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Blog / A Commonwealth view on design by Mark Beaumont

A Commonwealth view on design by Mark Beaumont 19 Nov 2014

It has been a year like no other for Glasgow and for Scotland.  The eyes of the world have been on us and so it is the perfect time to showcase the inspiring work of Orkidstudio.  This is a Scottish success story, with a truly international influence, which continues to use design as a catalyst for social change.

In the past 12 months I have taken 145 flights, travelled 120,000 miles and filmed for the BBC in over 68 nations and territories.  This has been a dizzying slideshow of the modern Commonwealth – a snapshot of culture, people and places in the build up to Glasgow 2014.  The Commonwealth Games are known as the friendly games, mainly through having a common language, English, and with that ability to communicate comes a legacy of shared information that we can all benefit from engaging in. 

This exhibition by Orkidstudio is a great example of how communication, open mindedness and international collaboration can result in remarkable projects.  And the result is buildings that don’t just serve their purpose, but become the heart and soul of communities. 

The more you travel, the more you see the world for its similarities, rather than its differences.  I have put myself in harms way more than most over a decade of major expeditions.  And yet the sum total of experiences is a very positive impression of human nature.  I say this because it is important to start collaborations from a position of trust.  We can all be guilty of distrusting what we don’t know. 

The main thread of similarity from filming thousands of people, from school children to elite athletes around the Commonwealth is the need to belong, to a family, to a culture and to a nation.  Our identity and status is at the heart of our happiness – and so how we construct our communities in a physical sense becomes a lot more important than just bricks and mortar. 

The idea of this exhibition is to explore the 'process' of design and construction as a tool for affecting social impact. It is a move away from the traditional preoccupation of architecture to focus on the finished product.

The exhibition doesn't try to provide a solution or even to offer a single line of thought. Rather, it will feature commentary and essays from a wide range of people, from members of the local communities that Orkidstudio have worked with, to student volunteers and also renowned professionals from around the world. As such, the exhibition aims to provoke discussion and engage you.

I have been the Patron and keen supporter of Orkidstudio for many years and continue to be inspired by the teams enthusiasm to both learn from and to educate in the communities they work.  This exhibition is the first opportunity to open up the conversation to a much wider audience and invite you to be a part of this global conversation about the process of great design and how it can impact the happiness of communities.

Design by Tangent Graphic