Friday, 28th February 2014
The mind starting racing recently when a call came through from a national newspaper journalist. They claimed to have been tipped off about one of our high profile clients commissioning a discreet project that involved both “rubber” and “a basement”.
After assurances that this was only going to be used for the flooring of a games area, the potential scandal was averted and we ended up with a rather more sedate article on the virtues of using this particular material within an interior design scheme.
Back to work and, not one to miss the opportunity to enjoy a trip out to warmer climes, our Boxnine7 brand joined a very well known estate agency and high profile developer on mission to Hong Kong and Singapore to market a substantial scheme in prime London. There has been much talk about the seemingly insatiable demand in Asia for London property, but to be there and see it for yourself is something else. Buyers literally turn up to these exhibitions as if out for an afternoon shop, picking an apartment for an investment and exchanging contracts in the room.
Naturally these properties require furnishing, that we are only too delighted to be able to provide. We were by no means the only exhibition there that weekend and it soon became clear that – with the right product at the right price – Asian buyers are seeing London as their preferred international investment destination of choice.
Our first event was held at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, where the attention to detail is a joy to behold; from the personalised, handwritten note from the manager to all the staff knowing your name as soon as you arrive. Nothing was too much trouble. To be honest it was a bit of a wrench to leave.
The other interesting observation we made whilst in Asia – and particularly Hong Kong – is that virtually every square inch of advertising space in the airport and around the city is for reserved luxury brands. Burberry, Gucci, Hermes, Rolex and Louis Vuitton (who have incidentally just opened a store inKazakhstan) all jostle for the consumers’ attention at every turn. It’s fascinating to read reports from 1995, suggesting that Asia accounted for just 1% of the global luxury market; that same figure has recently been estimated at an astonishing 25%.
Meanwhile, back in London, the design team had been putting in the hours on a particularly luxurious single residence. Due to busy schedules, meetings with our very high profile client went into the early hours of the morning, although thankfully the butler stayed up to ensure the refreshment and coffees kept everyone going.
Another client wanted to catch up on the progress of a rather splendid penthouse apartment in Belgravia that we’ve been working on. Instead of meeting in London, though, he decided to fly the design team out to Tokyo, and then on to join his family on a relaxing break to Bali. Naturally there was no shortage of volunteers.
As last year drew to a close (and without wishing to be accused of attending “the opening of an envelope”), the team enjoyed a bumper crop of award ceremonies, parties and launches that provided great opportunities to catch up with our clients, friends and contacts, as well as make new acquaintances and see excellence and hard work recognised.
No matter what the occasion, the sentiment and outlook seemed overwhelmingly positive, with returning confidence and many reflecting how fortunate we are to live and work in a city that remains a focus for the global economy.
Wednesday, 11th September 2013
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
June started off on a real high note, with our design team putting the finishing touches to a particularly grand house in a super-prime London location.
Having to work around an enormous Steinway piano was just one of the challenges, although a life-size cutout we prepared earlier avoided moving the real thing around on arrival, and certainly saved a few slipped discs.
Talking of key pieces, the decision to include two Damian Hirsts in one of our schemes seriously paid off for one of the high-profile art galleries we work with this month. The clients decided they looked so good that they bought them both there and then; not too shabby an investment when you consider the stellar performance of high profile modern art in recent years.
Back at HQ in Mayfair, the Boxnine7 team have been pulling out all the stops to furnish a fifty-unit scheme for the private rental sector. Each apartment is subtly different, so military precision has been required to deliver on time. Interestingly, activity in this particular sector of the market definitely seems to be ramping up as the year goes on. We find ourselves dealing with increasing numbers of institutional investors who have entered the market as the appetite and demand for this type of product increases.
It wouldn’t be June without some good old-fashioned client entertaining, and the Directors hosted over forty of our most-treasured at Royal Ascot a couple of weeks ago. With the sun shining and the champagne flowing, this was a invaluable opportunity to build on some great relationships and to say thank you for all the support we have received since starting our venture.
Everyone stayed together right til the end, when the band started up with some glorious patriotic numbers. As flags waved and the singing began, we could have been at the Last Night of the Proms. True to form, Rupert Collingwood of The London Management Company gave a one of his rabble-rousing speeches, although the Britain’s Got Talent references may have been overdoing it a tad…
Our sporting summer continued with a trip to watch the fabulous final at Queens, where our heroic Andy Murray won a well fought match. The main event was followed by a hilarious charity match between Richard Branson, Tim Henman, Michael McIntyre, Jimmy Carr and Boris Johnson, who displayed a rather impressive serve despite wielding an old fashioned wooden racket.
Someone told he was making the political point that it’s not what you’ve got, but what you do with it that counts. Or maybe he just found it under the stairs…