London as a global design centre
With the current readjustment to the post-Brexit landscape, now is perhaps an interesting time to evaluate London’s position within the global design scene, and what the future might hold. Of course, the last year has effectively meant an enforced hiatus upon many mechanisms of the creative industries, an area that flourishes with collaborations and close working relationships.
An acknowledged melting-pot of nationalities, cultures and attitudes, London has nevertheless been able to retain a very strong identity as a world leader in trends and underpinning it, an identifiable Britishness that is intangible but certainly present. With each passing year, the demographics of the capital change in small increments towards a more global representation. For any long-term city resident, the change in areas such as Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Chelsea in terms of nationalities making their homes (or second homes) and businesses there, is very clear. With this change comes a different requirement in terms of residential interior styles and demands of leisure venues such as hotels and restaurants.
It certainly used to be the case that classic British style underpinned the popularity of the finest hotels, serviced apartments and traditional restaurants, but while there is still evidence of this slightly nostalgic longing for a time passed, the rise of Internationalism has also supplanted this, and the aesthetics have changed. There are some outstanding projects being worked on in London, and which have recently been completed, but in many cases it is hard to objectively consider these as “British” styled projects. Once within the four walls, the style is at once global, with cues taken from everywhere, and nowhere in particular.
Interior design and hospitality design companies usually have an equally diverse mix of employees and creatives, so the process is also a fully International operation. What seems to consolidate London as a global leader though, is innovation, quality, and the insatiable demand for the new and different.
The high-end barometers in all these categories are designed to capture this global market, and the stakes have got so much higher as the standards in the Middle East, China, Korea and the Caribbean in particular have raised the bar.
For every Ritz, Savoy, and Connaught, there will also be Bulgari, Mandrake and Sanderson. Similarly for eating out, Rules, Simpson’s and The Ivy still hold their own against Hide, Roka and Sexy Fish.
With a population approaching 9 million, there will always be something for all tastes, and to stay relevant and fresh, there is constant renewal, so the groundbreaking projects of 2020 will likely be swept away in the cycles of trends to be replaced by something equally avant-garde in 2025.