Leicester Housing Association had a vision of a brand new concept for training, accommodation and entertainment for their clients. They wanted to put all these facilities under one roof where clients could interact, learn and socialize. The ’roof’ they chose was that of St Catherine’s, a Roman Catholic Convent near to Leicester city centre. Stirling Interiors were selected to deliver this for them. Our unique environmental credentials were a major selling point, as was our Local Authority approval for design, not to mention our experience of designing offices and public buildings to comply with both health and safety, and disability discrimination laws. Our brief was to design all the interiors, bedrooms, training and boardrooms, restaurant, bar, circulation space and offices. It was important to make the design fit in with the original architecture and heritage of the building, but without the religious overtones. For us, this combination meant a design which would be at once stylish, imaginative and innovative. We did this, keeping the light, airy atmosphere of the original interior. To give the spaces a modern and creative feel we introduced pale walls and colourful furniture, with glass panelling and reflective surfaces to create a light, open environment. In the breakout areas, we conceived a deliberately random layout to promote movement and interaction between visitors. This very ‘physical’ arrangement gives no definitive route so people are encouraged to walk around, talk to each other and bounce ideas around. We designed these to feel very different from the rest of the workspace so that visitors gain a true sense of ‘time out’.
We had to make sure everything ran smoothly and on time as a training room, restaurant and bedroom bookings were being taken at the start of the 8-month project! We set a project completion date one month before they planned to ‘go live’ and our team worked night and day(even at weekends) to make sure we met it.