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9th Jul 2018

Grant Associates and design partners stage debate about nature and placemaking

Grant Associates and its long-term design collaborators architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and visual communications studio Thomas.Matthews have staged a panel style debate exploring the theme of collaboration, nature and placemaking.

Entitled ‘Collaborative Regeneration: the positive impact of connecting nature and placemaking’’, the event was held at FCBStudios’ London office. Speakers from across the built and natural environment considered how to create places with a lasting, positive impact that integrate nature, architecture and communication.

Chaired by Dan Epstein, director of sustainability at the Useful Simple Trust, the event featured presentations by Keith Bradley, senior partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios; Andrew Grant, founder and director of Grant Associates; and Leah Harrison Bailey, creative director at Thomas.Matthews.

Andrew Grant discussed the importance of emotion driving design, and said designers had ‘a duty to address global challenges as well as create local spaces and communities’. Keith Bradley spoke of the importance of shared sensibility when working collaboratively, while Leah Harrison Bailey talked about using cues from nature to help create a sense of place and identity for Gardens by the Bay.

There was then a panel debate about the challenges and benefits of integrating nature and placemaking from a property, planning and government perspective. The panel comprised Selina Mason, director of masterplanning at Lend Lease; Euan Mills, Urban Futures team lead at Future Cities Catapult; and Ben Smith, director of Arup and a trustee of National Park City.

Themes explored during a wide-ranging discussion included the value of shared community spaces in developments, and the need to push the wider health benefits of ‘green’ development.

The debate coincided with Collaborative by Nature, an exhibition celebrating the collaborative work undertaken by FCBStudios, Grant Associates and Thomas.Matthews since the design trio met on the Doncaster Earth Centre project 20 years ago. The exhibition at FCBStudios’ London office runs until 27 July 2018 as part of the London Festival of Architecture.

Collaborative by Nature is currently open at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, 20 Tottenham Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 4RG. The exhibition closes on 27th July 2018.