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.