Defined by google as “contemptibly dull and ordinary”, Suburbia has long had a bad wrap. But, as creative Londoners are forced out of the areas they made cool, is suburbia becoming the place to be? Perhaps it already is the place to be and South East London is leading the way.
Last weekend we attended a design friend’s wedding. So many creative people in one room and the vast majority of them living on the edges of East or South East London. One fabulous couple, now firm friends we hope, have just moved, in their words “out of town and into Walthamstow”, in a bid to stay on the property ladder in London.
The lines between urban and suburban are blurring out of a necessity for creative spaces and live work spaces at affordable, well at least semi-affordable, prices. The semi suburbs of Forest hill, Peckham, Walthamstow and the like are flooding with creative talent and even Croydon, dubbed one of the new super suburbs, is getting its creative mojo back.
What counts as a suburb depends on who you ask as creatives claim ownership of london’s diamonds in the rough. One of our clients, based in St john’s Wood, once asked us what it was like living out in the suburbs. And whilst we felt like putting his postcode snobbery straight, since Forest Hill is very much a part of London, we gave him a happy nod in the knowledge that our little ‘suburb’ if you will, punches well above its weight. Still a woefully underated gem in some circles, although not for very much longer. The suburbs are growing in popularity over urban areas as quickly as the new independent artisan coffee culture is taking over from the more established likes of Starbucks and Costa.
As more and more of central London gets bought up by wealthy investors, more and more people are being forced to think outside the box and reconsider the semi suburban and suburban parts of this great city. And why wouldn’t you want the best of both worlds, city and country, with transport links getting better and better. Just look at rising furniture star, Seb Cox, who happily straddles life in Deptford and Kent, or Dan Heath and Floor Story in walthamstow, or Elle Deco award winning Sarah Coulson, or Billy Lloyd or Custhom or Secret Linen Store or Novocastrian. The list goes on as the momentum of design talent is picking up speed, drawing the inner circles out and out.
In the meantime, we are loving life in Forest Hill. And for those people who haven’t yet heard of Forest Hill, YOU WILLl. South East London will be as important to London’s design scene as Tortona and then Lambrate in Milan. So watch this space and get down with us Suburbanites before we all get priced out too.