We sat down with Dan Hill to talk about style, predictions, his inspiration, and all things design
Why did you chose to become an Interior Designer?
Having studied Art Foundation, my original ambition was to become an Animator and work for Pixar. Slight problem, I couldn’t draw people! A few weeks into the foundation course and the tutor said how about spatial design and technical drawing? 15 + years later, I still can’t draw people but know how to smash a staircase through a building and create a new Destination for a business.
Do you have a specific design style?
I wouldn’t say I have a style, though some people joke about the amount of floor space I have taken out for staircases and the number of bar spaces I have put into my recent projects. I always think, “will this design make people want to return to experience it differently?” The aim is to encourage people to visit because they are missing out by not being in the space. It used to be all about how great the coffee was, to drive people to the space, maybe now it’s about how cool the bar space is.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I take inspiration from all areas of design as well as Office design. Travelling, seeing other cultures and cities gives me inspiration towards design thinking. It’s more than just the look of the space, it’s how I feel when im in the environment. Does this space inspire me? What is it that makes this space meaningful? Is it being used?
Another element for me in the post pandemic world is the experience; is the interior great?, does the image / branding work with the client message?, is the food and drink amazing?
The part of the process I love the most is when the team are pulling together, challenging one another to create a space which is unique and responds to the brief, but also moves beyond the expectations, creating a ‘woah’ moment and ‘fomo’ for people missing out.
What are your top 5 design tools?
I am a bit old school. I’m one for a sketch book, trace and pens. Nothing better than to sit sketching around the table with the other team members to get the creative juices flowing and problem solving. I haven’t managed to get into sketching on the iPad, though I’ve just purchased a new one so I’d want to try that. Music is a massive tool for me, the louder the better, so i can go into a bubble and think creatively. The last tool, which probably most designers use – Coffee. To fuel the early morning / late evening creativity.
What advice would you give other designers, upcoming and experienced?
To the up and coming designers – it’s an all-consuming industry, so the more you can put into your design, the better the result. You also need to be open minded, able to adapt and collaborate as we don’t all know everything and need the support of others. Having an open mindset is the key to be able to push and challenge thinking. No idea is a bad idea.
For the experienced designers, the world has changed in the past few years, and the need to be together is key for teams to develop and challenge. Our role is important, now more than ever, but we need to experience and question as many areas of design and our general environment to create spaces that are truly tailored to our clients. We need to be listening to the people who use the spaces to create ‘Destinations of the Future’. The word ‘Office’ is so pre pandemic. We have to evolve.
What’s your prediction for a future workplace design trend?
Following the pandemic, I see a continued move away from the traditional ‘office’ to creating a destination for employees, and collaborators to meet, socialize and create. The space is becoming more of a club with an emphasis on hospitality and the importance of hosting, and servicing. The ‘Office’ will need to be more like retail space, in that the primary focus is to create an environment that gets customers to stay or to come in for a period of time. There is also a need for the unknown each time they visit. I don’t think the term ‘Office’ is suitable now and should be renamed… we create ‘Experiences’ and ‘Destinations’
What are you currently working on and when can we expect to see the finished project?
I have just completed the new Global HQ for Diageo in the heart of Soho and currently working on a large project in Covent Garden for confidential client. This is going to be another gem of a project, including a couple of staircases and several bar spaces to create a new ‘destination’ which is more like a club and mixed-use space.
To get in contact with Dan or MCM, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org