Looking for the sunny side


It's no secret that the global economy is in dumps and the architecture and design community is now feeling the squeeze. Projects are on hold or drying up all together, clients are cutting costs or going out of business, A&D practices are downsizing. It's easy to get caught up in the woe-is-us mentality and join the crowd bemoaning a second Great Depression. But those doing so are potentially missing a great opportunity.

Last month, Alice Rawsthorn penned a piece in the International Herald Tribune that focused on recessionary design, spotlighting not the doom and gloom that accompanies a recession, but rather the chance for innovation. Should we be looking at this recession, Rawsthorn asks, as a boom time for creativity?

Rawsthorn noted: If you rewind through design history, many of the most exhilarating periods have been during economic downturns. Take the 1930s, when the modern movement flourished despite the depression. Or the late 1940s, when Italy emerged as one of the world's most dynamic design centers during its postwar reconstruction.

On a similar note, both Fast Company and Wired magazines have recently written about the role of innovation in the face of financial hardship. In particular, an upcoming article in Wired by Daniel Roth notes that "a period of economic disarray presents unusual opportunity because the barriers come down to moving forward in new ways, and a hungry (and less expensive) workforce has to succeed – the alternative is disaster."

How are you embracing the financial crisis as an opportunity for innovation?

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