Our roots are in design and so we are coming from a strong base of art, and design; they go hand in hand. ‘Art’ is a broad concept, so is ‘design’, but they mingle. The fact is we are coming at this from the perspective of the art and design of a site which brings us to development. We are learning when it comes to the development part of the equation. It is a learning path, but over the past year, the narrative of the studio has definitely become stronger. This journey requires a clear understanding of evaluating a site with an understanding of art and design and an economical realisation of what it could be and in order to implement it.
Our laboratory of London is within such an interesting fabric. There are so many amazing communities and so many infill spaces. We are bursting with people and there is not enough housing; we need to create options for how we live, work and interact.
We are aspiring to design a future where people still have options; we don’t want to feel like we’re in a modular system of some form. We see the art within spaces and find it through the appraisal of development; understanding what that site means to the community, and what needs to happen, or how a development fits.
In this climate, it can be quite difficult to maintain a creative landscape with the demand for housing being so high. But we are interested in keeping the individuality of design and a diverse framework of our city.
It’s been so interesting being able to be around so many artists in conversation about studio spaces; they are developers in themselves in that regard. They take a blank canvas space and they make it their own. Development or a ‘developer’ is maybe seen as quite a direct term. When I heard the word developer there was a certain form that I assumed or a specific role. Calling an artist a developer, we can broaden this term into thinking differently about spaces around London and our cities?
We start with a bare canvas, or plot, and through ingenuity create a valuable piece of the urban tiling.
We are not doing something that hasn’t been done before; people have done infill sites previously. But development should be more of an open conversation because there has been this element of exclusivity surrounding it; the option to develop is still seen as quite an unreachable option.
We believe in challenging this perception of development and maybe it is something that should be opened up to the younger generation. There is space for innovation to happen within the cracks of our cities. We live in a global market and the housing crisis is on local, European and International Level.
But we’re still learning what development means. It is not easy; it’s high risk, and that’s not for everyone. I suppose we get a bit of thrill from the risk because we’re so optimistic coming from an art point of view because we see a site and think ‘so much magic could happen!’. It’s an energy.
‘To be on a constant learning path is so wonderfully human’ ~ John Makepeace.
We believe in the meeting of minds; art and development. Through this fusion, we believe we can challenge the fabric of our dynamic city and create a diverse landscape of design.
Here’s to 2018.