A global outlook will get us through this downturn

There are good reasons to be cheerful about Priestman Goode’s latest train project for Chinese engineering group Sifang Locomotive Company.

There are good reasons to be cheerful about Priestman Goode’s latest train project for Chinese engineering group Sifang Locomotive Company (see News, page 3). Not only is it great news for the London consultancy, which has netted a major win for an iconic project. It also reinforces Britain’s standing as a world-class creative force.

For those who have ventured East, it will be a relief to know that, though we are hearing of a slow down, the Chinese are still looking to the UK for major projects and can still fund them despite the global cash crisis that is reportedly hitting other emerging markets more severely.

The new Chinese rail network is likely to spawn other major projects – for stations, retail and the like – so UK groups specialising in these areas need to capitalise on connections they have already made in China.

According to Priestman Goode director Paul Priestman, connections work. His group’s profile was built there partly through its illustrious track record, literally, but also because of a series of lectures he has given in China.

With this in mind, it could be worth exploring the efforts of UK Trade & Investment to foster UK design abroad, and in particular the trade mission planned for this year.

We should all take heart from the predictions of Sir Martin Sorrell and others that, while we’re in for a rough ride in the first half of the year, the upward swing towards the end of 2009 could be as sharp as the economic decline has been (see News, page 4).

Meanwhile, let’s all take a leaf out of Priestman Goode’s book. Continue to do the best work we can and capitalise on opportunities. We’ll be fitter for it when the upturn comes.

Congratulations to Gill Hicks
Sincere congratulations go to Gill Hicks, the former Design Council head of curating who lost both legs in the London bombings of 7 July 2005. She was made an MBE in the New Year Honours list for her subsequent work for charity.

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