Arthesia West’s Blu breakaway

Arthesia West’s management team has established a new design group called Blu, after splitting from the Arthesia Group less than a year after joining it.

Creative director Alex Ritchie, operations and technical director Owen Snee and designer Stuart Taylor are setting up Blu. The group’s other two designers and an administrator will also be joining.

Former Imagination creative director Ritchie joined Arthesia West in October 1998, a month after its establishment, in what was considered a major push into the UK by its German parent. He believes the latest move will provide new opportunities for Blu. “We did not have the time or opportunity to develop our own client base in London as much work was German-based,” he says.

Co-founder and head of Arthesia Berlin Annetta Schommel says a refocusing of the Arthesia Group contributed to the break up. “In the past couple of months we have reinvented Arthesia. We have widened our core disciplines to include virtual projects and corporate identity work,” she says.

Arthesia’s work has largely been in exhibitions and events to date. Projects involving the London team include the Siemens exhibition stand at the Go Technology show in Vienna and the Audi pavilion.

Five designers will be recruited to replace the departing Arthesia West staff. They “will be more focused on concept development, not design development. They will probably be a mixture of people from the UK and Europe as it gives us another edge”, explains Schommel. She says Arthesia is planning to open an office in Los Angeles in September.

Blu will operate from offices in London’s Old Street, but continue to work with Arthesia on certain projects. “About a fifth of our time will be spent on Arthesia work initially,” Ritchie says.

Blu has appointed London design group North to develop an identity for the consultancy.

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