The design market — looking to growth

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At the Surface Design Show on 23rd February, the VIP Preview evening inspired listeners to contemplate the next few years of architecture and its potential impact on the economy and the environment.

Executive Vice Chair of The Work Foundation, Will Hutton discussed the need to think about economic growth and create an innovation ecosystem, generating new ideas so firms can scale up and grow markets.

Mark Whitby, Chairman of Ramboll UK, talked about the power of the internet and how it continues to move businesses forward, as well as its uses for talking to the ‘knowledge society’ and its strength in the engineering world.

Cecile Brisac, co-founder of Brisac Gonzalez, looked at how architects can make a change after the recession, concluding that they need to combine long-term thinking with creativity. Architects need to see themselves as role models and young talent should be encouraged.

Former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, ended the debate with an enthusiastic speech on the need to achieve a sustained level of growth in order to pay back the economy. The UK Government needs to invest in the future of architecture and to borrow and invest in the infrastructure of housing and transport to improve the economy. The future is in environmental and sustainable building and we need to build for the future to drive forward new technologies, he advised. He also explored the effects of improving the quality of life in the UK, with people loving their own cities thanks to the regeneration of spaces and squares.

Press release by Think Tank

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