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Conran Columns: Azhar on Architecture: Fashion, Art and Science

Creativity, Science and the City

This week Architectural Director Azhar from Conran & Partners has been out and about at the London Design Festival and London Fashion Week. A fashion show with a difference gets him thinking…

This week I attended an event at Imperial College London, a fashion show no less – a wonderful affair where a fashion designer worked closely with a scientist to create a “spray-on” collection of clothes.

What emerged was not just a clever scientific idea, but also very beautiful forms and movement – extremely cinematic. For me this is a wonderfully powerful example of communicating intelligence, future thinking and creative science.

The catwalk, (or “runway”) was installed in the business school on Exhibition Road where outside the wonderful statue of Empress Victoria presides over the scene. We must remember that South Kensington was a vision of her husband, Prince Albert, and the area of London where Imperial stands is known affectionately as “Albertopolis” –  a renaissance collection of world-renowned institutions covering art, science, music, and natural history.

As a child, I was also bemused by the fact that both the media and the school system itself were always dividing the “arts” and “sciences”.

As a practice Conran & Partners, work closely with engineers who are creative and have a design approach. They are a fundamental part of the design process and help create a genuine, integrated team. Architecture and design has always been inter-disciplinary and reliant upon collaboration.

Let’s move to my favourite moment – the present. Surrounding us is the evidence of the relationship of commerce and innovation, culture and economics. I am sure there are brilliant statistics to quantify the value the creative and cultural industries add to the fiscal wellbeing of nations, but here I am excited about the future (once again) and how we harness our talents to create a new generation of opportunities generated by this inter-disciplinary collaboration.

A cutting-edge fashion event in these wonderful surrounding helps illustrate this point beautifully.

Please have a look at Dr Manel Torres collaboration with Professor Paul Luckham at Imperial College London


Here it is on the BBC


(With thanks to Dr Peter Evans and Natasha Martineau, of Imperial College for my invitation)


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