Posts Tagged ‘ Research. ’

Project win: Nomad in Europe


We are very excited to be working with a major commercial institution in Europe where we have been commissioned to design and run a bespoke consultation project with their staff aimed at generating a number of creative workplace solutions.  The institution, whom we are not permitted to name for security reasons, has three properties in Frankfurt where they have recently completed a Leesman Survey to assess their workplaces.  We will be exploring the issues flagged up in the survey with the staff with a view to creating a strategic range of recommendations and solutions.  The first stage of consultation is due to commence in early April, and our entire team will be involved with the project at different stages.


Project win: De Montfort University


We are very excited to announce our most recent commission for De Montfort University. The University has a range of library and learning spaces that have been developed over time to meet the demands of evolving student requirements. Now they wish to shape a vision for the future development of their learning spaces and have appointed Nomad to help them shape this vision by engaging with their staff and students. Our research team will be working with the Library and Learning Services to engage with stakeholders to better understand the modern expectations of the service and its associated physical spaces. Combined with critically evaluating their existing accommodation to look at options for inspirational learning resources.

We will be planning the project over the summer months, and the actual engagement should begin when the students and staff return for the start of the new term. The project is due for completion in Feb 2017.

University of Strathclyde


We are delighted to announce that we have been appointed to work with the University of Strathclyde on an exciting and innovative new project. The University have commissioned us at the early stages of an emerging project. Our role is to engage the staff and students in a Creative Consultation project to help establish user-centred requirements for a major new space on campus. The information that we gather will be used to inform an architectural brief and business case for this potential new development.

It is particularly exciting to be engaged in a project which aims to use a people-centred approach from the outset to inspire the core thinking of a major education project. The timescales for this project are very tight. We will carry out the majority of the works before students finish their exams in late May with some more staff focused methods running over into the summer months. The final The final report will be completed by August 2016.

University challenge: transforming your academic library- SCURL Aberdeen

SCURL Aberdeen 1

It has been a few weeks now but we have finally got round to writing up our speaking event at the SCURL conference at University of Aberdeen.   Our client Wendy Pirie, Head of Academic and Learner Services at Heriot-Watt University  asked us to join her to speak about the work we are doing for the University consulting about, designing and strategising  new learning environments across campus.  The conference took place in the University’s relatively new and very famous Duncan Rice Library building created by Danish designers, Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects.  Wendy had previously been the University librarian and played a key role in the creation of this wonderful building.  As a result she had loads of great and detailed advice to give under our topic, ‘Redesigning spaces for students’ learning requirements’.  There were a number of interesting presentations including, Elaine Muir of University of West of Scotland on their award winning Ayr Campus and ‘Break-up or Love Letters to your Library’ by Alison Stevenson, Head of Learning Resources at Glasgow School of Art.  This was very interesting for us as it is quite similar to a creative writing task we set workshop participants to write either a birth announcement or an obituary for their new or old spaces. However – the building stole the show – or to be more accurate the fabulous views from the building to the North sea stole the show for us.   If you can get there pay a visit.  It is well worth the effort.


SCURL Aberdeen 2



The White Koan by Liliane Lijn outside the Warwick Arts Centre

The White Koan by Liliane Lijn outside the Warwick Arts Centre

We are very excited to be working with University of Warwick on a really intriguing new project.  The project titled ‘if’ is a research and consultation led project aimed at scoping out the potential for a new building to house the Humanities Department, and the feelings and ideas of those who would study and work there.   This is an exploratory project as funding for a new build has yet to be established so it is an exciting stage for us to be involved at.  We will be using social media along with field activities and perhaps even one or two workshops to uncover the information we need.  The project is due to launch in October so keep an eye on the blog/twitter stream for updates.

Heriot-Watt's stunning Riccarton Campus

Heriot-Watt’s stunning Riccarton Campus

We are happy to announce that we have recently won a major tender to provide interior design and educational space consultancy services to Heriot-Watt University. The University has recently undergone a lengthy Space Utilisation survey and as a result have identified a number of refurbishment/new build projects

Our role will be to create the design intent for all of the Universities learning spaces through consultation with key stakeholders and to produce final schemes for three important new spaces, a Learning Commons, a Conference and Teaching space and a new Study Café.

We are still at early stages with the project but as usual timescales are demanding so we hope to finalise our consultation plans in the next week. We will be designing a bespoke people centred creative consultation plan for Heriot-Watt and hope to use some new methods along with our own people/place assessment tools.

Crazy spaces make great places


Top L to Bottom R – Rotterdam Central Library – Market Hall Rotterdam – BK City – The Chocolate Factory – Rotterdam Harbour – Detail drawings from the Hague found in Het Nieuwe Instituut – Book Mountain – Cycles in Delft – BK City

Sometimes the best way to be challenged, inspired and learn is to view the work of others and there really is no substitute for seeing this in person.

A couple of months ago we were invited to join a tour of Dutch library spaces called ‘Crazy spaces make great places’.  It was an intriguing title for a tour and this added to the fact that we have always been big fans of Dutch design; in particular Droog and MRVDV meant we signed up and found ourselves in Rotterdam earlier this week.

We visited a number of places we had only ever seen on the net or read about before including Market Hall in Rotterdam and Book Mountain in Spijkenisse, both by MRVDV as well as BK City in Delft. BK City is the The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at TU Delft . The design team was led by the dean of the Faculty of Architecture and included a number of teams from MRVDV, Fokkema & Partners, Octatube, Vitra amongst a wealth of other big names. In addition we also visited Het Nieuwe Instituut for architecture, design and e-culture in Rotterdam and the Chocolate Factory in Gouda by Ministry of Imagination.

The majority of the projects lived up to our expectations and it was fascinating to see the reaction of other members of the tour party who were all library professionals. Three key things struck us,.

  1. There is a clear appreciation for and value placed on the design of spaces in Holland.
  2. The spaces we visited were more courageous and in some ways relaxed than UK spaces where often health and safety concerns are prioritised to the detriment of the design
  3. The quality and investment made in furniture. Most of the projects were awash with Vitra products and BK City also had a number of exclusive MOOOI items. In fact every project we visited had a least one rarely seen Jurgen Bey Ear Chair.

There was clearly good budgets available on these projects but we also had a sneaky visit to Rotterdam Central Library, (this was not on the official agenda, but we thought we might have a peek.) And we were super impressed with the space and fit out they had created using budget materials on a relatively small budget and despite being a tad old now the design of this public library completely out classes most UK municipal libraries.

It was truly inspirational to walk through these spaces and hear their designers speak about them in detail, and although we are still not convinced by the idea that a space needs a metaphor (as asserted by Chocolate Factory designers) and would rather that folk stuck with the term ‘concept’, we would agree that, for the moment anyway, Dutch design embraces concept and innovation far more often than it’s equivalent in the UK and we would like to help to change that.


PS – Many thanks go to old friend and client  Les Watson and the Ministry of Imagination for organising and hosting such a great event.