Reviews signal UK design boom

Design is set to escalate up the corporate agenda as companies review their identities and relocation plans in the wake of changes in corporate culture, two separate surveys claim.

The surveys were held by corporate design specialist Fishburn Hedges and international property consultant Richard Ellis.

The Fishburn Hedges survey finds that half of the 30 companies questioned plan to review their corporate identity within the next two or three years. But review plans come only after a company has restructured.

“Corporate identity design has not been used to drive changes, and companies are only now addressing the need for their existing corporate design to catch up with new corporate structures,” says Fishburn Hedges director John Williams.

“In one sense, these findings are bad news for the industry,” says Fishburn Hedges creative director Michael Slater. “They indicate a failure to convince UK management of the undoubted benefits resulting from proper management of a corporate identity and its role in helping to manage change.” But those companies investing now will be “ahead of the game when it matters”, he adds.

Changing company cultures could be a major reason for businesses choosing to relocate, suggests Roy Fleming, managing director of consultancy business advisory service Design Strategies. He cites findings from reports by Richard Ellis and BlackHorse Relocation Unit as evidence of a pending boom in interiors work.

“Reports from both agencies state that somewhere between 22 per cent and 31 per cent of businesses questioned said that they expect to relocate within the next five years. This is the most fantastic news in this sector for at least a decade,” says Fleming.

The Richard Ellis report, called The British Office Market, was issued in October 1994 and canvassed some 480 companies. “The timing is just about perfect for taking full advantage of this trend”, says Fleming, because the companies involved will not yet have begun to commission design work. Consultancies putting themselves in place now could be in for a bonanza.”

Refurbishment of shopping centres will “increasingly be placed centre stage… as competition between adjacent schemes intensifies” and landlords look to enhance value, claims a report called Shopping Centre Refurbishment: The Challenge Ahead, produced by property adviser DTZ Debenham Thorpe.

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