Retail specialist Portland acquired by US architect Perkins+Will

Portland Design Associates, which had a turnover of £2 million last year according to the Design Week Top 100, has been acquired by the US architect group.

Ibrahim Ibrahim
Portland managing director Ibrahim Ibrahim

Portland Design Associates has been bought out by US architect Perkins+Will in a deal designed to expand both of their offerings.

London-based Portland Design Associates was founded in 1987 and specialises in branding and designing retail environments. It has a staff of 40.

Terms of the deal are undisclosed but according to this year’s Design Week Top 100 survey, Portland had an annual turnover of just over £2 million.

Expanding portfolio of creative service businesses

Perkins+Will has a staff of 1,800, a turnover of £300 million and already has a small base in London, under the name Pringle Brandon Perkins + Will.

Perkins+Will, which has worked with Portland in the past, says it has been looking to expand its portfolio of creative services businesses.

Perkins+Will president and chief executive Phil Harrison says: “Our clients will benefit from Portland’s consumer insights, creativity, and strategic thinking, and Portland’s clients will benefit from Perkins+Will’s global reach and broad architectural, design, and planning expertise.”

Staff numbers may grow

Portland managing director Ibrahim Ibrahim, who has been running the consultancy since 2007, describes its work as “a kind of anthropology – a study of human interaction with brands and places and how we translate that into compelling, user-centric customer experiences.”

He says that customers are increasingly responding to personalisation and hybrid spaces where traditional categories are blurred.

“For example, a grocery store that is also a restaurant and a cooking school, or a fashion store that puts on yoga classes and knows a customer’s personal preferences.

“The fact is, retail is ubiquitous and has an impact on all sorts of spaces, from museums to hotels to hospitals to schools. We are thrilled to be able to bring this knowledge and expertise to Perkins+Will clients worldwide,” says Ibrahim.

A spokeswoman for Perkins+Will’s says that Portland is likely to be taking on more work and will be involved in projects earlier “so watch this space in terms of studio growth.”

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