Live action advent calendar 2016

By Hannah Mellow on 2 December 2016

It's that time of year again when we get "social". Every weekday from 1st December until Christmas Eve we will be sharing stories from members of the team (click on the images for secret videos!):

23rd December

It's the last weekday before the holidays. Season's greetings to you all!

Don't forget to unwrap your gif (by clicking on the gift below)...


22nd December


Today is all about our very own #QueenofInstagram  / Director of Photography; Miss Sophie 'I got 94 likes!' Norris. She's the one who runs our @wearespacelab instagram account, and has handpicked her favourite instas of the year, for your eyeball pleasure, below:


21st December


 Today is Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year and another day closer to Christmas. Although, here at Spacelab, we’ve been in the Christmas spirit all month. We've even had the Christmas tree up since the 1st December!

In true Spacelab style, this year we kept the decorations creative, yet cool, and the colour palette minimalistic. That doesn’t mean we didn’t make it fun though… watch below as Interior Designer, Nathalia, and Architect, Judith, ‘origami up’ the office with some eight-point stars and some really long straws….


And this is how they look like strung up through the office:


20th December


At Christmas it's easy to forget the other celebrations going on.

Not here in the Lab. Oh no. We take all celebrations very seriously.


Today was the birthday of our Associate Workplace Strategist, Jenny. There was cake - of course there was cake - it's a birthday. However, at Spacelab, we do cakes differently. Jenny's favourite group of buildings in the whole world, The Houses of Parliament, were created with all the chocolate fingers money can buy. And this wasn't a one off either - cake architecture is our thing. 

See below for Jenny's cake!


19th December


They call it puppy love... and here at the Lab, it really is! This December, we've had visits from some of our favourite 'Santa Paws'.

First of all, Interior Designer Christie's corgi, Charlie (solid alliteration), popped in to do some poochy posing on the yellow chairs, and today our Monday was brightened with a second office dog visit in as many weeks, when Interior Designer Sanel's golden retriever, Paxton, popped in for a few cuddles (providing you rub his belly first!).


Science tells us puppies (and big dogs!) are great stress relievers in an office environment, and the rise of the office dog shows no sign of stopping.

We're lucky to have so many gorgeous pooch owners (the dogs are good looking too!) that we get regular visits from not just Charlie, but Dougal, Coco, Watson, Ruby, Rolo (who even helped some Labbers win in the races once!) and many more.

The fight for cuddles continues as we head to the end of the day...


16th December


The Workplace Consultancy team really do work on such a variety of spaces.

For example, this week a new project came through. Picture this; it's nearly Christmas. There are problems at the North Pole. Luckily, Workplace Consultants, Laurie 'Goodwill' Goodman an Amy 'Mistletoe' Morgan are on hand with their expertise...

The brief:

Santa has relocated to Switzerland following a mysterious run-in with North Pole Customs and Exile on federal tax charges. The grotto has fallen into a state of disrepair, morale is low and the output of toys is dangerously slow.

Spacelab’s workplace consultancy and interior design teams have been commissioned with the redesign of an autonomous, elf-run production facility for the design, development, wrapping and dispatch of toys. The new grotto will function as a self-regulating, non-profit organisation and will use entirely recycled toys.


  1. The grotto will be responsible for the production of 1.9 billion toys per year: one toy per child on earth, presuming all children are well behaved.
  2. There are already far too many toys in the world, and children are fickle. Old toys must be returned to the grotto and upcycled in the design studio.
  3. Elves are housed off-site.

Product flow process:

Old toys in -> redesign in studio -> assembly in main construction hall -> transfer via air shoot to first floor -> wrapping -> storage -> dispatch from reindeer launch pad.


Spacelab’s workplace consultancy team ran an initial spatial analysis of the existing grotto in order to assess its essential spatial qualities, and engaged with the elves to build a detailed assessment of their requirements. The movement of product was then mapped onto the plan to realign its flow with the spatial configuration of the building.

Elf engagement survey currently underway.

Talk about your dream project....

14th December


Christmas is a time to be near friends. All the songs say so, and who are we to mess with Shakin' Stevens?

And, with studies showing, increasingly, that friendship in the workplace is one of the most important factors of employee engagement (Gallup, the global engagement survey consultants even count it higher than 'typical' motivators, as results from focus groups and employee interviews showed friendship trumping pay and benefits), we thought it's a good time to celebrate the fact that we must be doing something right. We can't count the amount of BFF-ships that have blossomed in the Lab, and we're all likely to be found hanging out with each other even outside of office hours.

Our favourite Lab 'Bro-mancers'; Interior Designer, Michael 'Sandy' Beach, and Architectural Assistant, Connor 'Conman' Smith, tell us what their friendship means for their motivation at work, expressing their feelings via The Fox and the Hound references, holding hands and jumping. Naturally:

Connor "If you feel happy and relaxed, you're more likely to feel creative and want to produce good ideas. Having a best friend to joke about with makes you feel happy, and in turn you are motivated to help others out. This results in everyone working more effectively as a team."

Michael "We'll be friend forever, won't we, Todd?"

Connor "Bro-mance and work go together. I love him. Mic drop."

Now doesn't that make you feel as cosy as Santa's toes on a log fire?!


13th December


We love data here at Spacelab. It's what we do; what all our designs are based on.  Someone who knows all about this is our Senior Scientist, Dr Lusine Tarkhanyan, who has summarised Spacelab's love of data in the gif below.

Find Lusine and more of her #smart insights on Twitter @spatial_ist


Find Lusine and more of her #smart insights on Twitter @spatial_ist

12th December


Ok, so we missed one. You know when that happens though, it's always a treat, 'cos you get to open two doors at once, and get two chocolates?!

This is like that. Because the treat for today, rather than cheap chocolate, is an insight into Spacelab's now legendary parties! No, but seriously...

...Friday 11th December was filled with utter festive joy, as we took on not one, not two, but three completely different and totally Christmassy venues.

The frolics began in style as we all, dressed in our glitzy party outfits, arrived for dinner at the fabulous Dead Dolls House in Islington.


After a delicious meal, and a little bit of bubbly, the surprises began. First we boarded the Crate Brewery's beautiful narrowboat venue, the 'Alfred le Roy' for a merry meander up the Regents Canal. There is no boat that serves more delicious cocktails in the whole wide world - we defy you to find another. #wereonaboat!


But Lo! What further surprises were we to find on our magical journey?!

Well... lucky you asked. Firstly, poor old St Nick had found himself in some trouble with his sleigh and 'happened' to be finding his way home on the towpath! He did look quite troubled - it is a busy time of year for him. Luckily, we had a fabulous mode of transport right there, so we picked him up and set on our merry way. It is Christmas after all...

...and of course, he 'happened' to have some gifts with him, all with our names on.


Once Tall Amy recovered from meeting her hero, and Connor had got over the fact that Santa knows all his catchphrases (but how?!) it was time to let him get back to business so he disappeared off, back to the North Pole.

Gifts clutched in hands, and smiles of wonder intact, it was time for a break and a team photo on the Granary Square steps. Everyone poured out and started getting themselves in place, but were soon distracted by some angelic voices in their midst... the stunning sounding Camden Chamber Choir 'happened' to be holding a quiet private concert... that soon became less so.sparklers.jpg

Much less so...

Eventually it was time to disembark, and although we might all have had a touch of the 'sea legs', "it's Chhhrrrriiiiiiiiitmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssss", so in true Rock 'n' Roll style, we hit the Ultimate Power Christmas Special at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, where we belted out Every. Single. Power. Ballad. Ever.

Voices, still 'angelic':


This soundtrack did include Band Aid, which we can guarantee gave us proper goose pimples, but we were so in the zone there's no video evidence. You just have to believe us.

And soon it was time for going home to count the sleeps till Christmas. We looked around at all the dazed faces still standing and knew, just knew, it had been the #bestchristmaspartyever!

Told you. Legendary.

8th December


The theme today is remote working. We're all for it but it can be challenging when you live with animals. Our Marketing Manager, Hannah (a.k.a. crazy cat lady), and her cat, Laila, demonstrate this behind today's door. Hannah thought she'd respond to some emails, but Laila had other ideas.

7th December


Lucky number seven... and lucky us in gaining these seven sparkling new Labbers this year.

Meet Sanel, Maeve, Lauren, Jenny, Nathalia, Antonio and Judith. Sanel joined the interiors team earlier this year, Maeve is our 3D visualising Queen, Lauren is PA to the directors, Jenny is a workplace consultancy associate, Nathalia joined the interiors team at the beginning of 2016 as an intern and never left, Antonio is a part of our team of technicians and Judith is a project architect.

Interesting facts - Lauren can play drums pretty well, Sanel is pronounced like the fancy perfume, Antonio's middle name is Jesus, Judith has an adorable one-year-old son called Ethan, Jenny has the same birthday as Carol Vorderman, Maeve once served Mick Jagger a lemon sole while he was in his dressing gown (she worked at a spa...), and Nathalia's favourite English saying is 'belly button'.

#wearespacelab. Always.

6th December


Our master bakers, architects Monika and Joe, tell us their inspiration behind the design of our gingerbread development in the Museum of Architecture's Gingerbread City:

Monika: "The idea behind our 'sprint design' gingerbread house was to create a space for gingerbread men to enjoy. We cut key access routes through the eight-story plot from the main view points. This allowed us to create various different types of community spaces for the gingerbread people – public space in front of the retail area, semi-public space with an ice rink in the main square and a semi-private roof top."

Joe: "We also envisioned a series of abstract patterns lining the façades of each building. These highly decorative façades provide the back drop for our private, semi-private and public spaces, which create a sense of community whilst maintaining the traditional privacy of residential properties."

And here's a photo of the final build, and again in situ at MoA's Gingerbread City:gingerbread-moa.jpg

5th December

Want to see some Christmas tree magic? There are some mischievous elves behind this door:


2nd December

Question: In your opinion, what makes a good space?

Senior Interior Designer, Dorien's response: "The overall experience of the user hinges on many more components than the spatial qualities of a space. The choice of the materials, the use of colour, the selection of the loose elements and the design of the fixed elements of interest affect the final result. That's why it's so important to work together with the client – a great space is a solution that meets their needs."

Open Dorien's door here:


1st December

What's behind our first advent door? Only our first ever mannequin challenge...

Open it here:


Topics: live action advent calendar, spacelab christmas, architecture christmas, interior design christmas, work christmas 2016