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At the weekend I got to thinking that austerity brings out the best in us 

by Lynda Heath



Rather than battening down the hatches and pulling up the drawbridge, neighbours in our community are applying an Archers-style swap system to assist each other in coping with the hard times.


Ramikins have been proffered in exchange for the spoils of the home-made jam kettle;  an unwanted Freeview box has been bartered against some freshly delivered wood burner logs;  and CDs, DVDs and books have been exchanged through an informal library arrangement.  On my walk to the station I've seen several households offering their


neighbourhood the chance to take away unwanted furniture, mirrors, cookware and china from their front yards for free.  Rather than rely on the ingenuity of ebay to rid themselves of their shackles, householders are pimping their belongings to any taker or passerby. 


Naturally my thoughts then turned to how this austerity citizenship is impacting on interior design.  One person's rubbish could well form the basis of a room make-over or become the jewel in a dimming crown.  It's well documented how reclamation and architectural salvage companies have boomed over the last decade.  Several, such as Lassco's Brunswick House, have featured in fashion and interiors shoots.  But interior sets that are dominated by front yard booty, could equally form an interesting insight into today's abstemious society.  Emily Campbell's RSA blog 'Design and Society' relishes the prospect of design in these economic times, extolling the potential creativity that is unleashed through "the tension created by production constraints".  Take the ingenious work of the Bauhaus movement that developed out of Germany's socio-economic competitiveness following the First World War.  As hard as recession and significant cost-cutting are to society, history has shown that resourcefulness combined with imagination and moral integrity can lead to some of the most creative periods in any era.

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