R ecently we were invited to a press trip like no other. To visit the factory of renowned brand ercol. To those of you who may be too young to appreciate, ercol is an iconic furniture brand that’s filled the homes of our parents and grandparents for almost a century. In fact, next year they celebrate 100 years of manufacturing. This comes as no surprise as their attention to detail, passion for quality and expert craftsmanship have meant they’ve built a desired brand with products that anyone would feel honoured to have in their home. So to find out the secrets of a successful business & brand, we went to Princes Risborough to see what truly goes on behind the doors of the ercol factory…
The showroom tour
Our first stop was the showroom itself, recently re-fit with new products & room sets. It has all you’d ever want & expect from ercol. Think contemporary wooden furniture, smooth beech / elm / oak woods and of course that Scandinavian-esq minimalist feel (surprisingly though we learnt the founder was Italian). One of the main things we loved about viewing the entire ercol collection though, was seeing how some of their designs which have been around for over 50 years still look contemporary in today’s interiors. If that’s not a sign of great design, we don’t know what is!
But what caught us off guard when touring the showroom was ercol’s ability to show off unique new ways to style their products that appeal to the currently popular vintage, maximalist & eclectic lovers. A market we wouldn’t have considered as ercol’s audience due to their minimalist sleek designs. However, ranges such as the Verso and Corso bring new design capabilities to the ercol range. But what’s so impressive is how this reinvention of ercol products & styling, is still in keeping that iconicercol look. See pictures to demonstrate.
The factory tour
Right, now onto the factory! Situated behind the showroom, the factory is approximately 160,000 square feet and is filled with an overwhelming amount of sights, smells & sounds. Huge windows let natural light flood in and workers are busily walking around amongst the innovative machinery. To set the scene further it’s the workplace for 100 staff members, some of whom have been working there for over 40 years.
It was during this factory tour we got to see the process of how they manufacture some of their iconic designs from start to finish. We were shown techniques of bending the wood – a combination of steam & heat – right through to how they spray paint them. [Side note – speaking of their spray painting techniques, if you haven’t checked out the recent collaboration ercol did with Russell & Jordan of 2LG studio, it’s a must – click here]. Overall the sense we got from the tour was that each product made in the ercol factory really is made with attention to detail by extremely talented craftsmen and quality control is tight.
A picture of Athina from Topology going along for the factory tour ride in full high vis gear!
So all in all, we left ercol that day thinking about the furniture we implement in both our homes & our clients homes (Topology design services can be found here). More specifically, how they should stand the test of time in terms of both design & longevity. As a society we’re shifting towards more sustainable living by investing more in order to get better products that will last us longer. We’ve seen this shift in the food & fashion industry and it’s important now we help create this shift in interiors too. So if you take one thing away from reading this post, it’s how we want to encourage you to purchase from better brands and err away from disposable products you’ll end up getting bored of quickly. In doing the former, we believe you’ll end up with a home design that lasts a lifetime & can be passed onto future generations.
All photos taken by us. This post has been sponsored by ercol furniture.