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Roundtable: How can the next generation of designers leave a lasting impression?

March 2024

As part of the largest youth population in history, the newest generation of designers are dealing with a world at a critical crossroads. Mix Interior gathered a selection of their Mix 30 under 30 Class of 2023 at Amtico’s London studio to discuss creating in crisis and designing for longevity and legacy.

Collaboration is key when it comes to sustainability challenges.

While it might be a little trite to label Gen Z the eco-conscious generation, it’s hard to overlook the planetary damage this generation will inherit – something that continues to shape their worldview and attitude towards materials and designing for longevity. Indeed, for our panel, sustainability and circular thinking is a key issue that affects their work, despite the challenges met by clients and even colleagues.

As a group driving the ‘Recommerce’ marketplace more than any other, Gen Z are well positioned to challenge the mindset of clients and occupiers who would traditionally prefer new products.

"It’s so rewarding to work with companies, who might be very corporate, but are now starting to use a furniture reuse scheme. [One client] works with an external company that stores furniture which we will relocate to different sites. Clients are apprehensive, but we show them existing spaces that utilise second-hand furniture and it completely changes their perception. I think people are really starting to buy into that.” said Amtico’s Bronwen Barr.

The designers agreed on the importance of prioritising longevity over trends, focusing on bespoke designs that evolve with the client’s needs.

“It's designing for evolution, not revolution, otherwise it won’t last more than ten years, which isn’t sustainable" said MoreySmith's Will Nock.

For many around this table and Mix Roundtables in the past, it is the bureaucracy and roadblocks when it comes to pushing more sustainable options that makes the challenge of using truly sustainable products all the more difficult.

The design of the future is hidden in the design of the past.

Despite the excitement around new technology, our guests are increasingly interested in looking at traditional methods to solve problems for people and the planet, including combining ancient building materials used in construction for millennia and modern technology.

When it comes to technology, it’s the way we use it that matters.

It’s clear the digital landscape is set to undergo a rapid transformation in the next few years, most notably in AI, which has certainly made a mark in the world of design. It’s a point of contention for many, and as a generation raised with advanced technology from a young age, the table are optimistic.

When it comes to AI, combining lived human experiences with technology is key to getting the best results.

“AI should be used as a tool and not something we should be using to design for us. We’re the ones with human experiences and things that affect us. That human element is essential."
said Scott Brownrigg's Abrar Saad.

You can read the full discussion between the experts on the Mix Interior website.

Our approach to Sustainability

Find out more about our plans for sustainability and how we plan to tackle the major challenges.