Following Timberland Boot Company’s admirable re-purposing of an old banana warehouse as its new flagship store last week, what scope is there for incorporating this design ethos into everyday design activity? What is holding it back?

A stimulating move on the part of Checkland Kindleysides and Timberland, but it has been done before. The scope is vast, commitment far less so. What is holding the concept back? Lack of courage and imagination, often in equal part, and, sadly, it’s usually on the part of the client.

David Chaloner, Interior and retail design director, Conran & Partners

Fear of failure is the only thing holding big business back in using cutting edge design ideas. Once it is financially successful, a design-led company can and should take bigger risks, especially branding and retail outlets. As Funkadelic’s George Clinton once said, ‘Free your mind… and your ass will follow.’

Paul Daly, Director, Paul Daly Design Studio

Timberland is also ‘Going the Extra Mile for Safety’ with new product lines for the workplace. Shall we then take it that the regenerated Banana building will soon be covered with an oversized rubber?

Nick Butterfield, Managing director, Butterfield Design Independents have been redefining the shopping experience, moving back towards the boutique and bespoke for a long time. We don’t see much of this on the high street because this kind of originality takes a brave client, who sees the value in original thinking.

Sophie Thomas, Director, Thomas Matthews

I think that the repurposing ethic is alive and kicking in the packaging and branding area, both structurally and graphically. There are many examples of repurposing a style and applying it to a brand, as there are taking an unusual container or material and finding a surprising use for it. The challenge is always that it’s used in a way that is relevant to the brand and done with integrity.

Bruce Duckworth, Creative director, Turner Duckworth

Workshops/ factories/ warehouses make great premises. Design studios should not look like slick ad agencies. The challenge is to communicate this while earning profits for the client and the design group.

John Csaky, Managing and creative director, Csaky Associates

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