The Royal Institute of British Architects has launched a campaign to make sure that architecture and urban design are on the agenda of the new London mayor. What should designers be lobbying the mayor for?
If narcotics can have one, why can’t we! A design Czar (hate the word, but it makes the point), for instance, could help to promote the benefits of design in the regeneration of the city, challenge planning bureaucracy, introduce new practices to the public stage and create a continuity of implementation across the boroughs.
MARTYN BULLOCK, PARTNER, REDJACKET
Nothing. The mayor’s going to have plenty of things to deal with that Londoners rightly consider priorities like transport and education. Anyway, do we really need another public servant giving us soundbites about the contribution design makes to society and its value to business and the economy? Decent design speaks for itself.
JOHN SPENCER, CREATIVE PARTNER, SPENCER LANDOR
Encourage taller, more dramatic buildings in the city that express London’s status as Europe’s true capital. Meanwhile, no lorries and deliveries during the day and fewer cars in the centre. Commission someone like Stephen Woodhams to creatively landscape and plant whole areas like Trafalgar Square, Bankside, Regent Street and Soho, re-inventing the urban garden.
DAVID DAVIES, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, FUTUREBRAND
I’d ask the new mayor of London to consult designers in the embryonic stages of the city’s future developments. Developers and architects tend to focus on their private inward-looking enclaves and not on issues that could benefit the city.
ALEX RITCHIE, DIRECTOR, BLU
In the past our city has had a strong reputation for its design patronage and thus had protected the integrity of the London cityscape. However, over recent years this has been significantly eroded by a capitulation to commercialism. The legacy and contributions of Frank Pick, Charles Holden, Sir Gilbert Scott have been replaced by a billboard mentality and the creation of monuments to short termism. A more insightful plan is desperately needed to protect the fabric and future of the brand of London in all its manifestations.
PETER KNAPP, EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, LANDOR