It’s hard not to avoid the inﬂuence the economy is going to have on design in the next decade. It can be turned to our advantage in some senses but I don’t underestimate how tough it is going to be for the industry. I’ve lived through ﬁve or six recessions and while they’re not enjoyable they can make you pause and rethink your attitude to design. How can it continue to improve our lives? A bit of austerity won’t do it any harm. Things have become a bit lavish. We’ve seen this overblown, blingy approach to design, straining to project luxury, and it’s led to a glut of over-decorated pieces that look as if they came from a sweetshop.
Design is extremely important to the economy of this country and must remain so in the future. We are never going to be the workshop of the world again, we can’t compete in labour costs but we can compete in value for money and design can play a crucial role in that if we’re going to make things in this country again. The idea of living in a country that doesn’t produce anything is a dismal thought. We must inspire industry to make things by forging design and innovation, two things I believe go hand in hand, to allow us to make products the world wants.
Design itself can create demand. A designer’s job is to add to the quality of people’s lives and there’s still such a vast amount to do. I don’t think we’re anywhere near the point of creating a world where everything lasts for ever — far from it.