Airside is set to close after 14 years in business, with founders Fred Deakin, Alex Maclean and Nat Hunter set to go their separate ways.
The consultancy will close its doors for good next March.
A statement from the founders says, ‘For the record, we aren’t going bust, in fact, we’re currently thriving. We haven’t fallen out with each other, in fact we’re as close as we ever were. What has happened is that after 14 years of working together, we have grown into different people with different goals.’
Speaking to Design Week, Deakin says, ‘When we set up Airside in 1998, we had a clear vision – and we were fortunate enough to achieve all of it. We feel like we had a real impact.
‘We then got to a point where we had to find our next goals – and right now the three of us have individual ambitions.’
Deakin adds, ‘The bizarre thing is that we’re not selling the business – we felt like it wasn’t that sort of company. We did think about it at various times over the years, but we felt like we’d have to commit ourselves to several years of soullessness.
‘We feel a bit like the KLF when they burned a million quid – we want to end Airside with a bang.’
Deakin says there are currently eight-to-nine staff at Airside, all of whom will be leaving between now and next March.
He adds that the consultancy will continue to work on new projects between now and March and is also seeking new business. He says, ‘We’re hoping to make some of our most creative work between now and March – like when The Beatles made Abbey Road, they knew it would be their last album and all the tension went.
‘I also think that when people thought of Airside we were probably best known for our incarnation in the early noughties, and in order to take on newer and exciting projects – like our work with Virgin Atlantic [on the in-flight entertainment system] we had to free ourselves from the legacy of that Airside.’
Deakin says he and his fellow Airside founders are currently looking at individual plans for the future, noting that ‘Nat [Hunter] is keen to develop her work in ethical and sustainable design and Alex [Maclean] is very passionate about moving image.’
Airside Nippon, which operates as a separate business, is set to continue, under creative director Henki Leung.