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Bricks and mortar expansion plan for furniture brand Fredericia

A Danish contract furniture manufacturer is hoping to increase its UK sales by 50% with the opening of a London showroom.

Fredericia has had a UK sales manager for the past year, and its crafted, high-end furniture has been specified by architects and interior designers for hospitality and workplace clients.

But this month (November), the 107-year-old brand has opened its first outpost beyond Copenhagen, because “with a showroom, you are front of mind with the architects,” says Fredericia CEO Kaja Møller, “and London is the hub for the international design community.”

What’s more, this presence means the brand can get more heavily involved in sector events such as London Design Festival and Clerkenwell Design Week.

The family-owned company has a reputation for craftsmanship and collaborating with respected designers including Jasper Morrison and Shin Azumi.

The 93 sq m (1000sq ft) space is in a side street in contract furniture’s heartland, Clerkenwell. The upper-ground floor of a former Victorian Warehouse only needed a light touch before the products could move in. “The building is our style, it has ambience and soul,” says Møller, who points out that Fredericia’s two-year-old, 11,000sq-ft Copenhagen showroom is in a former post office building. Both interiors were the responsibility of the company’s four-strong in-house team.

In Clerkenwell, the floorboards were already stripped, and the walls and high ceiling were given another lick of white paint. Anker & Co’s ceiling lights and Wästberg’s table lamps were all specified in black, to complement the metalwork.

With its triple aspect, there is plenty of light, although all those big, metal-framed windows make product display challenging. To help with this, the design team built a sideboard-like storage unit that sits under one window and extends the window ledge. That allows Fredericia’s best-selling Pato chair – created in 2013 of polypropylene by Danish-Icelandic duo Welling/Ludvik – to be displayed on top of the unit and in front of the window.

And more wall spaces are informally created via a curtain rail that runs in a square between four supporting columns in the middle of the room. From the rail hangs an opaque white linen drape from Danish textile manufacturer Kvadat. “There’s so much warmth and tactility in our furniture that it’s good have plain black and white,” as a palette, says Møller.

More than 6000 Patos have been shipped to 20 different Amazon offices around the world. This sort of international reach can be strengthened from a London base, Møller believes. “Over the last two to three years, we have had a lot of interest from international designers and architects, and business has been booming.” She suggests this is because “we are spot-on with the trend of home-away-from-home,” as Fredericia’s sofas and uncorporate seating sit comfortably in hotels, restaurants and modern office interiors.

In the UK, its furniture graces Harvey Nichols’ wallpaper bar, the UK offices of Snapchat and Coca-Cola and The Office Group’s co-working buildings.

“The local sales manager has been doing well without a showroom,” says Møller. But now he is able to treat the new space as his office, and can choose to work from the collection of sofas, leather and upholstered chairs and bar stools.

Møller declines to be drawn on future openings, saying only “We will consider the next one.”

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