BDC to manage Berlin franchise

A ú40m Business Design Centre is to be created in Berlin, modelled on the centre in Islington, North London. BDC Berlin will occupy two adjacent warehouses on the banks of the River Spree in what was formerly East Berlin.

A ú40m Business Design Centre is to be created in Berlin, modelled on the centre in Islington, North London. BDC Berlin will occupy two adjacent warehouses on the banks of the River Spree in what was formerly East Berlin.

The London BDC is to manage its German counterpart, which will be wholly owned by German investors and developed by the German company Botag. The architect is Schuwirth, Erman & Partners of Hanover.

BDC London managing director Andrew Morris says a UK graphics consultancy may be brought in:

“I like to think that the graphics will be designed in the UK.” The London centre’s identity, recently revamped by Coley Porter Bell (DW 21 April), will probably be adapted for Berlin.

The 1920s seven-floor Berlin buildings are close to “fantastic” transport links, says Morris. One building, the Klhaus, is a 15 600m2 “Bauhaus-style white box”. The other, the Speicher, is 18 900m2. The total space is nearly double that of the BDC in London.

Morris says the exteriors must be restored but that a “lot can be done” with the interiors, including the creation of show space. The Klhaus will be home to products, services and consultancies in the interiors field. The Speicher will concentrate on the building and architectural industries.

Berlin’s ascendancy as capital of Germany, its proximity to Eastern Europe, a huge construction boom, and the city’s “tremendous history of art and design” makes it ripe for a BDC, adds Morris. He feels BDC Berlin will be a good gateway into the German market: “A big target will be UK consultancies wanting to open Berlin offices in the buildings. It makes sense in terms of who will visit the centre.”

Morris estimates the centre drawing 250 000 to 400 000 visitors a year. The refurbishment is due to begin next January with opening scheduled for November 1997.

Morris says he is cautious about any further franchises in other countries: “But it’s nice to take the name and franchise it – we were chuffed to be asked.”

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