Din Associates usurped by in-house retail team

Din Associates looks set to lose its graphics work with high street retailer French Connection and its sister company Nicole Farhi. The retail group is building an in-house graphics team in London.

The chain has already appointed graphic designer Richard De-Pesando on a full-time basis. De-Pesando will produce most of the graphics work from London for the 21 French Connection stores in the UK, 12 stores in the US, 7 in Japan and 5 in

Taiwan. Graphics for Nicole Farhi are also expected to come from the in-house department.

A French Connection spokeswoman says Din Associates has been working with the chain on a project-by-project basis for five years, and could still be brought in to supplement the in-house team. “It’s too early to say how many more designers we’ll be bringing in, or to specify when and if we’ll be using Din Associates,” she says.

The decision to build an in-house graphics department is “strategic and based on cost-effectiveness”, says the spokeswoman. “It’s also about keeping things co-ordinated – Nicole Farhi has been using a variety of designers so far,” she adds.

Din Associates will continue working on interiors for both chains, according to the spokeswoman.

Valerie Wickes, managing director at Din Associates, says the consultancy “wouldn’t be doing that much work for French Connection at the moment anyway, because we’re between seasons. But still no decision has been reached about their long-term plans”.

An interior designer moving into product design – lighting in this case – is a concept which European manufacturers are more comfortable with than their UK counterparts, according to Callum Lumsden, founder of the Lumsden Design Partnership. When Lumsden spotted a gap in the market around 18 months ago for an organic and adaptable light, he designed a concept which was eventually bought by Swiss lighting company Optelma. ‘I felt there was a real gap in the market for a range that encompassed all the current lamps available, was reasonably priced, truly adaptable and above all, utilised recyclable materials,’ says Lumsden. Optelma now makes a catch-all range of the light called Earth. Manufactured in cast aluminium, glass and polymers, the Earth range will retail at around 40 for the basic light fitting. Lumsden is currently developing wall and floor lights as well as a ceiling light.

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