detail, explaining how the building – an old department store described as 'a bit of a dog' – had its own unique charms once they started stripping back the paint and carpet, including revealing the original mahogany floors.
Watch the full discussion to hear more about these projects, as well as further insights on the concept of making spaces:
This article is presented in partnership with Quadrifoglio. See more from the Icon Minds series here