HS2 design lead Sadie Morgan explains her vision for "creativity and innovation"

Design Panel will embed creativity "in the DNA of the organisation" and be influential but not disruptive, says Morgan, as as she seeks team to help deliver vision for an “outstanding passenger experience".

Sadie Morgan, HS2 Design Panel Chair

The High Speed 2 project set out last week to find experts to join its Design Panel. The goal is to ensure the new high speed rail service delivers its vision for and “outstanding passenger experience and best value to the nation”.

Led by panel chair Sadie Morgan, co-founder of architecture practice DrMM and president of the Architectural Association, the 30 strong panel intends, she said, to operate as a “critical friend” to help steer the project in delivering its Design Vision, published in March this year. 

Interview by Antony Oliver

You are seeking experts from different design disciplines – is this exercise about look and feel of the service or is it more focused around customer experience?

It's around all of those areas. Customer experience is one of the things that will tie all we do together. As such it is a key part of the design review process and has already been built into one of the first pilot studies.

How wide will you be looking for the skills – UK only or globally?

The search will be both national and international. We need to make sure that national and local issues are captured with the perspective of international best practice.

What are the milestones for the work you are doing?

I have spent the first three months meeting the team and understanding the vastness of the task ahead. Together with the senior team we are putting together a program of key elements where we feel our input will be most valuable. 

To what extent do you anticipate the work of the panel influencing the overall project design programme?

I would anticipate the panel will be very influential without being disruptive. With such a wealth of experience in a panel that will both mentor, nurture and inspire my aim will be to ensure that creativity and innovation will be embedded in the DNA of the organisation. 

What are the global rail design exemplars that you hoping to model HS2 on?

I hope HS2 will be the global design exemplar.

How will this work draw on views from the local communities impacted?

The panel will help to act as a conduit between local issues and the communities they impact.

What does success look like for the panel?

To create a world beating railway experience. 


The HS2 Design Panel will begin its work in autumn 2015. Applications to join the Panel can be made through HS2 website.


If you would like to contact Antony Oliver about this, or any other story, please email