Helen Shelley worked as part of the team who helped to design the Bank of Scotland’s flagship branch in Glasgow, which used a variety of our products and won the ‘Highly Commended’ award in our Forbo Escapes 2019/2020 competition. Here, Helen tells us how she got on during her selected prize, a dressage course at her local stables, Wimbledon Village Stables.
The whole team were overjoyed, it was such a special project to work on and it made winning with Forbo that little bit better. It’s always good to win an award and get recognition in the industry; for everyone; the design team, the contractors, and for the client. Especially as this project was a new chapter for the Bank of Scotland; we gave the space its own personality and character, drawing on the heritage of the bank and the people of Scotland. We also used a variety of solutions from Forbo throughout the bank, including the Allura Flex LVT, Tessera carpet tiles and a bespoke Furniture Linoleum design.
I am an avid and passionate horse rider, but I am very much still learning. When I won the competition, travel was banned due to the pandemic. As such, Forbo said we could choose anything UK based – whether that was something locally based, or a staycation a few hours away. With this in mind, I decided to do something outdoors, healthy and something that supported the local community. Wimbledon Village Stables ticked all the boxes! They also helped me get through the lockdowns, so it was my first thought when deciding what I wanted to do, so it was really great that Forbo embraced this.
The course was informative and great fun! It was set over three mornings, with an early start and a lesson on a horse simulator - this is basically a robot horse and is used by dressage riders to practice and limber up. We then tacked up and prepared the horses for a two-hour dressage lesson in the arena, which was one to one with my instructor – getting this time together is a luxury. Horse-riding is an intense workout and together we were able to address specific details and challenges. The time in the arena is like a workout in the gym, so we followed this with a gentle trot across Wimbledon Common, in the summer sunshine and the shade of the woodland, it was just magical.
I did a level of riding that I never thought I was capable of doing; my instructor Caroline was so encouraging and inspired me technically. She is an incredible instructor, very informative and experienced. So much of riding is about confidence and Caroline helped me to build up my own confidence. Spending the morning with her enabled us to really focus on my riding and make significant improvements, which I could then take forwards to future sessions. The horses were also incredible, they were so kind and keen – being up close with them was wonderful. Also, having this amount of time at the stables is a real luxury especially when one on one with the instructor, a privilege few people have.
I most definitely will! There are key things that Caroline taught me that I have taken away, not just the technical details but also feeling confident that I can do this. It’s been exciting to ride since doing my course and put into action all the different things that I learnt. To be honest, it’s been a bit of a game changer and of course, being so close to such wonderful animals was amazing.
We are working together with our clients to re-think design. Throughout the pandemic we had the opportunity to work with them on what will happen next. For example, what will the store of the future look like? Design has evolved over the last few years, so coming out of the pandemic we are now putting these ideas into practise. It’s an exciting time for commercial interior design, with many ideas that were already in the pipeline being fast forwarded. How we shop, eat out or socialise has all changed and this has to be reflected in the designs we create.