Interview #41 Dean Connell

Text: Katie Richardson
Interview: Dean Connell
Photo: Felix Speller and Old Sessions House
Case: Old Sessions House

All around the world, architects and designers are using BAUX Acoustic Tiles and Panels in exciting projects for great brands. In a series of newsletters, we aim to introduce you to a selection of projects and the mind masters behind the designs of these acoustic artworks. Why? Because there are endless design possibilities to share with the world. We simply will call these newsletters Interviews #.

BAUX Acoustic Felt Screens were specified for use in some more private areas. We spoke to Knotel’s Creative Director, Dean Connell, about the transformations of Old Session House, his approach to sustainability within his work and the specification of BAUX as acoustic treatment.

How would you describe the overall style of Old Sessions House? 

Set in a grade 2 listed property in the heart of Clerkenwell, my approach was to create a contemporary counterpoint to the grand historic architecture. We inherited a beautiful canvas that craved warmth and life. The creative concept centred on “Natural decay, contemporary classic and cosy”.

 Why did you choose BAUX for your acoustic solutions? 

I’ve always admired Baux’s core product and ability to personalise via different configurations. Aesthetically, Baux has always been design-led and contemporary, aligning with my creative direction for the project.

From the range at BAUX, why did you specify the PET screens, what colours did you choose, and why?

I loved the sustainable credentials and was keen to pair the dividers with my prototype desk design system. Combining reused and refurbished solid walnut legs, new solid oak tops, and the recycled PET screens from Baux created a fully circular desking system that evoked style.

What are the three most important design considerations when creating workspaces in a setting such as Old Sessions House? 

Comfort. The space should look and feel comfortable.

Functional. It needs to work. Selecting suitable furniture objects that help optimise performance.

Personality. Is there a ‘hook’ or something that adds depth to the environment, like fantastic artwork and interesting historical references?

How much does sustainability affect your specification choices? 

It plays a big part. My approach is to focus on the overall balance of sustainable specifications. For example, around 30% of the furniture choices at OSH are refurbished, reused and vintage. Another 40% is bespoke objects made to last from natural materials, and the remaining 30% is from the general market.

Our industry still has a long way to go to ensure that more projects are specified closer to 100% sustainable.

What do you think ‘workspaces will look like in 2-5- and ten years? 

In the near term (2-5 years), Old Sessions House – will look like an amenity-rich and hospitality-driven environment—a beautiful work club.

In the long term, ‘hospitality will eat the office’ as people crave more experience and rely less on dedicated desks for work—a fusion between the hotel lounge, restaurant, and residential interiors.

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