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North-east's Red Box opens to take on the big boys

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Newcastle's Alan J Smith Partnership has joined forces with other design and building firms to form the Red Box Design Group and take on the biggest and best practices in Britain.

The group also includes Rossetti Interiors, an interior design firm; Unity Seventy Two construction consultants;

Collado@AJSP, the architect's existing London office; and Snowdon@AJSP, planners. The group aims to target commercial, residential, industrial and leisure work and hopes to chalk up a £4.5 million turnover in its first year. Chairman Alan Smith said he chose a strong generic name to make the kind of impact that 'Muf ' and 'Blur' have.He said: 'I've been running my practice for 15 years and named practices have a very limited shelf life. When Foster and Rogers retire, their practices will change dramatically, like Lasdun's and Stirling's.'

The 45-staff group has £250 million of work lined up, including a new stadium for Blackpool football club, the redevelopment of Winchester town centre and several Sainsbury's stores. The Alan J Smith Partnership's work includes Nissan's European technology centre in Bedfordshire.

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