Design: It starts with an idea

We all know that a good idea needs to be nurtured to make it a great idea. It takes time, frustration, time, research, time, start again, time, research, time, frustration, time! And then you have it. A great design. And it works!

Great design can stem from the craziest idea. A flower, a shell, a can, a tent, a piece of wood, rust, a screwed up piece of paper… Then it takes time turning that into a workable, functional design. See

For example, I read yesterday an article about car design, below is a snippet:

Of course, the automotive world has moved on a bit in five decades. The present design director, Ian Callum, went through quite a few pencils to create the F-Type’s basic shape. Then he and his 40-strong team took four years and half a million computer drawings to bring the E-Type’s spiritual successor to production.

The result is a car made using Jaguar’s class-leading “architecture” that eschews heavy, rust-prone steel in favour of glued and riveted aluminium – 50 per cent of which is said to be recycled – to create a body that is the stiffest convertible in the Jaguar line-up, yet which weighs just 260kg.

I have always said, sketch 50 ideas, screw them up and sketch 50 more. The last 50 will always be much better !



When it rains, look for rainbows


A quote for the day

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.  
―     W.C. Fields

A quote for today

I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good.

– Mies van der Rohe

Interior Design: Office Temperature

The air temperature at your office has a strong affect on your productivity. It may seem like common sense that the working at a comfortable temperature would make you more productive, but what may not be apparent is how much of a difference just a couple of degrees can make in that very same productivity and your overall office ergonomics.

There have been a number of studies conducted to determine what temperature your office thermostat should be set at for optimal productivity across your workforce. And it should come as no surprise that the more studies that are done the more disagreement there is as to what that temperature is.

The majority of research has shown an optimal office temperature between 70 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 23 degrees Celsius) provides the best air temperature for maximum office worker productivity. However, a well respected study by Cornell University returned a result of 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) as the optimal temperature. The British government organization that oversees these kinds of things recommends 74 degrees F after in conducted its own study. It also found that 74 degrees would appease about 70% of people, so you really can’t please everybody.

What’s the big deal? Can’t we just agree on a median of, say, 75 degrees F? Well, you could, but these same studies show that just a few degrees difference can have a 5% or more degradation in productivity. So, dialing in the perfect thermostat setting can have a dramatic affect across the entirety of the workforce.

If we look at the research that gives us 71.5 degrees F as the optimal temperature and 100% productivity we only go down in productivity as temperature increases or decreases.

As temperature increases:

  • at 77 degrees F we’re about 98% productive
  • 82 degrees F = 95%
  • 87 degrees F = 90%
  • 92 degrees F = 85%

As temperature decreases

  • At 66 degrees F we’re about 98% productive
  • 63 degrees F = 95%
  • 59 degrees F = 90%

Unfortunately we can’t just dial a given temperature into the thermostat and consider it done. There are a number of factors to be considered that can alter the optimal temperature. The first thing to keep in mind is that we are talking about the “optimal” temperature, that is, the temperature that will be the best for everyone. Other considerations are:


The season gives us a predisposition to what we expect the temperature to be. We also become more acclimated to those temperatures so in the winter we are more comfortable with it a little cooler and in the summer with it a little warmer.


The clothing we wear affects are personal temperature as it relates to the air temperature. And this is mainly driven by the seasons as well. In the winter we tend to wear thicker and warmer clothes so a cooler office temperature will compensate for the added insulation to give us a more comfortable personal temperature. In the summer we tend to wear lighter and thinner clothes made of materials that breathe better so the opposite is true.


How much you weigh, or more precisely your body mass index (BMI), tells you how much insulation (fat) you have on your body. That acts just like a thicker jacket keeping you warmer the heavier. For the inverse of that, those who have a lower than average BMI usually get cold easier.


As you get older, particularly above 55, you tend to be more easily affected by cold. So an older work force may benefit from a warmer office temperature.

Climate or Latitude

Your normal climate, based on your geographical location, may impact the expected and acclimated temperature range much the same as the season and normal clothing worn does.


Let’s not forget humidity. Humidity affects how you perceive temperature. If it is humid your body can’t evaporate sweat easily, air doesn’t move over your skin easily and the world feels heavy. 85 degrees F at low humidity may be incredibly comfortable, while 85 degrees F at 90% humidity can sap you will to go on.

A relative humidity level of 40% is optimal for year round comfort. In the summer months the air is often more humid than that so a dehumidifier may be necessary, however most condensing air conditioning units dry the air out somewhat. In the winter months you may find yourself below a comfortable humidity level, especially if heating with gas. This makes it feel colder as well as dries out your skin, throat and nasal passages.

Being either too humid or not humid enough affects your perceived temperature and comfort level. So keeping a good relative humidity level is key to maintain a productive office environment. It also has myriad health bonuses which is good for worker productivity as well.

Thanks for reading!


When it rains, look for rainbows

Design and Build: FAQ

Design and build can be complicated. Especially when you know nothing about that industry. Below are a bunch of our Frequently Asked Questions for any lay person to understand!

Frequently Asked Questions            

Q How can design and fit-out complete a project faster and cost less than a traditional procurement approach?

A      Design and fit-out is a term used to describe a process where one company takes responsibility to deliver the complete project, from the initial analysis of your needs to the move management of your people. Dealing with one supplier means that you have one point of contact, all the teams from design to implementation work together on a coordinated plan, the budget is controlled with a single vision and will be spent where it matters most and everyone works to a critical path.

Q How can we achieve more from our space?

A      It’s a sobering fact that the average office desk is only utilised for around 40% if the working day. The average meeting room is only in use for 10% of the available time. GDI have developed methods and processes to make the office environment work as hard as the people in it.

Our intelligent office design and informed workspace transformation frees up people to be more effective in their work, and to actually be inspired by the environment they’re in.

Q How does hot desking work?

A      GDI don’t believe in hot desking. Instead, we create workspaces that are truly “flexi spaces” – adaptable, and eminently workable solutions to make the most of the space available. This cuts down wasted space and increases staff productivity.

Q How do we engage our people in the changes we’re making?

A      New working protocols have to be workable to be effective. Our experts work closely with your organisation to ensure the needs and wants of your people are fully taken into account in your new environment. We involve you as soon as possible in the consultation and decision process. This helps reduce fear and anxiety about change and helps to engage you to make the most of this opportunity.

Q How can our office effectively reflect our brand and vision?

A      GDI don’t just create working environments – we ‘Brandscape’ each one to ensure that every aspect of your office space becomes a three dimensional, inspirational demonstration of your brand.

Q How can a work environment improve staff attraction and retention levels?

A      We design workspaces that help people do their job more effectively. This increases job satisfaction and productivity. The environment we create for you will be inspirational, functional and a pleasure to work in. In turn, our clients find that their levels of attraction and retention are substantially improved by the work we do for them.

Q How much will it cost?

A      Naturally, one of the key issues of any project is that of budget and budget control. Thanks to our vast experience, we can offer an extremely quick synopsis of anticipated cost of any scheme, once we have established a client brief and a list of requirements. At GDI, we are able to develop a scheme to meet any client budget constraints, while still ensuring that your money is spent in the most effective ways.

Q How long will it take?

A      Ensuring your new facility is operational when you want it to be, and knowing exactly when you can plan to start utilising it is, of course, crucial. GDI have a wealth of experience in delivering projects of all shapes, sizes and levels of complexity. This means that once a client brief has been established an assessment can very quickly be made regarding the duration of the work needed. Most project would generally be completed within 8-14 weeks.

Q What kind of space can I expect to make?

A      Instead of the average space allocation of around 12 sq m per person, GDI have consistently shown that 8 sq m per person is comfortably achievable. Together with new work place protocols and enhanced furniture strategies, GDI make the available space work for you.

Q How do I ensure I am getting best value?

     Because GDI ensure that you are involved every step of the way, the whole process becomes collaborative, and GDI come to be seen as a trusted advisor, rather than a contractor. However, for complete peace of mind, GDI always advocate the appointment of an independent third party professional to act on behalf of our client to review the costs and design we propose.

Q How do I know my workplace will actually work?

     As part of the engagement with you, GDI will help develop the new workstyle protocol guidelines to ensure that your organisation gains the most from its investment.

Q What happens after the project is completed?

A      Our approach means that we maintain contact after a project has been completed, to ensure that you and your people are fully supported, that your new environment is working as effectively as it should and that your new work protocols are as useful and productive as you wanted them to be.

Any to add? Please let us know !!



When it rains, look for rainbows