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Great British Design


EDITORS David O’Coy dave@fusedmagazine.com @davefused Kerry O’Coy kerry@fusedmagazine.com @kerryfused COVER Morag Myerscough

Introduction 04 Sir John Sorrell

Morag Mysercough 10 Barber & Osgerby

Reproduction of all editorial/images in any form is strictly prohibited without prior permission. Fused cannot be held responsible for breach of copyright


Kate Dawkins 22 Wind & Foster

PUBLISHER Fused Media fusedmagazine.com @fusedmagazine facebook.com/fusedpublications



Neville Brody 32 Marshmallow Laser Feast


Great British Architecture


Andre Fu 48

arising from any material supplied. Views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily the publishers. This is a special edition of Fused

ZHA Architects 56

produced in collaboration with the Department for International Trade. © Fused Media 2020

Bompas & Parr


Creativity in the North


Design Directory 66


British Design Welcome to this special edition of FUSED Magazine where our focus has turned to ‘Great British Design’. There is no doubt that 2020 has been a difficult and challenging year for the majority of business sectors and so we are grateful that there are still many creative individuals, businesses and organisations have been able to continue to flourish. One thing that can be relied upon across the creative industries is the innovative solutions and approaches to challenges; and our friends across the industry have risen to the occasion this year. We know that when things get tough, people get creative. At FUSED we have been excited to see how companies, organisations and freelancers have dealt head-on with the global pandemic. From the call to arms to help the NHS with muchneeded PPE; to keeping people entertained during lockdown; and not forgetting those who

have pivoted their businesses to deal with delivering projects and products with the added issues of social distancing, capacity limitations and movement restrictions. As a magazine that enjoys unearthing emerging trends we are of course keen to see how the UK design industry will fair in the coming months. The ‘Great British Design’ campaign by the Department

for International Trade (DIT) has spent the last 24 months showcasing design talent and increasing international collaborations. DIT sits as at the heart of the UK government and helps overseas companies, investors and buyers successfully do business in and with the UK. The UK’s design industry is one of the largest in the world, and is at the global forefront of

Images: Top left - Kate Dawkins Studio, above - Morag Mysercough, below - Andre Fu innovation. Creative firms in the UK are two times more likely to have introduced new products to the market as businesses in other sectors, while the creative economy has consistently been the fastest growing sector in the UK for two decades, delivering over GBP 100 billion to the economy. None of us quite knows what the future holds, but in this issue we remain optimistic and share the brilliant work of our peers. Morag Myserscough continues to bring

her colourful collaborations to cities around the globe; the BAFTA winning Kate Dawkins Studio have produced one of their biggest projects to date; poly-sensory experience design creatives Bompas & Parr set up their first international studio in Hong Kong; and UK Business Ambassador for the creative industries Sir John Sorrell shares the news of new online exhibition Design in an Age of Crisis.

We all understand the devastating issues the pandemic has had and the lives it has changed, but we hope, that as we move in to the next decade, we can rely on Great British Design to help us through - whatever that might look like.

Anya Hindmarch celebrated London Fashion Week 2018 by creating experiential installation ‘Chubby Cloud’. 6

Great British Design

Inspired Design

At the turn of the millennium, I wrote a book, ‘Creative Island: Inspired Design From Great Britain’. The idea came to me while I was Chairman of the UK Design Council (1994–2000). During this time, I was asked repeatedly why I thought Britain was such a fertile creative environment and could I give examples. The first edition of Creative Island was published in 2002 and I wrote a second edition in 2009. In both books, I considered the exceptional breadth and quality of design being produced in Britain at the beginning of the new millennium, across a broad span of disciplines, from architecture to fashion, graphics and retail. What I wrote in 2002 – that creativity has never been more important to a nation and that it is the key to economic and social prosperity in a rapidly changing world – could not be more relevant today. The impact of COVID-19 across the world demands greater creative thinking than ever before and designers everywhere can play their part. Since the Pandemic struck there have been some brilliant design ideas for urgent needs such as personal protective clothing and new product design for vital medical equipment. Designers are good at responding to crises of all kinds and in the UK, the London Design Biennale has developed a strategic partnership with Chatham House, the world leading independent international affairs organisation, to produce a series of design briefs to designers and the public inviting radical design thinking across four key areas: Health, Environment, Work, Society. Submissions have been received from people in 58 countries and will be presented in an online exhibition titled ‘Design in an Age of Crisis’ from early January 2021 and then exhibited at the London Design Biennale at Somerset House in June 2021. I hope the positive thinking that emerges will demonstrate the importance of design thinking to society and, importantly, also to the economy. The world needs to recover from the financial impact of the Pandemic and international trade is absolutely central to that recovery. I believe that, in the UK, our creative industries will play a


Image: John Swannell

Sir John Sorrell CBE John Sorrell served as a UK Business Ambassador for the creative industries for 10 years. With his wife Frances, he created one of Europe’s most successful design businesses, Newell and Sorrell, and two educational charities that work to inspire creativity in young people. His numerous roles include Chairman of London Design Festival and President of London Design Biennale. Website thesorrellfoundation.com Instagram @l_d_f_official


key role - they have remained the nation’s fastest growing sector for the past two decades and design is at their heart. My survey of British design in Creative Island II was focused on what I believe characterises our approach to design thinking in the UK. I call it a ‘greenhouse effect’, in which one discipline informs another and different breeds of creativity are cross-fertilised. This starts in our brilliant design colleges and continues in our design businesses. We may be an island people but there is nothing insular about the way design works here. Practitioners study each other’s work and interact socially and at industry events, which leads to mutual learning and development. This exchange underpins our creative culture and is, in my opinion, what makes British design so exciting. One area that exemplifies this is the UK’s luxury sector, which is highly innovative creatively and has shown consistent trade growth in recent years. In its June 2019 industry report*, Walpole stated that British luxury is currently worth £48 billion to the UK economy, and 2013–2017 showed sales growth of 49%. The report also identified that the sector is heavily exportorientated, with 80% of production, or £38.5 billion in value terms, destined for overseas markets. The perception of the UK’s luxury goods sector is, as the Walpole report discusses, a significant factor in its success. The UK’s reputation for strong creative leadership and nurturing creative talent enhance the appeal of British luxury for foreign markets, as do the goods, which bear out our reputation for pioneering design. Anya Hindmarch has built a global fashion accessories business that embodies the thinking I pinpointed in Creative Island. Her approach is quintessentially British. Defining this, she says: “I think British creativity stems from a strong blend of historical references combined with ‘anything goes’, cutting-edge design experimentation. In addition, the creative education in the UK is first class. If creativity


interests you, you are drawn to the UK, and therefore like attracts like.” The retail experience in the UK luxury sector is also an area where I believe we excel creatively, particularly in the case of our historic brands. After more than 300 years of doing business on London’s Piccadilly, Fortnum & Mason opened its first standalone store outside the UK, in Hong Kong’s Victoria Dockside, in November 2019. The brand has witnessed consistent sales growth over the past six years, particularly in Asia. “Fortnum’s is in the business of pleasure and evoking a sense of joy, and these two feelings are always at the centre of any design we create,” says Zia ZareemSlade, Fortnum’s Customer Experience Director. “Intelligent storytelling is built in throughout. We work with highly skilled illustrators and designers, and always endeavour to stay timeless, in our choice of materials and colours. As a longstanding British brand, we have a rich heritage to draw on but also a history of innovation, which is why we believe our appeal is so strong for both our home and overseas customers.” I believe Britain is the best creative partner for any city or country in the world. We have expertise in numerous creative areas, which allows us to combine different concepts together, enabling extraordinary ideas and collaborations. Design and design thinking are the glue holding all this together and should be fully recognised by government and business for their potential to advance our cultural and trading partnerships across the world. Creative Island (Laurence King Publishing, 2002); Creative Island II (Laurence King Publishing, 2009).

Part of this piece has been reprinted with permission from Britain in Hong Kong: The official magazine of The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong Issue 63 – Nov/Dec 2019. Sources: 1. DCMS Sectors Economics Estimates 2017: GVA 2. Walpole: Economic Contribution to the UK and Policy Recommendations: High-End Cultural & Creative Industries

Great British Design

Living Colour

Photo: Gareth Gardner 10

Great British Design

Belonging Protest

Surrounded by a riot of vivid colour, Morag Mysercough’s distinctive style has brightened up everything from concrete structures and music festivals to hospitals and schools. Not one to shy away from a clash of neon, her beautifully aesthetic stripes and shapes have been used to speak to and build stronger communities, help patients recover quicker and pupils gain better grades. Working and living in a converted victorian pub in the heart of Hoxton with her partner and collaborator Luke Morgan and Westie dog, Elvis, Last year Morag produced a special installation for deTour at PMQ in Hong Kong.




Las Vegas, Photo: Luke Morgan


Who or what are your biggest influences? The every day and the environments I experience. Embracing the unknown. Always discovering, always looking until I start seeing. Life. Today’s design community faces a wealth of difficult issues. How do you rise to the challenge of creating a more positive future? My mission is to make work that people connect with, that means something to them, that starts to help build stronger communities and a strong sense of belonging. My work has many layers; if it just makes people smile that is OK, but if people can spend the time, they will be able to start seeing more. Or people may connect their own narratives or stories to the work. We have a responsibility, we must be accountable for our work and we should address and discuss and try to bring people together. I do feel more and more that we need art/design to stimulate us and transport us from the everyday. I do not believe in the phrase ‘a new normal’. I have always disliked the word ‘normal’. For a while we were all on pause. We have all experienced this together, we have had time that we have never had collectively before in the majority of our lifetimes to spend reflecting, to start understanding, rethinking about what is important to us as individuals, families, local communities and the global community. I believe it is impossible to predict the future and we are living in ‘A New Now’, we need to embrace and find ways of moving forward in the here and now, we are in the midst of seismic changes and we must aim to make a better sustainable world. What do you believe the responsibility of an artist and designer is when it comes to the local community? The world is in turmoil and in a time of massive change and extreme inequalities. People do not want to be told how to live, there is no ‘one way’. It is important to work with each community group individually. It is not about assuming what people want, it is about understanding the individual needs and to see if you can be useful and assist with making their vision a reality, to work together to collaborate. It is important for the communities you work with that you prove yourself and people trust you, you listen and then respond, and hopefully make a piece of work that collectively you never imagined was possible. This can also start a massive change. 14

Great British Design

I recently completed 48 bedrooms in Sheffield Children’s Hospital. I wanted to make rooms that worked for all ages of patients and families. Sometimes the young people were in the hospital for long periods so the space needed to feel warm, like home. At first, my artwork was rejected as the clinical staff thought that the proposals were too wild and would visually disturb the young patients. I listened but also thought it might be the way I presented them on a screen (it is difficult to visually jump from an image on a screen to a 3D space). So I made 4 x scale models of the bedrooms and sent them to the hospital. The arts commissioner did a survey with the patients and the clinical staff and this time 92% wanted the bedroom designs. The bedrooms were put into production and are now being used and already patients are recovering quicker and the staff, patients and families are much happier. I could not ask for a better result. You are from a circus family. Has this been an influence on your use of colour and shape? My English great grandfather was a clown and my German great grandmother a high diver in the French circus, and another great French grandfather was a salon painter in Paris. My grandfather was a violinist and my French grandmother a milliner. My father a viola player, my uncle a violinist and my Scottish mother a textile artist. I was brought up in a bohemian family surrounded by performance and making. I feel being introduced to so much creativity when I was a small child, and throughout my upbringing, rubbed off on me. My home was full of music, colour and laughter. I grew up in a very grey part of London (Holloway) so I was always super excited when the funfair came to town in the holidays. I have loved the magical transformation the traveling circuses and funfairs can have on a place; one minute they are there and then they have disappeared.

How do you choose which projects to take on? Often people contact me after either meeting me, listening to me talk or seeing the work in the press. I consider very carefully the projects I take on. The project needs to connect with me or I am unable to do it. I designed a limited edition packaging for Method eco cleaning products, and when I agreed to the project, I negotiated they would give me a good sum of money to build the courtyard garden at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital which would not have been possible without their help. You’ve collaborated on some of your projects with architects. What are the benefits of working this way? My main collaboration has been with the architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (from 2007—2014) we worked on nine new Academy’s and Schools together. We would collaborate with everybody involved and aim to make schools that people felt they are part of and belonged to them. The schools have proven to be very successful and the student’s grades have improved yearly. Seven years later, the last school in 2015, Burntwood School, won the RIBA Stirling Award for Architecture. Our schools are often used as an exemplar. Why did you choose this route as opposed to exhibiting in a gallery environment? Outside is a free gallery for everybody. You do not have to decide to go in, you can just come across it. You can like it, you can hate it, but I would be sad if you were indifferent towards it. I love when my work is in brutal harsh environments, the contrast and materiality excite me. When people question how bright and colourful my work is, I respond by saying, ‘think about how wonderful colourful and joyful flowers are when suddenly they are in bloom’.

For more information about Morga’s projects see: studiomyerscough.com Instagram @moragmyerscough 15

MAKE HAPPY THOSE WHO ARE NEAR AND THOSE WHO ARE FAR WILL COME For deTour 2019 Courtyard & Marketplace, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong

“In response to these worldwide times of turbulence, heightened anxiety and negativity, we need to find ways of coming together and at the same time understanding people’s differences, ‘one fits all’ does not work. It was important to make a piece of work that is full of positivity, hope and strength, and produces a genuine smile on your face, that ideally becomes contagious. Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin. Changing the mood for the better. Feeling ‘happy’ cannot be quantified and our structure reflects this in its wild maximalist celebration of joy to the world. Drawing you into the intimate pale pink glowing space to house the very delicate, beautiful, responsive, interactive installation by the artists Ware.” 16


A Design For Life Jay Osgerby talks about his design rules.

Photo: Mark Cocksedge


Great British Design

Soft Work for Vitra, 2018

Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby founded their eponymous studio in 1996 after graduating with Master’s degrees in Architecture from The Royal College of Art in London. They have since become multi-award winners with their innovative take on product, furnishing and homeware design. Appointed to design the London 2012 Olympic Torch, the iconic piece won numerous accolades as well as the Design Museum’s ‘Design of the Year’. And it doesn’t stop there; Barber and Osgerby’s research-led practice has developed collections for Vitra, B&B Italia, Venini, Cappellini, Magis, Swarovski, Flos and Established & Sons, whilst also producing limited edition furniture and one-off works for both private and public commissions.

Loop Table was the first piece of furniture that Edward and Jay designed together (1997).



What do you think is the lasting responsibility of designers to the public with the products they design? Design should be about finding a new and better way of doing something. It’s important to carefully consider the impact on the environment and create something of value that stands the test of time. Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently? A clean table in a messy studio.   What are some of the most challenging and inspiring elements of your current projects? We designed our recent project with Vitra ‘Soft Work’ to support changes in society and ways of working/living.   What is your creative process from inception to creation? The starting point of any project is to interrogate the brief as a studio which we either work up with the manufacturer or set ourselves. We spend a lot of time sketching until an idea takes shape then test the design by producing a series of scale and 1:1 models.   What books, blogs and online resources do you use for creative inspiration? We like to bring many new references and inputs to a project. We don’t refer to anything specifically for creative inspiration, our research is in the form of drawing and studying changes in modes of living and through our travel; being exposed to different cultures, materials and techniques. It can come from the most unlikely sources.


What is the number one piece of advice you would like to tell new designers? The world is changing faster than ever, you have to be ready to create the solutions that the world needs. What are some of the important issues that you’d like to see raised among design practitioners? How can we design for a better world, how do we all create stuff that justifies its own existence? For more information about projects by Barber & Osgerby, visit: barberosgerby.com Instagram @barberosgerby

On & On chairs Emeco, 2019 On Chair by Barber Osgerby forforEmeco 21

Sibos 2018 Opening plenary

Design for Good


Great British Design

Kate Dawkins Studio is a BAFTA winning creative practice which specialises in designing, creating, producing and delivering bespoke digital content for live performances, shows and brand experiences. They’ve created distinctive visual content for some of the largest global brands that have included giant 360° ‘audience pixels’ for the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies, to shows and events for lifestyle brands such as Nike, MTV, Heineken, and large-scale vehicle launches for Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, and Toyota. With the global pandemic putting a halt on live events, the studio has still been busy designing new creative work for events with a difference. Creative Director, Kate Dawkins shares her creative process.

2012 Olympic Ceremonies

What are some of the most challenging and inspiring elements of your projects? No project is ever the same and I’m always surprised and delighted when you get that call or email as to how ‘bonkers’ some projects are. I love it. But I also enjoy the collaboration; working with some amazing people and teams to make something truly spectacular, beautiful…and of course relevant. The challenges are mostly down to making each project stand-out, working with new technologies on different canvases within challenging timeframes. What has been the impact of COVID-19 on your work during 2020? Well all our work is around live events, so it’s a difficult time. That said, we have been busy all the way through up to around October, creating content for broadcast, a pre-recorded ‘live’ event, and a virtual event. In particular, one project was a commission for the beautiful and poignant VJ DAY 75: The 23

Passchendaele Centenary

Nation’s Tribute. The event took place in July during the lockdown in London. It was one of our biggest projects to date, with the largest team in the shortest timeline. We created all the show’s projection content, with the Horse Guards parade’s buildings, as our HUGE canvas. So it has been an interesting time. What is your creative process from inception to creation? Research is everything. I don’t make decorative backdrops, my work is grounded in knowledge of the subject and beautiful, emotional, storytelling. Even if that is sometimes quite abstract. Once I’ve achieved a good understanding of the subject I move into a phase of exploring creative concepts, and aesthetics. Then, when we’re all satisfied


I think there is a definite responsibility and need to consider ‘design for good’. It feels like we all need to help each other and the planet now.

“ Great British Design

(myself and the client) with a correct route, I’ll start designing the contents so they work - not just for a certain sequence but within the context of a show or moment. The light and shade, highs and lows that a show or event needs, in order to take people on a spectacular journey. Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently? I have a ritual of tidying my desk and getting into a good headspace in a quiet place and just sitting and thinking, opening my mind. It’s about setting good creative foundations at the start of a project. After that everything goes out of the window and it’s a wonderful, messy creative haven.

Festival of Remembrance 2018

What responsibilities and opportunities do you feel members of the design industry have today? I think there is a definite responsibility and need to consider ‘design for good’. It feels like we all need to help each other and the planet now. Regarding opportunities, the interaction of art, design and future tech is very exciting, opening up new possibilities for engaging, entertaining and educating audiences and changing the landscapes and platforms for storytelling. How does the future look to you post-COVID? I don’t know to be truthful, but I am trying to remain positive and optimistic. At the end of the day, I design and direct (motion) graphic content, so we can be flexible with where that is played out, as

mentioned. That said, I am very much looking forward to the live event space opening back up when the virus is more under control. There’s something very magical regarding the connection between an audience and the performance. What books, blogs and online resources do you use for creative inspiration? I get inspiration from everywhere. We live in quite a culturally vibrant part of London (Hackney) and I love walking around absorbing life in motion. But I also admire artists such as Sol LeWitt, Anni Albers and Karl Gerstner, so I have some beautiful books in my studio. I also subscribe to blogs such as Creative Review, Design Week, It’s Nice That, Wallpaper, Dezeen, CreativeApplications.Net and Ars Electronica. I think it’s necessary to be aware of what’s going on in other creative areas, for example - fashion, architecture and technology, as well as design.


Location London Website katedawkinsstudio.com Instagram @studiodawkins



MOVING CITIES Wind & Foster is a London based creative studio producing digital content for all platforms, with a specialism in short form film. Led by Creative Director, Jevan Chowdhury, their flagship series Moving Cities captures the intersection of arts and everyday life through dance. As part of the 2019 Business of Design Week they worked with Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR) and the Hong Kong Ballet to create This is Wan Chai, Hong Kong’s largest photographic art installation. Here, FUSED talks to Jevan about Moving Cities, why dance has such an impact in public spaces, and what This is Wan Chai hopes to achieve. The art of dance and where you experience it has changed in recent times. We now take much of our entertainment in micro doses, and dance has seemingly become no different. At one time the place to experience choreographed dance was in an auditorium or dance hall, dancers holing themselves up in rooms full of mirrors for hours on end, to only appear for a prepared audience. Set hours, set routine, set audience. But as our routines have changed, so have we. Today dance is for everyone – Saturday night TV, TikTok teenagers and their grans, dancing in the street and on the building site. As it should be, because dance is for everyone. But in a world where anyone can have a YouTube channel 27

and teenagers amass millions of followers, we are no longer the audience, we are also the stars. And we wondered: Have we lost the ability to truly connect and be moved by dance as an art form? And so Moving Cities was born. A project to humanise transient spaces using dance – the rhythmic behaviour of people – as a regenerative vehicle for those neglected corners of our concrete jungle. Since 2001, Wind & Foster has helped international organisations, government bodies and cultural institutions realise their vision. As an emerging agency of choice, it has produced the majority of its work in cities for cities, with the goal to exceed expectations whilst keeping work accessible to everyone. Using their expertise in the built environment, Wind & Foster have

produced international awardwinning work under the Moving Cities banner, with a vision to see each city and its infrastructure dancing as one. More often than not this will manifest into either a film or permanent art installation in which multiple ballet and contemporary dance artists participate in one rhythmic movement. The transformative project has initiated collaborations between 104 dance companies and their city municipalities. It is an extremely successful placemaking project that brings together organisations, local government, schools and institutions, to create a timeless piece of art with captivating results. It shows us that cities, like machines, are not designed to stop, that everything constantly moves, and if you look hard

enough you can see it dancing. We are all part of this choreography. We all contribute to it and this is why it is quite novel to watch a dancer within it. As clients in Barcelona, Dallas, Prague, Athens and recently in Hong Kong have discovered, pressing the Moving Cities button has a sort of magic unifying effect. As a cultural project it ticks boxes, but as a form of placemaking, shining a spotlight on people first over iconic buildings, bridges and rivers, it feels so obvious and so right. In this latest brief, Wind & Foster have produced Hong Kong’s largest photograph for the 78,000 daily commuters of MTR. If you disembark now at Wan Chai you will be experience a dance story. A life-like meandering 220 metre narrative that unfolds throughout the station.

Jevan has again thrown a spotlight on the visceral world of dance. He has done this in 21 other cities but in Hong Kong for the first time, he has done it in the form of an enormous photographic story. Capturing the Hong Kong Ballet frozen in time, the story of the ‘Last Train’ is re-enacted by 40 principal, soloist, coryphée and corps de ballet dancers together with over 300 members of the public. ‘The Last Train’ later retitled ‘This is Wan Chai’ is designed to be viewed on the move. Whether we watch it or do it, dance is the most present and conscious experience we have. It reminds us overwhelmingly of who we are. It is the physical definition of being alive and like any dancer will tell you it is the only way to be uncontrolled and ‘in the moment’. To quote Auguste Rodin: “The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.” Against the backdrop of the MTR physically moving people around Hong Kong, the hope is that alongside these tangible movements, Moving Cities also moves your core.


Images courtesy of Wind & Foster

Location London Website windandfoster.com Instagram @windandfoster @movingcitiesproject 31


Capturing the zeitgeist of the 1980’s, designer Neville Brody’s style set the tone of graphic design for the decade and beyond. Known for his work with seminal magazine The Face, and men’s style bible Arena Homme Plus, his designs have covered album sleeves and his type systems are admired throughout the world.



Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently? I don’t think it’s about doing the job more efficiently, but more effectively. This is predicated on the basis that you are aware of your intention, that you are clear about the purpose behind what you are creating. That can be to develop a system to help a client operate better, like a typeface family or broad set of design tools; an attention-holding image or piece of typography that has a clear message to communicate; or an experimental project that pushes boundaries and establishes new thinking. The other key component to working effectively is to ensure that there has been a period of deep research before jumping in with creative exploration. This always ensures a context for our work and creates a better sense of tension or alignment with the viewer or user. Out of all the projects you’ve worked on what has given you the most satisfaction? I would say Arena Homme Plus. I designed three issues of the magazine in 2009 and 2010, and it was the first time I’d worked in editorial for many years. In magazine design, you’re able to use the pages and flow of the magazine as a blank canvas that can evolve a visual narrative or line of enquiry. You set up core rules and a framework, but make sure that they are not too rigid. Then you use the space to improvise and try and break the rules you’ve set up by pushing them as far as they can go. Sometimes they do break and fall apart, but that adds to the energy. With AH+ I enjoyed working with the photographers to understand how we could dynamically create stories through how images were juxtaposed, and the movement and visual poetry I was able to create on the page. Each issue evolved the typographic and textual story from the previous issue to create a complete cycle. You recently mentioned that designers should take more risks and help draw attention to social issues. What do you think is the lasting responsibility of designers to the public?

As translators of ideas, we imbue everything we do to a certain extent with our own interpretations. Any form of communication is inevitably political, in that it affects the way we see the world in some way. Designers have to understand and realise the responsibility that comes with this, and the trust our communities place in us. As such, we have a responsibility to be aware of the consequences of our output, whether positive or negative. Today’s design community faces a rising wealth gap, climate change, shifting paradigms of nationalism, and myriad other challenges. How can designers rise to the challenge of creating a more positive future? Where possible, we can apply our skillsets to promote beneficial ideas, as well as being conscious as to how our work itself might impact the world. How can the work we do better embrace inclusivity and diversity? Can we encourage a more creative, less conformist cultural environment? Education is key here, and we have the opportunity to actively feed into the dialogue around change and social benefit. At a time when Britain is estranged from its European neighbours, what are new ways we can work together? I have always thought of myself as a European, and this current climate will only serve to strengthen that. How, in this modern world, can we be so parochial and isolationist? Thankfully, there are many bemused Europeans who still consider us as compatriots and colleagues. I believe and hope that, culturally at least, we will continue to exchange ideas and thoughts in culture, education and social imperatives. What is influencing you at the moment? I think the main source of inspiration for me continues to be music, particularly jazz and more experimental creators. This seems to be one of the free-est areas where ideas can still be explored unfettered by political doctrine and conservatism. The 35

other source of inspiration has always been other global cultures, ones we should respect as opposed to try and change. You have been influenced by punk attitude as well as the work of William Burroughs. Is this rebellious spirit something that is lacking in today’s design and creative community or can it still break though? Like the history of radical and experimental thought, the main thing about these philosophies is that they both embraced the idea that anything is possible, and that limitation and belief were simply constructs to be ignored in the pursuit of living ideas. In developing his cut-up technique, Burroughs in particular applied mechanisms that allowed us to imagine thoughts and ideas beyond our normal capacity. What we experience today is an increasingly populist culture driven by fear and quantitative ambitions, that seems to exclude any sense of difference or risk. I believe that this will change, that there is still the desire to take creative leaps and explore non-populist ideas. You’ve been quoted in the past as saying: “London has a particular set of politics and cultural influences that have been absolutely instrumental in developing the work that I do.” How does the UK and London influence your work today? London is still an amazing, frustrating, inspiring place! So multicultural, unpredictable and possible. It is often like having the whole world at your doorstep every day. You can live life at any level here, quiet or fast, cultural or recluse. What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you? When I was at Hornsey doing my foundation course, my tutor then suggested that the difference between an artist and a designer was that a designer needs an external brief to react against, whereas an artist sets his or her own. It made me understand that a designer sets a new brief based on an external catalyst. 36

Neville Brody Neville Brody is acknowledged as a seminal designer specialising in digital design, typography and identity. His insight and passion for pushing creative boundaries informs the work of Brody Associates, the collaborative creative agency he founded. His work over three decades ranges from magazine artdirection, album sleeves and identities for cultural institutions to key strategic systems and typeface design for global businesses. In 2018 Brody became Professor of Visual Communication at London’s Royal College of Art, continuing his long association with the College, having served as the the Dean of the School of Communication for seven years from 2011. He is a Royal Designer – the UK’s highest design accolade - and past president of Design & Art Direction, which promotes creative excellence. He lectures globally on design and education.

Location London Website brody-associates.com Instagram @brody-associates

Sensing Wonder

Distortions in Spacetime

Location London Website marshmallowlaserfeast.com Instagram @marshmallowlaserfeast


Illuminating the hidden natural forces that surround us, Marshmallow Laser Feast invite participants to navigate with a sensory perception beyond their daily experience. In these spaces, the known physical world is removed to reveal networks, processes and systems that are at once sublime, underpinned by research, and fundamental to life on Earth. Their work has been exhibited internationally, including The Saatchi Gallery, London, Lisbon Triennial, Istanbul Design Biennial, New Frontiers at the Sundance Film Festival, Storyscapes at Tribeca Film Festival, The V&A and The Design Museum London. Here Creative Director of the London based experiential collective, Barney Steel, talks us through the their adventures working at the intersection of science, art and technology. Many of us have lost our sense of deep belonging to the earth; at some point, the earth became something that we are on, rather than in. Our artistic practice uses science and technology to immerse audiences in experiences that dissolve the illusion of separation and reveal the truth of connectedness. As Dr Stephen Harding put it ‘We are deeply immersed in the body of the earth, just as our gut Microbes are to us, so are we to the earth.’ 


Our adventures in virtual reality and immersive experiences started about five years ago when we were approached by the wonderful ‘Abandon Normal Devices’ festival in partnership with the Forestry Commission, to create an artwork for Grizedale Forest in the Lake District. We created ‘In the Eyes of the Animal’ which used virtual reality and haptics (the ability to 39

feel the virtual environment via the sense of touch, in addition to visual and aural perception) to allow participants to inhabit the perceptual systems of other expressions of life. Looking at the world from another species point of view is a great way to loosen that feeling of human superiority and open us to the wonder and diversity of other expressions of life.    Whilst exploring the forest ecosystem we began to think about our intimate connection to trees. We share breath with these ancient beings, in some ways they can be seen as an extension of our lungs. What we breathe out the trees breath in, the oxygen the trees exhale flows into our tree-like lungs, flowing from our heart outward, through fractal branching arteries to feed every cell in our body. Where does our body end and the tree begin? ‘We Live in an Ocean of Air’ explores these themes by making visible the flow of breath between participants and an ancient Sequoia forest.  We collaborate with many amazing scientists, one of which is Merlin Sheldrake (an expert in all things fungi). He very neatly explains that we are not individuals, no living thing is, every organism is a symbiosis. Seeing your own body as an ecosystem or a forest as a superorganism is a wonderful lens on the vast tissue of existence of which we are a part. (Recently Merlin planted this knowledge down for all to read in his new book: Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures). As ‘We Live in an Ocean of Air’ explores ‘outbreath’ feeding the forest, our new installation ‘The Tides Within Us’ follows the flow of ‘in-breath’. By peering under our skin we explore the tidal rhythms of oxygen flowing through the branching ecosystem of the human body. By following breath it becomes clear that you are completely reliant on the trees for the air that you breathe, and the trees wouldn’t photosynthesis without the sun. It’s by making visible these connections that remind us we are not separate from nature.  Our longterm focus is on virtual world-building and new hardware, whether VR headsets, the latest XR smartphones or glasses that can be considered as doorways or windows into those worlds. We get excited about combining our leading-edge scientific understanding of a forest ecosystem as a virtual 40

“ Many of us have lost our sense

of deep belonging to the earth; at some point, the earth became something that we are on, rather than in.

overlay in a real forest. To see snaking rivers of air connecting you to the plants, or to peer beneath the soil into the buzzing network of the wood wide web. Chatting with a friend Beau Lotto, he asked the question ‘what happens when you remove the headset?’. Do these immersive experiences detach you from reality, an escape, or can they reconnect you to the world around you, offering perspective shifts that change the way you feel about yourself in relationship to nature?  Some of the problems we face are the result of our consumer habits affecting ecosystems we will never visit. Can we use technology to create an intimate, deep connection with these distant places? We think that the experiments we are doing now might scale to have a big impact in a future where immersive technology is in the hands of billions of people.   Looking to future trends it’s easy to see how physical and digital objects will co-exist simultaneously. You can look at 3D rendered visual effects to understand what is around the corner for realtime systems. Already realtime tracking systems allow quick and easy face swops on mobile devices and the trajectory of this will allow for a realistic embodiment of trees or mycelium (the vegetative part of a fungus or fungus-like bacterial colony) in virtual or mixed reality worlds.  I was once asked ‘What does an apple taste like?’ Its tangy, fruity, crisp… no words can get close to the richness of the taste of an apple! Potentially as technology gets better at hacking our senses we will be able to simulate something close to the richness of the full spectrum of our senses. It is interesting to consider immersive storytelling that goes beyond the limits of language.

MLF is a network of specialists branching out through freelancers and collaborators worldwide. Being based in the UK we benefit from funding opportunities that allow us to experiment. This space to play encourages happy accidents, the seeds that later flower into globally touring exhibitions. In an article about David Hinton’s book ‘Existence’, writer Peter Reason writes: ‘Hinton’s book suggests that the job of the artist is to reinvigorate a sense of wonder. He challenges us to experience our art as existence-tissue describing, understanding, celebrating itself through us as it emerges into presence and retreats into absence. Surely this is central to any art practice that wishes to be relevant to these times of astonishing beauty and loss?’ This sentiment resonates and is essential for artists to have the space to explore. We should be nurturing open minds, creative thinking and collaboration to deal with the coming challenges ahead. Distortions in Spacetime


Designing from the Inside Out Brand Experience in Education Can universities learn from exporting the independent school experience?

Consider, for a moment, how universities are designed: a building appropriate to the scale of the site, a sleek façade, windows, a roof, the campus as a whole. Next, designers look inwards: corridors, spaces, materials and furniture. Lastly, educators are presented with the tools and the space to teach. David Judge, Group Creative Director at Space Zero, believes this order could be reversed, having applied the strategy, alongside a team of 60 specialist designers, strategists, technicians and managers, to the design of independent schools. “We look at how spaces interconnect with each other in terms of community, culture, proximity, size and brand,” Judge says. “Once this is agreed, the building can be formed around this fundamental structure and arranged into the campus. We call this design from the inside out.” As education becomes increasingly international and the number of campuses abroad grows (in 2018, Britain’s 136 universities had 39 international branch campuses abroad) brand experience is key to strengthening the identity of an institution and reassuring students that their experience is equivalent to that of the ‘home’ campus. Recognised broadly as sensations, feelings, and behavioural responses to brand-related stimuli, it’s this notion of brand experience that guides Space Zero’s approach when designing international schools, most recently 42

delivering a high quality, British independent school brand experience in China for Wellington College. “We have been consulting and collaborating with leading academics, and consultants from retail brand experience design over the last 18 months and have developed a unique approach,” Judge says. “At the heart of this strategy is an analytical tool called relevant differentiation. The main question for any commercial organisation to consider when approaching the market is: How are you relevant to your customers but different from your competition?” Wellington College China is, in essence, relevant differentiation in action; a marriage of traditional values and progressive education which is unique to the institution. Space Zero are applying this process to the design of learning environments for the first time in history, but while such an approach has been revolutionary in designing international public schools, can it be interpreted for universities?  The idea of a school as a brand experience as much as an educational experience has been central to Space Zero flipping the order of priorities within spatial organisation, and it could have interesting results within a university environment too, particularly when guided by experiential retail design methodologies. 

Great British Design

particularly as prospective students are increasingly making decisions based upon a university’s campus. In fact, research by EAB’s Enrolment Services found that campus environment is more influential than both academic reputation and cost in attracting students.

Good brand experience articulates and reinforces what an institution stands for, allowing students to experience its values as they interact with the space; whether walking the corridors, enjoying the social spaces or sitting in a lecture theatre. Universities already recognise themselves as brands; we can see it in their visual identities across websites, prospectuses and social media. But Space Zero’s fresh approach to brand experience design ensures the essence of the brand transfers and is brought to life in full when expanding into international markets. Placing student experience at the core of design could well offer an opportunity for engaging a new generation of students with new priorities,

Just as inside out design has been fundamental in exporting educational brand experiences to overseas campuses for independent schools, it could well be the key to a new era in university campus design. Words: Sophie Benson

For more information visit spacezero.co.uk Twitter @space_zer0



Great British Architecture

Southbank Centre Hayward Gallery roof, Image by Morley Von SternbergGreat British Design 44

The UK has an enviable international reputation for design which is exciting, insightful, progressive and well-principled. But what does Great British Architecture look like? And what values inform the designs of leading UK architects for the coming decade? Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is an architecture and urban design practice based in London, which for 40 years has taken a social and humanistic approach to design with environmental responsibility at the heart of the practice. Its work has been recognised by 50 awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects, including the coveted Stirling Prize. Indeed, in answering the question ‘What does Great British Architecture look like?’ Rory Olcayto, Editor of Architects’ Journal said “Pretty much anything by Feilden Clegg Bradley. And that’s a fact.”

The ‘arrested decay’ approach to the regeneration of London’s Alexandra Palace has breathed new life into a much-loved cultural icon, integrating a new technical infrastructure within its unique historic character and inviting a new generation to experience the building and its broad programme of events.

FCBStudios is built on a reputation for design quality, pioneering environmental expertise and a progressive architectural approach across cultural, education, housing and heritage projects. Their version of ‘Great British Design’ is rooted in a response to the unique heritage of place and its communities - be it university and school campuses, arts buildings or residential developments. Having won the Europa Nostra Prize for the restoration of Middleport Pottery for the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, the practice’s reputation for sensitive cultural heritage projects is well deserved. The cultural character of an area is often determined by its history, heritage and people. By working within existing communities and contexts, new developments can enhance or adapt the character of the places around them in an act of cultural regeneration.

Heritage also includes ‘Modern’ movement buildings. FCBStudios’ masterplan and subsequent refurbishment of the Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall celebrates the existing buildings and the optimism of their Brutalist designers. Their renewal enhances the experiences of visitors, performers and passers-by and celebrates the unique role of Southbank Centre in London’s contemporary cultural life. Accordia in Cambridge is widely regarded as setting a new benchmark for large scale housing in the UK. In designing a desirable place to live that creatively blends houses with landscape in the form of private gardens and high quality public and communal spaces, FCBStudios created a neighbourhood where residents quickly developed connections, and demonstrated high levels of wellbeing and community. More urban current developments in London and Manchester are creating high density housing whose character is sustainable, social and connected. Whilst working with the architecture of the past and the present, FCBStudios continues to have its eye firmly on the future. Since the beginning, it has been



Alexandra Palace Theatre image by Graham Joy 46

Shatotto Aga Khan Academy, Dhaka

recognised as a pioneer of environmental design and was awarded the first ever Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development. In 2013 FCBStudios designed the first BRE ‘Outstanding’ rated building in China. FCBStudios is one of the founding signatories to the ‘Architects Declare’ movement and is leading climate change initiatives within the practice and as part of the national response. Founding Partner Peter Clegg says:

Location London Website fcbstudios.com Instagram @fcbstudios

“When we started the practice we were determined to do things differently. As individuals, we can all make a difference, but if we can collaborate and work together with our clients, our teams and our colleagues, sharing our knowledge and experience, that difference can be multiplied exponentially.” The practice published its own response to the climate declaration, which can be read here: fcbstudios.com/explore/view/69. 47

ANDRE FU Architectural Interior Designer Andre Fu was born in Hong Kong and educated in England. He graduated from Cambridge University in 2000 and created his firm, AFSO, the same year. Inspired by Hong Kong’s evanescent and urbane energy, he moved back in 2004 to add his signature style to some of the region’s most recognisable hotels including the The Waldorf Astoria in Bangkok, Shangri-La Tokyo as well as the award-winning Hong Kong hotel The Upper House, fashion brand COS and the Opus Suite at London’s Berkeley Hotel. What initially got you interested in interior architecture? As a teenager, I was always interested in the emotional impact of spatial design, especially in the context of how an environment could impact one’s behaviour. What is your creative process? Typically, my design process begins with a series of prolonged dialogues with the hotelier or the owner. I always believe that my role is to translate a vision into an environment for guests to be indulged. I would also visit the site and try to negotiate the flow and identify the views. This follows with a series of workshops with my team to explore, to create, and to refine the experience. 48

Andre Fu Living

How has this process changed to observe the challenges and issues around the Pandemic? During the past few months, a majority of my design meetings have been conducted digitally. What I have learnt from communicating on design with digital platforms is that all of the information has to be extremely precise and clear; photos of materials ought to be reviewed carefully as a slight deviation from the true colour could strongly affect the perception of the scheme. On a separate note, my personal outlook of what everyone has learnt from the pandemic is to focus on design solutions that would create meaningful experiences, with all the health and safety measures in mind. Our ways of living has always evolved with time and the challenges to create good design that caters to the future of living will allow designers to think more creatively. What is the number one piece of advice you would like to tell new designers? Good design takes years to realise and a lot of obstacles ought to be overcome in the process. The key is to endure the duration that it takes to create something that will stand the test of time.

Location Hong Kong Website andrefustudio.com Instagram @andrefustudio

St Regis - The Grand Staircase



K11 Artus - The Library

What are some of the important issues among design practitioners? In the midst of social media, the landscape of design has evolved at an accelerated speed. It is critical for people to re-evaluate the purpose of design. Designers from different cultural backgrounds are creating designs that could communicate with different context and in short how design today crosses culture.

What are some of the most challenging and inspiring elements of your current projects? We are currently working on a key hotel project in Kyoto. It is set right opposite a UNESCO preservation site and the project poses a key challenge in delivering a design that is truthful to a city with such an intriguing wealth of heritage and craftsmanship, yet also being able to provoke an atmosphere that is authentic yet modern.

Is Hong Kong a good example of how cities are evolving in design and architecture? Indeed, Hong Kong is a hugely dynamic and transient city. The role that design could play to revive a city.

Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently? I am a believer in hand-sketching as it is the most direct way to connect the mind with the hand. It is also the most effective means to express an idea.

What sets Hong Kong apart from other large cities around the globe? The fact that everything co-exists in a rather awkward, yet intriguing way.

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on your work during 2020? It is definitely a year of challenges and in many ways the situation has allowed me to contemplate and reflect on the way I want my studio to evolve in the future. Hotel The Mitsui, our new hotel project in Kyoto, recently opened marking the first hotel we managed to complete during the pandemic, with much of the design fine-tuning done via Zoom.

What elements of other cities would you like to see implemented in your city? A stronger focus on urban landscaping, and more incentive for innovation in design.


Great British Design


For Andre Fu Living, we originally planned for a large installation in Milan at Palazzo Visconti to unveil the new collection. Due to the cancellation of the event, we have created a 3-minute video to showcase the brand narrative as well as the poetic inspirations behind our series named ‘mid-century rhythm’. Thanks to social media platforms, I have been involved in quite a number of live discussions with key collaborators and media partners. Interestingly we have also come up with a campaign for our new book; Crossing Cultures with Design. How does the future look to you post-COVID? With the way we have all learnt to work across the globe with digital platforms, I believe the purpose of travel will take on a different light. Luxury hotels will revolve around the essence of expressing a unique persona; a destination that embraces culture, heritage and a candid sense of place. In terms of public spaces, it shall be about having the feeling of being a part of a vibey community, yet having the option to be discreet and private. It is all about a balancing act. 53


KEF collaboration with Sir Terence Conran

Sound and art have long been connected and in our world of wireless soundwaves the speakers we use to listen to our favourite music are now just as valuable as a piece of modern day designed furniture. One of the originators of the British hi-fi industry KEF have been producing precision engineered speakers since the 60’s and have solidified their design partnership with Conran and Partners by launching a collaboration with designer Sir Terence Conran: The LSX Soundwave. The collaboration started with the KEF Music Gallery in Duddell Street in Central, Hong Kong; a space that elevates the idea of the showroom making it more reminiscent of an exclusive private club where guests are invited to leave the real world outside and immerse themselves in music and art. The interior by Conran and Partners complements the acoustics of the KEF audio products with areas that include The Collector’s Lounge, a space where guests can enjoy Dark Waves; a sensory experience by digital artist collaborative teamLab, which combines immersive 3D effects and high-resolution music. Masterpieces by Hong Kong ink painter Nancy Chu Woo and renowned Japanese visual artist Yayoi Kusama adorn the space. The gallery also features pieces by British contemporary installation artist Julian Opie and Australian photographer Luke Shadbolt. The speaker collaboration takes the partnership to another level; the LSX Soundwave’s base comes in Conran’s trademark blue, whilst stylised soundwaves weave their way through the grey fabric that


encapsulates the LSX to enhance the original speaker. It provides a tactile and visual uniqueness that echoes the late Sir Terence Conran’s early work as a textile designer. Conran at the time said, “Simplicity, beauty and functionality are the solid foundations of good design but I always think a magic ingredient or element of surprise can raise the whole look or mood of a product all together. A flash of colour, an intriguing pattern or an element of texture perhaps. When I sat down to consider the design of the fabric for the LSX Soundwave, I looked out from my desk over the river Thames and the ripples over the water and visualised waves of sound passing through the air.” The Conran partnership continues KEF’s long tradition of design collaboration. Previously, KEF collaborated with the visionary designer Ross Lovegrove on the ambitious Muon project and the creation of the original LSX was overseen by British designer Michael Young.  KEF was founded in 1961 by Raymond Cooke OBE (1925–1995) with an ethos based on the continuing quest to find new and better ways of reproducing sound. Since the company’s establishment, KEF has maintained a flair for unusual and controversial speaker engineering, design and material use. KEF has always driven innovation in sound with examples including its iconic ‘egg’, Muon and Blade speakers. Visit KEF Music Gallery at 12/F, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong. For more information visit: uk.kef.com & conranshop.co.uk Instagram @kef.hongkong & @conranandpartners

Great British Design





Located in the heart of Hong Kong’s central business district, the 36-storey Murray Road project for Henderson Land replaces a multi-storey car park to create an urban oasis adjacent to Chater Garden within a short walking distance to both Central and Admiralty MTR metro stations. With its base elevated above the ground to shelter courtyards and gardens cultivated with trees and plants in the centre of one of the world’s busiest cities, the design creates new civic plazas that are enveloped by nature. Echoing the organic forms of the natural world; the redevelopment connects with the adjacent public gardens and parks. These tranquil outdoor areas flow into the generous communal spaces of the interior; the craftsmanship and precision of the curved glass façade enhancing this seamless connectivity between the building’s interiors and the surrounding gardens and city beyond. The design reinterprets the structural forms and layering of a Bauhinia bud about to blossom. Known as the Hong Kong orchid tree, the Bauhinia x blakeana was first propagated in the city’s botanic gardens above the Murray Road site and its flowering bud features on Hong Kong’s flag. At the core of the city’s financial district, the project is situated at the east-west / north-south junction of Hong Kong’s network of elevated pedestrian walkways; connecting directly with surrounding gardens, shops and restaurants as well as the offices of leading financial and civic institutions. Fused


A high-tensile steel structure provides very wide span (up to 26m) of naturally lit, column-free, Grade A office space with a 5 metre floor-to-floor height giving maximum flexibility; its vertical core located on the eastern side of the building to optimise views of Chater Garden and the city’s renowned skyline to the west. The building’s smart management system creates a contactless pathway for all occupants from the street to their workstation that eliminates direct contact with communal surfaces and includes AI-assisted lift controls. Using a mobile phone, contactless smart card or biometric recognition, occupants can enter the building and pass security, call lifts to their office floor and access other zones such as lounge areas and washrooms. Arranged for access on multiple levels, the large doubleheight foyer at ground level welcomes staff and visitors with its interplay of natural light, planting and organic forms leading up to the second floor public lobby on the city’s elevated walkway network. Suspended above the canopy of its surrounding tress, the sculptural glass façade of this expansive lobby defines a variety of nested spaces, each refined for purpose and experience. Designed for intuitive navigation and to accommodate evolving patterns of working with enhanced workplace flexibility, the colour palettes of these finely detailed spaces differentiate key destinations within the tower. Located on the refuge floor, the Sky Garden is an outdoor recreational space with running track and an aquaponics planting network that acts as an effective biological airpurifying filter by consuming contaminants. The banqueting hall at the top of the tower offers panoramic views of the city’s surrounding skyline. Hosting a variety of public and corporate events, its glazed roof and façade will ensure this space becomes one of the city’s most memorable venues. Designed to withstand the region’s powerful summer typhoons, the façade is comprised of 4-ply, doublelaminated, double-curved insulated glass units – the first of their kind in Hong Kong – to effectively insulate the building and reduce its cooling load as well as build resilience. The redevelopment also incorporates a solar responsive ventilator (SRV) along the western perimeter of each floor to enhance the comfort of occupants. Powered by photovoltaics, the low speed, silent SRV creates a 58

Location London Website zaha-hadid.com Instagram @zahahadidarchitects

channel of air that has the ability to adjust solar radiative heat to the perimeter zone for further comfort. A 26% reduction in electricity demand will be achieved with the use of smart chiller plant optimization, high-efficiency HVAC equipment and daylight sensors that reduce artificial lighting during periods of sufficient natural light. A top-down construction method is employed to accelerate the redevelopment programme on-site by implementing deep basement and above-ground construction at the same time. With construction works beginning last year and its procurement targeting embodied carbon reductions as well as the use of recycled materials, 2 Murray Road looks to the future with the integration of advanced design, construction and operational technologies. 59

Forged in the Creative Crucible: Why is Britain so bloody good at experiential design? By Sam Bompas of Bompas & Parr and Friends

‘Humankind cannot bear very much reality’ T.S. Eliot Britain, once the swashbuckling island of booze, fags, mags, monarchy and Shakespeare, is now the leading exponent of experiential design. The work of the likes of Secret Cinema, Marshmallow Laser Feast and Moment Factory sits far beyond the bounds of theatre, music, museums or creative technology engulfing you in tangible, navigable worlds. The memories forged and stories articulated become tales you will tell others for years to come. These experiences are currently being delivered around the world and if you haven’t already, you’ll be able to gorge on them soon. But what is experiential design – recently I sat on three panels, and each had a dramatically different take on the matter. For one it was about mastery of poly-sensory design geared to stimulate each sense. This is, of course, total rubbish – the room you are in is a multi-sensory experience! Even less inspiringly, some digital marketeers thought it meant interactive, dynamic 60

banner ads. Puke. The third had the most effective approach that encompassed storytelling as the secret ingredient. The definition was more open too; ‘hard to define but you know it when you feel it.’ There’s a textural and emotive component with true experiential design. So why did an island of codgers, scallywags, wastrels and rascals become leaders in this delightful medium? With experiential design so hard to define, I thought the most effective way to get to the root of Britain’s success would be to canvass to the leading practitioners (and some of our creative heroes). I tracked down three of the foremost experiential provocateurs, each with a different approach. Here’s how they explained the matter: Maximo Recio, Lead Designer of United Visual Artists attributes the magic to cross-cultural pollination: “Like any other design discipline, experiential design relies on sociocultural factors and rational layers of meaning. However, at its very core, there is a strong sensorial element that resonates with us at a very fundamental level. Britain is,

and has always been, a crossroads of many different cultures and languages, which I believe fosters a certain sensitivity for this kind of shared, deep-rooted forms of communication.” Colin Nightingale, Creative Producer of Punchdrunk sees it like this: “For years the UK has been at the centre of so much of the best in live music, club culture, festivals, theatre, dance, literature, art and design. With so much rich inspiration and a natural desire to innovate, it’s not surprising that over recent years, so many British creatives have been leading the charge to combine different strands of artistic expression. Culture has become more valued and part of the national identity. There is a restless energy to push the boundaries of what Art and Entertainment can be in the 21st century, resulting in remarkable experiential projects being exported to the rest of the world.” James Seager, Creative Director of Les Enfants Terribles shares his insights: “Britain has always been at the forefront of theatre and performance which has inevitably


Heinz Portrait by Nathan Pask


Heinz Musical Spoon - image by Nathan Pask Photography

Fruit Weather - image Sam Bompas

led to innovation and an ability to push creatives into working in different exciting ways, whether that be outdoor experiences, large scale events or indeed immersive. It has ultimately helped in that there is an abundance of talent in the UK raised by experimentation, questioning the ‘norm’ and a genuine desire to explore what can be achieved. The training and ability to work in these areas have also never been more accessible and exciting.”

Rather more pragmatically, there’s just the right availability of space to forge this form of entertainment. The UK has enough space for larger shows, but you are under a certain amount of commercial pressure. There’s a need to deliver something so remarkable that a significant sized audience is willing to travel and pay for their pleasures.

For myself, three other crucial factors come into play. The first is the British tradition of masquerade and carnival. From Inigo Jones designed courtly masques at Banqueting House under the patronage of James I’s consort Queen Anne (when the proscenium arch was introduced to British Theatre) to Notting Hill Carnival, the world’s secondbiggest street party, there’s a tradition of dressing up, play, innovation, technology and cross-cultural engagement.

Finally, there’s the temperate, largely gentle weather. Moderation means that it’s neither too hot nor cold to enjoy an experience in found spaces, rarely reliant on heating or aircon to be tolerable. That said, it’s not gentle enough to spend the entire year outdoors. The demand for compelling indoor entertainment supplies the audiences required for a remarkable business.


Location London Website bompasandparr.com Mercedes Drive Thru2 Roller girl Image by Ann Charlott Ommedal

Instagram @bompasandparr

Brace yourself. All those outfits outlined above are bringing their approach to experiential design to Asia with recent or forthcoming shows. The new retail and commercial landscapes that will emerge post-Covid will be ever more reliant on experiences to drive footfall. Here’s to compelling lived experiences once again.

Sam Bompas is the co-founder of Bompas & Parr, a creative studio recognised as leading experts in polysensory experience design. The studio works with brands, artistic institutions, and governments to deliver emotionally compelling experiences around the world. The studio launched its first international studio in Hong Kong in 2020. Romancing the Armpit Image by Nathan Ceddia and Daniel Resende 63

Creativity From The North The Northern Powerhouse (NPH) includes the great cities of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield and boasts 12 international ports and 7 airports. The Northern Powerhouse economy is vibrant and worth over £339 billion and exports more than £90 billion worth of goods and services every year. It has a long and rich history of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. A flourishing creative scene has existed in the North for decades and the North West is the largest advertising, marketing and design centre in the UK after London. Leeds City Region alone, is home to a flourishing digital, design and creative sector, with 20 of the fastest-growing tech companies in the North of England, according to Northern Tech 100, and 13 of the Prolific North’s Top 50 PR Agencies. The North East with five universities and the highest proportion of students studying STEM subjects in the UK can also brag about international IT success story, Sage, the UK’s only FTSE 100 software company, has its global headquarters in the region. Investors such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Bede Gaming and Accenture already take advantage of the regions business opportunities. Yorkshire-born twins Chloe and Abigail Baldwin (pictured right) from Buttercrumble, a creative communications studio, are one such example of excellent Northern creativity. Their personal touches and can-do attitude has enabled them to collaborate with many playful and like-minded brands globally. Abigail said: “At Buttercrumble, we’re excited to be influenced by the cultural combination of East and West. This mix of innovation and commerce can excite and influence our graphic design and illustration skills. Moreover, we feel that in the ever-changing and competitive creative sector, it’s important to nurture our network at home and overseas”. Wayne Taylor, CEO and David Judge, Creative Director are from Space Zero, a Manchester based company that specialises in the design of learning environments. The company has designed more than 450 education projects worldwide. Employing 60 specialist designers, 64


strategists, technicians, and managers, their team has specified over 6.5 million items of furniture fittings & equipment and built spaces across the world, including the UK, UAE, Thailand, Malaysia, and China. Wayne Taylor added: “We understand that private schools are a brand experience as much as a learning experience. We have been collaborating with worldleading strategists and designers from brand and retail design to create an entirely new approach to the design of private schools. We look forward to meeting future clients and developing new business�. For more information about the Northern Powerhouse visit: northernpowerhouse.gov.uk Twitter @NPHinfo

Space Zero Fused


Choose the UK for design solutions Check out these Great British Design partners


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Bryden Wood is an international company of designers, architects, DfMA experts, engineers, technologists and analysts. For a better built environment.

Hildrey Studio uses architectural skills to improve our environment through the design of buildings, services, products, landscape, and art.

Twitter: @brydenwood Instagram: @brydenwoodtech Web: brydenwood.co.uk

Instagram: @chrishildrey Web: hildreystudio.com

South East Architecture, Interiors, Visual Arts

Greater London Architecture, Design Consultancy, Interiors, Product

Greater London Furniture, Architecture, Design Consultancy, Interiors, Retail

Mizzi Studio works across architecture, interiors and installations, fusing digital design with physical craft to create distinctive and playful designs.

Transit Studio is an architecture & interior design studio inspired by travel and transit between places, cultures and people.

We create artistically focussed surfaces, architecture and sculpture. In each discipline the studio celebrates the relationship between materials and light. Instagram: @gilesmiller Web: gilesmiller.com


Instagram: @mizzistudio Facebook: @mizzistudio Twitter: @mizzistudio Web: mizzi.co.uk

Greater London Architecture, Interiors Simone de Gale Architects is based in exclusive Belgravia, London, UK; Winner ‘Architect of Year’ 2017, developing its international portfolio. Facebook: @Simone.de.Gale.Architects Twitter: @simonedegale Instagram: @simonedegale Web: simonedegale.com

Instagram: @transitstudiouk Web: transitstudio.co.uk


Greater London

Architecture, Design Consultancy wallaceliu.com WallaceLiu is a British-Chinese architecture and design firm with an expertise in projects that involve adaptive reuse and regeneration. Instagram: @jamie_wall_ace

Greater London Crafts Sara Chyan explores the unique temperature-aware colour and geometric shapes of bismuth to create stunning one-of-a-kind pieces. Instagram: @sarachyanjewellery Web: sarachyan.com



Wales Textiles, Interior Textiles and Carpets, Product

Greater London Visual Arts

Traditional Welsh Mill weaving Woollen Double cloth in traditional and contemporary designs and colourways, suitable for domestic/contract use. Twitter: @eifiongriffiths Instagram: @melintregwynt Facebook: @MelinTregwynt Web: melintregwynt.co.uk

An independent production and animation studio making talked about work that positively adds to the cultural conversation. Instagram: @nexusstories Web: nexusstudios.com


DESIGN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION GREATER LONDON Institutes and Associations DBA champions the UK design industry, provides directories, guides and advice to any business wanting to buy British design services. Twitter: @dbaHQ Instagram: @designbusinessassociation Web: dba.org.uk

ROYAL INSTITUTE OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS Greater London Institutes and Associations The Royal Institute of British Architects is a global professional membership body driving excellence in architecture. Twitter: @riba Instagram: @riba Web: architecture.com


Yorkshire and the Humber Design Consultancy

South East Design Consultancy, Product

GREATER LONDON Full-service creative agency

Buttercrumble is a creative communications studio, founded by twin sisters. They design meaningful brands for young-atheart organisations across the globe.

Designworks is an award-winning rapid design and manufacturing business with experience across a range of sectors.

magnetic-london.co.uk An original full-service creative agency working across all disciplines, bringing brands up to their true potential.

Instagram: @Designworkstudio Web: designworks.studio

Twitter: @buttercrumble Instagram: @buttercrumblecreative Web: buttercrumble.com

South West Design Consultancy, Experience Marketing Crowd is an award-winning, global creative and performance media agency. Founded in 2012, they operate Globally. Instagram: @thisiscrowd Web: thisiscrowd.com

Instagram: @magneticlondon Twitter: @magneticlondon

South East Design Consultancy

Greater London Design Consultancy

forpeople is an independent creative studio, joining the dots between brand, vision and experience.

MMBP is a London-based strategic consultancy specialised in cultural leadership for design, entertainment, media and placemaking businesses.

Instagram: @weareforpeople Web: forpeople.com

Instagram: @mmbp.group Web: mmbpltd.com


East Midlands Design Consultancy

South East Design Consultancy

Greater London Fashion

A full service creative agency providing branding, web, design, video, app and coding services.

Alloy is an award-winning design and innovation consultancy who combine user needs and business objectives to create commercially successful products.

Sustainable accessories brand handmade in Brazil by artisans with an aim to empower wider communities through The BOTTLETOP Foundation.

Instagram: @the_alloy Web: thealloy.com

Instagram: @bottletoppers Facebook: @Bottletopofficial Twitter: @bottletoppers Web: bottletop.org

Greater London Design Consultancy, Experience Marketing, Visual Arts

Greater London Fashion

Twitter: @rusty_monkey Facebook: @rustymonkey Web: rustymonkey.com

Greater London Design Consultancy An independent creative agency of united individuals. Energising brands to move markets, mindsets, and culture. Twitter: @stormbrands Instagram: @stormbrands.co Web: stormbrands.co

Wind & Foster is an award winning design led agency that make transformational experiences comprised of dance, photography and film. Instagram: @movingcitiesproject Web: windandfoster.com

Field Grey designs exceptional uniform solutions and created Readywear, a capsule collection of 36 workwear items. Instagram: @fieldgreystudio Twitter: @fieldgrey Web: field-grey.com



East Midlands Product

Scotland Giftware, Jewellery and Tableware

South East Product

Bulb Studios craft beautiful digital products with a focus on what’s important to deliver delightful experiences.

Italian luxury handmade jewellery inspired by Scottish landscapes. Every piece is carefully crafted to recreate a sensation of fairy-tale elegance.

Focus SBÂŽ is a British manufacturer renowned for the design, development and specialist hand finishing of premium electrical wiring accessories.

Instagram: @quintaessenzajewellery Twitter: @qejewellery Web: quintaessenza.co.uk

Instagram: @focus_sb_ltd Twitter: @FocusSB Facebook: @FocusSBLtd Web: focus-sb.co.uk

Instagram: @BulbStudios Web: bulbstudios.com

North West Giftware, Jewellery and Tableware, Interiors, Product, Retail Nuhr, meaning light or glow, is a leading brand specialising in Oud scented home and body products. Instagram: @nuhrhome Web: nuhrhome.com

North West Giftware, Jewellery and Tableware, Furniture, Design Consultancy, Interiors, Product, Retail Design and hand-manufacture of tables, bars, tableware, smoking devices and unique cocktail serves for luxury hospitality and private individuals. Instagram: @soaklondon1 Facebook: @soaklondon Twitter: @soak_london Web: soaklondon.com

Profile for DIThongkong

Great British Design 2020  

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