Design ‘should copy RIBA lead’

The design industry should take its lead from the Royal Institute of British Architects and carry out in-depth research into its own future, claim members of the design industry.

RIBA’s four-year Strategic Study of the Profession exploring the future role of architects presented its findings this week. It covers issues such as public image, the challenge of new competition and the impact of information technology.

The relationship between architects and their clients is stressed along with delivering a wider range of design- and management-based services.

Jeremy Myerson, professor in contemporary design at the design management department of De Montfort University, contributed to the strategic study.

“We are going through the most profound changes in the management and production of design in 100 years. If design is a profession it should have some professional response,” he says.

“It’s a process the design industry should be going through,” says John Stoddard, head of design at product group IDEO in London. He suggests such research could be handled by the Design Business Association with support from the Chartered Society of Designers and the Design Council.

DBA chief executive Ian Rowland-Hill says the DBA’s Ten Years On conference in September will cover similar issues.

Professor Robin Baker, principal at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, sees education as playing a major role in a design study: “It’s a great idea… and could be headed up by someone in the new Design Council.”

CSD director Brian Lymbery points out the difficulties of conducting such a study within the design industry: “It’s important that the design world keeps abreast of the issues the RIBA has been raising.” However, because of the fragmentation of the industry, “one mammoth exercise would not be of benefit as it is for architecture,” he claims.

See feature, page 12.

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