Week Four:

So the end of this week marked my first month milestone working at Philip Watts Design and brought me a week closer to my big move to Waterloo, it also meant the end of what has been a very stressful week for the team.

Recently we’ve been working on a very exciting project for Pizza Pilgrims, a young and fresh pizza restaurant created by two frustrated city boys who really just wanted to make pizza. It started with an ape at the top of Italy and it ended in the best damn pizza in London. This story and some of the recipies they learned on their travels in their book.

This project, while extremely fun and playful in nature, was on a tight schedule and meant all hands on deck so for the latter part of the week I put my Greggs notes to one side and dove into the world of ‘how Philip Watts Design actually draws’. A pile of alien mark ups landed on my desk along with a midfield of unrecognised CAD layers and specific saving formats. My skills were also put to use creating 2D CAD drawings of arcade machines, vintage TV’s and themed pendant lights to later input into exceptionally detailed section drawings. It was both fun and nerve wracking to jump into the project, even if I did just stand on the periphery, my input ultimately a drop in the ocean of the fantastic design the team had already created.

 

Week Three

This is the first week that I’ve managed to read during my commute. Before now I found watching people getting on with their day far too compelling, not that the novelty of London has worn off in any way. I still get excited when there’s a seat free right at the front of the bus. London on the big screen.

Although in spite her beauty London can also be a cruel mistress for so many reasons, in part because she is an expensive companion but also because she is confusing. Due to having lived in a small town my whole life and also because I have no particular aversion to walking, I have never really had a need to catch buses before, so this was something of a learning curve for me when I first began my commute. Fortunately, I sailed through the first two weeks with ease, jumping on and of buses almost like a local. Becoming quite proficient in fact. Until Monday… The plan was simple, jump off the bus at a small parade of shops – around a quarter of the way through the 45 from Kings Cross’s journey and half way through mine to Blackfriars – to grab some bits from the CO-OP. Then, of course, jump back on the bus and continue on to work. The first part went off without a hitch. Blueberry muffins and pasta pot stowed away in my bag I reappeared on the bustling street, sunglasses on, and after some time of carefully taking in my surroundings, I realised that I had no idea which direction I had entered the shop from, which is situated on the corner of the ever-busying roads. I thought I was saved when I saw the beloved 45 at a red light, about to head towards a bus stop I could easily make if I walked briskly. Positively smug I jumped on the bus when it stopped in front of me, headphones blaring I took my seat. As always I watched the world go by from my bumpy throne, taking in the things I recognised and the things I didn’t. 20 minutes later I found myself sat outside King’s Cross station, where my journey had begun.

The rest of the week was considerably more successful. I got my first legitimate drawing pack. Gone are the days of tinkering with my Greggs Training file. Time now to apply what I have learned the last two weeks to a live project.

However, although things have gotten more serious this week there still hasn’t been a day go by without a small London treat, like free frozen yogurt from SNOG if you order via Uber Eats or a free bottle of Honest T if you take a photo with their floral installation (that picture is never to be seen). This week was no exception, this week I got the insane opportunity to see London in a way not many people do, from the very top of the OXO Tower Wharf. For a dizzying half hour, I got to peer at London through a birds eye.

 

Also this week I was given my very own set of keys to the office which means that during the half an hour before anyone else gets there I can let myself in and, in this instance, take photos.

London Showroom

Week Two

This week I continued on my quest to learn everything there is to know about designing the nation’s favourite Greggs, all the while expanding what I thought and was wrong to think was already a comprehensive knowledge of AutoCAD. I can’t help but wonder as I’m pausing to write notes under the heading ‘AUTOCAD HINTS AND TIPS’ what university has been teaching me when 2 years down the line I still don’t know half of the commands I know now or how to produce a GA (general arrangement) Plan and an RCP (reflective ceiling plan). I’ve come to the realisation that I’m going to learn more in my year on placement that I ever would have or will learn at uni.

Since I joined as the fourth member of the team, the office – which doubles as a showroom for Philip Watts products – had become rather impractical. As a result, I spent Wednesday putting together a selection of office flat packs from IKEA in preparation for the arrival of a beautiful new desk. One big enough for everyone and which has a completely flat top, which compared to the charming old carved desk it replaced is a godsend. The thought of just brushing off crumbs and being able to write without the aid of a sketchbook due to the deep grooves was an exciting one.

On Thursday I managed to catch the Kings Cross food market before I hopped on the bus. The stalls were bustling with morning commuters contemplating the array of salamis, cheeses, and cakes on offer. The square was littered with people nibbling on fresh pain au chocolates or tucking into breakfast muffins.

Week two ended in what I can only assume is what people who are employed Monday to Friday refer to as the ‘Friday Feeling’, only made better by the pending arrival of our new desk. The morning was spent frantically trying to finish the work we had so we could dedicate the afternoon to reassembling the office and then, as planned, go out to dinner after work. The desire to leave as close to 5 as possible was strong in us all.

As promised to ourselves at 5 we set off walking in the direction of Shoreditch in pursuit of what was to be the best Indian I have ever had.

 

Week One

The first morning felt like a dream, not only because it had been a long time since I’d been up at 6 am but because that was the first day of my career as an interior designer.

Bleary-eyed I got dressed, in an outfit I’d planned the night before, grabbed my bag, which I’d packed the night before, and gathered up the last few bits; wallet, phone, keys, and my lunch, which I’d made the night before. I felt accomplished already by the time I got to the bus stop. There’s something satisfying about walking the streets before most people have even opened their eyes. Dog owners, early morning joggers, and fellow commuters were my company that morning, it was nice. I’d already anticipated the morning commute being the worst part of my week so I was pleasantly surprised when I quite enjoyed it. Saying that coming back is much less enjoyable. Traveling there is easy with all the anticipation of what I’ll be doing that day putting a spring in my step, but an equal anticipation to be home at the end of the day adds a haste to my footsteps on the way back, and brings out an inner intolerance for slow walkers. Also having said that, it’s only been a week.

I walked into the office to see a neatly piled stack of paperwork and a drawing pack, as well as a Pukka Pad, a dates diary, two pens, and a highlighter in front of my computer on my side of the carved wooden desk. I stifled the grin, said good morning to my new colleagues and thought this is fucking it as I lowered myself into my chair. That morning was spent doing new job things like setting up my email, getting shown around the building I would be spending the majority of the next year of my life in, and of course being given some work to do – after all, this is my job now.

As Philip Watts Design is split 50/50 between product design and interior design, Arun explained that it is important for me to have even a basic knowledge of the products the company has on offer, especially as our studio is also a showroom. So I busied myself referring to the product website to find the names of the handles around the showroom. Then lunch, which as I had no stack of work to do this week has been a great chance to explore the area and test out different lunch spots. I found one that I liked on the third day, right in the sun at the top of a set of steps that leads right down to the Thames.

It didn’t take long for me to start working on one of their ongoing projects. I picked up one of the only residential projects Philip Watts works on. My job was to source furniture options, present them in an InDesign file; including image, where it’s from and how much it costs, also any additional information that might be helpful such as dimensions or other colour or material options. This was something I continued to work on for the rest of the week, all the while listening to the comments fly around the room regarding other projects and getting involved where possible.

I had the opportunity to meet the Nottingham team one afternoon early in the week while Arun was on a Skype call with Phil to discuss some changes the clients had come back with. I also managed to meet the teams’ sweetheart and mascot, Hilda, who you can see on the teams Instagram. I know it’s a cliche to say a company is like a family, but it honestly feels like one. What with Arun throwing the phone at me throughout the day to say hello to various team members, much like my mother does with my grandparents. My nerves ebbed away with each friendly welcoming to the team. Also in true family style, my computer is a lovingly cleared out hand me down.

On Friday the long process of training me to produce a complete drawing pack for the new Greggs national roll out, a design the Philip Watts team is responsible for, began. First learning about the different floor finishes and then onto wall finishes, all the while rapidly writing notes on all the AutoCAD tips I’m learning from the guys as I meticulously work through the tasks I’m given. I think the best thing about beginning my adventure in such a friendly environment is the ability to ask questions and, in some cases, be openly be confused. Fortunately, nothing is too much trouble for my new team, even if it is to explain what a bulkhead is for the 10th time.

We finished off the week with a prosecco toast in the office and then when 5 o’clock hit shortly after we left in the direction of another watering hole for one more before it was time for me to begin my commute home.

I walked to the bus stop with the same grin on my face that I had on my first day, this is is it, I did it. And I think I’m going to like it here…

 

 

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