My Favourite Materials

Sounds like a subject from Just A Minute. I can almost hear Clement Freud listing fabrics.

It’s actually the title of a talk I gave  to students at The London College of Garden Design. They  invited 3 designers who are apparently well known for their innovative use of hard landscaping, each to talk for 20 minutes.

Well now, I know as well as anyone the rule that you should never bite the hand that feeds, but I just can’t help feeling the most interesting aspect of this scenario is the title itself and what it, I suspect, quite innocently suggests.

It would seem to intimate that designers will all have their favourite materials and will naturally be inclined towards specifying those materials before and above others.

This situation, if true, would seem to be extremely detrimental to the creative process.

For my part, the material is usually part of the original concept. The material comes with the idea whether I like it or not. For instance, I have a deep loathing for tarmacadam, yet I used it at Hampton Court Flower Show in 2008 because it was the right material for that situation.

Therefore I would ask you not for your favourite but for the right material.

Now I am wondering whether this way of thinking could apply to other aspects of the human condition.

I really should be driving a black cab.

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