In 2015, we joined forces with Architecture 00. Together, we enjoy collaborating in a shared environment where strategic, urban and social designers, architects, programmers and economists practice design beyond its traditional borders. 00 work with individuals, governments, corporations and communities to solve problems and anticipate change, and to design successful platforms and places. As a studio it aims to reach beyond the design of objects themselves to the social, economic and environmental systems behind them.

At Home in Britain: Designing the House of Tomorrow

Studio Weave are delighted to have taken part in At Home in Britain: Designing the House of Tomorrow at the RIBA. The exhibition showcased ideas for future housing design taking the cottage, terrace and flat typologies as starting points to reflect the way we live and work in the 21st century.

Selling the dream – Advertising as arbiter of taste.

Studio Weave have explored advertising surrounding flat-living and how the language used to sell the "flat" lifestyle has evolved to respond to society and lifestyles over time.

The language and role of advertising has huge potential to influence our notion of ideal lifestyles, homes and relationships.  

Since the advent of ‘flat living’, lifestyle aspirations have been sold to the consumer; early promotional material for social housing estates celebrated new forms of clean, serviced and bright modern living – a ‘step up’ from the back-to-back Victorian terraced houses – while later, more contemporary language introduced images of ‘luxury’, ‘views’ and ‘location’ that have now become ubiquitous.

 "Advertisements, like paintings, can be understood as texts, the products of individuals and of different societies and cultures.  In order to make sense of paintings, an understanding of what they depict and the ideas they carry requires an understanding of how they fit in to the wider world and culture that produced them, and to which they refer."

- Chris Wharton, Advertising as Culture.

What if – in 2025 – advertisements featured a series of choices instead of a final product; for how we might collectively invest in shared facilities, how much or how little space we might share with others, or how we can involve ourselves in how our homes are maintained? These imagined promotional materials for new developments explore some possible facets of sharing and involvement.

Whilst early flats in Britain catered primarily for the upper middle classes, this was soon overtaken by the need to improve housing quality for the urban poor. 

As utilities became increasingly accessible in the 1950s and 60s, the flat was sold as a symbol of modernity; a brighter and more efficient way of living. 

As the utopian visions of the 60s waned, themes of exclusivity and privacy began to dominate in the 80s, concepts which remain strong to this day. Contemporary advertising is increasingly abstract, emotive, and referential to amenities outside the home. 

Sales tactics have also evolved; interactive websites take us through questionnaires attempting to tailor apartments to desired preferences; sales videos provide virtual tours of model homes; and brochures show computer-generated visualisations accompanied by impossibly hip young couples praising their new neighbourhood.

As a typology, the flat presents a wider range of possibilities than the traditional terraced house or stand-alone cottage in terms of flexible living, nurturing relationships, or exploiting economies of scale.  An understanding and articulation of the wide range of benefits can stimulate greater appetite for more collaborative forms of living; whether branded as ‘cohousing’ or more basic forms of shared materials or services.