A & J D'Alton

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from A & J D'Alton is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

1A & J D’ALTON |
Cairo. New Wedding & Conference
Building. Wedding suite.
& J D’Alton was founded in 1979 as an architecture and
interior design practice serving hotels and the leisure sector.
In the late 1970s this was a healthy and growing market
worldwide, and design was increasingly becoming recognised as
part of the success formula for such businesses. Director Anthony
D’Alton explains how his firm capitalised on that growth.
Both I and my partner in the practice had previously worked for a variety of
larger practices and organisations, in both the private and the public sectors. The
objective for A & J D’Alton was to stay small and totally focused on all key aspects
of each client’s business, to ensure design really supported it as it grew.
We undertook a variety of work, from the initial briefing stage right through to
project management and cost control, in order to deliver results that exceeded
our clients’ expectations. This has always been one of our primary objectives,
alongside creating buildings and interiors to the highest standard of design. Forty
years later, these are still our objectives and they have helped us retain many of our
commercial clients on a long-term basis, some for over 20 years.
Coming together
In the early days of A & J D’Alton, architecture and design were often viewed
as separate disciplines. The role of architect was much more clearly defined and
interior design had not made its mark sufficiently strongly in professional terms
in the minds of commercial clients. This often precluded the designer from a
standalone project role, and reliance was still placed on engaging an architect to
oversee projects.
»Directors: Anthony D’Alton &
Jacqueline D’Alton
»Established in 1979
»Based in the Cotswolds
»Services: Architecture &
Interior Design
»Number of employees: 3
A & J D’Alton
Director Anthony D’Alton
Highlighting best practice
2| A & J D’ALTON
During the past 40 years we have seen
enormous changes within the industry,
particularly during the 1980s and
1990s. The hotel and leisure industry
recognised that there were benefits
in having high-quality interiors that
could drive their business forward;
the distinction between architect and
interior designer was fast disappearing
and the professional bodies of CSD
and BIID were emphasising the
professional standards that applied
to designers and creating greater
awareness among clients.
Multidisciplinary practices were
increasingly being established and
were taking a large market share of the
hotel and leisure field, while interior
design practices were providing clients
with the professional skills needed for
large-scale projects. We have always
aimed to achieve the highest standards
of design and professionalism for our
clients, and we maintain this ethos still
within ourpractice.
Over the years we have been
approached by local schools and
asked to take students for a period
of work experience, which we have
been delighted to do. By setting them
projects and introducing them to the
various stages involved, visiting live
sites, meeting clients and generally
allowing them to observe how an
office is run, we enable them to
make a better-informed choice in
terms of their eventual career. In fact,
two such students went on to train
as interior designers and are both
now very successful. Where we have
taken on work placement students,
professionalism in design has been one
of our key educational drives.
Increasing expectations
Design has become a key aspect of
international hotel and leisure buildings
and interiors, and forms a significant
element of the branding of hotels –
from five-star to city boutique – with
guest expectations ever increasing as
we all expand our travelhorizons.
The demands of design creativity are
becoming more intense and alongside
this, we have an unparalleled choice
of materials and technology to draw
upon. Design and architectural
practices are required to adhere to the
latest building regulations and health
and safety project requirements, while
simultaneously sourcing sustainable
materials and keeping pace with
the technology that allows a high
specification of materials and finishes,
thus meeting clients’ demands. At all
times we remain creative and intuitive
to a client’s brief and deliver projects
on time and to cost.
The market continues to grow and
excite practices, although working
abroad on projects can bring
challenges. Our work on major hotel
We have
always aimed
to achieve the
standards of
design and
for our clients,
and we
maintain this
ethos still
within our
Cairo. New Wedding
& Conference Building.
Main Entrance.
3A & J D’ALTON |
projects on the Red Sea and in Cairo
has demonstrated to us that the
availability and choice of materials
we can call on in this country and in
Europe are not necessarily available
abroad; design has to follow from a
much more limited choice. There is
also a reluctance to import materials
and goods from abroad due to the
very high level of import tax and
therefore it is not as easy to achieve
the standards of workmanship that we
are used to within Europe. However,
we see this as a challenge, rather
than a stumbling block, in achieving
inspirational buildings and interiors on
projects overseas.
The range of information available to
design practices in terms of materials,
interior and exterior building products,
technical support and statutory
requirements is vast – via websites,
professional journals and seminars –
and as a result, project research has
taken on a different dimension and
timescale. Clients expect more in
less time, as finance drives projects,
and we have to deliver results within
ever faster timescales. Much of this
is a result of the professionalism of
contractors on site and the immediacy
of information that can flow between
a design office and site.
Looking forward
As a practice we will go forward in
2020 with our aim to provide our
clients with high-end, innovative
design solutions for buildings and
interiors for the commercial success of
our clients, while promoting within the
industry the current reputation of the
design profession.
We will continue to explore and use
the latest technologies, respond to the
need to use more sustainable products
and take on board environmental
concerns regarding product
manufacture – all while enjoying the
work we are privileged to do in this
wonderfully creative field.
Clients expect
more in less
time, as
finance drives
projects and
we have to
deliver results
within ever
Hotel in Queen’s Gate
London. Main Reception.

This article was sponsored by A & J D'Alton. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.