In November Devon&Devon purchased its existing store in Notting Hill, making the space part of the brand’s directly managed points of sale. The acquisition reinforces the position of the Florentine brand in the UK, opening up new paths of growth in the contract sector. We talked about it with Nicola Bertini, general director of Devon&Devon.
Devon&Devon reinforces its presence in London by buying the historic monobrand store at Notting Hill. What is the meaning of this new development?
Like the other Devon&Devon points of sale in the world’s most important cities, the showroom in London has been revised to offer full immersion in the taste and values of our brand. The new set-up has been created by our in-house team of architects and designers: we like the idea that the visit experience will be the result of the talent of those who work with us, transforming it into encounter between the needs of clients and our exclusive, inimitable way of considering the home.
The showroom will feature all our collections for the bathroom (fixtures, tubs, showers, faucets, mixers, shower heads, furnishings, consoles) and the solutions for the entire house, like floors and facings in marble, ceramic and wood, wallpapers, cabinets, mirrors and lamps. We are planning to complete the restyling of the Notting Hill showroom by April, at the time of the Salone del Mobile, with an international launch of new creations.
How important is the English market for you, and how have you grown in recent years in terms of sales? No Brexit effect?
Like most companies in the luxury sector, we have not seen particular changes or problems due to Brexit. We are counting on good growth on the UK market: for 2020 we want to generate 7% of our global sales here.
Besides numbers, you are a Florentine brand that has always had ties to the British spirit, starting with your name, Devon&Devon, and the Neo-Victorian design of your products, all the way to production in small English manufacturing districts. How did this British inspiration get started for a brand now celebrating its 30th anniversary?
The strong bond with England comes from the passion of Devon&Devon for the many interpretations of beauty. Though we are a totally Italian brand, from the outset we have chosen to contaminate the great architectural and crafts tradition of Florence (the city where the company was founded 30 years ago) with inspirations from the English speaking world: the manufacturing tradition and special interpretation of taste have played a very important role, also in some of our winning choices regarding design.
This space is a gathering place for private clients, architects and contractors. What are the percentages?
Our focus is undoubtedly on architects (their specifications generate at least 50% of UK sales), followed by private clients (30%) and contractors (20%).
What style and what products are most in demand for the English clientele? Has there been an evolution of taste and style over the years?
English clients continue to seek Devon&Devon products based on a contemporary reinterpretation of Georgian and Victorian style. In recent years, however, we have been pleased to see expanding interest in products that distill and reinvent the best of the European and American tradition, with a particular leaning towards Devon&Devon’s new approach to Art Deco.
Apart from single products, you provide a consulting service called Tailored Interiors. What is it?
It is an exclusive custom design service for tailor-made solutions Devon&Devon makes available to clients thanks to the short chain of production, with a specialized in-house team of architects to coordinate every phase of implementation.
Our English counterparts have shown great interest in Devon&Devon Tailored Interiors, confirming that this is truly an effective approach to the needs of private customers, professionals and contractors who are looking for exclusive, personalized excellence.
Is this purchase part of a more general program of expansion? Will we be seeing other acquisitions and openings in the United Kingdom?
We are not planning to open new points of sale in the UK over the short term. So far London has worked very well as a base, also to oversee projects in the rest of the country, which represent an increasingly important portion of our market.
Finally, what are the outstanding interior design projects in England, for private clients and contract? Which side is most important for you?
To date the most important projects have been in private construction, but one of the reasons for reinforcing our direct presence in the UK is precisely our desire to invest in the growth of the contract sector.