Stage 3 – concept


So what’s involved at the concept stage?

After the design brief and our initial meeting we will head back to the office and start working up the design. This will normally include all or most of the following:

Proposed plan

The proposed plan comprises the functional and aspirational requirements of the brief. If you want to build your first restaurant or shop we sometimes recommend drawing up a concept plan. You will be able see how much space you require for the amount of covers or stock you need to fit in. This can be invaluable when trying to secure a site. You will be better informed as to the type of site you need.

We like to produce at least two or three options for the plan, focusing on different aspects of the scheme. For instance, for a restaurant interior we might look at a design based around an open kitchen, or a bar that is prominent from the outside. There will also be an option that maximises covers. If we are designing a shop interior we might explore circulation options, look at the composition from outside and consider the positioning of feature walls.

Exterior Visuals

Exterior visuals are fairly quick to produce because they are generally based on an edited photograph taken from the outside. These don’t focus on the interior, rather they are there to show how the new scheme will change the exterior. They can be useful for planning applications, and can sometimes convey just what is needed to the signage contractor.

Interior Visuals

Interior visuals glue the rest of the elements of the design together. As an interior architect and designer they are the ultimate aspect of concept design. They express the new use of the space in the most readily understandable way, and are well worth the time and expense. If you need investment from backers, or just want to see how the finished space will look they are a great indicator.

scene 01a
scene 03a
interior visual 01a
TW scene 05a
TW scene 06a
TW scene 02e
scene 2 spa a
TW scene 11c
reception visual
scene 2 20% fins
scene 01
josies visual


We will discuss sections in the next stage, but we often start producing them at this stage. Sections help explain how we will treat the walls within the restaurant or shop design, and  can develop as the design progresses. If we are not producing any visuals we might colour the sections to convey the atmosphere.

These are the elements that make up the concept design service we provide as part of our interior architecture and design service. We will normally tailor what we do to make sure that we don’t produce any unnecessary work. Once we have worked through this stage, we are ready to move onto Stage 4.

Many see the concept stage as the most creative part of the design process. However, we like to think of the technical drawing stage as equally creative, as it is where we can explore the finishes and detailing further.

Mood boards

Mood boards try to capture the atmosphere of an interior. We can convey this using photographs of similar interiors, or through images that capture the mood in other ways. This might be a photograph of something very vivid amongst some earthy surrounds. Or a formal architectural shot. It’s all about interpreting your individual needs and values.

cafe inteior designer mood board 01
show room inteior designer mood board 02
show room inteior designer mood board 01
restaurant inteior designer mood board 03
restaurant inteior designer mood board 02
restaurant inteior designer mood board 01
health spa inteior designer mood board 01

Sample boards

These boards display examples of materials that we will use as part of the interior design fit out. We tend to use digital images of most of the finishes, and only bring physical samples of key materials. Sample boards are closely linked to mood boards as they set the atmosphere of the space. They also often have a strong relationship with the branding or elements of the building, like a brick wall or solid timber floor.