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SGP adds dedicated interior design expertise to London office


29th April 2022

Interior Designer Jess Greenhalgh has moved from SGP’s Leeds office to join the practice’s expanding London studio. In addition to adding her interior design expertise to the in-house team, Jess will be supporting Studio Director Muhammad in developing new business in London and the south-east.

Explains Jess: “Interior design is my passion, and I am looking forward to mixing practical design with new business development and networking. My first job in SGP London was designing our new office in Shoreditch, which was fun and exciting, especially treating Muhammad and Michael just like normal clients. I’m still very hands on with projects – we’re incredibly busy and recruiting as fast as we are able – but I’m keen to be talking to clients about how SGP can design and deliver their interior design needs. Covid has very much changed the interiors landscape, with a distinct move away from office fit-outs and reception refurbishments into new sectors, such as student accommodation and leisure.”

Jess, along with colleagues at the Leeds office, is working on a pair of student accommodation projects in London, with Jess’ focus being on the amenity spaces, such as screening rooms, gym, study zones, as well as an upgraded reception area.

Continues Jess: “We’ve really seen a surge in education work. I think with Covid emptying student residences, the owners are able to see how tired some of the spaces have become. Universities, in particular, appreciate the need to improve the student experience beyond just the tuition to stand out from the competition. Spaces such as accommodation and amenities are vital to create a positive and quality environment outside the lecture theatres.”

Jess led the interiors team on the “showstopper” training hub at Prologis RFI DIRFT Phase III, a deliberate move from the client to add a flexible, practical, and beautiful educational space as an additional amenity on the UK’s largest rail-served logistics park.

Says Jess: “Logistics is definitely moving away from just the big shed format, with our clients focusing more on the building as a workspace, with elements to promote worker wellbeing and support the tenant in attracting and retaining staff. By adding an interior design section into the London team, we can exploit the advantages in construction efficiency that designing and delivering both the structure and the interiors brings, which is what we saw at the Hub. We’re delivering more projects that involve Cat-B fit-outs and although our interior design focus is very much on use and adaptability, clients are now expecting a strong design aesthetic as well.”

With office interiors, clients are pushing beyond the ergonomics and wanting more than just the most cost-efficient arrangement of desks in an on-brand setting. In the interior team’s successful refurbishment of The 55 Group’s new head office in a Grade II Listed ex-bank in Hull, the main floor space included an eye-catching circular juice bar surrounded by informal seating, plus a members only bar that uses the low ceiling height and reused wood panelling to help create an atmospheric speak-easy feel leisure space. The client has continued working with SGP’s interiors team to design a stunning roof-top bar with views across the city.

Concludes Jess: “The interior design sector is flying; we’ve never been as busy. When I speak to colleagues in related companies, from flooring specialists to graphic designers, demand is increasing everywhere. Perhaps Covid has given companies time to reflect and work out their priorities and the way they want to push forward in the future and create fresh spaces to meet the clients’ pent-up desire for fun.”

Whichever sector the projects emerge from, logistics, office and commercial, residential or hospitality, Jess is looking forward to engaging with clients new and old and design flexible and delightful spaces that deliver the creativity and practicality they expect from SGP.