The consultancy is recruiting a managing director to head the office in Delhi, and hopes to recruit a second senior member of staff to share management responsibilities.
’There is such uncertainty with the UK market at the moment so the Indian, South Asian and South East Asian markets are very, very serious for us,’ says Conran & Partners managing director Tim Bowder-Ridger (pictured), to whom Delhi’s managing director will report.
Conran & Partners’ has been working with its sole Indian client Park Hotels for ten years, and is seeking new business in preparation for the office’s opening ’some time this financial year’.
The consultancy is hoping to launch the office with 12 employees, rising to 120 by 2014. ’To grasp the vast opportunities in India we need people on the ground. Sending out six people would represent a pointless tinkering at the edges of this huge market,’ says Bowder-Ridger. ’I want the office to stand on its own two feet.’
As at Conran & Partners’ London base, the Delhi office will be about one third interior designers and two thirds architects. It will have a mixture of UK and Indian senior staff, with more junior employees being largely Indian, partly to try to keep overheads down. ’Indian designers are very technically accomplished, but the challenge will be to find creatives that fit the Conran ethos,’ says Bowder-Ridger. New senior employees will spend their first three months on trial at the London office, ’to bed into the culture’.
”The Indian design market is rapidly maturing,’ says Bowder-Ridger. ’Ten years ago you would have struggled to find people embedded in the Western ethos, but nowadays that is not such an issue, since the up-and-coming young professionals are so cosmopolitan.’
Bowder-Ridger says the benefits of locating in Delhi include its cultural life, infrastructure and status as India’s political centre.
Conran & Partners is in the process of signing a joint venture agreement with an Indian property developer. ’You need to have contacts in the Indian market and you need to be as close to the politicians as you are to the developers to succeed there, since they are often the same people,’ says Bowder-Ridger.
Conran & Partners expects to have recruited a managing director for the Delhi office ’in months rather than weeks’.
On the expansion trail
1980-Conran & Partners established
2008 -Brighton office opens
2010/11-Delhi office opens, serving India, South and South East Asia and the Middle East. The London office will continue to serve Japan and Malaysia after the Delhi office has opened