All Design was started in 2011, during a particularly difficult recession. But according to Will it was the best possible time to set up their new office. He comes with over 25 years of practice and is well connected within the industry. Will states that he is not trying to find new clients; people know him and come to All Design of their own accord.
Along side All Design, Will opened the Doodle Bar, which is located downstairs from his office. It’s become a popular hangout for the creative community.
“City workers work too much. They have no appreciation of life beyond their computer. Not working is just as important as working, that’s sadly forgotten in many companies today. It leads to bad behaviour. They go home tired, kick the wife, kiss the cat and go to bed, it’s just not good enough.”
He believes that by having the bar downstairs it fuses a dynamic set of characters together. Will informs me about another project he has: Testbed. “We’ve had various music events in there. It’s a place that will promote all sorts of creative people doing and testing things out, hence the name Testbed. Failure is allowed”.
Will is a very well liked and well-known architect. He has been in the industry for over 25 years. Many architects have worked in the industry for the same period. However, everyone has heard of Will Alsop. Will believes his ‘fame’ boils down to the love of design and architecture and what one has contributed and given back.
“It’s about being part of the broader brother hood”.
All Design have an office in ChongQing, China. ChongQing is one of the dragon cities in China there are huge amounts of people being moved into the city. Shangai and Beijing have been completely developed. Chongqing will be developing. “All Design had quite a few people from that area wanting to work with us so it made sense.”
Will Brings up The Shard “from an architectural perspective The Shard has a split opinion across the architectural world, some love it some hate it”. Will thinks it’s interesting that the height is 310 meters high, just short by about 8 or 9 meters of the Eifel tower. “Wouldn’t you just put the extra bit on? I would. It’s the highest building in Europe and then the French say [will attempts a French accent] well, we have the Eifel tower.”
“Tall buildings really are not the enemy of the city. You can navigate your way around a city with it. Most people generally like the Shard, unless you are Simon Jenkins from English Heritage. There is nothing not to like about it. I think it’s good that it has been done and there will be more and more. We always advocate high buildings. In New York when you are walking down the street you are not aware of the high buildings are you”.
It’s easy to fall into the same design but Will thinks the intention is not to have a style. “The buildings are what they need to be, it’s a process of discovery”.
With sustainability becoming a standard practice Will agrees that it’s something you just do. “Some people market themselves as ‘Green’. It’s just a marketing ploy. You wouldn’t go around saying ‘I’m an expert in plumbing’ people just expect you to be an expert.”
I asked Will what advice he would give for someone starting out in the industry today. He replied succinctly “Don’t do it, you have to have a passion for architecture, if you don’t – do not get involved in it.