The time is finally here! We closed our offices last week on Friday and Monday in order to make the final preparations and make the exciting move to our brand-new office space.

We are, of course, slightly nostalgic about the move from our Salisbury Road office; it served us well and we enjoyed a great many successes there. But as we close one chapter and open the next with this move; it’s an exciting time for Design Studio Architects as we continue to grow as a team and as a business.

Our managing director, Keshiv Sudera, said: “The new office move allows for a state-of-the-art design studio environment within a stunning grade two listed building, for the team to work and enjoy. The clients will benefit from the move as we create an improved visitor experience whilst allowing for future growth for the practice.”

Always striving to look to the future and remain innovative with our business – and with the recent rebrand being a huge success, we feel like we’re making headway in where we want to take Design Studio Architects, and really shouting about what we can offer our customers.

We Think. We Listen. We Design. Placing customers at the heart of everything we do, we aim to fulfil their project visions and produce tailored, high quality, finished products in a way – which not only serves our client’s needs but also creates projects that we are proud of

Now that we’re all settled in, feel free to pop in and check out our new offices if you have any architectural queries or need advice.

Home offices on the rise

One of the up-and-coming trends in architecture this year so far is the addition of a home office space. An emerging trend rather than an established one, yet it is set to continue to rise as the way we work changes and adapts to the digital, interconnected world. There is no denying the upward shift as flexible work patterns become the norm; it will inevitably impact how we design our homes and organise our space.

A report collated in 2017 by OddsMonkey showed that by 2020, almost half of the workforce in the UK will work remotely – which is a staggering figure! Flexi-time and offering to let staff work remotely has been found to be a huge motivator, with productivity increasing as much as 16 per cent- it’s no wonder employers are seeing its positive effect on business.  Cutting down costs for the employers such as having a designated desk at HQ, a phone bill, or mileage chargers. There is a lot to be said for supporting your staff in working remotely.  It also appeals to the different worker types that you have working for you – some may prefer and be more productive working from a bustling office, but others may be more so when working solitary to their own deadlines.

Working remotely of course requires dedicated space from which to work peacefully and productively in.  Whilst some remote workers may prefer to work from cafes, or simply work sat on the sofa; there is a lot to be said for a dedicated space from which to be productive, a space can allow for greater focus.

Though having a dedicated working space doesn’t mean you have to have a desk and a chair –there are plenty more options to consider. An inspiring workspace ought to reflect an innovative and creative approach with creators able to personalise the space and achieve somewhere to really call their own. Why not have a bean bag instead of a chair, add a curved desk, have vibrant colours to really make the furniture pop, or perhaps a minimalist clean and bright airy space will lend itself to more productivity. If space is a premium there are even ‘cut out’ desks built into the wall!

The main points for the home worker to consider are:

a) understand the space they have to work with and

b) that the area is dedicated solely to the ‘office’ at home.

On the other hand, extensions or outbuildings are viable options for when you need more space for your home office. These can be done under permitted development or planning; permitted development is when you want to extend your house but meet certain conditions but does not require planning permission i.e. the extension in question doesn’t exceed 50% of the total area of land around the original house.

To find out more about permitted development and the requirements you’d need to build an extension or outbuilding for your home office, contact Design Studio Architects.

It has been an exhilarating few weeks at Design Studio Architects; we have rebranded ourselves, launched our new website and we have our upcoming move to new offices.

For our team, it has been an exciting time; we thought that it was time we had a makeover to really get across our ethos, and what architecture means to us.

We Listen. We Think. We Design. Here at Design Studio Architects, we place our clients at the heart of everything we do, and this is what we wanted to convey in our transformation. We are in tune with our client’s worlds: their industry, commercial imperatives, their needs and vision for the future – and we wanted to showcase that in our rebrand.

Our vision is to promote the importance of sustainable architecture in the built environment that is responsive to the technical, aesthetic and budgetary expectations of our clients.

Our approach is analytical with the aim to engage and solve problems within a specific context. We feel architecture is about the people as well as the buildings and therefore the buildings should be influenced by their surroundings, their use and the end users.

We will also be making a move into our new offices soon; for the team here at DSA, it is the beginning of a new, exciting chapter of growth and development.

If you have any architectural queries, from residential projects right through to commercial and industrial units, don’t hesitate to pop into our new office or pick up the phone for a call.

MIPIM celebrates 30th birthday

The four-day convention takes place in Cannes, France every year, and welcomes the most influential business leaders and industry experts, from around the world, as well as featuring speakers and panels that identify the most important issues impacting the property market of today and the future.

The prestigious convention took place last week and typically attracts around 23,000 visitors every year. Hundreds of real estate professionals whose passion is to understand the property market and exploit its potential, gather alongside brokers, investors, occupiers, landlords and business services. This is a fantastic event and is networking at its highest level.

The winner of this year’s Startup Competition is Spaceti, a PROPTECH products that helps to improve building environments and boosts productivity and profitability. Spaceti provides integrated solutions through its own sensors that interact with mobile devices to map how building environments can be improved. Founded in 2016, the company has already been established in New York, Stockholm and London. Six finalists made it to MIPIM after competing in heats all around the world, during MIPIM PROPTECH Europe, New York and Asia in 2018.

One of the most important issues that has recently shot up on the real estate agenda is healthcare, and the search for alternative investments with the rise of our aging population. Dr Pritpal S Tambar, CEO and Co-Founder of Bridging Health and Community spoke on a panel that addressed how to shift from a cure-orientated approach to healthcare.

For more information on the event, visit MIPIM’s website here.

Design inspo for work and home
A few of our projects to help inspire your work and home lives

You’re designing your dream office or home. What does it look like? We’ve compiled a few projects we’ve completed in recent years to give you some design feature ideas and inspiration.

OEM offices

OEM office

A mixture of curved edges and severe corners were used to make the OEM offices in Whetstone, Leicester stand out from their competitors.

DSA was appointed to provide a new inviting entrance to the OEM commercial building and provide a more energy efficient building fabric. The new entrance also allowed for a newly configured open plan office arrangement to the ground floor.

The cladding colours were inspired by the company corporate colours.

Baldwin Extension

Baldwin home

This extension design aimed to modernise what was an outdated, cluttered rear entrance to the house. Skylights open up the kitchen area, and floor to ceiling windows and doors give the feeling of being outside surrounded by nature. The large white patio adds a contemporary feel and tidies up the garden.

This project specifically aimed to promote natural light in order to combat depression. Natural light was seen as a must to help with employee wellbeing.

King Power Stadium

King Power coach’s office

Leicester City FC appointed Design Studio Architects to carry out a number of changes at the club in order to provide facilities which were in line with Premier League standards. The improved manager’s office and player facilities allows for an improved match day experience for all parties. We transformed the players dining room, manager’s office, coach’s room and King Power lounge. Layouts were used to create a professional yet homely feel in each of the areas, and neon LCFC blue lights run through connecting each of the rooms.

Stoughton Drive

Stoughton Drive home

This is a bespoke replacement dwelling in a sought-after area in Leicestershire. The 5000sq ft., six bedroomed property boasts high quality accommodation and was designed to take advantage of the views of the golf course opposite. The scheme’s main constraints involved being in an area with a high water table and numerous mature trees with Tree Preservation Orders (TPO). It also included a number of interesting design features such as corner bi-folding doors with no corner support to create a floating space above, and a feature bespoke staircase among others.

The latest in student accommodation

Where will we be in terms of technology in years to come? We’ve all thought about it. That’s what was on our mind when receiving the brief for Regent Road student accommodation.

How could this project stand the test of time? We wanted it to be futuristic enough to still be relevant and desirable ahead of its time but not so futuristic that it became unappealing and uncomfortable.

The scheme was managed by K2 Consultancy. Their brief asked us to convert an old derelict Leicester University hostel into state-of-the-art, modern living spaces. More specifically, the brief required us to meet the needs of the Chinese student population. The project started onsite in January 2017 and was completed in September of the same year. Here’s what we did and why we did it.

Technology

Recognising that application software is quickly becoming integrated into everything we do, we couldn’t exclude this from our design. Whilst we didn’t want to make the accommodation unaffordable, we managed to get a few smart things in there! Our design allowed for onsite laundry machines and vending machines that were app activated. Making life easier for students who don’t want to waste any time performing such activities, whilst giving them a taste of the latest in smart technology, this student accommodation remains desirable in 2019 and beyond.

Spacious student bedroom in-keeping with K2 Consultancy’s branding

Aesthetics

The colours featured within each apartment are based around K2 Consultancy’s corporate colours. We wanted the project to really reflect the client’s branding. With that in mind we also achieved a smooth, slick layout in both the living areas and the bedrooms. The new spaces were also designed to fulfil the occupants needs by offering comfortable, spacious bedrooms. This way, residents are able to really make it their own by switching up the layout and adding extra furniture.

Essentials

We were able to go above and beyond K2 Consultancy’s needs by creating ensuite bedrooms and studio spaces within budget. Because of our contacts and creative – yet savvy – employees, we had bathroom pods made offsite and fitted onsite. As the brief needed us to focus on the needs of Chinese students especially, we created additional wok/cooking stations and bench style seating in the common areas to reflect Chinese culture a little more according to our research.

Looking for student accommodation? Take a look here.

7 iconic buildings in Leicester
Take part in the #DSAonTour adventure discovering these iconic Leicester buildings

Leicester is a great place to see some fantastic architecture. We implore you to look up more often and pay closer attention to the buildings around you. Many of them will contain fascinating secrets in their design and remind us that we live in a culturally significant city. Here are some of our favourite Leicester buildings that we feel sum up the city.

Haymarket Memorial Clock

This popular city centre meeting point reached its 150th birthday last July. Its designer, architect Joseph Goddard, was also responsible for many architectural sites in Leicester in the Victorian era. It features the four famous faces of Simon de Montfort, William Wyggeston, Thomas White and Alderman Gabriel Newton.

Guildhall

This is one of the best preserved timber framed halls in the country. It dates back over 600 years. It was restored in 1926 as a public museum. The Guildhall is now a popular wedding venue and hosts events from comedy night to ghost hunts. It was erected in around 1390 so has seen a lot in its time. It’s said to be Leicester’s most haunted building and even appeared on the tv show Most Haunted.

St Mary de Castro Church

Translated as St Mary of the Castle, this is an ancient parish church and the second oldest place of worship in Leicester. It has been a place of prayer for over 900 years and combines impressive interior architecture and an intriguing history.

Leicester Castle

The Business School at De Montfort University – LEICESTER CASTLE BUSINESS SCHOOL

The history of this significant site goes back over 1000 years. The Great Hall of the castle was eventually transformed into a court. Outside the court was a grass mound which is still there today. It was under this grass mound that bodies were buried after being executed in the Gallows outside the then court. It’s because of this that many ghost walks frequent the area. The Great Hall is now the residence of Leicester Castle Business School.

Curve

At just 10 years old, the theatre is the youngest building we list here but is held in high esteem nonetheless. Clearly a very different, exciting architectural addition to the Cultural Quarter, it won a RIBA award for its ‘world-class design’.

LCB Depot

The history of 31 Rutland Street goes back to the 1800s. In the 1980s it was named the Operating Centre which contained a lost property, duty office, camera control centre, and a transport club with bars, snooker tables, and a dance hall. It closed in 1986. In 2003 the then-empty building was remodelled and expanded into the LCB Depot; a creative hub operated by Leicester City Council. It seeks to support, stimulate and develop the city’s creative industries. The £4.75 million LCB Depot building kick-started the regeneration of the Cultural Quarter, and earned two RIBA awards.

St George’s Tower

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Also known as the Blue Tower, this is Leister’s second tallest building standing at 82 meters with 22 floors. Infamous for its seemingly inexplicable colour scheme, the tower has been thought of by the locals as one of the ugliest buildings in the city centre. The blue, red and yellow colours were added in 2007 as tribute to the developer’s home club of Chelsea. Since being built in the 1960s, it has been home to British Telecom and the Post Office. Its more recent refurbishment is now playing a major role in the regeneration of St George’s Retail Park.

Take part in the DSA Leicester Iconic Building Tour and let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

What does your office say about you?
How office design and architecture speaks volumes about your company culture and brand

More mindful working practices are creeping their way into society – and rightly so! Methods such as hot desking, meditating, and mood-boarding in the workplace are not uncommon these days and it’s all to do with wellbeing and mental health. Efforts to improve these two factors come in all forms, and architecture is no exception.

Creating culture

The working environment is created by architecture and design – your company culture will feed off this. Company culture, or personality of the business, impacts employees’ lives. If the building you spend most of your week in doesn’t inspire you or make you feel proactive, how successful can you expect your employees to be?

Fortunately, businesses are realising the importance of architecture and the role it plays in the workplace. We’re not saying you must imitate Google or Facebook’s out-there offices. You don’t need floor to ceiling windows and huge wide-open spaces to act as a blank canvas. And a balcony and a skylight are not necessary. But redesigning what you already have will cement your company culture.

Light, space, and colour impact mood. Combined, these aspects can make you feel calm, energised, or even optimistic. Think about how you want your employees and visitors to feel in your office before embarking on a refurbishment.

Creating brand

The best architecture reflects that of its occupants. Picture a university or a large historical bank. Those places know their brand and portray it through the architecture used. Buildings like these want to appear professional and impactful, like they hold significance in their location. They may do this with open spaces, stone steps, large pillars, and replicate historical ceilings and floors.

The architectural look of the interior or exterior of your building change the way your customers see you. Architecture is part of the makeup of your brand identity.

A building’s aesthetic and functional purpose affect its image of the people inside it. Big corporates use the design of a building to stand out and get people talking about them. It makes them look like an innovative company and a great place to work; therefore, a great company to buy from.

Creating you

Eventually, as people visit your offices and meet your employees, being known as a forward-thinking employer will follow suit. The environment you have created for your brand speaks volumes about you – and you are ultimately why customers will return.

Why use an architect

Whether you’re after an internal renovation of just one or two rooms in your house, want to extend your offices, or are designing your dream home from scratch, it is essential to get an architect involved.

Avoid being tempted to cut corners because your project may suffer in the long run. Not convinced? There are two reasons – just two – that make involving an architect priceless.

1. Creativity

Architects design space. They design space for you to live in, work in, and thrive in. Getting to know your family, business, or lifestyle, they create spaces for you to interact in that best suits you; the end user.

These creative individuals invent rooms and buildings based on the intimacy between you and your home or office. They take into consideration the life cycle of each room and its purpose investigating the future of your life or business.

They may ask if you plan to start a family, or if you predict rapid business growth. For these reasons, you will want to hire an architect that you feel comfortable with. It’s their training that enables them to do this. They have a trained eye for predicting trends and, using universal design principles, they make it so that you will not tire of your new space.

2. Impartial thinking

They may study a large amount of art and history, but architects are pretty much an all-knowing creature with expertise in engineering, science, and physics. Whilst getting to know their clients and their work and lifestyle, they are also very impartial because of this.

You are never alone with an architect on your side guiding you through the complex procedures of planning permission and building regulations. Basing their design on the purpose of the building in order to fulfil the brief, they determine time and build constraints as well as opportunities. Architects equip the client and project leaders with vital information, requirements and regulations that will affect the development.

A responsibility the architect also takes upon themselves is to consider the clients’ budget and ensure all features of the brief and professionals hired come within the budget.

The future of social housing

For the first time in over 20 years, North West Leicestershire District Council is developing a social housing scheme. We’re proud to announce that we are one of the lucky companies chosen to be part of these exciting projects.

The council has chosen a number of sites along with a few architects to carry out the scheme to allow for a varied design solution. We have been able to obtain work on two of the sites. We will carry out work on three town houses on site A and four bungalows on site B in the Willesley estate, Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

Site A was completed one month ago while Site B is well and truly underway. Site B is – at this very moment – paving the way for the future of social housing. It is expected to be complete by mid-December 2018.

The bungalow scheme is the council’s flagship housing scheme to showcase how modern social housing can be created. They have been designed with modern layouts in mind, open spaces, future-proofed for life time homes, well-insulated building envelopes, high security design (secure by design), and sedum roofs (natural green roofing).

Sedum roofs provide essential environments for wildlife. They create sustainable drainage systems and create more aesthetically pleasing areas. They’re useful spaces for growing food and they help insulate sound and heat whilst keeping homes cool in the summer.

The scheme made use of a site which has remained in a poor state for many years and created a great use of space. It was designed to take on board low maintenance materials with high quality design. Site A and B showcase how modern council housing can be created with a budget in mind.

Keep in touch, and check back in with us for more updates!