It’s an unfortunate truth that the real estate industry often overlooks the deep pool of design talent in Great Britain.
While the origins of design might seem insignificant, after decades of outsourcing design to far-flung corners of the globe, it is time for us to assume a new level of responsibility in supporting British designers.
The ramifications of failing to champion home-grown talent are potentially disastrous. Globalisation has pressured all types of business to outsource, contributing to decades of decline that crippled British designers and producers. Burgeoning designers weren’t developed, and the talent pipeline was almost starved of its next generation.
Beyond its role in delivering homes, the real estate industry revolves around the fundamental concept of design, and this is nowhere more pronounced than in the new developments emerging across London. That’s why at Keybridge in Vauxhall – our joint venture with Mount Anvil – we’ve endeavoured to use design to champion home-grown talent, with architecture by British stalwarts Allies and Morrison, interiors by Honky and Darling Associates, and iconic objects by Vivienne Westwood, Lee Broom and Michael Anastassiades.
When looking for examples of success in this field, we should emulate the fashion and food industries, whose campaign to support Great British design and production has helped to create an incubator for start-ups and SMEs. Retailers embrace the opportunity to sell more British brands and consumers place an ever greater importance on the origin, air miles and sustainability of what they purchase.
Furthermore, for many design businesses, there is a growing discontent with the quality of goods produced overseas, and a movement to bring design and production back to the UK to establish and uphold the quality and standards associated with their brands. We need to lend our support to encourage this migration, which will bring an inevitable boost to our economy.
From a trade perspective, the EU Referendum has shone a new light on import and export, and the financial strain that the UK could incur when trading in markets whose currencies are outperforming sterling. The Design Council estimates that the design industry is worth £71bn to our economy, so there is an incentive all round to transition from a reliance on imports to growing what we export.
It would seem that we have reached a seminal crossroads in the design industry and an almost unprecedented opportunity to realise the vast potential of our network of Great British artisans who, with an uplift in business from the real estate industry, can become self-sufficient. Buying British supports our own economy, encourages home-grown talent, helps the environment and celebrates our unique skills.
As developing economies begin to catch up, housebuilders would do well to value products that are made in Britain. We owe it to our own industrial heritage, resources and wealth of talent.