Supreme achievement in art and business are not always incompatible. Lord Norman Foster is one of the world’s best known architects and his company, Foster & Partners, is also one of the UK’s most profitable. Prestige projects like the redesign of the Reichstag building in Berlin and the construction of the world’s largest airport in Hong Kong have helped drive up profits by 36% pa, from £2.4m in 1996 to £6m in 1999. Sales increased 12% pa in the same period to £28.8m. As Foster’s work has become more widely known, the group has been able to increase its margins. Foster & Partners, now Europe’s largest architectural firm, has 500 staff and offices in Berlin, Singapore, Dusseldorf, and San Francisco. But to maintain quality control all design work is centralised in London. This strategy has helped Foster Holdings gain repeat business from commercial and public clients. Current high profile projects include the Millennium Thames footbridge and the redesign of Wembley Stadium.
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