Department store Harrods is launching its internal design team as one of the largest design consultancies in the country.
Gary Marshall, founder of five-year-old consultancy Matrix, was brought in as design director by the retailer in January. His brief is to launch the store’s design team, which he says consists of 350 staff – including designers, project managers and some 70 architects – as a stand-alone business.
As well as continuing to perform design work for Harrods, which Marshall estimates would be worth 5m per year to an external consultancy, the group is to start seeking outside work.
Plans are afoot for a London-based international business. “It will be a global facility,” says Marshall.
Harrods will not perform any retail design work in the UK, to avoid the potential for a conflict of interests with its own retail operations. But is not thought to be placing any other restrictions on the type of work it seeks.
Hotels are believed to be a prime target market, with a number of project appointments understood to be close. Marshall estimates that, once established, 75 per cent of the group’s workload will be overseas.
Harrods is planning to offer a multidisciplinary service, and Marshall confirms that this will include some level of strategic analysis and advice. Further recruitment, probably at a senior level, is expected.