Few things in modern life cause more consternation than design.
The more iconic the building, the more its ability to split opinion.
Sheffield hasn’t upset many people with its choice of new buildings lately - it has played it so safe we seem to have become a city happy to be surrounded by mediocrity.
There’s little doubt the recession is to blame for a lot of it.
The dark shadow of austerity knocked the creativity and colour out of the place as developments ground to a halt with the onset of the bank crisis.
And the city definitely started the 21st century at a distinct disadvantage. It’s 75 years ago this December that the Luftwaffe destroyed great swathes of the city centre and with it went many beautiful historic buildings. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we’d rebuilt them in the early 1970s when confidence in the city was at an all-time high and Sheffield was eager to show off its prowess to the world. Sadly, many of them were constructed in the early 1960s when dour, faceless concrete was in vogue and we weren’t long out of a life governed by food rationing. Hence the reason much of the city centre looks like it does.
But design doesn’t always need to be a multi-million pound jaw-dropping structure capable of stopping traffic. Much of my work starts from the ground up and that’s maybe where the city needs to find its feet once again as confidence returns and the economy gathers momentum.
I’ve injected as much life into a tired living room with a few, well chosen scatter cushions than any interior design makeover. You only have to look at something as simple as a living room rethink for the reason we develop such an affinity or disenchantment with certain design styles and buildings.
People develop an emotional attachment to a room and the same goes for bricks and mortar.
It’s no surprise so many couples argue about house makeovers - and that’s where I come in.
I’ve ended up as much agony aunt as an interior designer as I talk clients through options and find a style to suit their moods and lifestyles.
The choice out there is phenomenal - the number of products on the market has increased 10-fold since Julie Bradbury Designs started 25 years ago.
And don’t think the stress and emotional headache of trying to get a house the way you want it doesn’t affect me. I was at such a loss with my own home I got someone else in to tell me what I needed.
It’s that emotional attachment again - sometimes you need a neutral voice to help you on your way.