Layrd Design Interview – ISC 2024

Layrd Design is a Cambridge-based interior design company which is rethinking the spaces in which people enjoy watching sport.

It was founded five years ago by Will Mayes, who has now pulled together a team of three designers. Mayes began Layrd Design soon before the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing it to life in in a spare room in his house before organically growing its operations.

The company specializes in creating character-driven spaces within sports stadiums, and aims to enhance user experiences, fans journeys, and emotional impact on game day. So far, Layrd Design has revamped the hospitality spaces at English football club Cambridge United, while it also undertook a project at promotion-chasing EFL Championship side Ipswich Town last year. The summer of 2024 promises to be a busy one, Mayes reveals, with the company in talks with eight more clubs for work during the close season.

Emily Batten, who is an interior designer for Layrd Design, says that this extremely passionate team have taken ownership of their roles in the past year and have come to relish the opportunities ahead.

She believes the impact a good interior has on the whole fan experience is vital, with the right space forming part of cherished memories.

“People are actually enjoying the hospitality setting more and coming longer before the game,” she says. “They are sticking around after.”

For Batten, the right design can also have a positive impact on activities like networking, facilitating business opportunities that become a “win-win” for the club and their guests.

With home matches only covering about 20 days a year, Mayes has spoken to more and more clubs who want to make better use of their venues at other times. That means designing areas that can host conferences, exhibitions and other compelling events.

These spaces can also be tailored to meet other commercial needs. Layrd Design has helped deliver two lounges for one club which had offered as part of a sponsorship package. Mayes says that this involved working the sponsors’ into these designs, as well as incorporating themes related to their products, services and identity. “We work on that journey with them,” he adds.

One project that Mayes especially proud of as a showcase for the business was the work Layrd Design did with Ipswich Town last summer. The company took a Hall of Fame lounge and customised it by adding placards for each player, which Ipswich were then able to use for additional marketing.