Global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will announced today that it has acquired the London-based branding, retail strategy, and design consultancy Portland Design Associates. Portland, whose clients include British Land, Heathrow Airport, St. Pancras International, Diageo, HMS Host, CNN, and TDIC, is best known for crafting brand and retail strategies that “future proof” their clients’ business by anticipating changes in how customers shop in, and interact with, places.
Portland will become the latest creative services business to join the Perkins+Will group of companies, which includes London-based Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will. While Portland will maintain its own brand and operate as an independent entity, the two enterprises will work closely together to deliver “future-proofing” insights to clients seeking compelling brand engagement strategies for their customers. This includes a mix of physical and digital brand experiences for projects ranging from retail, entertainment, and mixed-use to transportation and urban regeneration.
“The customer experience is an integral component of every project we undertake around the world. Whether it’s a hospital or an airport, a university campus or a hotel, it’s essential that the places we design really engage the people who visit them, work in them, and live in them,” says Perkins+Will President and CEO Phil Harrison. “Our clients will benefit from Portland’s consumer insights, creativity, and strategic thinking, and Portland’s clients will benefit from Perkins+Will’s global reach and broad architectural, design, and planning expertise.”
While Perkins+Will has already engaged Portland as a strategy consultant on various projects in the past, the permanent union of the two companies will strengthen and expand both of their service offerings. It will also allow Portland to work closely with Perkins+Will’s Branded Environments practice to service a greater number of clients globally.
“We consider our work a kind of anthropology, in a way—a study of human interaction with brands and places and how we translate that into compelling, user-centric customer experiences,” says Portland Managing Director Ibrahim Ibrahim. “Our experience shows us that customers are increasingly responding to personalization and hybrid spaces where traditional categories have been broken down and lines have been blurred—so, for example, a grocery store that is also a restaurant and a cooking school, or a fashion store that puts on yoga classes and knows a customer’s personal preferences. The fact is, retail is ubiquitous and has an impact on all sorts of spaces, from museums to hotels to hospitals to schools. We are thrilled to be able to bring this knowledge and expertise to Perkins+Will clients worldwide.”
Founded in 1987, Portland and its 40 employees have been under Ibrahim’s leadership since 2007. Ibrahim will continue to serve as Managing Director.
Perkins+Will is an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm established in 1935 and founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance communities. Each of the firm’s 24 offices focuses on local, regional, and global work in a variety of practice areas. With hundreds of award-winning projects annually, Perkins+Will is highly ranked among top global design firms. Perkins+Will is recognized as one of the industry’s preeminent sustainable design firms due to its innovative research, design tools, and expertise. The firm's 1,800 professionals are thought leaders in developing 21st century solutions to inspire the creation of spaces in which clients and their communities work, heal, live, and learn. Social responsibility is a fundamental aspect of Perkins+Will’s culture and every year the company donates 1% of its design services to pro bono initiatives. In 2015, Fast Company ranked Perkins+Will among “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Architecture.”
About Portland Design
Established in 1987 and with offices in London, Dubai, and Istanbul, Portland is an award-winning design consultancy specializing in the retail, leisure, and travel sectors. The consultancy is made up of about 35 staff who work internationally, and some 70 percent of the company’s revenue comes from outside the UK. Portland is a creative collective of individuals strong on research and insights, brand communications, retail master-planning, public realm design, signage and wayfinding, and retail and F&B design. Clients (past and present) include: British Land/Corio/Diageo/Hamburg Airport/ADAC/Dubai Duty Free/ ECE/TfL/Heathrow T2/J Crew/Coach/Dufry/Hammerson/HMS Host/InterIkea/ Kanyon Centre/ Steen & Strom/Sama Dubai/Westfield/BAA/Gatwick Airport/Grandi Stazioni/SSP.
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