Major design project in India for Belfast architects

Jan 28, 2013

Photography: Michael Cooper

Pictured at the Hall Black Douglas offices are (left), Stephen Douglas and Alastair Beckett, from Hall Black Douglas, with Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI.

Award winning Belfast-based architects Hall Black Douglas (HBD) has won a significant design contract in India for a 180 bed Community Healthcare Complex with assistance from Invest Northern Ireland.

The architectural practice has been helped by Invest Northern Ireland to develop a presence in the huge Indian marketplace, and through a joint venture with locally-based architects Studio 55, bid successfully for the business.

HBD and Studio 55 have secured the tender from Paranjape Schemes (Construction), a leading property developer in India, to design state-of-the-art assisted living accommodation for elderly people with early stage dementia, at Pune, near Mumbai.

HBD has been assisted by Invest NI’s trade development team in Mumbai and has taken part in several trade missions to India over the past two years. In 2011, HBD gained its first contract in India for the design of a food court in one of Mumbai’s most prestigious shopping malls.

The new business in India was announced by HBD Director Alistair Beckett and welcomed by Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director.

Dr Kell said: “This is a tremendous result for a company which has committed significant resources over the past two years to gain a foothold in one of the world’s most dynamic and competitive markets.

“Developing a presence and raising awareness in India and other global markets requires patience, perseverance and professionalism. Hall Black Douglas has demonstrated the success that can be achieved by developing a strategy based on identifying a business partner and making regular visits to the target market.”  

Mr Beckett said: “The downturn in construction projects in Northern Ireland led us to take the decision to explore opportunities in India. Invest NI moved swiftly to support and assist our growth strategy by helping us to identify potential business there.

“As a practice we always seek to respond to the local context and create sustainable designs from first principles. Winning the new project from Paranjape is extremely encouraging because it involves our first substantial new build project from one of India’s most respected development companies. Our role with the Studio 55 team will be to design the exterior and interior layout of the 10 storey tower, offering one bedroom ensuite units with living space and associated nursing care facilities for elderly residents with special needs.

“Our extensive expertise that we have from our healthcare experience in Northern Ireland helped us to secure what will be an immensely important contract for us. Already being active in the Indian marketplace, and our partnership with Studio 55 also helped to tip the scales in our favour. Our earlier success in designing the 800 capacity food court at the Oberoi Mall in Mumbai has given us a significant reference site for Paranjape and other potential clients.

“Our participation in trade missions to India was supported by the Invest NI team in Mumbai who helped us to pinpoint potential partners. We are also working actively on a number of projects with other developers and see this success as a stepping stone to building a significant presence in both Mumbai and Pune.”

Dr Kell added, “Looking to new markets is a vital strategy for businesses to succeed. Invest NI offers practical support, expertise on in-market knowledge and contacts that can really help local businesses, including those in construction and building services, that are really determined to grow sales abroad succeed in even the most competitive international markets.”

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