While Waiting

All companies everywhere have their own responses to the current situation. We have ours, we work from home too. Other than practical day to day work schedule, here, we would like to consider doing things in general while adjusting to the situation as it stands, not only considering our Modular Buildings but also considering general day to day life.

Since many people have been told to work from home now and we’re spending all this time in separation from others, we are now, waiting. And waiting can be exhausting, to some, more than to others, but still exhausting. This situation demands an answer to the following question, ‘how can we ease the waiting?’ or more correctly ‘how can we change our focus onto something other than waiting?’.  That is not an easy question to answer as with waiting comes anticipation and anticipation may trigger anxious response. This anxious response will most likely leave us wanting to do things. And we can’t. We must wait.

This is not to be meant as analysis, after all, feelings and behaviours analysis is a job for the experts. And all we are thinking of today is how to adjust to the new situation for the time being. Meaning ourselves, our clients, and all the other people out there. Coming back to focus on a simple conclusion to the above trail of thoughts. So ‘[…] anxious response will most likely leave us wanting to do things. And we can’t. We must wait.’ This answer is not entirely true is it? We can still do things, under certain restrictions, yes, but we still can. Therefore, we do not have to wait, or at least not entirely. The things we can do may not be the things we would normally do. This might be a bit straining exercise to force ourselves doing things we wouldn’t normally be doing but it might as well be our best answer to the above question. ‘How can we change our focus onto something other than waiting?’, the simple answer would therefore be, ‘By doing all sorts of things, including things we wouldn’t normally do’. And by doing things, we mean relaxing and doing nothing too.

Sounds easily done, but of course, many of us will find ourselves ending up browsing through the Internet as the simplest solution. Sometimes finding some good stuff there, while also potentially ending up reading about the same subject we are all talking about everywhere, the same subject we are all stuck at home for, the same subject which we are purposefully not naming in this article, and the same subject we are temporarily wanting to break out from in order to keep our senses. Reading news and staying on top of things is important but focusing our attention on one subject for 24h a day, 7 days a week, will not going to ease our waiting and end our anticipation.

Let’s go back to thinking about doing things. What could we be doing now? Maybe sitting down in a quiet room, with warm tea, an open window and birds singing outside. Sitting and writing down our ideas on options of things to do. Or maybe, we are not lucky enough to have a quiet room, as we have three children running around the house and we’re struggling to work from home while trying to home school our children and staying sane at the same time. Or maybe we are on our own, and the house is so quiet that indulging in this quietness even further to consider any form of relaxing this way would be a real struggle. Whatever is around us, in order to find some balance, we probably need a little bit of the opposite. And if it’s an illusion of the opposite, because that might be the only thing available at the moment, that’s fine too. There is always something we can do. It may be an uncomfortable change for us to force ourselves into changing the pattern of our day, but it might as well be our best shot. After all, are we not forced already to change the pattern of our day to day life? While we are working on finding new ideas of how to ease the waiting, we must remember, that in order to do it well, we will probably find ourselves asking the same question more than once this week or at least trying to find more than one solution and juggle between the few.

Shipping Containers and Architecture

In the 1950s Malcolm McLean developed a shipping container for the purpose of transporting goods. 37 years later, Philip C. Clark patented a method of converting steel shipping containers into habitable buildings. Shipping containers have become of interest to architects who decided to play around with the idea of architecture made of steel boxes and have been experimenting with new ways of using these structures in innovative ways ever since. The last 20 years have been particularly fruitful when it comes to container use in architecture. This includes habitable buildings, offices, studios, temporary accommodation and many more.

Triggered by constantly growing rent prices leading to pushing away the less wealthy to the city’s outskirts, ‘Container City 1’ and ‘Container City 2’ in London are amongst some of the most recognizable architectural examples of structures made out of shipping containers in the past 20 years. In many large cities, including London, the rising prices pushed away also young creatives, often less wealthy, vibrant and much-needed group. In order to try and lessen the above problem, in Trinity Buoy Wharf area of London there have been two architectural projects undertaken, both involving Shipping Containers architecture. ‘Container City 1’ and ‘Container City 2’ was built between the year 2000 and 2002 and includes studio spaces and some apartments for artists to rent at reasonable prices. The created architectural structures are a vibrant addition to the area. With accents of greenery around the balconies and other areas combined with the bold structures of shipping containers, the whole buildings are looking quite futuristic. Container City 1&2 are fulfilling their destined use and at the same time are an energetic architectural enhancement to the Trinity Buoy Wharf area of London. The contemporary, colourful look of the structures with circular-shaped windows and glass balconies are truly high-spirited enrichment to the area.

Here at KC Cabins Solutions we also sell buildings made out of shipping containers. Selling those types of buildings is additional to our standard offer. Our standard offer is based on modular buildings constructed with steel frame and sandwich panel walls, made to order. When it comes to containers, these can be adapted in a number of ways and as a sales branch, we can offer a wide range of design options, depending on your needs. Photographs attached in the article are showing some of the examples. Please inquire if you would like to know more.

Continuing on the subject of shipping containers’ architecture history, there are many other examples of those types of structures with some of the most recognizable ideas in recent history involving accommodation. Whether it’s temporary accommodation or long-term accommodation, shipping containers can work for both. We will be discussing more exciting examples of shipping container’s architecture to look at in the future.

Water Features

An exciting addition to interior design could be a water feature. Water has a calming effect which not only creates the feeling of peace but can also be seen as a sophisticated part of the building’s interior design. There are endless types of water features you can choose from and, depending on the type you require, such a feature can work very effectively as part of the interior design of any building.  

A particularly elegant as well as recently popular is water wall feature. In an office such a feature could be added in an entrance as a statement piece, providing an inviting and elegant entry to the building. It could also enhance clients’ waiting area by making it more welcoming and sophisticated. It could also be an exciting outdoor sculpture.

Water features in general are commonly used in relaxation areas and business types focusing on relaxation such as SPA’s, beauty salons, hotels, etc. and yet these can also be and are successfully used in other business types as well. Over-stimulation of our senses so common in our busy lives is taken away almost instantly when we hear and see water. Water’s natural calming effects are forming our senses into the sea of tranquillity. When we look at water and when we hear water, we are met with less information to process, a lot less in comparison to what we are used to. This sends us off into a meditative state and has an instant soothing effect on our senses.

No matter how large or how small your office is and no matter the business type you’re in, you may benefit from the effects of having a water wall feature in your building for the simple reasons discussed above. Elegance and sophistication such feature bring is a bonus. Something to consider.

Recycling in Construction

We have recently discussed the subject of waste and recycling. When discussing it, we also explained a particularly useful tactic to battle waste, the RRR acronym. RRR stands for Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and is an acronym widely used by anti-waste campaigns. Let us have a look at the examples of materials used on construction sites with the potential to be reduced, reused and/or recycled in line with the above.

Examples of materials often found on construction sites are; glass, timber, metal, plasterboard, plastic, paper, rubber, concrete and more. All of those materials have the potential to either be reduced, reused and/or recycled in one way or another. When it comes to the reduction of use, steel has been mentioned particularly often by the experts. It is regarded as a durable and strong material with the potential to be used in smaller quantities while still meeting the construction standards. Modular building frames are made of steel therefore the construction of our buildings is considered light and strong. Steel can be joined by bolting or welding and can also be reused. As material steel is considered good to recycle. A fair proportion of steel used in the construction industry currently is being recycled. Recycling of steel can also be improved even more.  

There are many ways to reuse other construction industry materials as well. One of the most versatile is wood which can be reused in a number of ways. From simply reusing wood within the elements of a construction project, through using it as a decorative element in the house to using it as part of landscaping in various forms or, depending on the quality, as firewood. The better the wood quality the more options we have. Depending on the condition and previous use we might be forced to use it for something specific.  For instance, a lower quality wood will only be able to be used as firewood.

Another material good to be recycled is glass. When recycled, glass does not lose its quality and therefore is considered a high-quality recyclable material. We can’t say the same about paper as recycled paper loses on quality. Recycling paper is still highly useful as through recycling we are lowering amounts of new materials used, plus, the variety of papers is needed for different industries.

Bricks are something to reuse in construction industry too. If in good condition, bricks can often be reused again in a traditional way or alternatively can be crushed into brick chips and reused this way, as part of landscape material for instance. Plasterboard is a 100% recyclable material. It can be reprocessed and reused again. Crushed concrete can also be reused, as an aggregate for instance. Rubber can be recycled or it can also be reused as a DIY material. It is worth remembering that if we do not personally want to reuse some of the materials in a particular way, we can always find someone who will.

Out of a long list, plastic is probably one of the most problematic materials to be reused. There are many trying to find ideas and solutions to the plastic problem. One of the plastic biggest issues is the fact that there are so many different kinds of it, that not all can be recycled in the same way, therefore, trying to reduce its use is probably our best option. We can reuse what is possible, recycle as much as possible and keep looking for experts’ advice on alternative solutions.

Christmas is behind us now and New Year has already started. In 2020 we can respond in a positive way by implementing the tactic of three R’s and not only in the construction industry. New Year gives us the opportunity to reflect and to undertake steps towards a future of reduced waste.

Waste and Recycling

Waste is a major subject in the centre to overcoming environmental issues. We buy, we use, we consume and we discard. This process creates a lot of waste. Global anti-waste campaigns, when discussing this subject, use abbreviation RRR, which stands for Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. According to the campaigns, the three R’s need to be acted upon fast in order to save the environment. It is a call to governments, manufacturers and consumers.

At the same time, as a response, more voices are rising against recycling recently. Voices of people who are starting to doubt the benefits of the processes in use. As an example of their concerns, you will hear about dishonest businesses who, under the recycling label, are simply moving waste from one country to another. Furthermore, the concerns are raised regarding the subject of cities and countries who, because of unsuitable recycling processes in use, are not saving enough energy and wasting more than it is necessary. Similarly, also because of unsuitable equipment many recyclable materials cannot be recycled properly or at all.

Based on the above arguments, it becomes clear, why people are starting to doubt the benefits of recycling and are opposing it altogether as well as claiming recycling to be generating more problems than solving.

Recycling does in fact need urgent improvements, in many areas across the globe, it needs improvement particularly if we want to have a real positive impact. Does this give us the right to claim it’s better not to recycle at all though?

If we focus on all three R’s discussed at the top of this article, we may prove to have more influence on the subject of waste than we anticipate. Many reducible/reusable/recyclable materials can be found widely in stores, factories, households, construction sites and more. Anti-waste/recycling arguments, discussed above, often simplify the subject of waste focusing on Recycling alone – its faults but not improvements. Mostly pointing to negatives without giving solutions. Forgetting about the other two R’s is limiting our options, while many people can also Reduce and Reuse. There is enough information about the subject of recycling to realise that even with current, far from perfect processes in use, we are still better off with recycling than without it. As David Attenborough said in a documentary titled Blue Planet II, “Surely we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet”. A combination of reducing, reusing and recycling by both consumers and manufacturers could be the answer. Alternatives to using materials such as plastic as well as implementing rules and policies on who’s doing it and how it’s done need to be implemented by the governments. This should include responsibility for reducing/reusing/and recycling not being pushed only to consumers alone but also to manufacturers. This requires public demand. With the right amount of public demand, improvement to recycling processes will happen. Continuing with the belief in three R’s, we will be discussing some of the construction industry materials with the potential to be reduced, reused or recycled in our next article.

Floor Plan

When ordering a portable building, decisions regarding the floor plan could be seen as moments of reality. Moments which are very important as those decisions will impact long term use of the building. It is lovely to have the freedom to choose where things are in the space. At the same time though, it may turn out, that there are certain restrictions that may have not originally been anticipated by our clients. Restrictions which may affect choices regarding the floor plan. Examples of those could be building control requirements or local council stipulations. Those restrictions may mean that as exciting as it sounds, choosing a floor layout can also be a difficult endeavor.

There always is a way forward. A more complicated solution may be more costly. Knowing what is quicker and easier often opens up a way forward. We can then look at the floor plan with excitement realizing that we are in fact free to guide the designs as we want them and our imagination will flourish.

The first advice which we could give regarding the floor plan is to think of the building as a long-term investment. Buying a building equals spending money. Using a building has a real physical impact on the daily life and work of our clients and their employees. This means it is better to think long-term when investing money in the building. This way we will make sure that the money we spent is well invested. Thinking long-term may also save us some money in the long run. It is worth asking ourselves some questions; Do I know what will I want to do with that building in two years’ time? Maybe I will want a larger building? If so, it might mean, two years down the line I will be in the process of selling this building and buying a bigger one. If that is the case, maybe it is worth considering making the current order slightly larger straight away? It may be that just 1- or 2-meters larger unit may save us money in the long run. Are there any other long-term solutions I may want to consider?

Additional advice would be regarding the use of the building. As mentioned above, building control, as well as local council, will have their requirements, and those may have an effect on the building plans in one way or another. Requirements will have a lot in common for similar business types. It is, therefore, worth to know a bit about requirements relevant to your business type. Similar regulations will be relevant to food providers as opposed to beauty salons. It is important to know if clients will be entering the premises or whether only employees will be working in the space etc. Other types of requirements may be relevant to localization of the building. Knowing more about regulations will help to avoid last-minute changes to the plans.

KC Cabins helps with advising on the above but it is also important to consult building control and local council. When acquiring a building, clients are waiting in anticipation for its arrival. With a bit of knowledge on the above, the decision process regarding the floor plan can be a simple and very much exciting process. We are here to help.

Harmony

It is difficult to describe in one sentence what harmony means and how harmony is created. When thinking of harmony in design, harmony is often associated with symmetry, and yet not only symmetry creates harmony. According to a number of dictionaries, ‘harmony’ could be described as a state of peaceful existence while ‘harmony synonyms’ include ‘peace’, ‘balance’ and ‘compatibility’. In fact, those three words are some of the best to describe harmony creation. In design, through balance and through compatibility we can create peace and we can create harmony.

How do we decide on balance and compatibility though? Balance can be achieved in a number of ways; this includes the use of both symmetry and asymmetry as well as the use of light and colour. For the purpose of this article, we are looking at images focusing on composition and general shapes within.

We could distinguish shapes which are balancing each other by looking at each photograph at a time. We can analyse shapes in the images by reading the photos looking at them from left to right as if we are reading a page of a book. Comparing both sides of the photograph reveal information about the composition. It reveals which shapes are being used to balance each other and to balance the composition.

Images we see display harmonious shapes and composition. Those images evidence both symmetrical and asymmetrical elements being used in order to create harmony. What balances asymmetrical composition? What makes the elements of those compositions compatible enough to produce the feeling of peace?

In one of the image examples at the top, we can see a heavy, bold and energic shape of a bridge balanced by a vague, continuous, horizontal line of this same bridge disappearing in the distance. In other images, we see mainly one bold symmetrical shape combined with asymmetrical elements such as clouds or building reflections. Light reflections enhance the softness of the image and therefore add to the harmonious composition. Soft light and soft colours are used to create a feeling of peace.

Overall, we see images balanced with shapes, colours and light within.

Balance and compatibility are crucial in order to create peaceful images. With the right use of composition elements enhanced by the right colours and light, we will achieve harmony in the design. In order to find out how to do it, we look around and learn from what we see.

Story of a garage

Portable buildings are commonly used as offices and houses and are therefore associated with those type of buildings, although there are many other potential uses to portable structures. Our buildings have been used as a laboratory, dog grooming, barbers, vape shops, beauty studio, car renting, ice cream café, dry cleaning and more. Our buildings have also been used as a garage. And let’s face it, not everyone will see a garage as an exciting investment.

Still, a simple standard garage has its allure, maybe more practical than exciting to some, but hey, practicality is awesome. Imagine, finally having a designated space for your car and add to that some storage for tools, spare tires, etc. Give it a nice, contemporary design. How exciting upgrade to your house would that be?

Another example of an exciting garage could be a car repairs service, which is a lot more complicated story in comparison to a standard garage. Designed to accommodate sales office, workshop, and equipment which includes car storage, space designated for car repairs and potentially more. We work by adapting to accommodate your needs. A car repairs service garage would be larger and more complicated building. Definitely an exciting story.

Coming back to a general idea of a standard size garage. There are some important factors to remember when considering its dimensions. In order for you to be happy with the daily use of such structure, we cannot stress enough when we say, consider how much space you need. A garage does not only have to be large enough to fit your car in. Space to comfortably get in and out of your car needs to be considered. If you want to, add storage space for potential cabinets with tools, some space for spare tires, lawnmower, bikes and anything else you may think of. You could also consider adding a small window for some natural light.

Taking into account all the above, you will be a lot happier in the long run. A garage may turn out to be the most exciting practical space you have ever decided to invest in. Therefore, we believe, a garage is an exciting story.

Assembling Modules

One of the many frequent questions we get from our clients is in regards to the practicality of the size of our buildings. What is the best size, most economical solution, the best way of assembling modules together, etc? We, therefore, sometimes advise on changes to the building dimensions and/or changes to the floor plan. This is in order to help our clients to undertake more economical decisions regarding building purchase.

We, therefore, decided to shed some light on the idea of connecting modules together. In order to find the simplest possible way of describing the process, we are showing the building assembly in pictures. The example shown is a laboratory, one of our orders in the UK.

In the building industry, you grow every step of the way. The more you learn the better your knowledge and service. Specially designed building joints, a result of many years of tests and gathering experience are in use here. The steel structure is connected together. Wall panels are connected to the structure with the use of specialist construction screws. In order to strengthen the connection and in order to protect the building from damage resulting from meteorological conditions we also use a professional sealant. Sealants are particularly important to use when joining the roof. Additionally, to protect the roof, we use a membrane. This gives an additional water protection layer.

Assembling modules together is often surprising to our clients from an aesthetical point of view. Visually, the neat connection, of assembled modules, is hard to detect. You may have been wondering as to the technicality of the process and the general idea of how it’s made.

It’s not that complicated when you think about it. As you can see, the general idea is simple. It is perfecting the methods in use that is important knowledge. Connection areas which could potentially be visible are hidden with the use of decorative panels, resulting with an aesthetically pleasing contemporary look. Years of practice is letting us deepen the technical knowledge which in return help us to give you a better service and a better product.

Arches, Spheres and Waves

In one of our recent articles, we have been discussing George Nelson as part of our ongoing series on the subject of Prefabrication History. George Nelson was an American architect, writer and designer who wrote extensively on the subject of design. In his book titled How to See (1977) Nelson would advocate the subject of looking at images to be separate to learn discipline. We would like to take this idea of learning to look as a starting point of a new series to introduce to this blog. This series will be focused on physically looking at buildings/images in order to learn more about architecture and related subjects.

Today we would like to discuss images of arches, spherical shapes and waves in relation to the field of construction, as part of our own pursuit of deepening our ability to look.

Arches have been in use in architecture for more than two thousand years. Used in many forms throughout history and today, construction of arches presses the weight outwards hence they are durable and strong. The use of arches is not only advantageous because of their durability and strength, arches are also aesthetically beautiful. The use of arches has become widespread with the Roman Empire and extensively used in order to build aqueducts and bridges. But arches were used earlier than that. Greeks and Romans adapted the use of arches from Etruscans. We could go back even further into the history but instead, we are going to stop here as we will be focusing our attention on arches as part of a group of shapes and objects. However beautiful, today, we are not only thinking of arches but also of spheres, curves, and general shape of a wave in architecture. Let us take a break from art history and focus on the images and structure.

Looking at curves gives our eyes a rest, a non-broken fluidity of information. When looking at an arch or a curve, in an architectural form, our sight is reaching a pause from busy surroundings. We are taken on a route through physical space which is soft and delicate. For our eyes, it is an equilibrium.

A spherical shape in architecture is a symmetrically perfect never-ending curve. Do we look at it as a whole? How do we respond to a spherical shape? We could think of a sphere’s resemblance to the sun and the stars or its use in Hellenistic temples. We could also look at its use in contemporary architecture for its simplicity and its geometrical form. And we would be closer in finding the answer to the question of a connection between an arch, a wave and a spherical shape. We want to look at the images and find this connection. The connection between those aesthetical forms. Equilibrium and softness of those shapes could be part of the answer.

Visually both a sphere and an arch are elegant and harmonious shapes. Spheres, waves and curves can also appear futuristic depending on the context of use, materials used and other shapes accompanying the overall form. Sizes and quantities of those shapes play a big role in how we perceive the overall object.  

On the photographs, these forms can be appreciated not only for the architecture but also for the composition. The circles and lines and their positioning are in the essence of forming the elegance in composition. The symmetry or asymmetry of their positioning is crucial. If we look attentively at those lines and curves, we are starting to notice more – we notice the complexity and depth of the form. We notice the elegance. The softness of arches, spheres and waves, when positioned well, next to a perfectly strict line, is the start of a good architectural design. We will continue this subject in another article.

Petite Buildings

We receive diverse requests for our buildings, varying greatly from one to another. An example could be a warehouse which requires an order of a large building, it could be a medium-sized office building, a reception area which may vary in size, it could also be a security lodge or kiosk which would most likely require a petite building. Therefore, our designs vary in order to accommodate clients’ needs not only aesthetically but also practically. Our buildings’ sizes are strictly adapted to clients’ requirements. Accommodating clients’ needs regards, of course, a variety of solutions regarding the building interior as well. Some clients may simply require an empty shell of a building while others will have a specific request regarding, for instance, the number of rooms, floor finish, and presence of certain equipment inside the building such as toilet or kitchen for instance.

When a client decides to choose a petite structure instead of a larger one, his/her decision may be partially based on one or more basis. It can be that the petite structure fits the type of building they want or it may be that the client doesn’t have a necessity for a large structure and simply wants to save some cash. Often though, this decision is simply dictated by the lack of space on the potential building site. Whatever the reason for having to order a petite structure, doing so may be a challenging endeavour. Even though the building is petite, the client still expects it to fulfill a number of needs. It is physically more difficult to fit the necessary equipment to a smaller structure and sometimes either compromise or a unique solution is needed.

The examples of the two buildings we are showing today are both aesthetically pleasing and practically fulfilling needs of our clients, proving that petite buildings can be beautiful and practical as much as a larger structure.

Yes, fulfilling practical needs may be a challenge and yet, in most cases, it is doable. We are here to advise on possible solutions. Petite buildings can and will perform a practical role fitting in more practical solutions that you may originally expect. We are here to advise on those.

Revolutionary Architecture

Architectural approaches and trends are constantly changing as architects keep striving for innovation. Clients’ needs, technological advancement, political and economic circumstances or even extreme weather conditions keep influencing architectural solutions worldwide. As a modular building supplier, we believe in portable or modular, prefabricated buildings, to be one of the most innovative architectural forms fulfilling contemporary needs and trends. Hence, we spend a lot of time and energy to perfect our products further.

Particularly interesting architectural projects often evolve from marrying unexpected solutions between various fields, such as for instance Botanical Architecture. As we are all well aware of, one of major problems of today is air pollution. We would like to discuss an architectural example performing particularly important role by addressing air pollution and sustainability. Architects around the world are looking for various solutions to these issues and Stefano Boeri Architetti studio does that with great effects. As part of Boeri project, Tirana Master Plan, the aim is to build sustainable tower building for residential purposes. The idea of city reforestation is in the heart of this project. Tirana Master Plan is a larger project which will includes raising residential tower building, in Tirana, Albania. This architectural plan uses similar solutions to another project by the same studio, called Vertical Forest, already built successfully in Milan. Tirana residential tower building will combine thousands of plants and shrubs as well as hundreds of trees. All the greenery will be planted around the tower building terrace areas and in its architectural form it will result in the modern hybrid look of a tower fused with plants, as if a giant architectural tree appeared in an urban environment. Enhancing this modern futuristic design, will be a substantial number of windows.

The project has been designed with detailed analysis of plants in use, taking into account irrigation, positioning and type of plants in order to create sustainable microclimate and the best possible conditions for the plants in use.

More architects and more architectural plans are looking into sustainable solutions as a response to current issues with our natural world. Is this how our future cities will look like, full of sustainable architecture and greenery? It is definitely a great start to finding solutions to some of major problems of today. We will be discussing more revolutionary architecture in our future articles.

George Nelson and Prefabrication History

Today we are looking back at history of prefabrication. Let us discuss George Nelson who was an American architect, writer and designer. George Nelson was also a teacher, a curator and a photographer. Nelson travelled to Europe where, during his travels, he met and interviewed influential people connected to Modernist movement.

George Nelson was a design director of Herman Miller furniture company and he was widely recognized for his furniture designs. Furnishing designed by Nelson varied in use. This includes office furniture which could be seen as a good example of early prefabrication. His office furniture series idea, Nelson Workspaces, was based on pre-made furniture modules which could be customized and rearranged depending on customer’s needs. This was one of the first furnishing prefabrication ideas which gave so much freedom of customization to a potential client.

As a writer Nelson published articles and books on the topic of design. His books titled Problems of Design (1974), How to See (1977) as well as George Nelson on Design (1979) could all be seen as influential. How to See can be seen as a particularly relevant book to contemporary designers today. In this book Nelson discusses the subject of looking and seeing in greater detail. George Nelson believed seeing images to be a separate to learn discipline and he attempted to reveal the knowledge on how to read images though this book.

Coming back to the idea of prefabrication, George Nelsons liked the idea of industrial, prefabricated designs which can be customized by mixing and matching different modules together. That included his furniture designs as well as buildings.

Discussing Nelson as an innovative forward-thinking designer and architect who inspires, as well as discussing him as part of prefabs/modular building history, we need to talk about one particular design Nelson produced, named Experimental House. George Nelson worked on his Experimental House design project through 1950’s and even though it was never built, it was an innovative and influential project of the time. The fact that Nelson put his attention into prefab houses is an important aspect of modular building history because it shows that architects of early 20th Century has already seen potential in modular building designs.

Experimental House designed by Nelson has been aimed to be produced quickly and built with a minimum assemble time. It was to be made with two types of units and various wall panels. Overall look of the house was geometrical but could vary depending on personal needs. Cube shaped units joined together with a great number of arrangements options gave a variety of different possible layout solutions. This giving the house spacious, modern area with flexibility of fulfilling client’s personal needs for the space. The idea of transporting ready to assemble units and partition walls was providing potential client with an incredibly quick resolution in a modern design. This house could be standardized and mass produced. This way client could buy the house almost off the shelf by deciding how many units and walls he or she needs. Nelson’s prefab house could also be moved to another location if required.

Together with his furniture and architecture pursuits, additionally, George Nelson was aware of human impact on the environment and he wanted to design better, greener as well as he wanted people to be aware of the impact in order to lessen it. That could include reduction of cars from the streets of city centers and more. George Nelson was an inspiring architect and designer whose work is admired till today. One of grand precursors of prefabrication and part of history, he is someone to live up to in design and innovation.

Annotation;  
Featured image is not of one of George Nelson designs.

Colour Palettes

In the past, we have discussed examples of colour palettes for office. We have also discussed examples of colour schemes used within interior design. One office may vary greatly from another in its purpose though. An office may be a reception area for a holiday park, it could be a car dealer’s office, a developer company and many more.

An office is in fact quite a broad term and the subject of interior design is as broad as customers’ needs. Today we would like to discuss a subject of early decision making when choosing a colour palette. We will be focusing on consideration of potential colour palettes for a beauty salon or spa design during this early decision-making process.

First of all, let’s not get overwhelmed with the amount of options. It is important to start with some visual references for your design while at the same time consider the purpose of the building. This enables you to imagine the real outcome a lot clearer.

Because the palette we are considering is for beauty salon or spa we will perform a small experiment in relation to these. As an experiment, let us start by thinking of potential words in response to the word BEAUTY.

Words that may come to mind are; air, delicate, cosmetics, fragrance, white, natural, clean, clear, blue, pink, soft. Your responses may vary.

When you do have your words written down, look at the visual representation of those words. Ideas will spark instantly through looking at the images. That in itself may be enough to sharpen your idea of what you want the colour palette to be. When you will select your final choices, it will become your visual reference guide, it will become your colour palette. It is worth remembering about colour schemes at this point. This is in order to not get carried away by choosing too many colours. Keep it simple.

You can perform the same exercise by choosing to respond to the word SPA. This will generate other visual references.

We can look closer at generated words in order to figure out what your colour palette can be. From the list above, let us take, for instance, the word cosmetics. You can look at the examples of cosmetics packaging, for instance. This is in order to analyse what colours are used there and why. First of all, you may notice that majority of packaging is made mainly in white colour, with addition of smaller amounts of one or two other colours, usually soft and light hues. Quite often text and logo of the brand is printed in black/silver or gold. Those colour palettes are not too complicated and kept in fresh bright hues. It means that these colours will portray feelings of cleanliness, freshness and youth. These could as well be good colours to go for as a base for beauty salon.

The above analysis would generally exclude fragrance packaging. Fragrance packaging is often designed in darker colours.

Having this as an example, you can go back to your other words on the list and consider colour scheme for your chosen one or two colours in order to expand on the idea.

If, for instance, you will take the word air as an example, you will most likely think of clear images of a blue sky, light clouds or air swirls in white or semi-transparent colour. The decision is to put these colour findings next to each other and decide which colour palette works best as a beauty salon or spa design.

More general advice would be to remember the building purpose when choosing your colour palette. Consider if your visual responses match the purpose of the space and adjust your idea if needed. Because both spa and beauty salon are places to relax, remember soothing colours. This means cool colours such as blue, green, white and/or pastel colours. Many people will appreciate addition of warm colours as well, as an element of cosiness and warmth in the space. Feeling of cosiness could also be created by the use of natural decorations such as sand, plants or wood. Other option could also be the use of warm, atmospheric lighting.

Initial idea can be adapted to match different styles. Once the step of choosing colour palette is undertaken and decided, the rest is easier. The rest is to stick with the plan. When final decorations overwhelm you with the amount of possible choices, have your colour palette with you and remember what is the feeling you would like to portray. Ask yourself if a particular object will do that for you and reflect accordingly.  

Enjoy the fun of designing.

Building Control and Regulations

Purchasing new portable building will involve dealing with the subject of building control. The subject which may seem daunting at first. After all, a new built is an exciting endeavour and it would be lovely to focus on designing and planning the aesthetical and practical side of a new office/shop/reception area etc. Planning all the fun features is generally preferable pursuit. However, other than fun, with the new building appear certain new responsibilities. We hope to convince you that with the right approach, the subject of building control does not need to be daunting.

There are two main aspects you need to be aware of regarding building control. First one is the knowledge on where to find a building control team. The second one is the knowledge on what the main job of building control is.

You can deal with finding building control team in three different ways. First option is to enquire at your local council. They can provide a building control team for you. Second option would be to use private building control team’s services. Finally, when purchasing a building from us, there is the third option. Because we cooperate with local private building control company, we can provide building control services for you. This option is most frequently chosen by our clients.

Once the choice of building control team is sorted, the rest is quite easy. The rest is mainly to follow the building control team’s advice.

Building control team’s job is focused on safety. The team works in three steps, checking the plans of the building prior assembly followed by physically checking the building after assembly and finally certifying building as safe to use.

In order to make sure that building complies with building regulations, building control team will advise on changes to the building in order to improve its safety. Their inspections are including subjects of fireproofing, fire escapes, ventilation, regulations regarding toilets and more. The requirements are set for particular structures and plenty will depend on the type of building you choose as well as location of the building. First of all, it is important to know how large the structure will be, the distance to other buildings and what will be the use of the new building. Customers coming inside the building as well as number of people working in the building on a daily basis are important factors as well. Building control team needs to determine which requirements need to be met for each building.

Right at the start of the ordering process, we make sure to ask our clients many important questions in regards to the building. This is in order to minimize additional costs and changes. Some of the most important questions are regarding building location and its use. As discussed above, we need to know what is the area around the building as well as the exact building positioning. Modular buildings can be moved to a different location and yet there are certain aspects of building architecture which may need to be adjusted or changed in certain areas. There may be the need for additional fireproofing or additional structural changes, depending on the building use and its location. We will need to take it into consideration whether additional safety requirements are to be dealt with.

Building control team will advise on the requirements. Prior building assembly the team will advise looking at the building plans. After the building assembly, building control team will visit the building site and advise whether the requirements have been met. At this point, the team may still advise on small additions to be added to the building, items such as mirrors in the toilets, glass manifestation etc., depending on the building. Items such as these can be added after the building assembly.

Finally, building control team certifies the building as safe to use under UK standards.

As you can see, the subject of building control doesn’t need to be daunting. You will have the assistance of our team and/or building control team’s through the whole process. If you feel that you would like to know more, we advise you to read through building regulation requirements or inquire at building control office.

New Year New Ideas

We would like to start a New Year by touching on a subject of an architect whose name is widely recognizable. It is someone who built innovative, built magnificent and timeless buildings. Someone who believed in ideas and believed in progress. He also believed in harmony of buildings and their surroundings. Harmony of buildings with nature.

This person is an American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. He is the architect of Fallingwater (famous house), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Johnson Wax Headquarters, Marin County Civic Centre and many more groundbreaking architectural designs.

Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright

You may be thinking, why as a portable office company, we are looking at people such as Frank Lloyd Wright? We believe in learning about architecture and design in a broad sense. We believe in learning from the best and we would like you to take inspiration from the best as well, just like we do. Excellence of a great mind like Frank Lloyd Wright inspires. For us, even if it’s not modular/portable type of build, Wright inspires with his values and ideas. He teaches us to look at buildings and look at design in an innovative way.

If, after your Christmas break, you wonder how can you come back to your work routine, you may think you need a little push or some inspiration. Frank Lloyd Wright may do just that. There are two quotes by Wright which we would like to quote today as an inspiration. Before we do that, you may ask yourself; Were would you be in your life if you would not aim for the stars? Where would we be?


Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” Looking at most of his designs it is clear to see that he always stayed close to this belief. Wright looked at nature and building surroundings as a guide for his ideas in order to design. We would like to propose his quotes as a beautiful guide for the new year. If you think of a new built, aim to compliment your surroundings when imagining your new building. It may not necessarily be Frank Lloyd Wright design but yours. You can be the guide of this new adventure. Design influenced greatly by your idea of the space can also be grand. When you think of purchasing a new building, think innovative and reach for the stars. Finally, we would like to finish off with a second quote by Wright, “An idea is salvation by imagination.” As a motto for New Year, this is what we would like to believe in. We invite you all, to look into the nearest future by following this inspiring quote. Not all of us may become as innovative as Frank Lloyd Wright, but some of us will. And those who won’t, can still aim high and achieve high. Improving our surroundings may be a simple act, a simple idea. Better future is in the reach of our hands. Reach as high as you can. Taking this opportunity, we would like to finish off by wishing you all a truly Happy New Year 2019.

Crane Types

In order to unload your newly purchased modular building, we will require a crane. There are generally two crane types which we recommend using. It’s either the HiAb crane or a static crane.

The following link will take you to a video showing an example of unloading one of our modular buildings. In the video, our crew is unloading the building with the use of a HiAb crane https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKLDKpIYg-4

During the process of unloading, the building is lifted as a whole and set in the correct position. If the building is large, it will consists of more parts. Each part of the building is then lifted separately, placed next to one another and joined together by our crew. 
We recommend using a HiAb crane over other types because HiAb is most convenient to use as well as its a cost-effective option. 

Prior to the building assembly you will be sent some information, particularly regarding the weight of your modular building. This is in order to help you choose which type of crane is required. We will always advise further if needed.

As you can see at the photo above, during unloading, a crane is equipped with a hoist lifting belt and a spread beam. These are used together in order to lift and unload a modular building. Spread beam can be supplied by the crane company or by us in some cases. Spread beam we provide, can be used in order to lift the building depending on its weight. This beam can be used up to a maximum of 4000 kg load. If the maximum load is higher, the modular building must be unloaded with the use of a crane company’s spread beam.

Other than the need for a HiAb crane, sometimes, there may be need for a static crane use instead. Most often, static crane is required in places with difficult access. Static crane may also be needed if the building is particularly heavy or large. When it comes to the process of unloading, static crane, similar to a HiAb, is equipped with a hoist lifting belt and a spread beam in order to unload a modular building. The price of a static crane use is in fact higher in comparison to a HiAb. If situation requires it though, the use of a static crane may be unavoidable.

We hope that today we brought to you the process of unloading and assembling modular building a little bit closer.

Artificial Light, part 2

There are certain types of lighting you may want to have in mind when deciding on interior design of your modular building. Continuing the subject of artificial light, we would like to talk about general use of light within interior design. Some basic lighting types are as follows; ambient light, task light, accent light and decorative light.

Ambient Light

The main light used in the space is called ambient light. Ambient light function is raising lighting levels in the room to enable seeing clearly while performing tasks/activities the room was designed for. As an example, in an average interior, the main ceiling lamp will be the source of ambient light. Its functional role is the most important in the room. Depending on the space use, living room, hotel, hospital, office, store etc, ambient light levels will vary. For commercially used spaces light level requirements are calculated per square meter/feet. Sometimes, natural light can also be referred to as ambient light.

Task Light

Second functional light is called task light. Task light, as the name hints, helps with performing tasks. This is particularly used in spaces where the light already present is insufficient. Reading lamp is the most common example of a task light. Task light may also be required to be used by various types of workstations or while performing art/craft/design jobs and more.

Accent Light

Once needs for ambient and task lights are met, there are two additional categories which are exciting to focus on. Those two categories are accent light and decorative/or aesthetic light. Accent light is usually used to highlight the presence of an artwork or an object. It can also be used in order to highlight particular area of an interior.

Spotlights are frequent choice option for accent lighting. There are many different types of LED accent spotlights you can choose from. This type of light can transform the room into captivating space where your potential clients will be more likely to spend more time in. With accent lighting you can produce a cosy atmosphere within the room. It will work very well in relaxation areas as well. 

Decorative Light

Just like the use of statement piece in your wardrobe, decorative light could be the highlight of the room. Decorative light could be a floor lamp, a wall lamp or a chandelier. If used in the right way, decorative light will finish off interior design of the room flawlessly. At the same time, it can also provide a practical function by lighting up certain area of the room. Potentially, decorative light could be used as/or instead of an accent light and vice versa. Decorative light can even be part of an ambient lighting.

For an office, you may not necessarily want to use too much of both accent and decorative lighting. Adding small highlights into the space will add character and will not only attract clients but will also help your employees feel comfortable and welcome in the space.

Accent light you may want to use in order to accentuate graphics or company name/logo, etc. For office and commercial spaces, a good place for accent light is also outside of the building. Outside, light can be used to accentuate building’s architecture, entrance or pathway, as well as company name and logo.

Lighting design is one of the most pleasant adventures of interior design, mainly because most people are very sensitive to different types of light. Simply testing a light unit by lighting it up will instantly trigger certain emotions in your response. This is particularly the case with accent and decorative light. This response can be seen as your personal guide into what type of light you want to choose.

The choice of ambient light will need to be more pragmatic because as explained above, ambient light’s strength is usually calculated. Regarding ambient light, there will still be plenty of options when it comes to the lamp designs.

There is room for testing ideas and range of options to choose from when it comes to lighting design. Enjoy the adventure.

Artificial Light, part 1

Building designs combine both natural and artificial light. There are different ways to maximize the amount of both of those types of light. We focus on large windows in order to maximize natural light in our modular buildings. When it comes to artificial light, we provide LED lamps. In one of our past articles we have discussed the importance of natural light. We then spoke of factors to consider when planning window placement and planning your furniture layout. Today, we would like to discuss artificial light.

When undertaking decisions regarding lighting design for your modular building, Watts, Lumens and Kelvins are units important for you to be familiar with. Watts measure power consumption. Traditional incandescent lamps have generally been remembered for high Watt usage. Incandescent light power usage would also equal brighter bulb. The higher the number of Watts, the brighter the bulb.

This is not the case with LED’s. Typically, comparing an old fashioned incandescent 100-watt light bulb with the LED; LED equivalent will have around 1700 Lumens while the Watt usage will remain very low, around 15 Watts. When it comes to light output, the brightness of the light, it is best to focus on Lumens. Especially when it comes to LED’s. The number of Lumens will inform you of the brightness.

Depending on the weather conditions and building location, the demand for artificial light use will vary throughout the year. For commercial buildings, the light requirement is calculated per square meter/feet for each structure. The lighting is then installed making sure that the correct number of Lumens are there. In order to meet recommended light levels, the number of Lumens per square meter/feet can be raised either through the use of more powerful lamps or by the higher number of lamps.

Another important factor to consider is the colour temperature of lamp units in use. Typically, in order to achieve the best results, for office type spaces, it is best to use lamps with colour temperature closer to white. It means that the light colour will resemble natural sunlight. Thanks to crisp light like this, enabling to see details with no strain to the eyes, you will achieve a working space bright enough to comfortably work in.

Light colour temperature is provided in Kelvins scale. The lower the number the warmer the light colour temperature, the higher the number, the cooler the light colour temperature.  Daylight is categorized as 5000K colour temperature on the Kelvin scale and is considered a cool light. Office spaces typically use light colour temperature of 3500K to 4500K but you can use light which is cooler than that. Usually hospitals use coolest light on the scale. Cooler light gives focus and lets you see clearly. We use 4000K colour temperature lamps in our modular buildings. Warm light is classed as 3000K and less on the Kelvin scale and is best to use for home, guest rooms, hotels and restaurants, where you may want to relax.

Of course, the light calculation and installation is an experienced professionals job. We believe, that the knowledge into the subject enables undertaking informed decisions regarding lighting in your modular building even when an experienced advice is at hand though. A bit of knowledge means less money and time spent for trials and errors and/or shorter hours of advisory conversations with your electrician or lighting store technical department. Undertaking informed decision on the lighting subject in your modular building will influence the overall interior and exterior design and will increase customer satisfaction. Customers will simply like to spend more time in a cosy well-lighted room.

Plants

While planning the interior design of your new portable office, you may want to include some plants within the design. When, in the past, we discussed the subject of plants in the building interiors, we promised to discuss the subject of outdoor plants as well.

There are four beneficial elements that make up the idea of outdoor plants irresistible;

  • Environment
  • Health
  • Design
  • Branding

Environment

While discussing plants within the interior design of a portable office we talked about Bill Wolverton, a scientist who previously worked for NASA. His research for improving the quality of water and air with the use of plants concluded with publishing two books on both of those subjects. Wolverton not only succeeded with his research proving that plants have positive effects on reducing volatile compounds from the air but he also published a list of plants which are best for that. Via Wolverton’s research, we are aware of the additional quality of plants also improving water quality.

As numerous discussions among scientists regarding the subject of global warming and its consequences are heating up around the globe we are all aware of the plants’ ability to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) levels as well as reducing other negative compounds present in the air. We may then want to consider investing our time into the subject of the importance of plants.

Other than the improvement of air quality while introducing plants to your local environment, encouraging wildlife growth could be seen as an additional benefit of the presence of plants. Larger amounts of plants will naturally encourage wildlife growth. In fact, if your portable office is based in an area with no greenery present at all, your landscape architect may suggest particular plants, in order to encourage certain species. You could for instance plant the type of greenery encouraging the presence of bees. Additionally, if your portable office is based along a busy road, you could benefit from plants’ noise reducing qualities. This again will encourage wildlife to flourish.

If you would like to gain more insight and have a wider-reaching positive impact on local environment, you can research particular plants and their effects on wildlife or get more insightful advice from specialized garden designers, landscape architect or a wildlife trust.

In consequence, introducing more plants outside of your portable office will benefit the environment.

Health

Following from the above section on the environment, the next three sections could be seen as additional benefits or positive effects of the above. As already discussed, Wolverton researched not only the general idea of plants improving the air and water quality but also produced a list of plants which work best for it. A copy of his report can be found here https://archive.org/details/nasa_techdoc_19930072988/page/n0 More insightful information can also be found through many books and other sources, such as for example “Plant Biology Research and Training for the 21st Century” book which explains the importance of plants and also suggests certain solutions.

One of the most important conclusions when it comes to the general benefits of plants is their positive effect on our physical health. Other than the discussed benefit of plants as air cleaning device which in consequence is good for our physical health, there is the importance of the impact of our physical health into our emotional health as well. Presence of plants has positive effects on reducing stress levels. Plants are believed to have a positive impact on hospital patients and could, therefore, be used as part of illness recovery. Wolverton’s research, discussed above, lead to inquiry of effects of plants onto patient’s recovery. This lead to Wolverton’s starting cooperation with another company on the design of ecology gardens for hospitals.

As an employer, you could also look at an additional bonus of plants because when our physical and emotional health improves it leads to raised productivity at work.

The benefits of plants seem to be never-ending.

Design

Plants on the outside of your portable office may also improve and compliment the overall design of the building, boosting the general image of the company at the same time. When planning the design of the building surroundings with the use of greenery, it is worth considering neighbouring areas. If surrounding areas are mainly concrete, your portable building could provide a role of green escape. If it’s opposite and the area around your portable building is already green, your design could be seen as an extension of the natural world.

The design can be discussed with your landscape architect who will present you with multiple options. While thinking about the design, we advise considering all the beneficial elements of plants discussed in this article so that you can plan how many of those elements you really want to benefit from. The local environment, health, and branding can be seen as part of the whole outdoor garden design. This is part of the design planning. If you are taking advice from garden designer or landscape architect, make sure, that you stress these elements to him/her.

Branding

Another valid reason of the presence of plants on the outside of your portable building is branding. Your company’s image is built via many elements and decisions you undertake. It is built through your social media, your website, your customer relations, the values you stand for and portray will built your company’s image. This also includes how your portable building/office looks like and if you care for the environment and your local surroundings. This is part of your branding because it influences the way your clients feel about your company. It influences the way clients see you as a brand. Therefore, do use all the beneficial elements discussed above (environment, health, design) as part of your branding in order to show your clients what you care and stand for and what’s important to your brand. Through that, you will build the idea of your brand in your clients’ eyes.

Summarising the above four benefits of plants to our local surroundings, it is safe to say that plants play a very important role in our lives. It is then worth investing in plants, no matter where the reasoning behind our investment lies. Whether it is to all four discussed benefits, our planet or our own personal benefit, plants are definitely a long-term investment we should all consider to make.