It’s almost Christmas. Soon, the world of architectural merry go round will pause for a few weeks before it will start turning again mid January, in full force. It is the end of another year and despite the very late date, the phone is still ringing with last minute requests. The team is wrapping things up, making sure nothing will get forgotten when we switch the computers off on Friday afternoon and start enjoying the well deserved free time and overindulge on port and cheese.
Last week’s seasonal message from Pierce Taylor, one of the top UK architects, sparked a huge interest and is still the most popular article on Architect’s Journal. A gloriously grumpy Christmas message it is and one that resonates. The uncertainty of Brexit has been casting a huge shadow over the industry for a while and in light of what is happening in the world, it might seem like there is no real significance in what we do. After a few days of pondering about what Christmas means to us, as a business, I feel that all is not all bad in the world and there is plenty to be cheerful about at 299.
Despite the Brexit doom and gloom, the London’s office market is still going strong and could reach £12 billion in 2018, according to Savills. We can also see more enquiries for projects in cities like Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.
With the quality of LED seeing further improvement and subsequently the price coming down, the LED technology is becoming affordable. This is a great news for the end users, as they are now getting a better product for their money. Real people in workplace will benefit from this, as their wellbeing is improving with better lighting.
This year, we have grown the team bigger and stronger, than ever. The business is maturing and the limits to what we are capable off are constantly being pushed. More and more women are joining our team and these young bright women are taking on serious technical roles, designing, managing projects and developing products. As a woman myself, I am very proud to see this happening. We have given more young people work opportunity at 299 than any previous years, which is also something to be cheerful about.
The internal capability of our team is being proven project by project and if I was to choose one word that would describe 2018, it would be CONFIDENCE.
Looking back, we have delivered some great work this year and we have some exciting projects coming up in the coming year.
So, what has the 2018 been all about?
We are starting off 2018 with a healthy sized project at ONS Titchfield. It follows on the success of the Data Science Hub in Newport, completed in 2017. The project is using Casambi wireless system and is also the first substantial project using Tunable white technology. The design team is also getting stuck into a large-ish Cat A refurbishment in Milton Keynes, Wentworth House. An impressive 17 design revisions have been produced, making sure the two consultants signing the project off are happy.
We rolled up our sleeves and delivered a fantastic scheme for a leading garden room specialist, Green Retreats. Unique, playful and contemporary was the brief for their new funky showroom in Aylesbury. We literally started off with a hand sketch and delivered made to measure architectural luminaires in geometrical shapes.
Time was of the essence and our team proved that they can deliver a unique and creative scheme even when a deadline is looming.
The pilgrimage time! Every two years, we make the journey to the world’s biggest lighting show in Frankfurt. Parked up just before the snow took over the city and equipped with good flat shoes, we endured a tough 3 days in search for inspiration and trends for the coming years. It was slightly trickier than last time, with a busy toddler pulling things and running away when meetings started to get ‘boring’. The new Dialux Evo.8 was launched at the show and we are there to put our hands on the code amongst the first lighting designers.
The team, meanwhile is working their magic on the fancy cycling studio First Light. Approached by the client with a very cool concept, we are turning it into reality, supporting both the fitout and the electrical contractor in the process. The uber cool cycling studio was opened later on in the year and we are yet to put a case study together. The architectural lighting not only mimics the First Light logo, but also features one large continuous system tracing the shapes of the building and guiding you through the space. The system is totalling to whopping 32m length!
Time to roll up the sleeves, again! We are starting the work on the biggest project our team has ever been involved in. The imposing 10 storey building in Holborn is being transformed into a super cool co-working space and we are a part of it! Complex and with a tight deadline, the project is starting to take shape. We lost count of the design hours spent and biscuits eaten in the process, and the name LABS is one we will keep hearing in the office for many months to come. The project is a real confidence booster and we have proven to ourselves, and hopefully to potential clients (and competitors) what we are capable of.
Approached directly by Steers McGillan Eves, a trendy design company in Bath, we embark on a creative adventure of coming up with a fun lighting scheme for their new studio. Their new workspace is oozing with contemporary coolness and we are happy to be given a free hand and deliver something playful and unique. We also have to admit, that for the first time, we are having a serious office envy. This is the sort of work we love!
Watch out for the case study next year.
Just before the holiday season starts, the team is immersed in a high-end Cat B for a telecoms company Aerial Direct. Time schedule is tight and we are trusted with the whole project, delivering an exciting scheme taking inspiration from high end hotels and steering away from the classic office design. It is also the first substantial project using the multi-optics downlight FOSS. The project turned out to be a great fun and the photographs speak for themselves.
The Beecroft Building is finally ending completion. Fuelled by the ambition of becoming the most advanced department of physics in the world, the £42 million development at Oxford University is one of the most prestigious projects we have ever worked on. The team is super excited to finally see the pictures of the project they have started working on back in 2015. This is definitely one of the ups of the 2018.
When it feels like no other project can match the Beecroft Building, we embark on another adventure. The design team is working on a scheme for a leading UK manufacturer. Their new office is featuring made to measure hexagon shaped luminaires. It’s a fast moving project and a fantastic looking scheme. Watch out for the case study next year!
We are starting work on a healthy size Cat A fit out for the iconic Metal Box Factory in SE1. Three large interconnected 1950’s printing works building, collectively known as Metal Box Factory, have been redeveloped and extended for Workspace in 2016. The lighting for the recent Cat A fit out was installed before the end of the year. Expect a case study early next year.
We are joining the BIM revolution! The majority of our products is now supported with BIM files, which is a great news. We are also finishing work on the office area forArsenal F.C. in this month. More on this project next year!
Another bespoke project! We seem to be on a roll with made to measure and bespoke fittings this year. Approached directly by the client, we delivered soft edge square luminaires to fit the potted ceilings in the reception area of the spectacular Glen House in Hammersmith. Located in the proximity of Hammersmith station, Glen House is a contemporary Cat A fit out that is currently in the process of refurbishment. Lighting for the reception area and office floors will be delivered in January 2019 and we can’t wait to see the results! Watch out for the case study next year.
We launched the new industrial style office luminaire, Arno. With its tubular body, it offers a visually interesting alternative to linear profiles. First of its kind, the Arno is a performance driven luminaire with a raw and industrial look. Used as a single task lighting or a continuous linear profile, it offers a wide range of use. Things get even better, as the wide selection of optics includes a black opal diffuser! It’s been out only for a short time, but it is already specified on several projects, so if you are after the next cool thing, this tubular profile is one not to miss!
It’s been a good, healthy year. Full of interesting projects keeping our design hungry minds occupied. There is some exciting work on the horizon for 2019, with wireless controls and more made-to-measure luminaires. There will be some new products coming …...and the biggest project to date in Bristol is in bag!!
We would like to say huge thank you to the whole team and our suppliers. And even the competitors for keeping us on our toes.
Here is to the "full hopper" in 2019!!