Ben Curtis OM 96-03 Paddington Bear Design for M&S

Ben Curtis M&S Window Ben Curtis OMONE of the design brains behind the Christmas windows at hundreds of Marks and Spencer stores across the country is a Forester.

Ben Curtis OM 96-03, the head of brand creative at M&S, was brought up in Newnham and was a pupil at Monmouth School before training at Goldsmiths College in London.

This year former GB world junior rowing finalist Ben, who joined the retailer three years ago, was part of the team that designed the windows featuring the star of the M&S Christmas advert, Paddington Bear.

The windows are seen by millions of shoppers every year and the process from initial ideas to completed scene can take up to 18 months, involving 20 people.

He said: “Christmas is one of my favourite projects of the year – we take inspiration from the world of theatre and set design to help us tell a story that customers really want to stop and look at – whichever town or city they are in

This year we had everyone’s favourite bear, Paddington, to work with and while he’s a very particular bear, who knows what he likes, it was really exciting to work with such a well-loved character.

The team and I really hope that everyone loves the displays and they help to kick off that festive feeling.”

The creation of the Christmas displays, from start to finish, involves up to 20 colleagues, from initial ideas and designs, to production of the props and backdrops.

Source: Forest of Dean and Wye Review