Earlier in my career, I was working with an established Toronto developer who had a hunch : that (in his words) “people would pay for good design”.
The entire concept struck me as self-evident, and I was always puzzled by how a leader in the new construction field in Toronto considered this statement unproven and untested. I wholeheartedly admit that my curiosity with design has slipped into every facet of my life, and perhaps more so than some people, but I always felt that the individuality of design that many people seek in clothing, watches, furniture, artwork etc was naturally directly connected to the way in which they saw their living environment. That, ultimately, design not only mattered, but that most people would identify value in homes that were considered and unique.
So, now perhaps a decade later, I’m quite proud of two things that have come of this conversation. The first is that my developer client has gone on to design some astonishingly beautiful projects in the city, at both a high rise and low rise level. We could argue (as we likely would) that some of their ‘product’ is still mildly banal, but then again not everything can stand out. The second consequence of this is the explosive growth of profoundly interesting and at times arresting design in single family homes, modern residences, infill properties, laneway properties, midrise condominiums and finally (yes finally) high rises.
Hands down, people will pay for good design. Because people who care should demand great design, and seek out the builders, architects and developers who place value in the quality of progressive and challenging thinking, and who care enough to consider what the quality of design and build means for the owner. To me, it means a lot.