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Talking Points

Surface Design Show 2024

21 Sep 2022

MEET THE JUDGES - KRISTOFER ADELEIDE, NIMI ATTANAYAKE, CHRISTOPHER LAING AND FIONA MACDONALD

MEET THE JUDGES - KRISTOFER ADELEIDE, NIMI ATTANAYAKE, CHRISTOPHER LAING AND FIONA MACDONALD

Welcome to our ‘Meet the Judges’ series! This is a 3-part series where we talk to every one of our judges to get an insight into what their take is on the hugely anticipated, Surface Design Awards 2023. 

Next, from our exciting line-up of judges, we hear from; Kristofer Adeleide of KA-A, Nimi Attanayake of NimTim, Christopher Laing of Haworth Tompkins and Fiona MacDonald of Design Museum.  

We are delighted to have Kristofer, Nimi, Christopher and Fiona on this year’s panel and look forward to working with them to bring #SDA23 to life. 

To enter Surface Design Awards, please click the following link:
https://www.bespokeentries.co.uk/surface-design-awards-dashboard/

 

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Kristofer Adelaide
 

What are you looking forward to most being part of the Surface Design Awards judging panel?

What a fantastic group of people to be around! Also, to see greatest potential new surface products, building using innovative products etc. It will be fascinating.

What are you personally looking for in terms of entries?

I’d like to see sustainable design, use of products that will see the test of time and become global!! Entries that help the world to tackle climate issues or help a set of people in the world – I want to see that the products will be of good use!

 What advice would you give to those looking to submit a successful award?

 Think big! Think Smart! Think Sustainable! Think the Future of product!

 Why are awards so important to architects and designers?

 New products- always found at the awards.

 What are some emerging trends in materials you’ve noticed?

 Seaweed!!! Basically, Bio stuff!!

 Sustainability is once again a leading criteria for every project, can you talk about your work on the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge and Architects Declare?

We fully support 2030 RIBA initiative – Fabric of building will be so important – So if we can get designers to be fully aware of how what they do impacts our environment, we will have a more beautiful world.

 As the theme of the Surface Design Show 2023 is ‘shaping communities’, can you describe a project that KA-A has been involved in that has a strong community focus?

 KA-A are actively partaking in initiatives that focus on the future of architects. Starting from going into schools and doing workshops to attending events to inspire the next generation. Whilst also aiming to showcase architecture as a diverse and impactful career for all.

 

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Nimi Attanayake
 

What are you looking forward to most being part of the Surface Design Awards judging panel?

Being able to see new and exciting materials - learn about their unique properties and how these have enhanced the projects. I am also keen to see innovative uses of new and existing materials. 

What are you personally looking for in terms of entries?

As the climate emergency becomes ever more pressing and urgent, I believe sustainability should be at the forefront of all future design with more natural, recyclable, and sustainable materials being specified and a greater emphasis on re-use and adaptation. I would like to see entries that have an ambition to create better quality for our health: both physical and mental well-being. A greater focus on the garden and our relationship with nature with more collaborative approaches to design. I am keen to see projects that have a spirit of playful adventure as well as those which celebrate diversity and difference. 

What advice would you give to those looking to submit a successful award? 

The narrative of the project is important and should be explained to understand why certain design decisions have been made. Showing that the project meets the current and future needs of the user / client. 

Why are awards so important to architects and designers?

It is useful to see what is happening within the built environment and amongst our peers. Awards are a good showcase of the most outstanding projects and design as well as the influential people behind it. 

What are some emerging trends in materials you’ve noticed? 

More of our clients are becoming aware of unconventional low-carbon materials such as hempcrete. We are also seeing more use of recyclable materials, such as polycarbonate, which reduces the wastage from the construction industry. At our Cork House project we proposed cork for the new extension cladding - a material that had a pattern and texture which would complement the existing London Stock brickwork. It is a sustainable material, naturally water resistant, recyclable and will weather to a silver-grey colour over time. It has inherent insulating properties which meant we did not require any additional insulation on the external walls. Cork not only ticks all the boxes when it comes to thermal and acoustic performance but is also breathable, free from chemicals, synthetic resins and carcinogenic materials and creates a healthy environment inside the house. We are seeing more acceptance of these unconventional materials from our residential clients, the local authorities, and developers.

Sustainability is once again a leading criteria for every project, what’s your experience of successfully delivering sustainable solutions in what you do? 

The question of how to create a sustainable project is always at the forefront of our thinking. Central to our approach is a belief that the most sustainable type of project is one that can endure for many years without the need for redevelopment or demolition. Given that on residential projects, over half of the building’s whole-life carbon is emitted during its construction (RICS), making projects that are a specific response to client requirements is at the core of our approach. We spend lots of time discussing and developing the brief with clients - understanding how they live and how they might live in the future. This allows us to create responses that are unique to them, ensuring the house can suit their needs for longer.

As the theme of the Surface Design Show 2023 is ‘shaping communities’ can you describe a project that NimTim has been involved with that has engendered a sense of community? 

We recently won a RIBA / Create Competition to design a set of three new public squares that will transform some neglected ‘corner plots’ on the Becontree Estate, into places for people to meet, rest, grow and play. These groups of corner plots have strong geometrical presence: one is square in shape, one round, and one triangular. The public squares will be the first of their kind on the Becontree Estate, creating a space that is in-part wild, intimate and social. Residents are invited to enter them and to take ownership of them. The designs borrow from the existing geometries, colours and materials within the estate. We collaborated with artist Katie Schwab, whose work on crafted interiors and textiles on the estate will inform our locally sourced material palette and the domestic, welcoming scale of these new spaces. As part of the project, we have held a number of engagement workshops with local schools, residents and groups. The project is hopefully going on site later this year. More can be found about the project here: 

https://www.ribaj.com/culture/becontree-housing-estate-nimtim-architects-corner-plots-green-infrastucture

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/mar/01/becontree-centenary-residents-mark-century-of-london-estate

 

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Christopher Laing
 

 What are you looking forward to most being part of the Surface Design Awards judging panel?

Judging the entries in each category with an esteemed team of panellists and sharing our preferences - to find the most suitable materials!

What are you personally looking for in terms of entries?

I look forward to judging entries that take into account sustainability when choosing materials. 

What advice would you give to those looking to submit a successful award?

Make innovative choices linked to our changing environments; specifically what materials should be used for buildings, so they are protected by the changing weather elements and climate change. 

Why are awards so important to architects and designers?

The choices we make as architects and designers will shape the future of our buildings and how we experience spaces, materials will be key to this, the awards showcase the best of current practice, highlighting innovators who want to protect our buildings and create experiences.

 What are some emerging trends in materials you’ve noticed?

The use of straw- bales with clay is the start of a new beginning with how we construct walls - clay is a low embodied carbon material.

Sustainability is once again a leading criteria for every project, what’s your experience of successfully delivering sustainable solutions in what you do?

Kingston University Agile Workspace is such an example, as a studio we had to take into consideration all the aims relating to sustainability and was awarded the SKA Gold rating

https://www.haworthtompkins.com/studio/regenerative-design/ska-gold-rating-awarded-to-kingston-universitys-agile-workspace

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Project: SKA Gold Rating awarded to Kingston University's Agile Workspace - Haworth Tompkins

Achieving a good level of airtightness is a cornerstone of the Passive House standard requirements, and as we’re undertaking an increasing number of these projects, we’re increasing our knowledge and skills by having regular training and CPDs.

www.haworthtompkins.com


As the theme of the Surface Design Show 2023 is ‘shaping communities’ can you describe a project that Haworth Tompkins has been involved in that incorporates sustainability? 

 The studio continues to explore and question the precedents set by the use of certain materials in the built environment and how we can better adapt practice towards sustainability and with a low carbon focus, this can involve hands-on experimentation and collaboration, for instance volunteering with Citizen’s design bureau.

 

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Fiona MacDonald
 

What are you looking forward to most being part of the Surface Design Awards judging panel?

Being surprised! 

What are you personally looking for in terms of entries?

Ideas that move design's relevance and urgency to climate change beyond the tokenistic to the genuinely joined-up, applicable and ground-breaking. I'm also of course hoping for entries which demonstrate a full engagement process with end users, from briefing through to testing - and possibly even some rigorous co-design.

What advice would you give to those looking to submit a successful award?

It's always lovely to hear the full story behind any design, particularly if it is personal.

Why are awards so important to architects and designers?

Often the best designs are not about making profit for the designer - quite the opposite. They are about improving people's lives for the better. Awards take that recognition from just the end users to a much wider range of people. That is hugely important to small practices, especially emerging ones who are still building their market.

What are some emerging trends in materials you’ve noticed?

Beyond a terrifying increase in price?? (Sorry, but it's true and this will have huge ramifications, hopefully encouraging more re-use and recycling, but also driving even greater innovation.) It's been incredible to see the development in mycelium use in the last few years. I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of new materials.

Sustainability is once again a leading criteria for every project, how did sustainability come into your role at The Design Museum (or maybe the Design Museum’s general approach to sustainability)?

I was privileged to be at the Design Museum when we launched Waste Age in autumn 2021. Such a fundamental exhibition sent ripples across our wider programming and led to the development of a popular schools' workshop programme exploring new materials and processes that aim to design-out waste. It's heartening to see how many schools are signing up. 

As the theme of the Surface Design Show 2023 is ‘shaping communities’ can you describe a project that you have worked that incorporates a sense of community - maybe in your Design Museum work or your work as Matt+Fiona?

I'm proud to say I'm not sure I know of a single MATT+FIONA project that doesn't have community at its heart. Every project is about empowering young people to make positive change in their neighbourhood. It's hard to pick a favourite but a couple that continue to resonate: Made in Oakfield is a den and outdoor classroom built by a group of young people excluded from mainstream school on an allotment in Hull, and the Phoenix School playground structure, made by young people with autism, moving to a new school site as a point of familiarity. Not only do young people understand their needs best, but often they tend to drive great inclusivity and equity which is always inspiring and heartening and gives me hope for the future.

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