Original Office Artwork

Original Office Artwork

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7 DAYS A WEEK 8.30AM - 7.00PM

Original Office Art

Laura Mulhern - South West Artwork

We were thrilled when South West Artwork’s Laura Mulhern agreed to be interviewed byBT Office Furniture & Interiors.

Her story is inspiring to all budding entrepreneurs and we are planning to work on projects together in the not too distant future.

What is your background?

I was born in Belfast N.Ireland but grew up in London where I studied and worked before I moved to Dorset in 2005. I came down to visit the coast one summer and never went back!


I studied to tertiary level and graduated with BA Hons in English and Directing for Theatre.

I was also awarded the UnLtd Award Level 1 for social entrepreneurship with South West Artwork.

What previous jobs did you have?

I have done all manner of jobs since graduating, ranging from Front of House staff at the Lyceum theatre in London to working in television then as a business analyst for a large retailer.

My working life has been an exciting journey through creative and business environments which has helped no end with managing my own business.

What motivated you to start your own business?

When I moved to the coast I made a number of friends who were recent graduates of art and design from various institutes across the South West. They were all talented people who had studied a variety of degrees including visual arts, illustration and design but had very little outlet to exhibit and sell their work within the region. Most would leave the area to seek work and opportunities in larger city areas such as London.

I also recognised there were a number of hospitality and corporate spaces in the area that would benefit from incorporating visual art and design within their space to make for a better environment for both guests and employees.

With public funding being cut across the board it is an important time to look to creating opportunities for artists and the creative industries that is sustainable.

When did SW Artwork become established?

We became a limited company in 2008 and are registered as a Community Interest Company which is still a relatively new approach to business. It is designed for social enterprises like ourselves to use their profits and assets for public good. The further official definition of a CIC continues this; ‘By using business solutions to achieve public good, it is believed that social enterprises have a distinct and valuable role to play in helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive economy’.

What does SW Artwork do?

The South West Artwork business is two-fold. We help emerging visual artists to raise their profile and offer them regular commissioned based opportunities to create and exhibit new work. Our second branch is to offer corporate, hospitality and heritage sites art and/or creative projects to exhibit at their site. This can range from a large wall mural in their offices, to sourcing a photographer for workshops at a bed and breakfast or creating longer lasting projects that are rolled out at heritage sites such an artistic led GPS app game such as www.itrustdorset.com we trialled at The National Trust Corfe Castle site last year. We are currently working on a public art commission for 2014 to commemorate the centenary of WW1 working in partnership with The British Library and The Imperial War Museum – so watch this space! We will be updating the website with more information soon.

What kind of artwork does SWA provide?

The artwork and artists workshops we facilitate centre round contemporary painting, illustration, urban art, photography and sculpture.

We provide contemporary artwork on a rental or purchase basis to corporate and hospitality sites – we pride ourselves in providing bespoke art that suits the brand identity and philosophy for each company we work with. One example is the contemporary B+B Weymouth – we currently showcase artwork from 6 artists and all work was chosen to tie in with their fresh seaside vibe and spacious relaxed environment.

Alongside facilitating photography and painting workshops we also provide large wall murals and creative signage for creative agencies and education institutes such as Bournemouth University.

What type of artists is SWA looking for?

We are always on the hunt for new creative talent to represent. We mostly work with recent graduates or early to mid-career artists in contemporary and urban art that have an association with the South West. Get in touch if this you! We’d love to hear from you.

What is the business model?

The company relies on artists membership, art rental to business, direct sales of artwork online and commissions from larger creative projects. We aim to grow this over the next 5 years and are aiming to represent over 100 South West artists by the end of next year.

We are a not for profit company which means that any additional profit is put back into the company to allow us to create large creative projects such as itrustdorset.com and our new centenary project next year. We do apply for public funding as well.

Advice for new business owners?

Do your research. Is your idea financially viable? How will you make it work and who are your main competitors?

Most importantly don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone had to start somewhere and the greatest development the business and I had was when I got a mentor assigned to me through WSX Enterprise. Talking with people who have been there and done it before is vital when starting up. And lastly, listen to your customer. If they don’t buy into your brand or product from the off you will struggle to maintain and grow your business.

Do you use social media?

Yes we certainly do, it’s a vital part of our marketing strategy. Facebook and Twitter is a fantastic platform for us as most of our customers have found us via social media including partners we have such as Brilliant Fish PR & Marketing.

How important is it to your business?

Very, we have won work and gained members through Twitter and Facebook. YouTube is also a great platform to showcase the type of work we can produce in a fun and creative way.

Also it’s free! The only outlay is our time – but when you’re starting out you need to keep costs low and aim for maximum exposure so social media is perfect for that. I’ve learnt so much from using social media successfully that I now offer freelance consultancy for a variety of businesses looking to achieve a greater online presence.

What are your plans for the future?

To grow! We would love to provide more art and creative projects to businesses across the South West which in turn will mean we can provide more opportunities for emerging artists to create and exhibit new work.

Final words?

Wherever you are or whatever you are doing you should always feel inspired by your surroundings. Visual triggers make for a better working and home life. That is why we love doing what we do. Art can provide that sense of escapism or inspired thought that beige walls don’t quite master!

We’d love to hear what you think of our company and if we can be of service to any business or artist out there we’d love to hear from you!



10 Must Have Office Gadgets

10 Must Have Office Gadgets

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7 DAYS A WEEK 8.30AM - 7.00PM

g spot mouse

The average office worker will spend around 2000 hours per year in the office.

That’s a lot of time pushing paper and so naturally we all look for ways to make our office environments and working days more fun and enjoyable.

Here are 10 must have gadgets to spice up any office – if you can get away with it…


G Spot Mouse

Designed by Andy Kurovets

G Spot Computer Mouse

It has been said that most men willnot be able to successfully find the scroll wheel!

Come on fellas…get some practice in.


Carpet Skates

Office Carpet Skates

These fit right over your shoes and will have you finding any reason, however tenuous to deliver paperwork to your colleagues or visit the post room at breakneck speed.

You’ve often heard that you need to get up and walk around for 5-10 minutes every hour.

Well now you have the perfect excuse.

These skates will help to get the circulation going and improve your fitness levels at work.

The mask and body suit are optional extras to help prevent chafing!



Like / Dislike Stamps

Like / Dislike Ink StampsThese handy stamps will help you organise your paperwork into 2 distinct piles. One that you like, and the other that you want to avoid.

Take out your frustrations on piles of unwanted paperwork by pounding them vigorously with your dislike stamp.

Watch your thumbs…

We Like!



Bullshit Button

Bullshit ButtonNever again will your co-workers dare to lie to you in the office.

This no nonsense Button will alert your colleagues to bullshit occurring whenever and however it happens!

Just press the big red button and it will light up, buzzing loudly. Then simply make any necessary announcement you feel suits the occasion such as “Bullshit detected!”

Be wary of setting it off when your boss walks past or it may transform into a “Your Fired!” button.


Waste Basketball

Waste Basketball BinKeep your eye in with this excellent waste bin and help to encourage tidy desks and workspaces in your office.

Just be prepared for predictable jokes about how ‘rubbish’ your basketball shots are.

Environmental advice: Please remember to recycle your paper products!

By Chinese designerLi Jianye

Official product name “iOlympic wastebasketball”




Shocking Pen

Electric Shock PenAre you plagued by office pen snatchers? It’s happened to most of us. You’re looking for a pen to take a phone message and realise that someone has half inched it.

Now you can get your own back with this realistic looking Shock Pen.

Twist the pen’s base and a working ballpoint tip emerges. However, if someone steals your pen, and the pen tip isn’t visible, they will most likely press the top button. This will give them a harmless electric shock.

There is an added bonus – the small stifled scream will give away the identity of the thief!

Available from GenieGadgets.com


Star Trek Electronic Door Chime

Star Trek Electronic Door Chime PanelDo you remember that swooshing sound when the doors opened in the original Star Trek series?

Well this great little gadget is sure to excite the inner ‘Trekkie’ in you.

This motion sensitive device can be mounted either side of the door and will alert you any time someone crosses the threshold. It has two sound modes, ‘swoosh’ and ‘red alert’.

There is also a push button communicator whistle sound on the front panel.

Great fun!

Available from ThinkGeek.com


USB Typewriter Computer Keyboard

USB Typewriter for PC, Mac or iPadFor those of you that like a bit of old school, this antique typewriter has been modified so that it works as a USB keyboard for your PC, Mac or iPad.

Even non-standard keys such as F1-F12 etc. are available via a special toggle button.

Admittedly, this item is expensive – currently $699.00 US dollars which equates to 462.15 at the time of writing.

USB Typewriter Conversion KitHowever, there is a cheaper alternative.

If you have a spare 5-8 hours and are a DIY enthusiast, you can actually modify any old manual typewriter to work as a USB keyboard using circuit boards and electronic parts. These parts will set you back $74.00 which converts to approximately 48.93.

This is quite a project but the end result will be worth it – Happy soldering!

Available from Etsy.com


Desktop Jellyfish Aquarium

Desktop Jellyfish AquariumAlthough this is not strictly a gadget, it would be a wonderful addition to any office desk.

Jellyfish are fascinating creatures and arguably you will find watching them an even more relaxing experience than keeping fish. This is because of the gentle way they float and move around in the water.

The kit comes with everything you need including non-stinging moon jellyfish, food, hydrometer and air pump.

Sure to calm and inspire your mind in any busy office environment.

Read more here…


Staple Free Stapler

Staple Free StaplerThis fantastic, environmentally friendly ‘stapler’ is such a simple idea.

Never again will you be faced with the frustrating situation of having a stapler, but no staples.

It works by cutting a little flap in the corner of your paper, folding the flap back and tucking it into a tiny slit.

In fairness it’s not as permanent as a regular stapler but the advantage is that it’s kid friendly and the pages can be pulled apart without tearing.

For a full range of office furniture to complement your gadgets, please click the following link:

BT Office Furniture & Interiors

Multi Touch Tables

Multi Touch Tables

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7 DAYS A WEEK 8.30AM - 7.00PM

multi-touch table

Interactive Tables

Multi Touch and Interactive Tables are essentially like giant iPads which have numerous sensors under the surface that allow the user to interact with the device.

Entry level multi touch tables may have as few as 20 or 30 touch points. But some more advanced interactive tables have over well over 1000 touch points plus multiple motion sensing cameras and infra red sensors that track your hand and finger movements.

This allows both individuals and groups to closely interact with the device. Really high end tables also have integrated advanced speaker systems such as Bose.

These next generation multi touch devices allow users to watch videos and presentations, play games and view promotions. Some tables even allow users to put their mobile on the surface and upload presentations to their phones.

Most of us find gadgets irresistible and these interactive tables are hugely engaging and entertaining compared to traditional displays and information points. After all, who hasn’t played around with an iPad or similar device and not been impressed by its capabilities?

As the technology improves and the prices come down, they areincreasingly making appearances at events, exhibitions and trade shows. Their mass appeal is being effectively used to promote products and educate end users. In addition, they can collect data & information about the user and provide access to brochures and guides.


Every year, manufacturers in the Clerkenwell area of London open up their showrooms for office furniture professionals.

Multi Touch TableOne of our suppliers, Frem have recently refurbished their showroom and will be showcasing one of these tables which you can see in this image.

Where are the legs?

What’s striking about this particular interactive table is that it appears to be floating in the air. But if you study it more closely, it almost looks as if they have cleverly camouflaged the legs to match the patterns on the floor surface.

Can you see what I mean?

Sadly we don’t stock these tables (yet!). However we do have a large number of modern office desk ranges, many of which have integrated cable management and various styling options.

View our huge office desk range here.

BBC North Unveils a New, Modern Interior

BBC North Unveils a New, Modern Interior

BT Office Furniture Logo

7 DAYS A WEEK 8.30AM - 7.00PM

modern office interior

The BBC has never been synonymous with outstanding interior design, yet this week they have unveiled the new look BBC North buildings which has surprised many by steering away from the traditional corporate image. The most surprising decision by the team of designers was to abandon the idea of permanent desks and encourage workers to move around the building and interact with different areas.


8 Amusing Ways to Beat the January Blues

8 Amusing Ways to Beat the January Blues

BT Office Furniture Logo

7 DAYS A WEEK 8.30AM - 7.00PM

office prank

With the fun of Christmas and New Year passing like a bad hangover and nothing but dark mornings and rubbish weather to look forward to, January can be a depressing month. So we have decided to brighten up your miserable faces with a list of the best office pranks you can terrorise your co-workers with. Whether you have a little or a lot of time on your hands, we have something for everyone. (more…)