Studio Laboratory Four assembles around an expanding local agricultural industry, that of wine production. With the increase in mild springs, warm summers and welcomed bouts of rain the conditions for wine production have never been so favorable. This has also been punctuated by the recent acquisition of a former apple orchard in Kent by French Champagne house Taittinger. Bringing an investment of £4 million to 69 hectares of land, the first 40 hectares will be planted with chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier grapes in 2017 with the first bottles slated to arrive in 2022. With these new acquisitions a new level of wealth is arriving to the region that spares no expense. Seen by most as a novelty we see this as an industry on the verge of transforming the region dramatically by bringing a range of income streams. With tourism and hospitality being at the top of the list and along with this an increase in permanent and seasonal inhabitants. The impact of this will be felt across the local built environment and the Downs landscape. In order to maintain the physical conditions for cultivation and the maintenance of the protected landscapes a sensitive and sustainable approach to this expansion should be taken in working with this industry.
Filippos Filippidis: www.continuous-inputs.com