Why creativity is flourishing in Cornwall

Home to an ever-growing array of studios, startups and eco-minded companies, Cornwall has become a hotbed of design-led business. Is the draw of the coast and the ‘blue mind’ effect simply too much to resist?

“Cornwall has always been pioneering,” says Emma Gordon, who’s been running her Truro-based studio, Design Room Cornwall, together with partner Sally Mitchell for the last decade. “With Richard Trevithick and the steam engine, and the [submarine telegraph] cables at Porthcurno, it’s a place of interest in terms of creativity and new technology. And today there’s loads of interesting stuff coming out of Falmouth University.”

Emmets – the Cornish word for holidaymakers to the county – might associate the region with well-worn tales of tin mining or fishing, but Gordon is quick to emphasise that creativity is nothing new for the tip of the peninsula.

“Cornwall is one of those places that’s a real hotbed for startups and small businesses,” she continues. “And I definitely think there’s always been a pull in terms of creativity and artists. Being surrounded by water and the quality of the light down here has always been a big draw, but also I think there’s something about being on the end limb of the country. We’re almost a little island on our own, and I do think that allows us some sort of freedom from the restrictions you might find working in a big city.”

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