R&D Change Making

Retracing the work of Pearson Lloyd through the lens of the 25 years of change

Over the last three decades, the challenges faced by both people and the planet have evolved dramatically, becoming increasingly complex and urgent. In response, the values and priorities that shape the landscape of design have shifted, influencing what we design and how we design it, where we manufacture it and the materials we use. In its 25th year, Pearson Lloyd has been reflecting on its work through the lens of these changes, thinking about what they mean for people, the spaces we occupy, and the world we call home.


Facebook, WiFi, #MeToo, graphene, iPhone, Bluetooth, Gen Z, globalisation, Covid-19, climate breakdown, Black Lives Matter, Trump, Brexit… Even as our primary physical and emotional needs remain the same, through shifts in our political, social, economic, demographic, technological and environmental landscape, our values and priorities are changing. We believe that understanding the context in which we create work allows us greater insight into our possible futures.


The pathway of any design project is framed by multiple inputs and often widely different starting points; every project is unique. As we re-define the value proposition of design in society, the shifting needs, priorities and behaviours in response to the changing world are
re-framing the approach to all our work.


The act of understanding the world around us is significant in all design work, as we absorb, filter and distil what we see, collect and touch. This tapestry of content and context is the scaffolding of the creative process.


Thinking speculatively outside the constraints of a client brief allows design to identify and test opportunities that emerge from research, and to provoke discussion around individual themes and topics.


As designers, finding quality through the act of making is a constant in our work. Today, the greatest shift in industrial design practice is being driven by an urgency to design outputs with both a significantly reduced and smarter use of carbon and those that deliver circularity. In the life of the studio, we have a duty to champion efficiency and durability – the core elements of circularity – as cornerstones of our design thinking.


Making space that is useful, enjoyable and effective for diverse sectors and scales is the goal of every designer. Furniture plays a vital role in shaping space, behaviours, atmosphere and the experience of those who use it.


The human body is an intricate organism with multiple interfaces to the built environment around it. Furniture is perhaps the most specific and complex physical environment to inhabit as a human being. The biomechanics of the skeleton, blood flow, support surfaces and movement are all in play. Users yearn for functional products that support their natural behaviours. Designing with, for, and around the human body is an elaborate and multi-faceted practice.