From the monthly archives:

May 2015

Colin Wong Creative Director Development Direct
Interior designer and TV presenter Linda Barker has urged kitchen and bathroom designers to inject more individualism into their projects in a bid to give themselves a USP over the competition.

She encouraged them to approach design differently and to consider sourcing products outside of the mainstream brand portfolios to help their designs stand out.

“The products out there in the general marketplace are incredibly innovative and the pace at which technology is changing is fantastic,” she said. “But, at every level of the market design has to be about the individual buyer.

“As a designer, you shouldn’t just default to the products you’ve been using for years; it’s about surprising and inspiring people.

Her comments echoed those of kitchen designers Johnny Grey and Colin Wong, who voiced their opinions on the importance of personalising designs during a recent round table discussion on design (kbbreview May, pgs 81-84).

Grey and Wong both championed the ‘artisan’ approach to design, which they said involves including alternative elements and materials in their designs for an edge over the competition.

During the discussion, Grey urged designers to individualise their designs rather than simply take “the easy option”. This can be achieved inexpensively, he suggested, by working with local craftsman to offer something truly bespoke.

“My enthusiasm now is to promote artisanship,” he explained. “I work with four or five guys who are on the fringes – metal workers, for example. It’s a lovely way of personalising the kitchen.”

Wong added that by adding individual touches to his designs he had created a very successful USP.

“I use a lot of building materials, external materials. We use lead, zinc, aluminium… They’re really inexpensive and sourced from local guys, many of them just roofers.”

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Colin Wong: In search of inspiration

by Dev Direct on May 19, 2015

Colin Wong Developmnt Direct

Colin Wong, creative director at Development Direct in Edinburgh, on some of the random ideas and unexpected places that inspire his kitchen and bathroom designs

Where does inspiration come from? There’s an old saying that luck is 90% preparation and 10% opportunity. I am a believer that the same principle holds true for inspiration. Unfortunately, inspiration doesn’t just happen for me. I need to put in the groundwork and actively look for it.

Keeping alert to inspiration in the most obscure of places has resulted in my becoming something of a Post-It note freak. I have brightly-coloured packs lying around in every room – and I mean every room, loo included.

I’ve learnt the hard way that ideas, images, concepts and sought-after answers will flutter through my mind with no advance notice and if I don’t jot it down there and then, it’s gone in a blink. When I hit the inevitable design brick wall, I reach for my trusty plastic bag of Post-It notes and there is always something there to provide a kick-start. I know it’s eccentric, but it works for me.

Many of my most inspired ideas have come from my travels and exploring how the cultures of other countries affect my senses and mood. Perhaps the romance of an unfamiliar environment reawakens the inner child, but I find that often my mind is more open, more sentimental, and perhaps even a little fluffy.


The beauty of our industry is that it is full of great individuals, each with their own driving forces and unique sources of inspiration, and that is something we should all embrace. This should mean we have a cauldron of eclectic design minds conjuring all manner of designs that don’t rely purely on fancy furniture, but bring into play innovative, spatial design coupled with original detailing.

These original thoughts should be encouraged to flourish by the big bosses. Creative design is not just for the big-ticket designers of big-ticket furniture, but should exist at all levels of the market.

Read the full article on the KBBReview website

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