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Can versatility help us shape a better urban future?

5 minute read

The high street has changed and, post-pandemic, there's a glut of vacant office space. Can architectural versatility help us shape a better urban future? by Tom Morris

The London interior designer Andrew Martin founded his own commercial interior design firm, AMD, in 1999. For 20 years he’s worked closely with an array of retail clients that have historically relied on having a significant presence on the high street: Aquascutum, Anthropologie, Jigsaw, the White Stuff. But, over time, he’s noticed their businesses changing, and in 2016 he realised that companies with similar, high street-reliant strategies had begun to struggle. “Before, brands would sometimes spend up to £2 million on one store and it would still be profitable,” Andrew told me recently. “But I could see the sums weren’t adding up anymore. And I knew things would have to change.”