January 2017 Big Question

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Simon Millington, Designer
I remember waking up in a slightly hungover state after the summer Mixology in a state of disbelief at Brexit. The cold sweats were not just alcohol related, but a reaction to the
realisation that the experts we look to for guidance actually know as little as we do. So, my ‘tongue-in-cheek’ outside bet for 2017 would be that we will do away with all
politicians and the Government, and instead the masses will look to Facebook as our chosen global leader and voice of the masses – what could possibly go wrong!?!


Rachel Withey, 74architects
I do not think anything in 2017 can actually beat what has been a crazy year of a shifting world stage. Shock Brexit, Trump trumping America and the Tobelerone shape alteration fiasco! In terms of design, fashions inevitably come and go…and then come back… and 2016 has been no different. As an extreme outside bet perhaps we will see workplace design take a massive swing back to single occupancy cellular offices with no more desk sharing or open plan, with space not being an issue. Or maybe we will all have lots of clients that have ‘no glass ceiling’ budgets and mega fees, which seems unlikely in a potentially nervous market.


James Scott, Cube 8 Studio
Not sure this would be viable but as an outside bet for next year I would like to see Sheffield United beat Chesterfield 4–0 on the last match of the season and pip Scunthorpe United to the First Division title. I find it so much more exciting when it’s down to the last game! It would remind me of one of my happiest days ever, Leicester v Sheff Utd, May 5th 1990, last match of the season. We needed to win to go up and we won 2-5 and got promoted to the newly named Premiership – don’t you just love days like this!


David George, Falconer Chester Hall
I can see sustainability coming back into the forethoughts of developers and occupiers. During the recession, sustainability certainly dropped down the list of priorities and now advancing technologies, coupled with a very active construction industry, against a backdrop of rising inflation, means employers will be looking to reduce outgoings wherever possible. Developers realise this, and a sustainable office development that potentially offers lower bills will be more appealing to a tenant.


Paul Eatock, Spatial
Manufacturers are investing in VR technology. It will explode into the mainstream mid-2017. Like the Smartphone revolution of 2007, companies will start to redefine the working office based on the convenience of VR. People can work from home/anywhere with a headset and an internet connection and ‘virtually’ be in the office and interact with their co-workers from a distance. It will most likely be offered to people who have to work at distance or are skiving work, pretending to be ill!


Kay Bridge, The Fairhursts Design Group
Wow, what a year 2016 turned out to be with Brexit and the sad loss of David Bowie, Zaha Hadid and Prince, to name but a few events. So in the words of Prof. Brian Cox, ‘Things can only get better’ in 2017. My outside bet is that Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds will form a Super Northern Alliance to become the centre for creativity, ingenuity and manufacturing. Naturally, Manchester will become the new capital of England.