Ever heard the phrase “measure twice, cut once”? Sometimes, you’ve got to measure a few times before you’re ready to cut. We spend a lot of our time musing, sketching, re-sketching, revisiting ideas, staring out of train windows and working our grey matter. The journey towards a design solution is just as compelling as the destination - so it's time we gave the journey some recognition.
This is a space for you to see some of our work before it hits the polished sections of our website. It’s a bit like nosying through someone else's cupboards (don’t pretend you don’t love doing that). Think of it as a turbo-charged Instagram feed; a window into the day-to-day world of iDEA.
We aren’t ones for splashing out on company assets. We don’t own property, and we’re certainly not interested in a fleet of vehicles. However, when the opportunity arose to genuinely make a difference to the environment, we thought it a worthwhile investment.
Like many other businesses, we thought we were already environmentally responsible. We car share where we can, we've reduced our printing outputs, we’ve even eschewed tea bags - all the usual things. But it’s not enough. We actively have to start taking carbon out of the air to get the planet back to equilibrium - not just reduce emissions.
We’ve therefore done what any business would do in this situation - we’ve bought 15 acres of untouched mixed woodland, grazing, stream and ponds complete with Iron Age hill fort in South West Wales. As you do.
Idyllic as this all sounds, the driving reason is reducing our impact on the environment - at a time when we believe everyone needs to be making commitments to do the same. We're doing what we can to completely cancel-out our carbon footprint.
Through necessity to assess ourselves, we've been able to develop our own carbon capture module - initially to capture staff travel, but with now a much wider remit to feed into the other digital tools we've developed. It's capable of looking at emissions across all aspects of an organisation. This is something we're keen to push further.
So, if you're in need of a carbon healthcheck - get in touch - we might just be able to show you where you could make some big improvements. If not, we can always take you camping in South West Wales.
It’s Wednesday evening, at iDEA that only means one thing... In homes up and down the country, we grab ourselves a cheeky glass of wine (optional), pen and paper (essential), and find a room in the house that isn’t filled with family members.
We genuinely enjoy spending time with each other outside of work (it’s true) but we had to think on our toes to work out how to continue our popular life drawing classes during lockdown. So, on a Wednesday night we get together virtually for an hour, drawing two of our colleagues Lily and Charlie, who are coincidentally also professional contemporary dancers (and fully clothed we should add) - the poses can be challenging!
Wednesday evenings have now become somewhat of a highlight, the enjoyment of banter with colleagues, alongside a soothing playlist, culminates in some cracking drawings and serves as a celebration of the stylistic diversity which iDEA thrives upon. Any excuse to create something with marker, not mouse, is always something to be cherished.
If you’re feeling nosy take a look at the results on our instagram feed, if you’re feeling brave tweet us what you think, if you’re feeling inspired give it a go with your colleagues!
Have you heard that here at iDEA we have our very own in-house band? If you haven’t, today is your lucky day - you are about to learn all about them.
The band was originally formed during an office lunch in 2012. The story goes that our MD William, looked around the table and said ‘you play guitar, you sing, you play bass… surely there’s a band in that?!’ The rest, as they say, is history. Chris then roped-in his friend, Brian, from a previous ‘crap’ band (who's claim to fame is playing table tennis with Status Quo in-between rehearsals - actually pretty impressive) - and so, the band was born.
Now the band couldn’t be complete without our infamous band manager Nathan Morris, who’s most impressive moment involved him ringing up the bride and groom of a wedding he wasn't technically invited to (the band was playing at the wedding) and getting himself on the guest-list. The man really is the master of persuasion - he even negotiated a 'free'* bar tab for the band.
(*to this day we don't know if it was)
One of the most amazing things about the band is how much money they have raised for Cancer Research over the past 5 years by performing at 'Under The Bridge' at Chelsea Football Club - they are at the current whopping total of £28,000!
Here is a little interview we did with the band for you to get to know them a little better...
Is Harry and the Ramsdens your original name?
Harry: We were called the Futons for a bit
Chris: Purple Square was another name we had before Harry and the Ramsdens (it's a nod to the orginal iDEA logo)
What's your most memorable moment in the band?
Chris: I vividly remember turning up to Under The Bridge at Chelsea Football Club for the first time, crapping myself wondering if anyone was going to turn up, and thinking ‘this is a bad idea’. Then I remember standing there at the beginning of the set thinking ‘wow we’ve actually pulled this off’.
Rob: Ed Sheeran was our supporting act for that wasn’t he?…Well he was playing on the Tuesday and we were on on the Friday…
Adrian: Mine was our first gig at Barons Cross in Leominster, it was the first time my wife had seen me properly play before and at the end she said ‘oh you’re not half bad’.
How do you choose which songs to cover?
Chris: We all recognise they should be floor filling songs that are fun to dance to and not too difficult to play. The set being really good is the secret with a good mix of songs.
Who are your musical influences?
Harry: I have a very broad music taste, not a fan of country and western but everything else is up for grabs. Soul mostly.
Chris: Sunshine of your love by Clapton is the first song I learned to to play and I know Harry doesn’t like it so I would say that. My biggest influences in the 80’s were Level 42, I was a massive Mark King fan.
Dave: Rob Dunsford…
Rob: Johnny Marr from The Smiths is my hero in terms of clean guitar sounds which is what I try to bring to the band.
Adrian: Graham Coxon, Noel Gallagher. At the moment I listen to many things, I’m also a big fan of Queen.
What are your future plans?
Harry: We never think too far into the future, it’s more of a friendship thing rather than a job.
Chris: We just do it for the love of doing it. We do it because we all love music, we love the camaraderie of playing in a room together and not taking ourselves too seriously.
Do you have any original songs, if not would you write any?
Rob: We have written one inspired by Harrys son… We have created a song out of it and it’s very close to being shared with the world.
Harry: He came up to me saying I’ve written a song for the band which were just scribbles on a piece of paper. So I thought it would be nice for us all to create something.
Dave: It’s a good way to keep us in touch outside of work, it’s kept our band WhatsApp group very active.
Now you know a whole lot more about our fantastic company band, if you haven’t seen already, take a look at their instagram @Harryandtheramsdens for their latest ‘move your feet’ song and video, it will definitely get you dancing!
If you follow us on social media you might have noticed us popping up at various Educational Institutions across the country. We aren’t trying to sign-up for further qualifications, although we are broadening our collective brains with each and every visit.
Although our background is in workplace design, we've never shyed away from branching out into new sectors. Over the past several years we’ve found ourselves firmly cemented in the world of University Estates.
From our experience, University Estates are often a rabbit warren of space - generally a mish-mash of old and new, big and small, fit-for-purpose and, well, "a-room-which-was-previously-unused-and-could-accommodate-some-students". Spaces are complex and disjointed, with years of lifting and shifting taking their toll. In all the inconsistency, one thing is consistent, however: University spaces are always changing.
As these spaces have grown and evolved over the years there has been a tendancy to ‘land grab’ often with little time to take a step back and consider the jigsaw of buildings as a whole. Understanding what space is needed hinges on understanding what space is already there, which, in most cases, is much easier said than done.
Our collective experience means we are well-versed in understanding space, and crucially, translating what that space means. We’ve developed a raft of clever tools to help teams plug in existing data, plus forecast growth, to understand how a University Estate can flex for future needs. This digital wizardry, combined with our ever-growing experience, puts us in the privileged position of University Estates Experts. We’d prefer to think of ourselves as the people who make complex, simple.
If all of this chimes, feel free to get in touch with us; we’re always keen to broaden our brains a little more.
What better way to kick-off this new section to the website than with a shout-out to one of its co-creators. As you might know, at iDEA, we pride ourselves on our eclectic mix of disciplines from right across the design spectrum. We strongly believe that it's this creative diversity that drives us forward.
We're lucky enough to have acquired the services of the talented Kitty Rowley, who is not only helping to script our online voice, but also, is serving as our chief visual-capturer (yes, we've just made that a thing).
With a fantastic eye for detail and penchant for a macro, she will be documenting our projects through the camera lens (both still and in motion) - helping us to tell the compelling stories of what we see/learn/experience/uncover/laugh at on a daily basis.