No one could have predicted the enormous long-lasting impact COVID would have on how we live today. I certainly didn’t when we planned to open our first ever Mason & Fifth in March 2020, just when the world turned upside down.
It’s taken time for us to see the cultural shifts that have bedded in, especially the mass adoption of flexible working and our desire to spend more time away from the office, whilst still wanting to spend time with our teams, which isn’t quite the same over Zoom. This said, the advancements in technology have seen a fundamental shift in the way that we work become a possibility and as we move forward, I believe technology will continue to advance and that alternative ways of working will continue to evolve.
"What strikes me is that the way we live is ripe for a similar cultural shift. Not just ripe - but necessary if people are now spending more time at home and also looking at the space that they previously ‘lived in’ as a space that needs to offer more."
I see more of my friends and family deciding to move out of the city, for more space for their money, or because they simply can’t get onto the ladder in London. Rents in London are rising, and whilst we have not been immune to that ourselves, the supply versus demand means some landlords are simply taking advantage of the renting community.
At this trajectory, we will be in danger of losing what makes our cities special – pushing everyone out and losing the creative, diverse, soul that draws us here in the first place.
I started Mason & Fifth with a genuine desire to create beautiful spaces that could be a sanctuary in the city, where we were more than a ‘landlord’ – creating a relationship between us and each resident, and helping to facilitate a community bond inside. As time has gone on and with the opportunity for us to grow and open more buildings in and out of the city, the vision for where we are going is becoming clearer. And flexibility of movement is at the core.
I want to live my life in a way where I have freedom to move at will. So I can jump in my van with my wife and dog, and drive off for a few weeks or months at a time. To work ‘nomadically’ but also live that way too. Returning to a safe haven in the city as and when I need, reconnecting with the team, friends and family, but getting out into nature as often as we can. I don’t think I am alone in trying to figure out how to ‘do life’ this way.
So, as we build Mason & Fifth my eye is on this prize. Creating a way of living that offers total freedom, total flexibility, to pack a bag and know that where and when I land I can feel confident that I will find my people and I don’t need to follow the standard path of long term rentals or trying to get on the ladder, if I don’t want to, or am not ready to. Maybe I’m a commitment-phobe somewhere deep down. Or maybe life doesn’t need to be a straight line. I don’t know, but I do know that this is the future I want to try and build and I’m excited for it.