Lille and designing things that stand the test of time.
Recently we were in Lille – it was freezing, rather beautiful and great fun. Before returning to grey London we managed to spend a day ‘doing continental culture’, visiting the Palais des Beaux Arts, Musée d'Art Moderne, the Tri Postale and the wonderful Musée de la Piscine at Roubaix. We also ate moules frites and wandered the architectural feast that is vieux-ville.
Much of the visual research we do is now inevitably online or on a particular mission, so it was really refreshing to go and look at art for art’s sake and without a particular agenda. We saw all sorts – modern and banal, the sort of art that certainly makes me think ‘so what’; modern and quirky – which leaves you amused or bemused and also some wonderful diverse and classical art that inspires and has stood the test of time.
And there lies my point – when we design environments, objects or even websites or conjure up stories we’re always keen to make something memorable – something that we’ll look back on in a few years when fashion will have changed and we’ll still like, still believe in and remember. So much of what we do is ephemeral – literally ending up in the skip at the end of an event (despite clients' best eco credentials). It’s easy to be dismissive – easy to ask yourself whether any of it matters, after all, we’re not exactly building monuments. I think the satisfaction comes when someone comes up to you and says – ‘Ah yes, that event changed the way people thought’, or ‘that design is still one of my favourites’.
Occasionally we don’t get repeat business – but more often than not it’s because the work we did in the first place has longevity and is being used again and again. Recently a client told me how his client liked what we had done so much that they were storing it to use it again next year. I think we have to take that as a compliment. AE