World renowned
Architecture at
its very best
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Our story and a
Selection of key events
Throughout our history

Architecture

Architecture

Red Box Design Group is a practice with expertise across many sectors, including: sport, education, leisure, commercial, residential, retail and industrial, and this cross-sectoral experience gives us the skills to undertake complex mixed use schemes.

And we like to think laterally. Invaluable lessons learned from working across a number of sectors are fed into new projects, and as a result we thrive on new challenges, and are often at our best when designing a new building type for the first time.

We are interested in the design and production of long life, well finished buildings which fit ergonomically and economically into existing urban frameworks, and are rather less concerned with passing fashions, but in producing manageable low maintenance buildings which exude intrinsic quality. We believe good design will always be good design.

We understand the commercial pressures on our clients, and work closely with them in a spirit of enquiry and constructive challenge. We are committed to reaching deep into the heart of a project to be certain that our response is one that delivers excellence in every dimension, and success for our clients. Whether we are designing a single building or masterplanning a new city quarter we are focused on quality, practicality and sustainability.

The cumulative knowledge and capability of our practice, coupled with a truly entrepreneurial spirit, means that we work alongside our clients bringing genuine commercial acumen and developing and designing to deliver optimum outcomes for our clients.

Human

Human

It is a privilege to shape places so we approach the task of designing with humility, knowing that the work we do affects the lives of many and for a very long time. We take our responsibility seriously, not really aiming for buildings that scream to be seen in magazines but crafting buildings that respect the environment and that sing from their heart.

We design buildings of quality that will happily fulfil their purpose not just today and tomorrow but for many generations to come. We consider the symbolism of the form and the context of each building: the mood of the place; the way that designs will evolve in their environment; and the impact that a building will have both locally and globally.

Our buildings are designed to reflect their cultural and emotional context, set to a specific purpose. We design with human emotion and human needs in mind. And whether for living, learning, working or playing, we design to enable creativity, enjoyment and success.

Sustainability

Sustainability

Long before sustainability became a requirement we were designing low maintenance, flexible, long life buildings that achieve excellent sustainable outcomes.

We’ve worked hard to pioneer new ways of minimising the use of energy and natural resources whilst reducing carbon output meaning that many of our projects are rated as outstanding examples of sustainable design in impact and performance.

And we’ve long accepted that sustainability is a key ingredient to the ongoing wellbeing of planet, people and places. With that idea in mind we’re committed to continuing our pioneering practises to achieve yet greater standards of excellence in the practice of sustainable design.

Our approach to sustainability reflects our long held belief that good design should not cost a penny more than bad design. We consider sustainability from the outset of each project, ensuring that the building aspect and form fit appropriately with the environment, and then we aim to create detailed designs that are practical, effective and easy to maintain. We seek to produce solutions that are fully acceptable to clients and funders alike.

Then, now and 
some milestones
along the way

1985

Alan J Smith Partnership formed

with offices on Grey Street in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne

1986

London office established

in an historic artists studio in Chelsea

1987

Amsterdam office established

on the Leidsegracht canal

1988

Rossetti Interiors and Unit 72 established

interior design and project management

1996

HQ office relocated to the Red Box Building

a refurbishment project by the practice in the heart of Grainger Town

1999

Red Box Design Group established

architecture, interiors, art and new media

2006

Alan J Smith awarded OBE

for services to architecture

2008

Alan J Smith OBE DL

Deputy Lord Lieutenant of County Durham

2010

Chelsea Flower Show

Alan J Smith OBE DL awarded a silver medal for the 2011 Gateshead garden

2012

Alan J Smith OBE DL

awarded the Freedom of Gateshead

2013

Red Box China established

in the city of Changsha, Hunan Province

2014

Red Box move HQ to Northern Design Centre

in the heart of the Baltic Business Quarter Gateshead