Interior Designer Gurtake Singh, of Gensler, took time out from the Mix Design Collective - a three day event featuring design leaders of the future - to talk to us about what being a designer means to him and to explain the concept of New Analogue in workspace design.
Defining zones has always been a passion of mine. From a very early age I drew a lot, painted and coloured. I was diagnosed with dyslexia quite late, but I had already discovered that I could express myself via other means fairly well, utilising the art of drawing, illustration and design which took me down the route to a career in design.
What I really love about working in design is not just the end product but also the journey. So, initially getting together with the client to develop the brief, that client interaction and connection with fellow designers in the team is an exciting time when the design becomes more "real". Once we see the concept evolve into the finished design, we hope it retains the wow factor for everyone and is something we can point our fingers at and say "we did that".
My proudest moment to date from a design perspective, I guess, would be a combination of things. The industry is really allowing me to spread my wings and travel a good deal, as a result of which, I've been able to glean particular aspects from all over the globe which has helped influence me as a designer and provide a more robust oversight to the design work we deliver.
I've also been really happy and proud of the numerous awards we have picked up over the years.
The inspirational part of design right now is a kind of fusion and transition that's currently happening. What I mean by that in particular is there are so many external influences in the workplace, for example, that it isn't the workplace we remember from 20 years ago.
New Analogue means the collaboration and connection of humans without the use of technology. The way we looked at how to incorporate this concept in the environment was to use spaces that would be more reminiscent to the home. Spaces where we can find different areas for people to collaborate together, such as the kitchen and lounge; places you would meet and connect with family and friends. The family room or a central space is also a place you can come together.
Quite often we're tethered to either a laptop, smartphone or tablet and what we've tried to do with this space is recreate personal engagement without the use of technology.
Well, we had a very clear vision in that we wanted to create three different spaces. So what we did was to use materials and finishes to accentuate and delineate those three spaces. We chose the materials to work with the function of the space. So, for example, the kitchen includes more hard surfaces that are easy to clean. The central space is a transitional area that is a little warmer and cosy so we used something similar to wood to provide a homely feel. The lounge area needed to be softer and more sound absorbent - so it's more comfortable underfoot; an area where you can relax and chill.
Well, the three different floor coverings really needed to resonate back to the theme and also how we wanted to separate each of the spaces. For example, the kitchen would require a more robust cleanable material underfoot as would be necessary in a kitchen at home, so we used Marmoleum sheet, which performs well where water is in use. A slightly softer underfoot finish for the lounge; Tessera Clousdcape proved to be a fantastic range for a more relaxed setting. Then finally we have this central transitional space which is a bit of a hybrid of the two so we went for a really lovely Allura Luxury Vinyl Tiles in plank format laid in herringbone style, which has a slightly domestic feel about it.
The 2018 Mix Design Collective was a three-day workplace design event created as part of Mix Week Manchester. It celebrated the best national and international product design. Brought to you by the publishers of Mix Interiors, it provided access to the design leaders of the future whilst being immersed into a series of live working zones, each curated by leading design practices showcasing world class products.