Mr Simon Mcwilraith
Simon Mcilwraith is the owner of Collective design. Simon established Collective 3 years ago from his bedroom in Gateshead after being made redundant from his previous position at another practice. In 3 years Simon has developed the business into one of the most creative and unique interior design practices in the North East. Creating interiors for some of the U.Ks largest commercial operators and featuring two years consecutively in the Andrew Martins interior design review of world’s greatest interior designers.
The business is going from strength to strength and in July Simon decided to move into new exciting offices and to expand into other markets with a new range of wallpaper coming out in 2013 and an extensive range of furniture and lighting products all under the Collective design brand also being developed. In times of hard economic growth Simon has built a flourishing design business with a bright future and is looking forward to the times ahead as "an adventure full of innovation and creativity.”
The Boiler House completed its big move from its former home of 25 years; The Salon was well established on a small site on Acorn Road Jesmond. The opportunity came up to take the larger ground floor premises next door to the salon and to extend up onto the first and second floors above this unit. The new larger ground floor is a corner site, giving much more street presence then before. Its location also allowed an already well-established business to move without losing any of its heritage and history with Acorn Road. The business could retained its existing customer base but also entice new custom with a fantastic new salon.
The Design Brief
“To create a stylish and exciting salon like no other, full of theatre and creativity. Industrial styling has always been part of the Boiler House interior look but needs to be updated and become more fashionable.
Our history with the area is important and should reflect in the design of the building. Exposing the buildings original features is key to the desired look and style. Every area needs to have exciting and intriguing design applied which is an extension of the boiler houses personality and uniqueness. The salon needs to be functional as well as look fantastic. Break out spaces to relax in luxury are needed. Spacious work stations are key to success and allow comfort and creativity.”
The inspiration for the salon comes from a love of everything interesting and unique. With flavours of eccentric Britishness and the industrial past
The Aim and Objectives
The aim was to create a space which inspired and which was an extension of the Boiler House personality. The objective was to make a salon “like no other.”
• There are a number of main features in the salon which helped create the rich tapestry of layers needed to make such a scheme. The individual handpicked antiques which adorn each floor added individuality and showed the personality of the salon. The antiques were chosen to emphasise the rustic and industrial theme but at the same time were positioned to make an artistic statement.
• Bespoke Wallpaper added an artistic and worn look. The design was made to look like layers upon layers of wallpaper were torn away and exposed. This gave the impression of the building exposing its history and secrets.
• Exposed architecture was a big part of the scheme. The fabric of the building being striped back and glimpse of the past being exposed gave the building a personality and a romance. Exposed brick work added real warmth.
• New elements were also added to create character. It was key to pick the correct materials which were in keeping with the original features such as the Victorian tiled floors and tin ceilings tiles.
• The metal storage and display cabinets are all original pieces from ‘The Old Cinema’ in Chiswick, while the industrial lights in the hallway came from a Czech arms factory.
• The clock on the first floor is an original station clock, and the ‘Edison Portable Boiler’ which sits beneath was originally used in WW1 to heat up food for the troops in the trenches. Clearly ‘portable’ is a moot point, as it weighs an absolute ton!
• The tin panelled ceiling in the main styling area of the first floor was found at Newark antiques fair and originally came from a bank in the US. Also sourced from Newark antiques fair are the gilt chairs and chaise longue.
• The aircraft fuselage taking pride of place in the front window comes from the side of a Boeing 737. Installed plasma screens in the windows allow us to display Boiler house fashion footage and much more.
• The flooring was reclaimed from a church in Glasgow, and our external Boiler house signage consists of individually sourced brass letters.
• The design challenges were to create a multi floor hair salon which operationally worked and yet had the desired interior design look.
• The layout was key to this. The interior designer and the management of the salon worked together to achieve this with fantastic results. The salon is a sociable space which has the correct balance between design and function, using the layout to dictate how the space is used by both staff and the customer.
• The interior used a number of complex layers to achieve the industrial exposed look. As the building was striped back to reveal its secret’s it was known when to stop and not go too far so that the perfect interior was exposed and features unearthed.
• Finding the perfect objects and antiques was also a challenge to express the schemes personality. This took a long time to formulate and to source making sure every object had a purpose and place within the scheme. The results were a visually exciting and intriguing space.
• Moving an already established business logistically had its own challenges. To minimise any close down period the builders were on site as staff worked in the existing salon, good planning and foresight minimised any major disruptions.
• Creating a new interior and brand which looked established in line with the businesses history was a challenge as it needed to give the impression that it had always been there. The rough edges and traditional styling with modern tweaks and innovative additions made the design look as if it had developed over time, unforced and full of character.
• Finding and designing displays for product was commercially very important but needed to be bespoke to fit in with the interior look. The designer worked alongside the salon managers to develop interesting and exciting ways in which to display with fantastic results.
The final design was a creative, artistic, inspirational space. The industrial chic elements add a richness and texture. The layout flows and allows great interaction with clients. The social aspect is far greater then we could have ever expected. All the elements in the brief were incorporated and the overall result was a stylish and unique interior, an extension of the Boiler house personality. The scheme also allowed for future growth where more Worldly object and beautiful antiques can be added so that the design evolves further and becomes more enriched through time.