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Two high-profile U.S. architecture and design firms, FRCH Design Worldwide and NELSON, have merged. With 25 offices and more than 1,100 employees, the newly combined organization plans to expand its strongholds in hospitality, retail and corporate interiors, as well as grow its healthcare, industrial, mixed-use, government and multi-family residential practices.

FRCH ceo Jim Tippmann and NELSON chairman and ceo John Nelson Jr. will lead the new organization as co-ceos.

“This merger is an exciting step demonstrating our continued commitment to bring more value to our clients with thought leadership in new practice areas and market segment expertise,” says Nelson, who will also serve as chair of a newly created board and remain the firm’s majority shareholder. “FRCH’s expertise and 50 years of experience in creating award-winning retail, hospitality, restaurant, entertainment and retail mixed-use environments and innovative consumer experiences is not only complementary to our organization, but positions us to respond to the changing disruption across multiple industries.”

Tippmann adds: “Merging with [Philadelphia-based] NELSON provides our organization and clients with a stronger regional presence offering not only relevant depth of practice area expertise, but more reach nationally to be closer to our clients so that we are there when they need us.”

As part of the merger, FRCH has been renamed “FRCH a NELSON Co.” The Cincinnati-based firm’s design for Tru by Hilton was a finalist in the 2017 Gold Key Award for Excellence in Hospitality Design competition for Best Emerging Hotel Concept. The firm also participated in Boutique Design’s industry roundtable in its home city last summer.


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