David Lee Hood discusses design innovation Quado
Since we last featured architect and interior designer David Lee Hood on our blog, he’s been rather busy realising an innovative vision to streamline the essential yet mundane daily tasks faced by the interior design and architecture industry, freeing up more time for creativity. Recently launched database and project management platform Quado promises to organise design workflow and sourcing solutions in one neat, carefully curated online package. We explore what’s special about Quado and quiz David about why his platform is set to take the design community by storm, by nurturing relationships and increasing productivity, revolutionising disjointed working practices.
Firstly, why Quado
The two original founders both had ‘OO’ in their names, so four Os is quad-O.
What sparked the initial idea for Quado?
What Quado is now is only the very beginning. The initial idea didn’t come overnight; it came through years of wondering why as interior designers and architects we don’t have more simple tools to make our lives easier. I would build small fixes for myself using a variety of different products such as Microsoft Excel but there were always compromises. In order to remove the compromises I had to do something on a bigger scale and why not share it with the rest of the industry?
The initial release was created as a lot of designers have their own supplier lists that they refer to throughout projects. These are typically stored in a document somewhere that isn’t very accessible or available when you need it. Quado now provides an online platform to build a personalised supplier list on top of the great suppliers we have already included.
Your experience in both architecture and interior design places you in the unique position to identify a whole gamut of work challenges - what’s been your biggest bug bear that Quado promises to solve?
One of the next releases for Quado will be the recording of project time and linking it to profit and loss, forecasting, resourcing etc. Design by its nature is extremely difficult to manage and make a profit from. There are several tools that could help us all record and manage that to make sure projects are looked after properly and designers can hopefully one day get paid accordingly for their creativity and dedication.
Describe Quado’s core mission.
A simple tool to help designers and architects manage the processes behind design.
Did you carry out market research with fellow design professionals?
Yes, lots of it! It started before Quado was even conceived, mainly sitting in a pub talking to friends and colleagues about how our industry is a lot more difficult than it needs to be. It then turned into research about what designers want and how design managers in particular might benefit from Quado. I have spoken to individuals and a variety of different sized practices who have had very good information for me.
How easy was it to find the right software developer?
I was very fortunate in receiving a recommendation (in true Quado supplier style) from a good friend who knew of NE6, a company based in Newcastle. I am from the North East myself so it is good to work with developers up there and they have been great. Quado is a unique product and NE6 really embraced the challenge and brought a lot of ideas and enthusiasm.
Quado is starting out as a hand picked database of the best suppliers and manufacturers, how do you see the platform evolving?
I have already touched on the time and project recording elements but there will be a lot more, we will go into anything we see as being beneficial to interior designers and architects. Fee calculators and specification tools have been discussed amongst other things but we will also be listening to the people we know in the industry and are open to any ideas.
What will designers and architects love about Quado?
The time made available for creativity by simplifying background tasks.
Describe membership benefits for suppliers and manufacturers.
The benefits for suppliers are as follows:
- Exposure to completely new designers, developers, clients, contractors etc.
- Customisable - supplier has their own profile.
- Direct contact with representatives (Quado doesn't interfere).
- Additional PR through Quado promotions.
- Easily discovered with suppliers’ own key words.
- Opportunity to attend networking events throughout the year with designers.
- Low cost (excellent value for money in comparison to other advertising, connect with a targeted relevant audience of designers specialising in hospitality, education, workplace and healthcare design etc).
Have you had any initial feedback you’d like to share?
We have had a lot of people wishing us well which is nice! The main feedback seems to be people wondering why it has taken until now for anyone to create something like this.
Has the COVID-19 lockdown hampered progress with Quado, and how have you overcome this?
Not at all, in a strange way the lockdown means designers are looking at more inventive and remote ways to do things and Quado will help with that. Although COVID-19 will hamper the industry massively there will be a lot of great things that come out of it and I hope that it will show designers that there are other ways to work. Quado will hopefully be one of the tools that will help designers get through this.
It’s been a momentous task, but now Quado exists, how do you plan to enjoy your spare time?
Unfortunately I can’t imagine, Quado will still need to be looked after and adapted to suit initial feedback, I also have a very busy job as an Associate at Goddard Littlefair and my second baby is due in a week… I will still be dreaming about having spare time!
Focus SB is proud to be a Quado trusted member. Supplier and manufacturer membership is by application only, with free membership for designers. Visit Quado to take advantage of a time limited early promotional price.