Collaboration around the globe

Formed in 2010 the Ryder Alliance has been a conduit for learning and development across all participating partners. The last few months have seen two exchanges completed with i2C, Ryder and Ward Robinson participating. With Terri Baisley from i2C heading over to Ryder and Louise Roberts from Ward Robinson coming over to i2C’s Melbourne office, there was clear excitement around this set of exchanges as it was the first round that Ward Robinson have participated.

The main goal for all exchanges within the alliance are of development both for the individual and the participating partners and, of course, collaboration. Each partner has an expertise in a different area and the ability to so deeply engage with these different firms has been a humbling experience for all. With the ability to learn how a different ‘company’ operates and engages with their local industry an compare it to home, the personal and professional development seen by all who participate in this exchange program is such a rewarding result.

We asked Terri Anne and Louise about their exchange experiences.

Terri Anne Baisley

The most beneficial part of the exchange was gaining a fresh perspective. Entering a new office as an outsider gives you an amazing opportunity to reflect on yourself as well as the practice. I loved the very historical and more typological Architecture in the UK. Every building element and detail had a story to tell, and that in itself is beautiful.

York Minster and Salisbury Cathedral


What projects did you work on while you were there on exchange?

I was luckily enough to be able to largely take ownership of one main project, a small scale multi-level office for TH_NK in Clerkenwell, London. This project involved the full spectrum of duties from client liaisons, brief determination, fabric and furniture selections, detailed design and documentation. More than that, I helped on various other projects on mainly the detailed design and documentation front.

What caught your eye from an Interiors perspective while you were there?

In my first week, Ward Robinson attended the BCO (British Council for Offices) Awards.  WR were nominated for two office renovations the Old Post Office and an Office Layout Prototype Floor Plate for HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue Service).

The Old Post Office won a BCO Award. The design successfully honoured the old whilst celebrated the new. The HMRC Floor Plate was an interesting layout utilising hot desking and varied innovated office spaces. I was luckily to be taken to see both in my time.

Old Post Office and the HMRC Floor Plate

What was the highlight of your time on Exchange?

This is such a difficult question to answer. One highlight was swimming in the North Sea – chilly to say the least! Another highlight was the site visit to Alnwick Castle and Gardens. As a passionate architecture and Harry Potter fan, you couldn’t ask for more.

The various projects done by Ward Robinson at the HMRC Buildings were great to see as well.

I was fortunate enough to attend Clerkenwell Design Week for a day. This is a brilliant initiative where suppliers and designers do pop up showrooms and exhibitions within an area in London and everyone gets out and about seeing this season’s hot pieces.

A couple of highlight buildings/places I toured to: Stonehenge, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glen Coe Mountains, Salisbury Cathedral and Dublin!

Clockwise from top left: Windswept at Loch Ness, TB Alnick Gardens and Pavilion, Stonehenge and Whiskey tasting in Dublin

Louise Roberts

Getting to know the people! From my first day in the office I was made to feel welcome by everyone at i2C and felt like part of the team very quickly. It was interesting for me coming from a smaller office here at Ward Robinson, to see how a larger office worked together with all the different personalities and skills across the teams. There was a friendly atmosphere about the place which allowed people to feel at home and to be themselves.

What projects did you work on while you were there on exchange?

I mainly worked on a number of interior schemes mainly for shopping centres including Croydon Central, Maroubra, Winmalee, Burnee Plaza and Mernda Junction.

What caught your eye from an Interiors perspective while you were there? Is there an interior/ design or architecture/ building that you saw in Newcastle that stood out to you? Why?

Myself and Fran (the Ryder Liverpool exchange) visited Tasmania one weekend, and spent the afternoon at the famous MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. This building was incredible! It is carved out of the sandstone headland, and goes three storeys deep into the earth, creating a dramatic labyrinth-like cavity below. Highly recommend!

Modern industrial interior design seemed to be popular in Australia, and many restaurants/bars/cafes had a raw, edgy feel. Exposed ceilings and brick walls, the use of concrete, suspended planting/lighting, graffiti art, and quirky neon lighting.  One good example of this style was the Whitehart bar in the CBD which I visited a few times over my stay. The Whitehart is a two-storey shipping container bar built on an empty car park, and used large palm trees, industrial lighting and an eclectic mix of artwork to create a really great atmosphere.

Amarna Sunset Sequence at Mona, Tas; NAB Building Melbourne Docklands

What was the highlight of your time on Exchange?

There were so many great points so this one is hard to answer. A few of us from the Melbourne office went down to Wilsons prom for some camping/hiking. When we first arrived on the Friday night it was pitch black, but we took a walk down to the beach and the stars were like nothing I have ever seen!

I also had an amazing time after my work with i2C, hiring a campervan and touring the east coast. I think my highlight was probably hiking to the top of a viewpoint on one of the deserted Whitsunday islands and taking in the absolutely breathtaking view!