James Dyson pledges £5m to RCA

Sir James Dyson has pledged £5m to the Royal College of Art for its new Battersea site.

Dyson, who ditched plans to found his own design school in Bath last year, says he is finding alternative ways to support design education.

The cash, which releases £1.6m of match-funding from the Government, is the biggest single donation that the RCA has ever received. It will allow completion of the second phase of development at the Battersea site.

As well as a new lecture theatre, gallery and conference centre, the second phase includes the creation of 40 business incubator units for recent graduates to use once the new facility opens in 2012.

‘A lot of design ideas, when they start, are very fragile,’ Dyson told The Observer this weekend. ‘There are 101 reasons why they should fail and probably only one why they should succeed.’

Dyson says he is concerned that the Government is not doing enough to support UK manufacturing.

He tells The Observer, ‘You often hear of British designers who’ve gone abroad and designed things for Apple, Volvo, Sony and so on, but if we are able to go on training very good designers, and manufacturing is given the right sort of support by the Government, we can turn the tide and start exporting more than we import – and have great fun in the process.’

James Dyson is interviewed in the next issue of Design Week, out on Wednesday.

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  • Andy Myring November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Fantastic news! Well done James Dyson and I completely agree with his comments about the “UK design talent-drain”. The UK has the world’s best designers let’s not lose them!

  • Richard Webb November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    This is a good start, and yes manufacturing definately needs to be encouraged by the government.
    My question is this, how do we help graduates take that first giant leap from university to their first job, and how will the manufacturing industry recognise and nuture the British talent of the future?

  • MDJ November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    James Dyson has shown the way … What is it with us Brits? … Listen to us talk … All of us know & believe that we have it in us to be ‘one of the most successful’ nations/peoples in the world … again – but there is a lack of continuity or amalgamated direction from the bottom, all the way up to the very top. Something needs to be done … who is going to continue Dyson’s lead and words?
    Here in the UK, there are/is more than ever, numerous fantastic opportunities and initiatives available to young & older designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, business people, researchers, etc. Everyone from school children & teachers, FE & HE establishments and all their people, all who work in businesses & companies, single & working mothers, retired trades-people and business leaders, garden shed innovators and inventors … no one should be left out, the list is endless! They/we all need to have more exposure to these opportunities so that the best observations and chances are made available for new research, innovation, production and ultimately economic generation. I am trying to make a start in my own way within my own opportunities – I would like to do more.
    These are momentous times; with the world as it is in its present state and with the latest technologies that are now emerging in the world, in addition to the unprecedented communication abilities available to us today; I believe that there has never been a better time to reformat the way we think, live, work, produce, collaborate, survive and operate as individuals, communities and overall as a human race. Profound but something needs to change …

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