Discover the interview of Mark Davis in London, UK
How did you become designer ?
I suppose my career began at Northampton De Montfort University in England. I studied graphic communication, and I met my business partner Rob [Willmott, co-founder and realisation director]. We had as much fun off campus as we did on campus, and this formed the blueprint for how we run the agency together today. Hard work and fun in equal measure.
After university, I headed for London and worked at several agencies. Eventually I found myself at one with several real-estate clients – and I realised that property branding needed urgent CPR. Lacklustre, stale, uninspired – and with tonnes of opportunity to make a real difference.
Rob felt the same way, so 12 years ago we launched me&dave. We’ve seen the sector change a fair bit in that time, and hopefully we’ve had a part to play in that.
How would you define your vision of design, your style ?
We try to stay as far away from conventional property branding as possible. You know the kind of thing: elegant couple admiring the London skyline from the balcony of their high-rise apartment.
We always ask, “What will it feel like to live here?” How will a development make life better, more exciting? The focus isn’t on square footage, fixtures and fittings. We look to what’s trending in other sectors so that we understand what makes people’s hearts beat faster.
For the future, what are your professional projects ?
We’re in deep with an exciting new project in Canary Wharf – Canary Wharf Group is launching the first ever build-to-rent (BTR) apartments on the estate.
BTR apartments are a relatively new phenomenon in the real-estate sector. They’re built and managed specifically for rent by developers, so, rather than just paying a deposit and picking up the keys, it’s more like joining a club, with communal spaces, social events and onsite amenities.
We’re approaching a rent-versus-homeownership tipping point in many cities in the UK – a country where the focus has always been on buying – so our branding strategy had to reflect this societal shift. Renting a BTR apartment in Canary Wharf is something to be proud of. Freeing you from the commitment of ownership and providing access to a flexible, experiential lifestyle.
What do you like the most in your job ?
The rules change all the time, which means there’s almost limitless opportunity to try new things and push boundaries. In the past, real estate has been seen as a safe sector, but we’re seeing more bravery. There’s so much more to be done, though – I feel as though we’ve only just got started.
Discover more about Mark and me&dave’s work here.