Design has been a strong part of the UK economy for many years. This country has exported many famous British designers whom have achieved international acclaim for their work across the arts, and whom have gone on to work for some of the leading design agencies across the world.
Creative competitive advantage
The foundation for British creativity can be found in its education process. Bizarrely the British design industry based it's educational foundations on the German design school – the Bauhaus, which operated between 1919 and 1933 (approximately). Eventually, the school was closed by the Nazi regime which persecuted the freethinking and critical creative commentary of the school's ideals.
Why the Bauhaus?
The Bauhaus developed a multidisciplinary approach towards educating the creative spirit. The beginning of this process was the exploration of creativity through many mediums such as graphics, photography, sculpture, textiles and architecture. This broad ranging interdisciplinary approach promoted creative thinking that was confined to a single medium.
Soon creative’s began to utilise cross platforms as a way of developing and expressing their own creativity. This lead to new ways of thinking and a radical new design across a wide range of functions. Many of these designs are still classics, almost 80 years after they were first design. A good example is the Barcelona chair.
Is Birmingham a creative centre?
I believe Birmingham has a great creative infrastructure but sadly, not the recognition or support that it required to exploit these advantages. Birmingham has one of the largest student populations in Europe, with many studying different areas of design. This natural resource combined with a rich multi-cultural community, should provide the hotbed of creative challenges to make Birmingham a design capital of Europe.
UK centres for design
To date, London and Manchester have remained the cornerstones of the design industry within the UK. However in recent times, Manchester appears to be losing some of it's momentum. This must be Birmingham’s opportunity to begin to exploit it's natural resources of talent.