AN ARCHITECTURAL practice set up by a number of former senior RMJM designers has won its first major commission to build a giant retail complex in southern China.
The deal is a coup for 10 Design, which was launched at the end of last year by Gordon Affleck, Scott Findley and Ted Givens who were among the 80 staff who jumped shipped from RMJM's Hong Kong business. They were joined at the turn of the year by David Pringle, formerly chief executive of RMJM's Asia and Middle East operation, and Ross Milne, chief operating officer of RMJM in Asia. Barry Shapiro, previously a director for the Asia region at RMJM, has also been recruited.
The firm is based in Hong Kong but has offices in Shanghai and Edinburgh. The European business is headed by Adrian Boot, who was also a principal at RMJM - the global practice headquartered in Edinburgh which has suffered a litany of problems over the last 18 months, including mass defections and failing to pay staff on time.
RMJM courted controversy last year when it employed disgraced former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Sir Fred Goodwin as a consultant on a reported six-figure salary. However, it emerged in January that Goodwin had relinquished his duties.
The retail project will be built in the city of Zhuhai, southern China and it is believed it will be the sixth biggest shopping complex in the world. In addition to the 360,000 square metres of retail space, the futuristic development will also house 510,000 sq m of serviced hotel and residential accommodation.
"The retail component of it is probably ten times the size of the Scottish Parliament building," said Pringle. "As far as we are aware it will be the sixth largest retail project in the world."
The firm officially launched its Hong Kong office - which has 70 staff - on Friday.
"We have also taken a lease on an office in the middle of Shanghai for around 25 people so our plan is to, by the end of the year, be around 100 and we do not want to be any larger than that." About half of 10 Design's workforce so far come from RMJM.
Pringle said the six-month-old company also has a number of other projects in the pipeline including an office scheme in Shanghai.
"I've just coming back from signing a contract for an office project there (in Shanghai] and we are in the process of building that team up. Adrian (Boot] is working with us now on a couple of projects in India with a client we have worked with in the past."The Zhuhai project has been designed by Affleck for a Chinese company called The Summer Group.
RMJM, which in March received an 8 million cash injection from the Morrison family who bought the firm in 2003, said that its "heavyweight architectural teams" are also winning work in all markets, including in the Far East.