When we heard about Design West’s inspirational Shape My City programme, we immediately felt that it entirely aligned to our ethos as a practice. We are proud to be on board and engaged as a programme partner, helping open doors to talented young people who might not otherwise have access to careers in the built environment.

As part of this partnership, we hosted a design workshop at our Bristol studio – the third Shape My City session for the 2022-2023 calendar. And we were blown away!

The cohort of 30 students ranging from 15–18 arrived at our door with limited experience but with a desire to learn and to explore what the industry could offer them. Including an interior design element in the Shape My City programme was a first, and we were proud to bring this to the table.

The workshop was a unique opportunity for us to showcase who AWW is, how we work across sectors, and how our interior design and architecture teams collaborate. We used our newly completed office at pivot + mark - one of our own fit-outs - as a case study to demonstrate how a blank floorplate can be brought to life, before setting the students off to design their own spaces.

The students were asked to respond to a client brief to design a workplace that aligned with the client´s culture and people. They had to consider the type of space they wanted to create, the colour and material palette, lighting, sustainability, flexibility, collaboration and branding.

Working alongside members of the AWW team from both architecture and interior design, they progressed from initial sketches to a sample board and on to the final client pitch. Over the course of the evening, the students’ confidence grew and their ideas flowed.

This workshop follows on from Naomi’s recent pro-bono work with Burges Salmon to reinvent a 'calm room' and staff room for a local school.

It was wonderful to have our own workspace buzzing with the energy that these students brought. We have been looking forward to hosting Design West and our Shape My City cohort and they did not disappoint. The students were challenged by our briefs and inspired us with their inventive solutions. We certainly learnt as much from them as we hope they took from us.

Senior Interior Designers Sarah Pasquall and Jenni Huzzey developed the briefs and led two of the groups.

Our work with the Shape My City programme and our in-house work experience programme continues to support our Social Value commitment to inspire the next generation of innovators to always raise the standard and diversity of the industry.

Founded in 1996, Design West is a centre of excellence for design and placemaking based on Bristol harbourside. The charity’s mission is to inspire the public, politicians and professionals across the built environment to design better, healthier places to live, work and relax. Programmes including Bristol Open Doors, Shape My City, Design Review and public talks are devised to inspire, inform and involve people in the design of the world around them. Design West work across sectors and society and are international and local, bringing people together to shape better places.

Photo credit: Paul Blakemore (c)