GF Smith has opened a new creative space in the heart of London’s West End, intended to inspire users of print and paper while “celebrating the power and beauty of paper in a digital age”.
The 372sqm Show Space is housed over two floors on Eastcastle Street in London W1, just off Oxford Street.
It will act as both an event, workshop and exhibition venue, as well as a showcase for GF Smith’s entire product range.
John Haslam, joint managing director at the Hull-headquartered papermaker described it as “showing the true heartbeat of the company.”
“It’s a space where people can truly visualise the brand. It’s cool and inspiring, and also educational.”
Show Space involves a number of features, developed in collaboration with GF Smith’s long-term creative partner Made Thought. An exhibition will change every three months, with the inaugural exhibit detailing GF Smith’s collaboration with British luxury fashion brand Mulberry on its recent brand revamp.
This involved the creation of a special deep, rich green Colorplan paper with Mulberry creative director Johnny Coca – Mulberry Green – which the fashion house now uses for its packaging.
“It was the most technically bespoke product I’ve ever worked on,” explained GF Smith director of business development Margaret Sweeney. “We saturated the fibres to the max and created a texture to resemble the leather used for Mulberry’s iconic Bayswater bag.”
Show Space also features a 14m-long Collection Wall housing samples of every paper made or supplied by GF Smith, including the entire Colorplan range. The 25 embossings available are also detailed.
The walls and floors are painted in Colorplan Dark Grey with Factory Yellow accent colours within the building. Even the ‘genius bench’ workbenches have been designed with paper sizes in mind.
“This is not a sales space, it’s an inspiration space,” Sweeney added. “And where better to be than W1, it is central to everything and everyone, and to all our clients.”
The Make Book layflat photobook range and Make Frame custom framing service are also on show, alongside information on GF Smith’s 131-year heritage. This includes fascinating archive items and the original leather briefcase used by sales clerk Herbert Thomlinson, who joined the business aged 18 in 1905 and became its managing director in 1915, a position he held until his death in 1968.
A window installation at Show Space, named ‘Turbulence’ features an artwork of coloured papers in a swathe across the entire window.
The downstairs gallery space is currently home to ‘Tidal’ (below) an undulating artwork using cylinders of paper, created by Made Thought to mark the launch of Colorplan in India, and first shown at the Kyoorius Designyatra festival in Jaipur earlier this year.
Show Space will officially open on 3 January 2017, with a series of VIP tours.