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Post title image: Product Design, on the riverside
Made in Ashore.

Product Design, on the riverside

A conversation with Vivien Ilett, Product Designer - working on something new from Norfolk.

In our latest Made in Ashore, we speak to Vivien Ilett, who recently stayed with us at The Riverside in Norwich.

Viv is a highly experienced Product Designer living in London, she’s worked on some of the very biggest digital platforms around.

Getting out of the City

A big part of the Ashore experience is getting out of the bigger city, escaping the commute, and experiencing one of the many inspiring locations Britain has to offer.

The first sign you’ve left the city? As Vivien experienced, the quintessential talkative cab driver:

“The taxi driver was so chatty, talked to me about tea. He was very excited that I like to drink tea, even though I'm Canadian.I'm just so used to London, I expect to travel in silence, but he was very nice.”

The Riverside is easy to find on this quiet and attractive street.The Riverside is easy to find on this quiet and attractive street.

Vivien chose to stay at The Riverside, a beautiful property next to the well… a river, on the outskirts of Norwich. Vivien explains her first impressions:

“I think it's much prettier in person, you don't realise how close it is to the little body of water, I just wish it was warm enough to enjoy the garden - because I can imagine how nice it would be to open up like the bi-fold doors and be able to wander in and out of the space. But it’s still amazing [in winter], because the light is just so good the way they've set it up.”

It’s very quiet out there as you can imagine. And you kind of get a peek of the sunrise in the morning, it's really nice.”

The famous light of The Riverside living area.The famous light of The Riverside living area.

Settling into a routine

When we choose an Ashore we make sure there’s enough amenities nearby to keep you focused on your work, as nice as it is to be truly remote - no-one wants a 2-hour round trip for breakfast when you’re working. We want to shake-up your work routine, but keep the rest of your life simple and easy.

“It's close, walking distance, to a couple of grocery stores. So if you want to walk up, there’s Asda, and then there was a gym that I went to as well. There's actually two gyms that are nearby, within a 15 minutes walking distance. So like you could go and do your bits without needing a car at all, which is really great. I thought, well, you can just get things delivered,  and I was going to do that, but it's actually not a very long walk.”

Space to work

Every Ashore comes with top-tier workspaces, timber desks from Pegg Furniture, ergonomic office chairs, Apple Studio Displays, keyboard, trackpads, all the accessories you need, which turned out to be helpful for Vivien:

It's easy to find productivity in the tranquil surroundings of The RiversideIt's easy to find productivity in the tranquil surroundings of The Riverside

“A really lovely space. I didn't want to leave, to be honest, it's such a nice place to work. With a big table. The sofa is great, and it was cosy too, so it was great for the evenings. Yeah… it's just a really nice setup.

A decluttered head

The power of an Ashore trip for productivity and focus lies in the disruption of your working routine, the power of a new place, but also the simple ability to leave behind some of the more boring distractions day to day life burdens us with:

“It's nice to be away from your home, because you don't have to worry about other things that happen when I'm in my house, you know? Like doing the random chores I end up doing during the day. So it was just purely focused on work. I choose where I want to work. So if I want to move to the dining table, I do that for a bit.”

The large main living space gives you a range of places to workThe large main living space gives you a range of places to work

“ If I was in meetings or if I was doing design work, then I could move to the desk and use the larger screen. It was powerful to have all to myself as well. Just a big open space that declutters your head.”

Deep work and real focus

The sum of a great workspace, clean space, a new location, and peace and quiet, is that Ashore brings out deep & focused work from people that go away with us.

“I had bigger spurts of focus time. Sometimes I struggle with that during the day when I've got other things I need to do, such as run an errand. I had more, longer, blocks of time where I'm focused on design or like being able to plan out stuff for future meetings.”

Light streams in from the garden through the bi-fold doorsLight streams in from the garden through the bi-fold doors

“It was really quiet out there. I live in a quiet area of London, but I still hear dogs barking and sirens and things like that. I just didn't hear anything out there. It was just completely silent. I could put a bit of jazz on in the background and just get into focus.

Work more, and feel refreshed

One of the more curious effects of an Ashore we’ve heard from many a-customer, is that while they’re getting more work done on a trip, they come back feeling as refreshed as they do after a holiday.

“Being out of London, it's so much more peaceful. The sky is clear, it's completely different. And Norwich is still a city, but it still feels much different than being in London. Plus having a really big comfy bed, that was the other thing - the bed was really comfy there, really good. I value really good linens and bedding. Usually you don't get that unless you stay at a really good hotel, so I enjoyed a really good sleep.”

A new way of working

Our hope is that when you visit an Ashore, you want to integrate regular working-breaks into your working habits and schedule. Whether it’s for managing heavy workloads, creeping burnout, or acknowledging that  deep & creative thinking is more important than ever - and facilitating those flow-states, regular Ashore’s have a meaningful impact on how you work.

Working away, working hard.Working away, working hard.

Viv’s already thinking how to get the best out of her next Ashore Stay:

"Thanks for having me, it was great! Next time, I would plan to remove most of my meetings from my calendar to optimise the work time. Even though I got a lot of nice comments about how beautiful the background was in my Zoom calls!"

🌏 Viv spoke from London, to Ashore CTO Jon in Bangkok.

If you're interested in being featured in our Made In Ashore series, send an e-mail to, with your name, who you work for, and what work you'd like to do on an Ashore stay.

Read more about The Riverside, Norwich

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