As 2013 draws to a close, we speak to seven practices around the world to find out how business has fared this year, what is predicted for the AEC industry in 2014 and what to gifts are most favoured by design professionals…
Caroline Bos, UNStudio
What has been the highlight of the year for your office?
This year has seen a very personal highlight for us, besides the recent completion of milestone projects such as Ardmore Residences in Singapore, and Kutaisi Airport in Georgia. In October we had a big party in Amsterdam with everyone who works or has worked for UNStudio to celebrate that we have been in practice for 25 years. It was like a cross between a school reunion and a fashion and beauty gala; everyone was so radiantly gorgeous that I was star struck by my own ‘family’.
What shifts/trends have you witnessed in the global market in 2013?
Co-creativity and open source approaches to design have seriously taken off as a strategy towards a more responsible way of dealing with the future of buildings. A new take on participatory processes is emerging, and investors are prepared to take on longer-term roles; project development as a quick, money-driven interface between investor and user is on the way out, it seems.
What are your predictions for the AEC industry in 2014?
A continuation of the trend described above is on the cards, I think. And this will, I hope, lead to increased, and well-funded, optimism. In many places, including China, but also Dubai and Qatar, for instance, in the last few years we have seen a real shift in stakeholder expectations; those who are locally active in our industry there now are putting quality first.
Where would your ultimate festive getaway be?
Arkengarthdale in North Yorkshire. Possibly more romantic then festive, my love for the cold and wet streams and stones, and meadows and moors, is currently being sustained by rereading Wuthering Heights.
What design present would you most like to receive this year?
Table cloth 1430 g by Christien Meindertsma; I am a fan of her work, which is both conceptually and artistically sensitive. She always works with the origins of the ingredients of the product; in this case the table cloth illustrates in image and text the plants that are used to produce the textile.
More industry insights…
David Cole, BTI
Daniel Safarik, CTBUH
Shaun Killa, Atkins
Elliot March, March & White
James Zheng, Goettsch Partners
Caroline Bos, UNStudio