July 11, 2016
Everyone wants to open up shop in New York City, but adequate space is few and far between. Surrey, U.K.-based Drummonds, the designer and manufacturer of luxury bathroom products, decided the best way to move into the Big Apple was to have a roommate.
Partnering for the Right Location
Drummonds had been retailing cast-iron bathtubs to customers in the U.S. for several years, having worked with retailers throughout the nation. Now that demand as increased for their product, they hoped to open their first American store in an iconic place for business.
“Having looked to New York as the ideal city to open our flagship showroom, we visited a few times and knew the Decoration & Design [D&D] Building and surrounding areas were the ideal trade area,” said James Lentaigne, managing director of Drummonds, explaining that the D&D building is home to more than 130 showrooms and is diagonally across from the flagship Bloomingdale’s department store.
It was not that easy for the company to find a showroom in the building that was both free and fit the space requirements, so Drummonds approached Lapicida, a stone manufacturer and another English company. Having a great space already and an ideal background of stone, the showroom would work well alongside Drummonds’ products. The company decided to cooperate and design a dedicated space within the showroom over three areas for Drummonds: near the front, the back right and downstairs.
“When we discussed our situation with Lapicida, the fit was apparent,” said Lentaigne. “This was the start, and things moved quickly from there.”
The two companies quickly came to a design that works for both of them, basing the layout on showing off products in a gallery-style space. This also involved setting up products in displays that could reflect a number of styles.
“We believe that our bathrooms are not of one set period in history or style,” said Lentaigne. “For example, they are not traditional or Victorian but more classic designs that will last the test of time and look great in a traditional bathroom or a contemporary space.”
Based on this, Lentaigne arranged ‘pods’ of product sets together that hint at a classic room and help the customer see the item in their space, whatever their style or design.
Displaying Beauty and Function
In the main display area of their part of the showroom, Drummonds set up a space with several tubs, vanities and a wall of showers and heated towel rails plus a display for faucets.
“In this main display, we have a good selection of our range of products set up so it also enables the customer to see enough to make a decision easily,” said Lentaigne, who says an example of this includes the key metal finishes of polished brass, nickel and chrome that are displayed throughout the room in different ways so clients can see what works best for them. There is also a small display directly in the entrance that boasts a main vanity unit, with mirrors and lights designed by British designer Martin Budnizki.
“Our goal was to show the beauty of the products above all else,” said Lentaigne, adding that they take pride in the fact that Drummonds makes all its products – cast-iron baths, brassware and chinaware – by hand in their factories. “In the showroom, we are also putting in a video screen to show the manufacturing process on loop. It is so fascinating to be able to tell a customer about how each product is made and how this all comes about, but just letting the products breathe and shine in the design is so important.”
Helping Clients Imagine
Each display has subtle differences meant to stir clients’ imaginations. There are no full room sets; the space has a minimal feel with its pod-like displays, which means, backdrops are essential. Drummonds looked to a variety of brands for this support, including Degourney, HE Smith and Chauncey – in addition to Lapicida stone.
“Degournay supplied a mesmerizing blue landscape wallpaper to sit behind one double marble vanity, showing a customer straight away that they can do something like this in their house,” said Lentaigne. “HE Smith provided these beautiful blue tiles that Martin Brudnizki works with often in some of his commercial projects, and these show how a tiled bathroom can stand out.”
The team also put up wooden floors by Chauncey to show off smart, alternative finishes and to help elevate the bath pods. White driftwood panels behind a few displays allow the customer to envisage different backdrops.
“Having a space where clients can physically see the products makes such a difference,” said Lentaigne. “Our products, of course, are the stand out, but it’s also the location, the amazing space and the high ceilings. “They are exceptional, and seeing the detail going into the internal space is jaw dropping.”
Designer: James Lentaigne, managing director of Drummonds
Photography: Courtesy of Drummonds
The Swale with Claw & Ball Feet The Tay
The Tyburn by Martin Brudnizki The Usk The Wye
The Double Ladybower by Martin Brudnizki
The Double Lowther with Arabescato Marble
The Single Hebdern with Marquina Black Marble
The Single Windermere
Three-Bar Wall-to-Wall Electric Medium Towel Rail
Six-Bar Floor-to-Wall Electric Small Towel Rail
Freestanding Towel Rail Electric Medium
The Dalby Shower with Straight Arm with Mull Heads
The Chessleton Floor Standing Riser Pipe & Shower Arm The Severn