Over the last few months, rumours have surfaced about the constant issues bubbling under at RMJM - one of the largest architectural practices in the world - implying that the firm has been hit harder than most by the economic crisis and is finding it difficult to retain work.
On 5th November this year, weekly architecture magazine Building Design went with the headline ‘Alsop fails to bring in business’, the following story explaining that RMJM’s recent acquisition - one Will Alsop - was yet to fulfil his purpose and score a single major project for the slowly disintegrating firm. Less than a month later on 2nd December, Architect’s Journal reported that ‘Will Alsop has brought at least 10 projects to RMJM, including a residential sector for Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and subway stations in Canada, wrested from his former outfit, Alsop Sparch’.
Now comes news that five key players in the firm’s history have taken their talents elsewhere, pooling their extensive experience to form a brand new company, 10 DESIGN. Gordon Afflect, Scott Findley, Ted Givens, Adrian Boot and Kishor Lad were together responsible for the design direction of more than half of RMJMs total global resource and directly responsible for designing and delivering some of the practice’s most highly acclaimed work in Asia. Previous projects include the China National Convention Centre, Zhuhai Shizimen Business District and Nanjing Huawei R+D Headquarters in China.
Gordon Affleck states: “The Partnership has been established as a reaction to the continuing trend towards consolidation of large design companies. Good design is not commercially led or designed from afar. The success of a design firm emanates from its commitment to its creative culture, its clients and the quality of its design. So we are dedicated to delivering international design solutions regionally, rather than globally”.
Upcoming projects for 10 DESIGN include a pollution reducing envelope for use in urban structures and an algae powered mushroom farm. Ted Givens explains: “Our firm is a collaborative hub of extremely talented and passionate designers from around the world, unified behind the common purpose of creating innovative, sustainable and award winning design.”
News of the new practice comes only a few weeks after a mass walkout of around 80 employees from the Hong Kong office of RMJM following reports of late payments.