Rigby Group assembles London’s largest resi design practice


EXCLUSIVE: Lawson Robb joins Helen Green Design and Rigby & Rigby under all-new Allect banner, following major acquisition drive by multi-sector powerhouse

PrimeResi can reveal that three of London’s best-known design firms have been brought under the same roof, following a major acquisition drive by one of the UK’s top 25 privately-owned businesses.

The Rigby Group – which currently counts revenues of around £2.4bn – has quietly assembled the biggest residential design practice in London, with Rigby & Rigby, Helen Green Design, and Lawson Robb now all operating under its Allect Design Group banner.

Iain Johnson, Allect’s MD of Interior Design

Founded in 1975, Sir Peter Rigby’s sector-spanning PLC has divisions in technology, aviation, private equity, financial services – and super-prime property development, via its Mayfair-based Rigby & Rigby brand, which has delivered a raft of projects across PCL and the Home Counties in recent years.

Attentions have now however turned to dominating, rather than participating in, the UK’s luxury design sector.

The Allect venture has been launched with a mission to “bring together some of the finest names in architecture, interior and product design, while maximising their ability to achieve excellence, and promoting their growth in new markets”, beginning with the addition of Helen Green Design last year.

Founded by the late Helen Green in 2002, and now led by Creative Director Tim Murray, the influential interiors specialist is based in Chelsea and has a back catalogue of over 400 projects ranging from PCL penthouses and townhouses, to luxury residences and hotels in Barbados, Val D’Isère, Australia, St Petersburg and China. In 2008, the firm’s showroom opened on the former site of The Australian, a iconic pub renowned for its rock n’ roll clientele (including The Rolling Stones).

Lawson Robb co-founder Charlotte Robb

Allect has followed this up with a “major investment” in Lawson Robb, another Chelsea-based practice, set up by Charlotte Robb and Alix Lawson in 2003. Already considered a top ten operation in London, the studio has a loyal international following, particularly amongst Middle Eastern HNWI, and has picked up a slew of design awards for its ultra-luxe resi and marine endeavours in the UK and overseas.

The resulting entity is billed as a “marriage of brands”, and Allect is promising to oversee the long-term development of each of the three firms, whilst “maintaining their individual identity, heritage and expertise”.

Rigby & Rigby’s Head of Residential, Iain Johnson, is heading things for Allect as MD of Interior Design, working alongside CEO Steve Rigby, who also chairs the boards of Rigby & Rigby, Rigby Technology Investments, Rigby Private Equity and Rigby Capital, the group’s financial services business.

Johnson – who is architecturally trained – has a brief to “develop Rigby & Rigby, Helen Green Design and Lawson Robb as businesses and as brands…helping them to break into new international markets and remain at the very top of their respective games”.

Look out for an exclusive interview with Lawson Robb’s co-founder Charlotte Robb in PrimeResi tomorrow…

Charlotte Robb, Co-founder of Lawson Robb:  “We are delighted to work with Allect to expand our vision for Lawson Robb and to invest in our future, we see huge potential for Lawson Robb and its overseas expansion and with a substantial committed investment fund, we can look to invest in people, offices and systems to ensure we are at the leading edge of design. As we join this innovative and creative portfolio of companies, we look towards the exciting future of both Allect and Lawson Robb. Next stop – world domination!”

Steve Rigby, Rigby Group’s COO: “This latest investment demonstrates our desire to grow Allect into an international design brand. Through our design business we are now working on projects in the UK, Spain, Russia, China, Australia, Saudi, Bahrain, Dubai and Kuwait. We are building one of London’s largest super prime houses, designing a hotel in China and building homes for middle eastern royalty, excitingly this further investment will drive the new combined business to even greater heights as we look to expand our interior led product, franchise and hospitality interests. Allect is developing into one of the world’s largest interior design groups through a buy and build strategy”.

Private Mayfair spa project by Lawson Robb