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Did You Know That Architects and Designers are Being Exploited?

The A+D community has to survive a dangerous culture of ridiculous lead-times, high competition, and 70+-hour workweeks. But have some found a solution?

Influential economist Maynard Keynes wrote in 1930 that “[o]ur grandchildren will work approximately three hours a day […], possibly only by choice”.

… hilarious.

But then again, when you think about it, his prediction – though inaccurate – is actually quite logical. At the turn of the century, considerable economic progress and technological innovations had radically shortened those enormous working hours and abusive working conditions upon which the Industrial Revolution came to fruition.

Or so we thought, because in every corner of the world, every sector of the global economy, every individual appears to be busy. In the A+D world, ‘time poverty’ afflicts practitioners across the full spectrum of our professional practice – from architects, specifiers, project managers and designers. Our clients, too, are in the same boat. Unhealthy and (quite frankly) unethical 70+-hour workweeks are unfortunately a far cry from Keynes’ 15-hour workweek prediction – but they’re undeniably our reality. A reality, that is, of diminishing wages, rising costs, dwindling job security and more applicants for fewer jobs.

Tick … Tock.

The practitioner loses out. Yes, we are in demand to such an extent we have not seen the likes of before, yet our sudden popularity has adversely affected our quality of service and intelligent creativity. And, while few would deny this is the case, there is no better place to observe this problem writ large(r) than A+D’s work in the commercial sector.

This is a world where capital-D Design from the smallest of details to the enormity of the structure itself is harnessed for gain, growth, and fulfilling objectives. Quite simply, it is a world where design is required to perform for success. In a market that increasingly becomes more dog-eat-dog, never has intelligent, purpose-driven design solutions been more essential to achieving that competitive difference for our clients. So, time-poor as we are, how can we possibly approach reimagining the design of these spaces to step beyond mere visual language and slap-dash results?

Going Custom: The Power of Comprehensive Branding

Beyond their logo and letterhead, our clients seek our expertise to reinvent their workplaces into performative realms. Simply put, where the dream of competitive difference remains the albatross around our clients’ necks, the A+D community is called upon to provide bespoke design solutions that both capitalise on and reinforce their unique corporate identity and brand values.

In an inspired attempt to combat the exploitative nature of our working culture and provide our clients with the sustained and singular attention they require, many of us in the A+D community are turning to the time-saving power of outsourcing. Calling upon the advanced skill of specialist designers, manufacturers and supply houses, these custom design solutions are specifically targeted to add value back to the client’s brief while also offering outstanding design solutions minutely considered to the client’s exacting needs.

With the M.O. of “bringing you flooring products of quality that have a point of difference”, the team at Gibbon Group Architectural understand that unique and tailored design processes are central to the success of the end-result.

Through their understanding of the discourse that the design community faces, Gibbon Group have created a new team in their Tretford Custom Rug division that is committed to assisting designers in fulfilling their creative brief without the laborious task of drawing up each and every detail needed to produce a piece of custom flooring.

Their team is committed to supporting designers through the creation of outstanding pieces through a consultative service that is tailored to each and every project, large or small – across multiple sectors. Design solutions that speak to the individuality and innovation at the core of our clients’ brand identities.

After initial briefing, and preliminary analysis of spatial attuning, the in-house Gibbon Group design team can work off anything you give them – a CAD file, a sketch or through a verbal discussion to determine the required custom elements. This provides the foundation from which the creative ideation process can start.

But as a custom solution, this is only half the story behind the project’s success. After all, custom design solutions require custom design processes – a space which Tretford Custom Rugs dominates quite like no other.

As a complete custom service, Tretford Rugs allow for absolutely bespoke design outcomes – almost infinite shape, size, colour profiles –with an unimpeachable degree of quality, where the final result celebrates high performance and seamless construction. A truly individual end-result for every project is not only possible – it’s inevitable!

For over four generations, in their own words Gibbon Group “continues a tradition of meeting the needs of architects, designers, builders and key stakeholders. We advise on the right product solution mix for living and working environments including corporate offices, education, institutional precincts, retail groups, multi-level residence and hospitality”.


Follow the Tretford Custom journey here.


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