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Showing how it's done

"Love and Money: The Best of British Design Now" at the Thailand Creative and Design Centre lives up to its title. Twenty of the UK's top creative firms and their award-winning projects are on view until September 16.

Published on August 5, 2007

Organised by the British Council and UK Trade & Investment, the show delves into architecture, fashion, product design, the print media and animation.

The UK is aiming to be one of the world's "creative hubs", and it's already earning 122 billion (Bt8 trillion) a year.

The Guardian spent 80 million on its shift from broadsheet to tabloid, a downsizing aimed at giving subway commuters more elbow room. The newspaper launched a groundbreaking redesign in 1988 under David Hillman, then in 2003, design director Mark Porter teamed with Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz to jolt the publishing and advertising worlds with a much smaller Berliner broadsheet format.

Finally last year, with newspapers everywhere struggling for cash, The Guardian went tabloid - and circulation rose, unlike its rivals. The paper is also drawing more readers to its website, which is recognised as one of the world's best designs online.

It's unfortunate that the exhibition fails to give a full picture of the redesign process, limiting itself to just a few tabloid samples.

Comic-book artist Jamie Hewlett's virtual rock band the Gorillaz turned heads by becoming animated - and sold more than six million records. Hewlett believes in the commercial power of good quality: "The moment you put something good out there, they get it," he says.

Also on display are Tom Dixon's minimalist light bulbs and shopping carts. The art-school dropout who's studied neither design nor marketing has shown the might of matching artistic vision with market savvy.

"The thing I love is whatever I'm doing at the moment - and then I figure out how to make money out of it," Dixon says.

Fashionable Londoners turn to TopShop for their togs. It's an affordable high-fashion brand with 400 branches around the globe selling 30 pairs of underwear every minute, 6,000 jeans per day and 35,000 pairs of shoes each week.

The secret? An irresistible combination of unique designs, high quality and low prices.

Another highlight is the incredible Thomas Heatherwick's Rolling Bridge at Paddington Basin, which literally curls up and down like a kinetic sculpture.

The Thailand Creative and Design Centre is on the sixth floor of The Emporium and open Tuesday to Sunday from 10.30am to 9pm. Admission is free. Call (02) 664 8448.

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