The appeal of London is the fact that it manages this balancing act between being a staging post for an international clientele, and being a creative breeding ground. It’s chock full of talent. The talent might be home grown or it might be attracted from other places, and in a way that’s one of the fantastic qualities of a company like ours.
Graduating in '93 was like being ejected into the void; it was the height of the crash. That forced me to start doing my own thing. I was born in Tanzania. I got here when I was ten, in the late Seventies. I studied at Middlesex and then the Royal College of Art.

Never ask me what will work. I said Covent Garden wouldn't work. I was here when it was a fruit and veg market. When it moved out, I said it's not going to work for the tourists, they won't go there.

Cecil Balmond I don’t know why I survived London but I was certainly frightened when I first came. I came to England from Sri Lanka in ’62. London was boiling with racial problems, and I had a full dose of it from ’62 to ’75 with the Paki-bashing, that whole era.

I’m a complete Londoner. My family has been here for at least 200 years. My family tree shows that it took us 200 years to move from Aldgate East to Hackney - we were very slow-moving. I grew up in the west near the airport.

Tom Dixon: We’ve just moved the studio here from Notting Hill. It was just too small, and it was three times more expensive than the equivalent floorspace here. We were looking at Brick Lane, but because it’s become fashionable it’s almost more expensive further east now.

In The Getaway we set a video game crime thriller in 40sq km of photo-realistic London. The story is told through missions that allow the player to drive and run freely through the city. It was a massive gamble.
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.

Katherine Clarke I came to London when I was 21 or 22, in '81 or '82. We’ve been working in this area for ten years, and what’s interesting is seeing the city change. When we arrived it was the end of the depression; the effect the economy has had on the city is incredibly visible in this area.

Nicholas Roope London is the most frustrating city in the world. There's a clear link between frustration and violence but I think there’s one between frustration and creativity - creativity as a way of dealing with living in a fucking stupid city where everything costs so much and nothing works.

I moved to London when I finished college in Cambridge. That was in 1991, and I fully expected not to work as an architect - that was at the height of Thatcher and Major and the recession. But I was offered a job working with Sandy Wilson on the British Library.

Nipa Doshi It was still the recession. London had this feeling of being cutting edge without being fashionable, like it is now. You felt the danger. I stayed on Portobello Road. I remember walking along Portobello Road and feeling you shouldn’t walk there at night.

Matthias Megyeri My work is inspired by how people live in London. They have a huge desire for security products, and I'm not very happy with that.

Brett Steele One of the defining aspects of the city is that you could easily call it one of the largest collections of creative individuals on the planet today. You can talk about pioneering individuals like Rem [Koolhaas] living here

Ross Lovegrove: I saw a wonderful interview with the artists Gilbert and George, who became quite wealthy through their success, and they were asked, why do you still live in London? And they said, "Because it’s a real place."

Ed Robinson Yesterday was one of the few times I’ve felt good about being a Londoner and being British. People weren't wailing in the streets, they weren’t treating it as if the world is over.
Robert Tavernor Urban planning began when people could map the city. What happened with Julius II's Rome in the 15th century was that for the first time they understood exactly where things were in the city
I like Shanghai for example. I go to Shanghai and Beijing every three or four months. I feel very good about Toronto as well. I go there every six or eight weeks. And I was in Moscow for a while. We had an office there and it was nice - but I could never have lived there.

Richard Seymour If you were flying over London and creative endeavour showed up as a flare, there would be this fantastic carpet of stuff going on.

Zaha Hadid London – people don't understand why I stay here. I must say I do regret not moving to New York when I loved it the most, which was in the Eighties. New York was my favourite place.

Rem Koolhaas I mean so many people live here that you don’t know live here. I interviewed Wolfgang Tillmans here last week – he lives here. And the reason so many of us live here is because it is for all of us the most anonymous condition.

Antony Gormley I think London is a wonderful place to work, a wonderful place to hide, a wonderful place to be inspired. It's a curious thing.

Sam Jacobs I was born and bred in Islington.