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Outside the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is a huge hoarding advertising a “unique property” – a “new residential development at a prime cultural heritage location.”  There’s also a website to go to for interested parties – crownproperty.info

It’s all a huge joke, of course. Those who click on to the website will find themselves at a page on the Victoria & Albert museum for the artists Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset show Tomorrow. What’s so interesting is that this installation is the fictitious home of a 75-year-old unsuccessful architect called Norman Swann.

Pic 2. Bedroom of Tomorrow by Elmgreen & Dragset

But what does this tell us about the stereotype of the architect?

According to the Boyer Report: “Architecture schools should stop perpetrating the myth of the architect as visionary genius and encourage, along with design and theory, training in management, technology, and do everything in their power to discourage future generations of prima donna architects.”

Pic 3. Industrial-strength kitchen

I’d really like to ask some architects to see the show and tell me whether it misrepresents the profession to society.

Would this belong to an architect?

The artists explain how they started work on Tomorrow: “While selecting objects to furnish the apartment we began to envision pieces of dialogue between characters that we could imagine might inhabit the space,” explain the artists.

“So we wrote a script. It was sort of a reversed process where the props in our film set initiated the narrative. Now it’s our hope that visitors will interact with this set and discover their own clues as to who our fictional and quite eccentric inhabitant might be.”

The style of the house was traditional, old fashioned and tastefully furnished. The ultra-modern kitchen jarred as it was so out of keeping in terms of style and also Swann’s character. I don’t think his cooking ventured much further than a boiled egg.

It also reminded me of house viewings – would I buy this house? Yes I certainly would. Swann might be facing bankruptcy and forced to sell his home but he will get a few million for it and retire to Brighton, living happily ever after.

Author Fiona Keating, Editor at  Inside Property

In 2008, SMEs (small to medium enterprises) had an annual turnover of £1,500 billion. £6.1 billion of this is an increase on figures for 2007. 

So what does that mean in terms of financing Britain’s economy?

More importantly, what does that mean to you and your business if you are trying to promote opportunities in the year ahead and obtain credit to develop such opportunities as they arise? 

The construction and design industry in general is finding different ways to do business; we have created alternative methods to achieve this, but it take time to do something well. We have of course like all new enterprises researched our business opportunity well. The value is ultimately in the R&D – a capital cost – which is what eventually separates you from your competitors. 

Recently I attended the property industry event of the year at the Dorchester Hotel with 500 leaders of commercial industry, the biggest investors, developers and construction companies in Britain. 

Delegates were informed 33% of all enterprises are in London and South East. These two geographical areas are prime target areas for concentrated business investment opportunities. 

The financial year ahead will be a challenge to all businesses. In researching the 10 sectors in which The Society of British Interior Design represents, we have developed a road map defining the most effective categories for development and growth – the areas The Society will concentrate in the year ahead. We have therefore forged partnering agreements within those sectors and stepped back from those that do not fit our strategic goal. 

On 22nd October I was honoured to form part of 14 industry leaders on an initiative panel at the Bank of England to present views and conditions for industry sectors, to review the past six months and present consulted industry views of members and stakeholders for the six months ahead. 

The aims and objectives of the initiative panel were to identify and present the financial risks of downturn on the design and construction industry sector. The consulted and collated views of the members of The Society of British Interior Design therefore have a powerful influence on how the industry sector is regarded. 

With Christmas parties now in full flow, January will be a moment of truth for businesses that have hidden behind their spin to finally deliver on their claims, only the best will now survive. Next year will be a very interesting year for our profession: we come of age, if not at first, then at last!

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