Start Creative has this week taken a strategic shareholding in Manchester-based retail interior specialist Judge Gill for an undisclosed sum. Judge Gill will now open a London arm, based at Start’s offices.
Under the terms of the deal, which was arranged in-house, Start founders Mike Curtis and Darren Whittingham will sit on the board of Judge Gill.
David Judge, who cofounded Judge Gill in 1993 with Kevin Gill, is returning to the consultancy after ten years to head up the London office.
The move follows on from a long-standing relationship between the two consultancies, which have worked together on a number of projects, including the Virgin Mobile and Virgin Media stores in the UK, and Adidas stores globally. They are currently working on a number of briefs for both brands, as well as opportunities in India and Russia.
‘Collectively, Start and Judge Gill offer brand and retail clients the scale of resources and freshness of creativity to provide a meaningful alternative to the large design groups operating in these areas,’ says Curtis. ‘The opportunity for clients is the combination of proven brand environments services from Judge Gill in combination with the strategic brand and digital services of Start.’
Judge Gill is currently searching for London staff, with appointments expected shortly. The Manchester office has also expanded to 20 with the recent hiring of six new people.
‘We have enjoyed an excellent partnership with Start for a number of years and are looking forward to extending that relationship,’ says Gill. ‘Our teams combine on projects, and together provide a natural synergy for clients.’
Judge has a background in experiential design, working for consultancies such as Landor Associates, Conran Design Group and Imagination, for clients including Ford, McLaren, Smirnoff, Diageo and IBM.
Both consultancies have an existing relationship with Adidas, while Judge Gill has held the account for more than three years, and the same design team created the current sports performance concept stores around the world.
Start Creative clients – Adidas, Alliance & Leicester, BBC, Bentley, Essar, Hertz, Hilton, IoD, Royal Mail, Schroders, uSwitch and Virgin
Judge Gill clients – Fred Perry, Virgin Media, Hertz and Footasylum