A friend of ours recently asked if we were celebrating our 10th anniversary soon. When we told him that we’re already 16½ his jaw virtually hit the floor. ‘How did that happen?’ he asked. We keep asking ourselves the same question.
This also means that we (well, some of the more mature members of the team) have known a number of our key clients for the best part of 20 years. While the ‘glass is half empty’ brigade might worry about where the time went, we prefer to be incredibly proud not just of our own longevity, but also that of our friends.
One such company is Task. Not only has the business continued to be the furniture company of choice for many of the City’s financial blue chips, it has now developed into a design-led supplier of leading Italian brands, which include ICF, Marelli and most recently, Penta lighting.
As such, the company has recently relaunched under a new fresh brand, complimented by a stunning refurbishment of its Shoreditch showroom.
We’ve come to the impressive redesigned Great Eastern Street show space to meet with Task stalwarts, Managing Directors Tony Daltrey and Costas Karavias, who began the business 35 years ago.
Whilst remaining true to its traditional and loyal customer base, the company has taken the strategic decision to elevate and expand its presence within the architectural and design community through its design, manufacture and supply of quality commercial and hospitality furniture. As Tony explains, ‘We looked at the trends in the marketplace and reassessed our product portfolio in line with the demands of end clients and specifiers. In support of our own Task products, we represent two fantastic furniture brands in Marelli and ICF; both of whom manufacture products of exceptional quality and design and they needed greater presence in the showroom.
‘The market has inevitably moved on since we began this business and we recognised that we needed to address our branding and positioning within it. So, we took an in-depth look at the business, the outcome of which led to the appointment of Pernille at Resonate to redesign both the showroom and our Head Office and logistics facility at Beckton – and also the engagement of a brand specialist to redesign our logo.
‘We’ve always had a great space here, working with some top practices and winning fabulous projects, but we asked ourselves what else could we do to be different, what else could we do to make us more attractive to the design community.
‘We had already met Pernille, and felt she really understood our business and importantly what we were looking to achieve. As part of the process Pernille visited both ICF and Marelli in Milan – and we were delighted with how impressed she was.
‘It wasn’t just about the showroom,’ Costas reveals, ‘we approached this holistically and with our eyes set on the future of the business. We knew that the time was right because we have enjoyed a strong three or four years and could see our presence growing in the marketplace as a result. We have invested in our people, bringing younger people in to bolster our A&D sales: They have a different approach from us senior guys – and that’s really healthy. That’s where the market is today – and it helps that they now have the right showroom environment to support them.
‘The ICF product range has given us access into a number of practices. ICF has continued to invest in its product offering and we are able to offer a complete solution.
‘I think you’ve got to be prepared to invest,’ Tony agrees. ‘We have to give our people the best tools to compete in this competitive market and with which to further develop and grow our business.
‘We want this to be a memorable experience for people. We want clients to come in here and go back to their office saying ‘Have you seen the fabulous new Marelli lounge at the Task showroom?’’
Task appointed Resonate to create the new showroom environment, providing a showcase for the three brands whilst still functioning as a workspace for employees. The key joinery elements reflect the bespoke side of the company’s business, while the impressive new light fittings are supplied by Penta – with whom Task now has an exclusive UK distributorship.
The journey through the new showroom begins from the street, as suspended frames magically float chairs in mid-air, providing an enticing an dynamic shopfront, whilst allowing an uninterrupted view of the gallery space beyond.
Inside the showroom, the completed design ensures that the furniture is of key prominence and the ground floor has become a museum gallery with pure white monolithic display plinths to define key areas and collections.
Floating ceiling rafts echoing the plinths below, cast uniform light over the set pieces and mirrored surfaces permit customers to view the products from a 360 degree perspective.
The white gallery theme contrasts with black Crittal framed Optima glazed partitions behind the bespoke reception desk, referencing the industrial context of the building and its exposed brick surfaces.
Warm timber accents create focal points of the hybrid reception desk-come-glass display case and bar area, which starts to set the scene for the more luxurious lounge furniture of Marelli. Passing through the black framed glazed screening, visitors are transported into the aforementioned Marelli Lounge – a choreographed collection of sumptuous fabrics and warm bronze hues.
The lower ground floor accommodates Task’s everyday working environment in a live animated gallery of office product as well as the impressive executive boardroom. Beyond this, a naturally top lit courtyard, formed in an existing unused light well, has been transformed into a decked outdoor space for staff to retreat and take time out.
The acoustics throughout the showroom are managed with a new product line called Gecho, an acoustic panelling system that has been newly designed exclusively for Task.
As well as the stunning new interior, the new Task showroom also benefits from state-of-the-art AV and technology to enhance the customer experience.
‘Overall this is a scheme that celebrates the products,’ Pernille comments, ‘theming the interiors in a very neutral but sophisticated way that enables the individual pieces to shine.
‘When we first looked at the original designs of different settings and how to split the Marelli and the Task offerings, we knew we had to look at the entire brand.
‘The Resonate concept changed very little from that first presentation and was all about setting the furniture in an almost gallery atmosphere, with a 5-star lounge approach for the Marelli products, with their hospitality market appeal.’
‘We looked at how we could get over that line, how we could get recognised,’ Tony concludes. ‘I think it’s happened – and I think things are only going to get better for us. It’s taken a lot of hard work, but I think we’re really starting to get that recognition.’