Oliver Salway I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else in the UK. And there are no other major European cities that I’d prefer to live in. I’ve been here 17 years. It’s the only place I’ve ever worked.
We started off in Chalk Farm and for me working in Chalk Farm, living in Primrose Hill, it could be weeks before I went into the centre of town. It was quite suburban.
Our offices are on Oxford Street now. I love the perversity of it; it’s part of the English experience. Plus we’re doing quite a lot of retail and we couldn’t be in a better place to understand retail.
Oxford Street is like any other High Street in the UK but blown up beyond all proportion. It’s got Boots and Topshop and all those things you expect to find when you go to Leeds or Manchester. London is Britain’s biggest city but in many ways it’s a scaled up version of what happens in every other city.
It will be very interesting with the Olympics. It will reinvent pockets of London and there will be a moment of euphoric excitement, but it won’t change the face of London in the way that Barcelona was changed, because its much easier to unite a smaller place like Barcelona.
There’s a whole bunch of people working in London who are part of a shifting, nomadic grid that happens to be colonizing London now without having to be a product of London. It’s like Madonna being in London: it massively enhances our self-esteem but she wasn’t a product of London and she never would have been.
It’s a bit like football teams. This is somewhere that loves football, embraces it, but all the players are from overseas. The UK is a unique place, creatively. But you go outside of London and 90% of the stuff is boring rubbish.