Nokia is ramping up its in-house design team with several heavyweight appointments ahead of its much-anticipated move to London this autumn.
The signings are part of the new setup at Nokia Design being overseen by chief designer Alastair Curtis, in a bid to create two key design teams, one in London’s Soho and the other in Espoo, Finland.
Mark Delaney, the founder of London consultancy Plan, and former head of Samsung Design Europe, has been confirmed as the first of the high-profile appointments. Delaney joined Nokia this week, relinquishing his position at Plan, which he co-founded with Kevin McCullagh in 2005. ‘It was a very tough decision,’ he says.
In his new global role, Delaney will oversee the design direction of Nokia’s phone products for the mass market and takes the formal title of design director of broad appeal in a move that puts him in charge of the ‘connect teams’. He will primarily oversee design teams based in Nokia’s three main territories – the UK, Finland and Denmark (Copenhagen).
Nokia confirms that it is also set to appoint other senior design figures based out of the UK. One will effectively replace the US-based Gerardo Ferrara, who headed up branding at the group until his departure earlier this year. The incoming branding role will be to oversee Nokia’s visual and interactive communications, according to a spokeswoman for Nokia Design. Other UK appointments are likely to be made to fill a top product design role and a senior operational role, she adds.
Delaney will not be directly replaced at Plan, says McCullagh, but the consultancy’s strategic business is set to grow and the group is currently recruiting, he says.
Another of Nokia’s former designers, Andrew Monk, who worked on branding for Nokia under Ferrara, joined Navyblue London last week as creative director for branding.
Meanwhile, Nokia Design is to open its London studio on Great Pulteney Street, near Microsoft’s Soho base between Golden Square and Lexington Street. Nokia Design has not yet named any consultancies working with it on interiors.
NOKIA DESIGN, SOHO
• Based in Great Pultney Street, London W1
• Following minor delays now due to open in Q3 this year
• To house 40% of Nokia’s global design resource
• New design directors, including Mark Delaney, will be based here
ESPOO DESIGN CENTRE, FINLAND
• New design facility opens later this month
• Based at Nokia’s headquarters, it will house another 40% of the company’s in-house designers