• Transform magazine
  • October 25, 2021

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Fortune favours the brave

Rob Wade Photo

Rob Wade, founding director at London-based design agency Rare Breed, writes about the enduring power of ideas and its critical importance in turbulent times.

In 2020, the Rare Breed team celebrated 15 years in business and we had always anticipated this milestone would provide an opportunity to reflect on what we had achieved, our ambitions for the future and the things that are most important to us as a team.

Add a global pandemic to the equation and the anticipated moment of reflection could not have been more stark, with working practices, environments and our very day-to-day life turned upside down almost overnight.

One thing, however, that has remained gloriously unchanged throughout the madness is our commitment to the work itself and our overriding belief in the power great ideas have to change opinions, behaviours and, ultimately, commercial performance.

We know we’re not alone in this belief – a cursory glance at the work shortlisted for this year’s Transform awards is all that’s needed to confirm that the design industry is alive and well.

At the same time, as we look to the future, it’s clear that now is not the time for complacency, with question marks hanging over funding for arts courses and universities grappling to deliver an arts education within the confines of lockdowns, self-isolation and social distancing.

We recently got to experience this firsthand as we undertook a mentoring programme with final year design students. They are full of talent and potential and it has been a pleasure to work with them. But with so much emphasis placed on tangible and immediate deliverables in all aspects of life, many of the students have felt ill-equipped to nurture their own ideas, refining and reworking until they create something with real staying power.

Whether it’s with our own design team or with the work we do to support designers of the future, collectively as an industry we must be sure to keep the benchmarks of strong ideas and craftsmanship at the heart of what we do.

At Rare Breed, we are extremely lucky that our clients buy into the currency of ideas, whether it’s to market a new development, drive a start up to the next level or bring to life their organisation’s purpose.

And, as the saying goes, fortune favours the brave: the willingness of our client at Urban & Urban Properties to ditch the humdrum ‘Bentley House’ route and embrace the Colour House in all its technicolour glory helped to ensure their off-plan sales outperformed the market by some margin, with every apartment sold several months ahead of target.

So as we look to the next 15 years of Rare Breed, we must continue to hold ourselves to account in the work we produce, for the smallest and the most extensive projects alike. And we will continue to advocate for the power design has to influence our clients’ businesses, creating brands that will truly stand the test of time.