I've been fortunate to help local company Kings Colleges with the design of their college buildings for many years. It's such a lovely team of passionate and creative people there. I've worked on most of their UK buildings and helped to create a template to apply to their buildings globally. A few years ago we completed Kings Brighton. It's a building that's near to where I live and next to the Level - so lots of green space nearby for students and staff to enjoy.
This building achieved the BREEAM sustainable building rating of EXCELLENT. So this included specifications that were lower impact, there's a living roof, living wall, cycle parking.
I know about sustainability and GUESS WHAT.....I would have loved to have done SO MUCH MORE.
This project very much spurred me on to work harder to provide sustainable specifications for my clients - drawing on all that I learnt during my excellent education in working in sustainability for The Body Shop's HQ early in my career. Although I thought I was working with vegan and sustainable specifications - found I had drifted into the mainstream of unconsciously sourced and specified materials and WASTE! This project completely woke me up to that and what more I could do in my role of designer.
SO WHAT DID I DO?
I took time out to study more to bump up my knowledge.
I completed courses on vegan design, human centred design and sustainability. I'm currently nearly at the end of another course on using healthier materials.
Clients want to make BETTER choices and want to be guided on lower impact specifications. They just don't know what to look out for or even what all the issues are. I feel it's my duty as a designer to guide them.
So my learning is not going to stop and I'm working hard to influence fellow designers via INTERIOR DESIGN DECLARES and the BRITISH INSTITUTE OF INTERIOR DESIGN as well.
Here's a short video about Kings Brighton - complete with a look around the building.
So this is our family story I touched on recently. My mum had discovered the newly opened Body Shop in Brighton’s North Laine. My Grandparents and Uncle lived miles away in Nottingham.
These were the early days when the labels for products were handwritten.
My lovely Uncle Rob (who is just about to be 80 by the way!) had visited us for a holiday and my Mum sent some Body Shop goodies back with him for Gran to try, One of the goodies was a pot of Carrot Cream.
Rob couldn’t understand why Gran had left the black pot of cream on the hall table for him to take home. She thought it said Car Rot Cream! Rob is massively into doing up cars. She saw it was from the Body Shop and thought it was a car body repair place. The handwriting was a bit wobbly.
I love this photo of Anita Roddick. Growing up in Brighton in the 1970s at the time this first special shop opened here - me and my friends knew The Body Shop so well! It was where got your ears pierced -or not - if you like me you weren’t allowed! For me it was where I choose the next colourful sticker for my collection from a reel on the cash desk, while my Mum bought 'car-rot' cream for my Gran (family joke!) or had a potion refilled.
I would spend my pocket money there. I bought soap for my soap collection (will tell you about that another day!). Then had gift baskets made up there as I got older ....and I started to engage with the company’s values - especially Against Animal Testing.
When I returned to Brighton after university - it was the recession of the early 90s. I had a bumpy start and was made redundant from my first ‘proper’ job. So in desperation, I hand wrote a letter to Anita. I remember it well. I asked if they might need the help of a 3D designer in their head office (just along the coast in Littlehampton). At that time Brighton was not the place to get furniture or interior design work. Then it was all about finance, insurance and tourism. Well I got a reply! ...and I promptly headed up to their London office in Great Titchfied Street to beginning helping designer Daisy Cresswell with some small merchandising projects.
That lucky break lead to a wonderful 10 years of working on projects in lots of countries - and working with MANY other inspiring Anita fans. I even worked for their Australia and New Zealand head office for the best part of a year. It was fantastic!
I’m telling you this because ethics and business have been what I have grown up with and I had my sustainable design grounding in - all learnt while working for this pioneering company. It is very much in the DNA of my own company now and I am very proud to continue Anita's way of being a business into my own.
I'm keen to share what I've been fortunate to learn from Anita Roddick and her wonderful, ethical company. I love helping people with Anita’s entrepreneurial spirit to help their visions become a reality. Being a designer with commercial experience means you are working on more than an interior aesthetic. It requires areas of theatre, a customer journey, branding, robust and long lasting finishes... lots of challenges. It influences how I work on all projects - including homes.
If you'd like help with an interior design specification that is compassionate and low impact - then book a free Discovery Call here.
Animal, human and planet friendly interior design services for businesses and homes, by award-winning designer Chloe Bullock.
Online services - anywhere! In person: Brighton, Sussex, Surrey, Kent, London, South East England. Book a FREE Discovery Call 07799 534685.