Portland Design has acquired the assets of exhibition and visitor attraction design specialist Csàky Associates from Mice Group for an undisclosed sum.
The design team will exit from Mice Group after five years with the company and will be integrated into Portland Design, ceasing to trade under the Csàky Associates name. The consultancy was previously wholly-owned by Mice Group, a FTSE-listed below-the-line marketing services company.
Portland Design managing director Ibrahim Ibrahim (pictured) approached Mice Group and Csàky Associates managing director John Csàky this summer to discuss an integration of the group’s assets, staff and intellectual property. Csàky will become head of cultural attractions for Portland and will acquire a stake in the company at a later date, he says.
Ibrahim says the integration of Csàky’s team forms part of a restructuring and refocusing of Portland into three core divisions: development and masterplanning; retail environments and point-of- purchase. Csàky’s experience in museum, exhibition and visitor centre design adds a fourth division – cultural attractions.
‘I had been looking around for acquisitions and this was a good fit with our structure and strategy. Retail is becoming more like entertainment, particularly in brand experience environments. What’s more in demand, is a cultural or visitor attraction aspect,’ says Ibrahim.
According to Csàky, his team will not ‘diminish’ its work on smaller-scale cultural projects, but it will also plug into Portland’s retail schemes for larger, mixed-use developments.
Both consultancies have a number of active projects in the Middle East. There is an overlap of cultural and retail design in this region, says Csàky.
According to Csàky, the long-term fit between his consultancy and Mice Group ‘wasn’t perfect’. ‘Mice has moved over to more below the line marketing activities, such as exhibitions and conferences, which is where it started. I’m very pleased to be back in a 100 per cent design environment,’ he says.
SELECTED PORTLAND DESIGN PROJECTS
• Retail development, including wayfinding and signage for Elephant & Castle, London
• Retail interior and graphics for optician David Clulow in Selfridges, London
• Retail design for Bahrain Duty Free, Bahrain
SELECTED CSÀKY ASSOCIATES PROJECTS
• Amazon to Caribbean exhibition at the Horniman Museum
• Visitor centre and retail refurbishment at Blackpool Zoo
• The Deep in Kingston-upon-Hull
• Connect, forthcoming science gallery for Royal Museum, Edinburgh