Retail / Furniture Designer

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Transforming a local store - Weekly review 6

Last weeks review was a little later, but once again we've had another bank holiday which means a busy week at work completing everything as well as covering Mondays tasks. Some exciting stuff has been going on in the office recently, even if we are a little quiet, so I'll get straight into it.

Peerless

As I explained briefly last week, primarily the way that we work at Peerless is to receive large tenders which we then either produce using our trusted network of manufacturers or select a suitable product from our range. It's not uncommon that we deal with retailers, infact a large proportion of our work comes from major retailers, but on the very rare occasion, there are times when an independent store may approach us to deal with their fitout. Typically independent stores are being operated by those with less shopfitting / fit-out knowledge and more sales and product expertise. Now this isn't strictly true for all of course. Every now and then it is really nice to change up the daily routine and be able to produce some concept interior work. Projects like this definitely offer me a little more artistic license, so it's great to be able to explore what I'm capable of in that area and really see a project through from start to finish.

We were approached by a local team who are looking to transform their leather and shoemaker connections into a flourishing business within our home town. Of course we were delighted to begin helping. First things first and initial meeting with the sales team which I caught the back end of. This essentially involves talking through ideas, budgets, time scales, exploring previous projects and generally getting a feel for the clients ideal final outcome. This meeting was a little different, as the clients have never opened a store before, we talked them through the basics. After putting them into contact with a shopfitter who has experience installing our systems; a couple of days later we headed to a complete a site visit.

Some photos taken by myself on site visit

Generally site visits are completed by the sales team, and they'll bring back a one page A4 rough plan which I will then plot out in Autocad (not the most high-tech solution I know, sometimes it just works) but this time it was useful for myself to go along as we're dealing with the client directly. A site visit from our point of view involves a general sweep of the buildings state ensuring it is in a suitable condition, measuring all walls, ceilings and skirting, and noting any telephone points, power sockets or sensors.

The project is currently still in the very early stages and I'll be able to post some more updates as soon as I get something substantial going, so hopefully there will be week-by-week updates.

We've also introduced new weekly product development meetings whereby representatives from the design, sales and production teams block out 30-45 mins every Monday afternoon to sit down with our Managing Director and talk ideas. This was originally proposed by one our Owners and it's working really well so far. The first few were about ensuring things were running smoothly (exhibition and new fabric wall system) but now we're really starting to talk about innovating and that's exciting.

Personal

With it being quite a busy week, I have yet to finalise the 3D print that I featured last week but with a bank holiday monday, that will get completed in the early part of next week so be sure to check my Instagram for updates. I'm also aiming to turn my small bedroom into more of an office space so expect to see developments / designs and organisation there. 

This week was of course Clerkenwell Design week. The annual design gathering, hosted in arguably the countries hotbed for creative activity, Clerkenwell, presents an eclectic mix of design disciplines. There are designated areas for talks and exhibitions, studios and showrooms open their doors to host events and generally the atmosphere in the area is alight with the design buzz. I had planned to go on the Wednesday but in the end didn't manage to make any of the days, luckily Dezeen and many other creative outlets provided coverage of the best bits on social media channels.

A post shared by Dezeen (@dezeen) on

Alongside updating my website (here if you are reading this on medium), I'm putting together a portfolio of work. I don't really think this is necessarily the best way to understand a designers ability and I actually find it really difficult to convey what it is I am good at, not to mention the fact some of the biggest projects I've been involved in of late are still undisclosed. Portfolios genuinely consist of your best work and demonstrating your ability to take a problem from idea to concept to completion. The frustration for me, when presenting your portfolio to a prospective employer for example is the lack of constructive criticism, it's really hard to improve without peer assessments. I understand people are busy, but I think the whole creative employment situation is flawed. If I was a prospective employer, personally, I'd like to see a brief outline of the person (A CV, email, covering letter etc), then if I feel they'd suit, invite them in to then talk about their skills, past experience and portfolio. This is I guess, why people say your portfolio should speak for itself!

If there are any designers currently looking for a peer review / would be happy to critique mine (particularly those working in the retail, furniture or interior design disciplines) please don't hesitate to email me at hello@kyleswinburn.com.

Let me know what you think of this weeks review leave a comment below, and be sure to follow my Instagram account for regular updates of weekly goings-on. Thanks for reading.