Have you ever had a tour in a factory? Sounds pretty dull right? But let me stop you right there, because it’s actually very cool and quite good fun. Before I started blogging I never knew that I was going to become such a big fan of a factory tour, but there you have it, I love getting a behind the scenes look at how products are made and how the people that make them feel about the company in which they work.
If I was going to buy a product and, definitely if I was investing in a more expensive piece, I would want to know what that company is like and the kind of experience they give their employees. I’ve learned that the good ones have generations of families working in their factories, passing on their skills to younger members, whether that’s upholstery or ceramicist techniques, and all have an affinity to their employer.
Last week gave me the chance for another factory tour, this time with ercol, at their showroom and factory in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire. It was part of their Open House event when then launch and show their new collections to the press. The pieces on show at the moment are for sale in the next 6 months, so not available just yet, but I’d like to tell you a little more about them, what I discovered on the tour, and pick out a few of my favourites.
ercol Open House Factory and Showroom Tour:
ercol was founded in the 1920’s by a young Italian designer, Lucian Ercolani OBE, who bought the land for his factory, and sold the turf off it to fund the building. Quite an entrepreneurial approach back in that time. The company is still owned by the family, and now his grandson Edward Tadros runs it, with other family members working there too. ercol has definitely become synonymous with great design, quality and style, and its pieces are made by skilled craftsmen in the UK. In recent years, the brand has worked hard to strengthen its design portfolio to reach a wider audience and give many more people the chance to experience an ercol piece.
wood stain details for brand partnerships
traditional methods still in use today
steam bending wood
beautiful chairs made by real people
ercol chairs are so distinctive. Designs are simple, elegant and functional, and classic shapes have been updated for the more contemporary audience, but still retain their original charm. I remember ercol chairs in my gran’s house when I was a child, and they still look amazing today.
The sofa collections have definitely become more contemporary (although the more traditional designs are still part of the Autumn 2017 launch) and was particularly drawn to Gela. This range is inspired by soft, organic forms and incorporates button backed cushions and contrasting scatter cushions. The softly curved arms and ash turned legs give it a modern, yet mid century feel and place it firmly at the forefront of popular stylish designs for modern living.
Available in large, medium and small sofas, as well as an armchair and a snuggler (don’t you love that description!), there’s great choice for every home.
Some of the dining ranges really caught my eye, many of them in colourway options tapping into the popular Scandi trend, and offering choices of chairs plus benches. Giving customers choice and flexibility is a great idea, and allows us all to build a dining set that works for our space and for our family.
Finally, the bedroom ranges were beautiful and not something I had previously linked ercol with much at all. Salina, in a pale ash with a whitewashed finish looks calm, fresh and relaxed, and would fit easily into many a home. Combined with the classic ercol chair and benches, it has a truly contemporary edge but retains enough traditional features to ensure your investment lasts for many years.
Are you an ercol fan?
Disclosure: I was treated to the ercol visit and enjoyed a delicious lunch too. Thank you for supporting the brands that make the blog possible.