I am a second year undergraduate, studying Psychology at UCL and have been working as Grigoriou Interiors’ Marketing Intern for the past 7 weeks. Grigoriou Interiors selected me and together we applied for funding from UCL Advances Summer Internship scheme, which we were successful in obtaining. During my time here, I have had the opportunity to learn a great deal about the construction industry and the huge importance of sustainability and wellbeing within this sector. One of these insightful occasions came when I was invited to sit in on a workshop given by Elina Grigoriou to a group of young people from the Construction Youth Trust (CYT).
Grigoriou Interiors have been working with the CYT, designing their office space in the Building Centre over the past few months. Alongside their interior design contribution to the company, Grigoriou Interiors offered to share their wealth of experience and expertise with the youths on a voluntary basis.
The aim of the workshop was to introduce the young aspiring designers and architects to the interior design concept. Elina talked us through the design process Grigoriou Interiors undertakes when designing a new space. She explained that design isn’t defined as the finished article; it is the whole design process that is undertaken and contributes to the finished article.
Elina explained that good design focuses on the occupant and their user profile. At Grigoriou Interiors they begin with briefing sessions with all members of the office team, to help ascertain what the team’s needs are and what they like. The briefing established that the team wanted to improve staff wellbeing, motivation and productivity. They also wanted to enhance the visiting experience for their clients and strategic partners who come to meetings at the office. Through these sessions Elina was able to establish that the CYT design required the highest levels of comfort and to project a welcoming demeanour allowing authenticity, whilst also presenting a progressive and professional environment to their industry partners. This design would provide a space that the team feels comfortable in but that is also structured enough to focus their work. The office would be somewhere the team would be proud to invite clients and partners to visit.
Following on from the briefing sessions, Elina talked us through a look and feel design workshop she conducted to establish what colours and textures the team liked. She used the workshop along with psychological colour matching of the occupants and the use of space, to help decide what colours, textures and patterns to use within the design.
Elina explained the importance of designing for wellbeing, demonstrating how spaces can positively or negatively affect its occupants through the design features used. She used the example of ceiling height: as the office space was small, they planned on using different levels of ceiling height to give the feeling of greater space in certain areas. More spacious areas encourage creative thinking, whereas more compact areas promote structured thinking. Therefore she planned to adjust the heights of the ceiling in two different sections of the room according to the planned use of that space.
The workshop finished with a tour by Matthew Law, the contractor on this build, of the office site currently under construction. Elina and Matthew pointed out the design features we had discussed in the workshop and we were able to witness the builders changing the ceiling levels.
This workshop elucidated the depth of work that goes into an interior design project. Every aspect of the design is given a huge amount of consideration; from the way a colour would make the occupants feel to the types of lighting that would help maintain productivity throughout the day. I found the workshop incredibly interesting and very thought-provoking.
We were left with some lovely testimonials from the youths who attended the workshop:
“My visit to the Building Centre was very beneficial. I enjoyed the talk by Peter was very interesting as it gave us facts and information on how the buildings and the towers were decided to be built. The workshop with Elina was enjoyable and interesting, as it shows us what interior design is really about, not just the colour and the furniture but how the space of the room is also important to help more relax and adjust in a room. It was indeed a great experience and opportunity. Thanks to Elina, Matthew, Peter and Jenny. It has been a true experience. Many thanks to Mary for conducting us.” Ezahraa Karasadn
“This event has been very beneficial in learning about the environment, especially for interior design as I didn’t know a lot about it. I really enjoyed this workshop as I gained valuable knowledge about architecture overall. These skills and information will be very helpful when I start university to study interior architecture. Thank you to Elina, Matthew, Peter and Jenny for their time, I appreciate it! Also, many thanks to Mary for organising the whole event.” Seda Nur