Introducing the creative minds behind the UK’s leading office design company.
Having designed and built over 14 million sq ft of office space, we’ve transformed the working lives of nearly 200,000 people. But we couldn’t do what we do without the 170 people who make up our teams.
Nic Pryke, our Creative Director, interviewed our Design Directors to find out more about the way they work. We create spaces that inspire people to do amazing things: here is a look at some of the amazing people who make that possible.
Originally from Kent, Ian has worked in design and build for the last 20 years, travelling the world for projects in Europe and the US. From day trips in Madrid to fit outs in New York, “it’s served me well, it’s been really exciting,” says the Design Director of his chosen industry.
Ian firmly believes in learning by doing. “I got taught loads when I started out,” he recalls, “and I try to give that back now. I love to help people; I think it’s really important. I feel a justice in doing that.”
When he’s not designing or mentoring, Ian plays bass guitar – another skill that brought him to the East Coast of America. “I’ve got an old Warwick Streamer bass guitar signed by Stuart Zender. I played it in New York years ago: it’s worn-in,” he says.
Q: What was the moment you knew you wanted to be a designer?
A: I wanted to get into car design and I started just drawing cars when I was a kid. I was 5 or 6 years old; I’d have my toy cars and I’d try to draw them in 2D and 3D. I think that’s why I like doing what we do now.
When you want to be a designer, part of you also wants to build things and make stuff. I used to build things in the shed with my dad. He’d make furniture out of wooden pallets and it would look amazing. My dad got me into making things and using my hands to do stuff. I was brought up with Tamiya radio-controlled model kits; that also has a lot to answer for! It never crossed my mind to be anything corporate, it was always to design and make stuff.
Q: What makes an environment creative?
A: For me, that is a variety of different work settings, colour, texture, good lighting and I think music as well.
Q: What can’t you work without?
A: My To-Do list, my awesome teammates, caffeine, jazz-funk, my sit/stand desk and my glasses.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: My greatest achievement is probably being a dad, being a parent. That’s got to be my greatest achievement – becoming a good dad to our little girl. Doing well at work, having a good job at a great company, it’s great but, at the end of the day, happiness and wellbeing outside of work is key to a successful life personally and professionally.
Q: Where is your favourite place in the world?
A: My favourite place in the world is probably my garden, mowing stripes on a summer’s day. I love being outdoors – whether it’s on my road bike in the Alps or being down on the south coast with my family.
Q: Tell us about what is on your desk.
A: I have very little on my desk, I don’t like mess. I like my two screens to be perfectly aligned, centred on my desk. I’ve got a small desk fan, I’ve got a new ergonomic gaming mouse which is really comfortable but has more buttons than I need. I usually have a Pret coffee, my phone and my notebook: that is it. That’s all I have. My brain gets distracted with clutter.