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Red Box Design goes out of business after Brexit hit

Red box design
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Leading north-eastern practice Red Box Design has gone out of business after five major projects were stopped or cancelled following the EU referendum

Companies House documents show that corporate restructuring firm RSM Restructuring Advisory was appointed to wind-up the company in August.

The practice began life as the Alan J Smith Partnership in 1985 before merging with a number of other north-eastern outfits to become Red Box Design Group in 1999.

It is understood the company, which had its headquarters in Gateshead, employed about 18 people at the time of going into liquidation.

The AJ understands that a small number of staff could find work at nearby firm Ryder Architecture.

The practice is responsible for some of the region’s best-known buildings, including the Sunderland Aquatic Centre, the conversion of the former Post Office in Newcastle, the Newcastle-Gateshead Hilton, and the Clements Wharf development in Durham.

The company was also behind the Northern Design Centre, which opened in 2012 and became the practice’s home. The firm completed the National Football Centre at St George’s Park, Burton upon Trent, in the same year.

The Companies House documents show that following disposal of the company’s assets creditors will still be owed £476,510.

The company owes £158,222 to the Royal Bank of Scotland, £183,983 to cover redundancy costs, plus £28,279 to Gateshead Council.

From the archive: AJ 28 October 1999, by Jez Abbott

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

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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