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BIG opens London office

SerpProgress 21
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Global architectural phenomenon Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has set up a new office in King’s Cross, London

The UK studio, which is already 16-strong, is the practice’s third outpost and will operate alongside its existing bases in Copenhagen and New York.

The news comes as BIG’s first completed project in the UK - the centrepiece pavilion of the Serpentine Gallery’s annual summer show - is set to open to the public later this week (11 June). 

The practice, founded by Danish starchitect Bjarke Ingels in 2005, is already working on a number of projects around the capital including new public spaces at Battersea Power station, a scheme for Sellar Properties at Canada Water and a top-secret project for Google at King’s Cross with Heatherwick Studios.

BIG is also among the names shortlisted in the Malcolm Reading Consultants-organised contest to design a new home for the Museum of London in Smithfield Market.

Bjarke Ingels told the AJ: ’We have a lot going on in London and we have a team of 16 people there now. ‘It seemed an obvious choice to establish ourselves in London – and it doesn’t hurt that it is between Copenhagen and New York.’

He added: ’In my early days at BIG, 15 years ago, I was runner up for a number of British awards and last year, when Zaha got her Royal Gold Medal, I became an international fellow of the RIBA. In that respect Britain has been on my radar and vice versa for a while.’

Among those already recruited to BIG’s London office are former Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners associate partner Andy Young, who was lead partner on the delivery of the Leadenhall Building.

Ingels admitted that he hadn’t drawn up any grand plans for the London office and how it would evolve. He said: ‘We don’t have a long-term vision for the studio – but when we moved to New York we didn’t really have a plan. There was one large project that I wanted to take seriously. Since then other opportunities have opened up by just being there that wouldn’t if I had stayed in Copenhagen.’

Ingels added: ’But now we have the offices we need - and around 350 people in all - so I’m not looking for some global explosion.’

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