Designers attending the Department of Trade and Industry trade trip to a medical show in New York last week have returned disappointed.
The trip was part of the DTI’s North America Now campaign to promote UK design consultancies to US medical firms. The DTI is hoping to take advantage of changes in US legislation which are forcing some in the sector to look at setting up off-shore, possibly in Europe.
But, according to designers who attended the show, the numbers and calibre of visitors didn’t live up to the promises made by show organiser Canon Communications.
“To say we were sold a turkey wouldn’t be far off the mark,” says David Maddison, managing director at Maddison. “I’ve no doubt there are a lot of US companies wanting to move into Europe, but they just weren’t at the show. The people who came to the show were there to buy widgets and rubber tubing – certainly not to look at buying a major investment like design,” he adds.
Renfrew Associates designer David Bramley agrees: “We – like the Design Business Association which organised the trip – were sold the show on the basis that companies looking to make a move into Europe would be there. This wasn’t the case.”
Jane Claridge, on secondment from the DTI to the DBA as an export promoter, says: “Having a European pavilion was a bad idea – it formed a barrier.”