Brexit. Deal. No deal. It’s generating our headlines, taking over our front pages and dominating our news programmes right now. But while the country waits with nervous anticipation, there’s one margin of business which seems to be thriving right now: that of the interiors market.
As Katrina Burroughs of Sunday Times Home puts it rather elegantly: “the interiors industry has elected to whistle a happy tune and keep creating designs, opening stores and founding brands”. Gone are the days of BHS being sold for a penny but rather instead, many brands are throwing open their doors, investing in partnerships and bringing out new collections to keep a smile on our faces. Why? “Our enthusiasm for our homes remains undiminished, even if patience with our elected representatives is fraying like an ancient rug”, continues Burroughs in her article.
Above: Smeg’s London store, situated at 14 Regent Street St James’s, on opening night
We need only look back to our very own Smeg, which opened the doors to its flagship London store just months after the results of the referendum were announced. Smeg is one of those European brands whose love of the UK has not been tarnished by Brexit. Against a backdrop of difficult market conditions, Smeg continues to defy convention – whether that be opening its state-of-the-art new HQ in Abingdon, Oxfordshire; multiple impressive store fit-outs across its independent channel retailer base; changes and investments to enhance its logistics network and, more recently, unveiling its new showroom just a stone’s throw from Regent Street.
Above: the shop floor at Smeg London, which houses over 300 products including its Dolce & Gabbana and Disney collaborations and food and wine range, exclusively available in-store
Likewise, Bisque Radiators has relocated its store in Kilburn to a more contemporary, centrally-located specification space in the design hub of Clerkenwell during this time of general uncertainty. Although the original Kilburn base is steeped in history for the brand – it was within this former shop that Bisque was conceived – its move to central London is significant for the brand as it broadens its reach and targets profitable interior designers and architects located within the capital’s creative hotspot.
Above: the all-new Bisque Radiators showroom in Islington, on the edge of the vibrant design district of Clerkenwell
Many other design brands are taking this unique approach, too. New labels are popping up here, there and everywhere. Keep an eye out for Houseof, a new lighting studio set-up by Helen White and Michael Jones, formerly of Made.com and Burberry; Content,by Terence Conran – previously online-only – has also opened its first shop in West London. Brands are also turning their attention to young or established designers; take Ercol, for example, which has signed up Rachel Parker to make-over its classic Marino chair, while high-street heavyweight John Lewis has snapped up luxury rug manufacturer Luke Irwin to create a diffusion collection, which hits stores this month. Keep an eye out for one very exciting brand boarding the LRR interiors bus, too – a brand new start-up formed by a dynamic team of industry insiders with decades of knowledge and expertise. More to be revealed very soon!
Alongside many up-and-coming brands, many established companies and designers are continuing this unique approach (pictured here: Content by Terence Conran)
So, while we can’t guarantee much at the moment, there’s one thing that’s certain; our homes will be looking pretty darn good.