Panel discussion: the real meaning of collaboration within design

At a recent event staged at the Mapei World showroom in Clerkenwell, fuelled by M+ Editor Hamish Kilburn moderated a discussion delving into collaboration in design. On the panel were Beverley Bayes Creative Director of Sparc Studio, Joanna Knight, Director of JK Interiors and Simon Kincaid, Partner at Conran and Partners

In the weeks leading up to Clerkenwell Design Week, while most brands were catching their breath before London came alive for the three-day fair, M+ studio decided to host a panel discussion on collaboration within design.

On the panel:

Introducing the concept within the , it was appropriate to kickstart the conversation with Editor Hamish Kilburn, who chaired the discussion, asking Stefano Nencioni, General Manager of M+, to develop the context and explain how the company works with various designers, and how it provides a platform to gain the best creative insight while encouraging a sharing of thoughts and feelings in order to develop designs in the most relevant way for a new collection. As the Creative Director, Massimo Nadalini has a very focussed approach to engage with the designer and progress in the process.

panel discussion on Collaboration in Design with M+ and Hotel Designs

Image credit: M+

The conversation then moved onto the panel and all points of collaborations were covered, starting from if it actually is a reality in the interior design world, and if so, how. Going into the variables, at what stage and why they may choose to work with other designers: they all agreed that for areas of expertise, such as precise lighting, signage, landscaping, they would consult with someone who’s area of expertise this is in order to get it right, rather than try to contain things and make the wrong decision.

Panellists agreed there is an element of bravery involved in inviting someone into your own creation, but also a need to get the right result and share experience and knowledge. This need justifies the engagement in a project and gives the client the best result, ultimately maintaining credibility.

With questions opened to the audience, some great questions were asked, and the conversation was broadened as the floor got involved in this topic that we are all familiar with and work on in some form a lot of the time. The audience participation brought out other aspects of how and why we may need to work together, ensuring a cohesive and reassuring approach in areas of finance and supply.

What was clear from the conversation, along with the engagement of everyone who attended, is that once we start to share our thoughts, in whatever area, this stimulates a natural wish to understand other’s points of view, their experiences and to realise we can also find potential solutions. In addition, within the hospitality and interior design sector, an inherently creative community, sharing, and collaboration is the best way to realise even greater results that benefit everyone involved.

There does seem to be a fundamental shift happening in design ownership and a greater sense of democracy within the design process – with inspiring individual talent and contribution, the process of collaboration can only elevate design solutions and creativity – with collaborations, the sky is indeed the creative limit!

It was appropriately a spirit of collaboration that made the day a success, with everyone involved combining thoughts, skills and creativity. Mapei UK kindly provided the location in its recently refurbished showroom and supported the event in all aspects from marketing and technical, through to the Showroom Manager.

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Main image credit: M+