Bloomberg Design + Make
April 25, 2023
Good design can make the world better, smarter, more sustainable, and just cooler. We brought together the world’s most creative minds in design, manufacturing and entertainment, to discuss how their respective industries are responding to a world in flux: the challenges they face and the opportunities to be claimed.
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- Andrew Anagnost, President & CEO, Autodesk
- Marcus Engman, Chief Creative Officer, Ingka Group
- Michael Jones, Senior Partner, Foster + Partners
- Andu Masebo, Designer and Creative Producer
- Miranda MacLaren, Director, Morris + Company
- Mike McGee, Chief Creative Officer, Framestore
- Ged Simmonds, Managing Director, Offices Mace
- Mallika Kapur, Deputy Global Editor, Bloomberg Live
- Kriston Capps, Writer, Bloomberg CityLab
- Ruth David, London Bureau Chief, Bloomberg
- Elena Weale, EMEA Design Manager & Workplace Strategy Lead, Bloomberg LP
- Feargus O’Sullivan, Writer, Bloomberg Citylab
Iconic Buildings Uncovered
Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London is the first and only office that Michael Jones, Senior Partner, Foster + Partners has designed. The brief was the result of ‘constructive, collaborative dialogue’, allowing the project to evolve rather than be preconceived by a set of requirements. He credits Michael Bloomberg as the driving force, tasking him to innovate and create a purposeful space where people could move around and benefit from chance exchanges. “Those are the things that are the backbone of the success of Bloomberg, and the building basically facilitates it,” said Jones.
As well as being highly sustainable, the building was designed to be resilient for the future. This was put to the test during the pandemic, with its natural ventilation making it possible for employees to occupy it quickly again.
Whether creating an urban realm at The British Museum or transforming a lost space at The Royal Academy, Jones encourages clients to keep an open mind and think about what they want to achieve, rather than come with an answer.
From Sketch to Shelf: Focus on Product Design
Marcus Engman, Chief Creative Officer, Ingka Group, explains that the ‘Atelier100’ programme with Ikea and H&M, was created to get closer to the user and uncover creative talent from a more diverse and less traditional design background. One of its winners, Andu Masebo, Designer and Creative Producer, explains that he enjoys design because “it’s an excuse to have a conversation with an expert.”
The London-based Atelier100 programme required a ‘hyper-local’ approach as part of its commitment to sustainability. Engman believes this can ‘tilt’ the way design is done. In the future, big cities will be the greatest source of raw materials as they sit on the biggest dumps of materials.
On the note of Brexit and choosing London, Marcus reflected that historically when the UK economy has gone down, creativity has gone up. “There’s something about limitation of resources that makes people more creative, and that’s also how we actually work.”
Nonetheless, Ikea is not complacent about its success. With 1.5% of the market share in the US, Marcus said, “We are trying to fulfil our vision instead, and making it possible for people to live a better life through the things that we sell. That’s a never ending story.”
Autodesk Sponsor Spotlight: The Future of Design and Make
From the recent Autodesk industry report, Andrew Anagnost, President & CEO, Autodesk, observes that people are feeling inflationary pressures, and acknowledges that the industry has a massive connectivity and capacity problem. “There are more things that need to be created than there are people, money, or material.”
Turning to ChatGPT, Andrew sees it as another collaborator on the team, which can help to prompt, stimulate, or create initial ideas. He believes it will be a while before the technology is so smart and capable that it “starts to become some kind of existential threat.”
How to Make it: The Intersection of Design and Technology
During the pandemic, Mike McGee, Chief Creative Officer, Framestore, had clients asking him how to make content when they couldn’t travel or be on location. One of the solutions was to use LED screens and computer-generated imagery which transported people into other worlds. Not only did this push innovation, but it supported sustainable ways of working too.
On the topic of sustainability, Ged Simmonds, Managing Director, Commercial Offices, Mace, notes that the construction industry is very wasteful, and needs to “standardise things more and make sure they are repeatable.” The industry has a responsibility to look at what already exists, replacing demolition contractors with reclamation contractors to reuse and repurpose assets.
Miranda MacLaren, Director, Morris+Company, agrees, “What’s the point in building anything if it’s not going to be socially sustainable?” She also voices her concern about the growing housing crisis, explaining that it’s a balance of doing something that’s both environmentally friendly and resilient long term.
With the absence of office culture in recent years, McGee asks how we can get creative teams back together in a way that’s engaging, rewarding and educational. The opportunity to learn from peers, and a shared community, remains a challenge with remote working.
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