An invitation to the showroom launch of a new range is always a tough one. The logistics of central London in early morning are not fun, and a breakfast of canapés is not enticing. However, the opportunity to be early and photograph JAB’s showroom properly took me on the Overground to Imperial Wharf on a bright sunny morning when the Thames looked its best.My design practice was in this part of London for many years; I have watched the development of the area from the 1980’s. The area desperately needed the Imperial Wharf Station, which is already becoming a busy one. It is a shame that London Overground runs such small trains here, ensuring that the service mimics the much-overcrowded Tube. The JAB showroom represents a haven from this crush, cool, spacious and with its own tea bar for clients.
MD Mike Constable confesses it was a gamble moving from Chelsea Harbour, but the company wanted control over its costs. With the expensive space in the Design Centre itself putting upward pressure on rent at every lease renewal, the purchase of the showroom was one way of bringing more predictability to budgeting. He is delighted with the result so far. Having budgeted for a small drop (due in part to the recession as well as the move), he is pleased the company has shown a small gain in sales. He anticipates this will be the start of an upward curve in performance helped in part by the launch of Four Seasons New England and Soleil Bleu Saint Honore ranges.