Yesterday my work colleagues and I left the Hampshire countryside for the day to attend the inaugural BIID Annual Conference - what an interesting event!
The theme of the conference was 'Celebrating British Design' and a really interesting line up of speakers took part. It was held at the offices of the Royal Institute of British Architects' building in Portland Place, which is a beautiful building and where my graduation ceremony was held 2 years ago, so it brought back memories for me! The current President of RIBA, Angela Brady, welcomed everybody and spoke briefly but passionately about the throw away society we live in today and how she believes that all designers, architects included, have a duty to design for sustainability - very inspirational!
The first speaker was Glen Adamson, Head of Research at the V&A and co-curator of the recent exhibition 'Post Modernism: Style and Subversion: 1970 to 1990. He gave an insightful talk about the position of the British interior within museum practice today. There is an exhibition celebrating British Design at the VA& which runs until 12th August.
There then followed a really interesting talk by Kathy Lithgow, Head Conservator of the National Trust who looked at how the future is shaped by the past using lots of photographic examples from National Trust houses, some of which I've been to, including Kingston Lacy (which has fantastic interiors) and Avebury which was also the subject of a recent BBC TV series following the National Trust's journey of restoration of the house.
After a break for coffee and networking, Rosie Millard was in conversation with Sir Paul Smith and for me, that was the highlight of the day - he was so down to earth and very entertaining.
|Sir Paul Smith|
Before lunch Diana Yakeley (President of the BIID) presented a number of Honorary Fellowships to a number of figures who the BIID believe have helped shaped the interior design profession. They were presented to Dr Paul Thompson (Rector of the Royal College of Art), Graham Watts OBE (Construction Industry Council), Andreas von Einsiedel (Photographer), Zandra Rhodes who unfortunately was unable to be there, and Sir Paul Smith.
After lunch there was a panel debate, the subject of which was "What makes British design worth celebrating?" Chaired by Paul Finch, the panel members were Dr Paul Thompson, Christine Losecaat (Creative Industries Adviser to UK Trade and Investment) and Sue Timney (Vice President and President Elect of the BIID).
Last to speak was Deyan Sudjic (Director of the Design Museum). His talk included the challenges of transforming the Commonwealth Institute building into the new home of the Design Museum which is scheduled to open in 2014.
|Interior of the Commonwealth Institute building|
Diana Yakeley closed the conference and we just had time to grab a quick coffee before the BIID AGM which saw Sue Timney elected as President of the BIID for the next year.
Finally, it was time to party! We made the short walk (in the sunshine which was a pleasant surprise!) to the fantastic Fritz Hansen showroom in Margaret Street for a welcome glass of something fizzy!