Building & Design: the advantages of working together

11:56 01 August in Interior News & Business

Vanessa Brady, SBID President, discusses the advantages of different industries working together.

Earlier in the year, London’s Science Museum exhibited all four MacRobert Award Finalists in a display in the Antenna science news gallery. ‘At last, engineering design of buildings is recognised as equal to that of aerospace, biomedics and other more glamorous or hi-tech industries!’ said Carfrae.

Tristram Carfrae and Stuart Bull of Arup accept MacRobert Prize from the Duke of Edinburgh

The Lord Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has pulled off even more this year, his eye is on bringing the Country into the city, his focus on the built environment is Eco-building. I’m not sure how much his drive is shared by other councils around the Country, no matter how much goodwill is achieved, if it’s not translated by other cities much of his good effort is lost, so what can we do to roll out big-design across other industries? We know the built environment consumes far too much of the world’s resources, and the Water Cube designed by Arup goes some way to stop sustainable development from appearing oxymoronic. As designers be it engineering, architecture or interior designers (I don’t mean interior decorators), it is our great opportunity and mission to lead and control this change.

On Thursday I attended the 15th Corporate Real Estate Awards at HAC in the city – over 800 attendees at this annual black tie city event shows London’s West-End what property is really about, how to develop, design and build it. We do work well when we work together. This geographical area of Britain is the heart of business activity and property is the beating heart within.

It is the commodity that leads and builds investment and growth, our industry is fortunate enough to be within this. So when we stop creating hero individuals and build a hero sector of business opportunities for growth we will have a Market sector of substance built on a foundation of proven and traceable revenue streams. It’s called business, and design has never combined it with the art and skill of innovation.

The two must be juxtaposed to succeed and in my opinion it’s the fundamental reason why design has faltered. To work with me, I don’t care or entertain egos, you must leave them at the door when you enter or you will be propelled out the revolving door at great speed as I don’t suffer duplicity, fools or big hero egos well. I do foster and nurture good intention, honesty and commitment, I don’t mind if things go wrong, I mind if they are buried when it happens.

I spoke to graduates about interior design, at the Royal College of Art on Friday on this subject and on the definition of training versus employment to obtain projects of distinction as newly qualified but inexperienced designers. Other speakers such as Foster & Co architects  spoke of the importance of study and experience.

As graduates, it’s very easy to feel intimidated before starting out a career in design, if there is a single message I can extend, it will always be: keep going, listen to others, then consider carefully what is said and if you still don’t agree… then DON’T AGREE… design is art, and whilst it’s a natural skill, as a profession, you must accompany this with training and anyone who promotes natural flair without training is out of touch – or uneducated themselves! You can not have one without the other!  A doctor who is by nature caring cannot operate or diagnose symptoms without training. Fact!

The government recognises the need to bring business to education and SBID has been working through a committee set up to incorporate business into the accademic process of providing education to the interior design profession. SBID works individually with any university who wants to become involved in this review and we have selected a group of qualified designers to also participate in various related research initiatives. The result of the accumulated data provides a snapshot of how we currently perform as an industry to ensure the changes made do in fact reflect the threats and opportunities of the creative industries.

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