The People Make the Place

This month our guest blogger Danny McCubbin talks about the importance of a positive culture within the workplace. Danny has been a friend of Urban Myth’s for some time now collaborating on various projects in the past. He is well versed in sharing his thoughts and experience in creating a positive work environment as he worked as Culture Manager for Jamie Oliver LTD for over two years.

When I was Culture Manager for Jamie Oliver LTD, many of our staff activities and events were centred around the kitchen and food. You would expect this of course working for company that is committed to people leading a better life through good food.

The staff kitchen in Jamie’s office is more than just a kitchen where incredible meals are prepared for the staff; it is also the focal point for the entire office. The kitchen is centred right near the reception area and as soon as you walk into the office you can see the day’s food activities unfolding right before your eyes.

I loved that kitchen, and nothing would give me more pleasure during a working day than to see my colleagues pull up a stool at the pass and watch our chefs cook. My colleagues were always drawn to the kitchen and often they would sit at the pass with their laptops and work there all day. This is where we also ran cooking classes for all staff and social events as well.

My job as Culture Manager was to oversee the food ethos for our staff and having that incredible space to work in made my job a lot easier. Walking into that office you knew that this is a company that is all about food and the power it has to bring people together.

I remember having a similar feeling when I first visited the showroom at Urban Myth to run an event there. I remember being so impressed with all the details in the kitchen. Everything is made to such a high standard with the very best finishes. I knew that I was entering a kitchen showroom of a company that knows how to design and manufacture top quality kitchens.  

A few years back we ran an event at Urban Myth where we showcased the exceptional cooking skills of a young chef who I have been mentoring for quite a few years, Dean McClumpha. Dean was a graduate from Fifteen London, and he has been enjoying a brilliant career in food ever since.

I got to know quite a few of the staff from Urban Myth during that event and what always impressed me when I was there for meetings was how proud the staff were of Urban Myth kitchens. Having staff that are proud of their work results in a positive workplace culture and that is very evident at Urban Myth.

I recently reached out to some staff from the design department at Urban Myth and asked them what excites them about their job and what are some of their favourite design projects. Here is what they had to say:

Peter Hill – Head of Sales

What exciting developments have there been with kitchen design lately? Kitchens have become “living spaces” with most being open plan to allow for both dining spaces and informal eating at a bar area. Modern Shaker style design is making a come-back and handle-less Shaker could be the next big thing. We have also completed several kitchens with a television behind a mirror backsplash, as people are spending more time than ever in the kitchen this is an effective and discreet way of incorporating this technology.

Lead Designer Davide Dellanzo 

Is there a project that you are particularly proud of? Perhaps a tricky design brief that you resolved?
The challenge for the design for a customer in Chingford was that we had to fit a lot in a small space, but we achieved the brief and the kitchen looked great. We even managed to include the seated breakfast bar they wanted – essential, now, for extra space to work from home.

We also recently completed a job in Wanstead, and the client was very specific in terms of what type of design, and accessories they wanted. The design required quite a bit of research and problem solving, as we have our own factory, we have the flexibility to create made to measure items to deliver on these requests which is always very satisfying. There is even space under a bespoke storage seating area for the dog bed!

Senior Designer Marzena Moks Rodrigues

What are some of your favourite kitchens that you have designed? 
There are many projects that I have loved. I particularly enjoyed working on a kitchen for a customer where they had some great input to create a yellow London brick wall with a big neon sign attached to it. I love it when a customer can feel comfortable enough with me to express their own needs and attention to detail.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? 
Almost from everywhere: clients in the first instance, streets architecture, nature (colour combinations), furniture and art exhibitions. Also, professional kitchen magazines, furniture, appliances, and our stone manufacturers who supply us constantly with innovative materials to work with. 

I am so looking forward to visiting the team at Urban Myth when the showroom opens once again. The team there are following the Government guidelines for when non-essential retail is open once again in the UK. I am also planning some more events to be run in the beautiful showroom with some very special guest chefs. More news for you all in the next couple of months.

The People Make the Place