During Clerkenwell Design Week 2019, Katie Treggiden was invited to host a talk for workplace interior design practice Trifle* at Workstories’ showroom entitled Designing Human-Centred Workspaces. Katie was joined by (L-R above) Kursty Groves, workplace strategist, author and founder of Shape Work Life; Emma Morley, founder and creative director of Trifle*; Innocent Drinks’ environment and culture leader, David McKay; and Andrea Pattico and Susan Stanley, chief people officer and head of space respectively at MVF. Katie conducted extensive research on the topic and interviewed all of the panelists in advance, ensuring an insightful and free-flowing conversation. The event was fully booked and well attended (despite the sunshine outside!) and broadcast via Instagram Live to those not able to be there in person. ‘That was the best panel event I’ve ever taken part in’ said Kursty Groves afterwards.

Key insights from the talk…

‘The right environments can be healing, and time spent in nature – even if it’s just a moment staring out of a window or even looking at artworks or photography depicting nature – enables us to focus and concentrate better.’ – Kursty Groves, Shape Work Life.

‘Organisations get stuck and workspace design becomes more about numbers than people – then you get genuine sickness, stress and imbalance.’ – Emma Morley, Trifle*.

‘We are providing a variety of spaces, so instead of just open-plan desking and cafes, we are now providing quiet zones for deep work and ‘scrum spaces’ for problem-solving, so we’re supporting different types of work and different types of people.’ – Susan Stanley, MVF.

‘We have to understand what people need to do their best work and how their space needs to function to support that, before we can even start to think about how to make it look pretty.’ – Emma Morley, Trifle*.

‘People are asking for quiet spaces and one-to-one spaces – and that’s not just from introverts, that’s from everyone. Second to that is a desire for flexible working, so we need to enable that, while making sure Fruit Towers is still the hub our people want to come back to.’ – David McKay, Innocent Drinks.

‘We’re putting in a library for deep work; a ‘green room’ full of plants, a zen space, a corner with just one chair and a light, smaller meeting rooms and private spaces that can be booked out as prayer rooms or for new mums to express milk – and all of that came from really listening to our people.’ – Andrea Pattico, MVF

‘My ‘elevate model’ – or 6Es of workspace design – elevates the conversation from floorplans, beyond desks and up into hearts and minds: Establish the vision and objectives; analyse the Efficiencies and free up budget from the inefficiencies; look at Effectiveness – how people actually work, what they really need; then work on Expression – what are the values you want the space to express; Empower people by involving them in the process; and then finally Evolution – it’s going to change so think about what future employees might need.’ – Kursty Groves, Shape Work Life.

‘Workspace design is really about curating employee experiences. I worked with one organisation that wanted their people to whistle on the way to work, and I loved that, so now I always start with that ambition.’ – Andrea Pattico, MVF

‘It has to be genuine and authentic – if you haven’t got under the skin of the people and the brand, it’s not workspace design, it’s just decorating. When you get it right, people can sense a different atmosphere the moment they walk in, the space tells a story and people intuitively feel the values that it embodies.’ – Emma Morley, Trifle*.

‘People want to feel connected to their local communities, so we have partnered with local business, shops, cafes, pubs, gyms and yoga studios in the area to offer MVF-ers a discount. It gets people away from their desks and out into the world and also means we’re supporting local businesses instead of bringing everything in-house.’ – Susan Stanley, MVF.

‘Workspace design is just a tool to nurture culture. We have a large area that is used for Monday morning meetings, lunches and Friday beers – that enables us to share information, supporting transparency; it enables accidental interactions that encourage collaboration; and it builds connections and community.’ – David McKay, Innocent Drinks.

‘I spend time with my nephews, and I draw a lot of inspiration from them when I’m thinking about the future of workspace design. If you spend time with children, they will give you clues about the future. We have got a lot to learn from them.’ – Andrea Pattico, MVF

‘Change is the only constant, so question what really has to be fixed and what can remain flexible so it can respond to the future. Workspace design needs to be hyper-agile. It’s really exciting – we could be having a totally different conversation in two years’ time.’ – Emma Morley, Trifle*.

Photography: Trifle*

Making It In London – Craft at risk (Cockpit Arts)

Katie Treggiden was invited to host the opening event of London Craft Week 2019, a panel event for Cockpit Arts entitled Craft at risk: Making it in London and held in the iconic Leatherseller’s Hall.

 London Craft Week. Leathersellers' Hall. Wednesday May 08, 2019. ©David Mirzoeff 2019

Katie was joined by CEO of Cockpit Arts, Annie Warburton; weaver Majeda Clarke; ceramicist David Marques; and Culture at Risk Officer for the London Mayor, Ed Bayes to discuss the challenges and rewards of making it as a craftsperson in the UK’s capital.

 London Craft Week. Leathersellers' Hall. Wednesday May 08, 2019. ©David Mirzoeff 2019

An interview with each of the panellists before the event ensured the conversation ran smoothly and unearthed new insights from the perspective of both makers and those trying to support them.

 London Craft Week. Leathersellers' Hall. Wednesday May 08, 2019. ©David Mirzoeff 2019

The event sold out and live-streamed via Facebook to enable those outside London to take part.

 London Craft Week. Leathersellers' Hall. Wednesday May 08, 2019. ©David Mirzoeff 2019

All photography by David Mirzoeff / Cockpit Arts

Right to Repair (Skinflint)

Skinflint approached Katie Treggiden about an event during their pop-up at the MARK Product showroom for Clerkenwell Design Week. Katie worked with Skinflint co-founder Sophie Miller to come up with the topic of restoration, mending and repair, playing into Skinflint’s USP while providing editorial value.

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Katie wrote the copy for the Clerkenwell Design Week guide and secured three panellists to sit alongside Katie and Sophie’s partner Chris Miller – textiles artist Celia Pym; artist, maker and Hackney Fixers co-organiser Bridget Harvey; and Justin South, recovering addict and volunteer at Restoration Station.

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Katie conducted extensive research into the topic and pre-interviewed each of the panel, resulting in a fascinating conversation that covered built-in obsolescence, design for repair, the ‘right to repair’ movement, the gender and class implications of mending, the layers of stories in a repaired object, the dangers of westerners appropriating terms like ‘wabi-sabi’ and ‘kintsugi’, conscious consumption, and repair as an act of sustainability, recovery, wellbeing and activism. The event sold-out and secured an engaged audience on the day as well as being live-streamed on Instagram for both Skinflint and MARK Product.

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Designing for Worklife Panel Discussion CDW 2019

During Clerkenwell Design Week, Tarkett invited Katie Treggiden to chair two talks exploring a piece of pan-European research they had recently undertaken into the blurring lines between life and work. In the first talk, entitled Rethinking Stereotypes, Katie was joined by editor Elle Decor in the Netherlands, Evelien Reich; Senior Associate at HASSELL Studio, Catherine van de Heide; and Marc Richard – managing director at contract furniture manufacturer Roger Lewis to expose some of the more surprising findings from the research.

Findings included the fact that staggering 60% of UK workers report negative associations with work, such as feeling ‘like a number’ or ‘relieved to get through the day’ – the worst result in Europe; the UK are most dissatisfied with the look of their office (with men placing higher emphasis on aesthetics than women); less than 10% of UK workers are impressed with the ‘playground’ style offices that Google made famous – instead they want simple, functional, Scandi-style interiors.

Health and wellbeing matter most to UK workers – with particular concerns over air quality, temperature and noise – and younger people are most likely to resent the blurring of boundaries between life and work and want more barriers in place between the two; men are more likely to report struggling with work-life balance than women – and despite most UK employees wanting open plan spaces, only 10% describe their role as collaborative and most prefer to work independently.

The second talk was entitled Designing for Worklife and looked at the UK results in particular. For this talk, Katie was joined by Hannah Nardini, workplace consultant and designer at; Russell Glover: head of design at Peldon Rose, strategy director at FranklinTill, Julian Ellerby; and Measuremen’s Noel Brewster. Both talks were fully attended and broadcast via Instagram Live to an even wider audience.

The Shape of the Spirit (Viewpoint Magazine)


Has a decline in religion led people to find solace in craft, or is making inherently spiritual? Psychotherapist Andrew Samuels argues that holiness is not something found or discovered, but something we make with our hands, through building churches and performing rituals. Archbishop Rowan Williams describes even prehistoric craft as the ‘deeply religious impulse [of] human beings trying to enter fully into the flow of life around them’. That term, ‘flow,’ was coined by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi to describe our happiest state – that of ‘being completely involved in an activity for its own sake’ – which is almost exactly the definition philosopher Richard Sennett gives to craft. Today, materials and techniques connect contemporary makers to ancient wisdom and the objects they make take on the status of artefacts laden with moral values such as ‘honesty’ and ‘authenticity’. Katie Treggiden speaks to six makers each with a different take on the notion of spiritual craft.

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Joel Parkes

Describing any creative person’s output as ‘the shape of their spirit’, public artist Joel Parkes works with wood from dead trees, stressing it to breaking point and highlighting its ‘flaws’ with metallic flourishes. ‘The monolithic stillness and stoicism of trees represents a concentrated version of how we could live: quietly, in accordance with one another,’ he says. ‘Wood tells its life story through its flesh – the ravages of time; the abrupt schisms which change its shape forever. Trees thrive because of their breaks; they gain a character and form. We humans are very similar; the scars of stresses make us more beautiful – stronger against the storms that seek to knock us down.’

Dawn Benedick
‘All making is an act of play and a reflection of self,’ says artist and designer Dawn Benedick. Her work uses cast dichroic glass that changes colour in reaction to different light sources to draw our attention to the passage of time. ‘People are more sensitive to the changing colour temperature of natural light throughout the day than they realise,’ she says. ‘My work is about tapping into our peripheral senses and heightening awareness of changes in the seasons, atmospheric light and weather. Working with light lends itself to magical experiences, which become a space for viewers to think about their relationship with time in a different way.

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Soojin Kang

>Central Saint Martins graduate Soojin Kang creates woven sculptures inspired by ancient artisanship and emotional sustainability. ‘Weaving is a generative process associated with life force,’ she says. ‘Craftsmanship offers emotional contact between maker and materials. Weaving is slow and thoughtful, which means I can truly engage – carefully giving attention to my work. I like to find beautiful moments in ugliness and recognise that without unhappiness there is no happiness; without the bad there is no good. Life is about balancing elements, and my work is a mirror to the ugliness, prompting moments of beauty. The most important thing I seek is honesty.’

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Dongchun Lee

Korean artist Dongchun Lee’s Flourish Wither is an exploration in wood of the passing of time, birth, death, decay and rebirth. ‘Wood has strong religious and cultural meanings, especially in Asia, as a medium of spiritual communication, and yet at the same time has become an important basis for human life in a very practical way,’ he says. Likening art to religion, Lee suggests the artist’s aim is ‘to express something that cannot be expressed’ and sees pieces of jewellery as tiny works of art that carry meaning, symbolism and identity for both the wearer and the maker.

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Ewe Studio

EWE Studio’s Sacred Ritual Objects collection, handmade by local artisans from marble, volcanic stone and bronze, reflects the religious and cultural influences that shaped pre-Hispanic Mexican craft heritage. Simultaneously an act of remembrance for a culture in danger for being forgotten and an innovative reimagination of an enduring skillset, the decorative and functional objects take their cues from ceremonial artefacts and religious icons. ‘With a desire to reflect tradition as part of the natural flow of design, we celebrate diverse techniques, blend primitive roughness with pristine surfaces, and use natural empathic materials that appeal to the senses,’ says co-founder Age Salajoe. ‘Mexican history is our inspiration for forging new ideas that have substance and meaning.’

Adam Ross

Ceramicist Adam Ross uses both throwing and hand-building to create life-like and yet abstract sculptures. ‘My work is about capturing the tiniest detail of somebody’s mannerisms – just enough to make a piece recognisable, without giving it human form.’ There is something alchemistic about his ability to capture movement, and the very essence of a single human being, in such an ancient, elemental material. ‘Clay is very malleable until it is fired and then becomes brittle, so capturing that energy in something that can no longer move is my daily challenge.’ Echoing the beliefs of Csíkszentmihályi and Sennett, Ross sees his work as something very private that he does simply for the joy of making, often losing himself in it completely. ‘When it’s all going well, it’s absolutely meditative,’ he says. ‘It is the one thing in life I couldn’t do without.’