The design department at London Transport is facing an uncertain future, following the recent resignation of head of design Christopher Nell. LT will change its name to Transport For London, as London mayor Ken Livingstone becomes TFL chairman next month.
Nell, who replaced Jeremy Rewse-Davies in January 1999, quit his post at the end of March, citing several factors for his resignation. “Staff numbers were cut from six to three and I had a heavier workload.
“The department was no longer viable, there was enormous pressure and we were getting no support for the brand repositioning,” says Nell.
“The final straw was being moved from our studio to an office development without the necessary equipment to work on. Clearly design was no longer an area which they respected.”
Nell is currently “pursuing other interests.” But he adds: “I am looking for a client-based role. I would go back to transport because it is a fascinating area.”
Nell’s acting replacement is design manager Corynne Bredin, who is overseeing the department on a day-to-day basis.
“We have a product designer, a technical design support person and two people for publishing. I will be recruiting someone for environments plus a junior and medium designer for design management, but they may be on short-term contracts. I hope it would be in the next two or three weeks,” says Bredin.
However, a LT spokesman says the department’s long-term future may not be resolved until the end of the year. “All departments are being reviewed and the whole structure is being looked at.
Realistically, I imagine it will be the end of the year before any decisions are taken,” he says.