Bagnodesign | A peek inside its Architecture + Design Gallery

Specification and design manager of the Ashley Sinclair talks us through the design of the Bagnodesign Architecture + Design Gallery, shortlisted for trade showroom of the year

06 Oct, 23

Specification and design manager of the Ashley Sinclair talks to us about the design of the Bagnodesign Architecture + Design Gallery, shortlisted for trade showroom of the year

Bagnodesign | A peek inside it's Architecture + Design Gallery luxury bathroom showroom

Creating a dedicated space for its luxury bathroom brand Bagnodesign, Sanipex Group opened a showroom in the heart of London’s design district in Clerkenwell, London.

The Bagnodesign Architecture + Design Gallery has been conceived to attract showroom designers, interior designers and architects to the space.

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Having made a move from Chelsea, where Sanipex UK had a retail showroom showcasing its wide variety of construction products, the company has relocated with a focus now solely on its bathroom brand.

Specification and design manager Ashley Sinclair picks up on the story: “The move to Clerkenwell is to be at the hub of the A&D community and the showroom is focused solely on Bagnodesign to raise awareness and elevate the brand.”

She explains believes it is beneficial to have a smaller, more intimate environment, with a ‘ring doorbell to open’ policy.

Historic building

Based in an historic 18th Century building, which was once owned by singer songwriter Cat Stevens, the 200sqm showroom spans two floors.

Bagnodesign | A peek inside it's Architecture + Design Gallery luxury bathroom showroom 1

Managing director Daryl Barker specifically sought a period building and chose the space having fallen in love with its original wooden flooring and warehouse-style doors.

The warm, welcoming space has been designed for its trade partners to network, discuss ideas and plan for future projects.

“Our retail partners can use the showroom to send their clients, here, to see products they may not have been able to put on display”, Ashley Sinclair comments, adding “The space is also designed to be used by interior designers and architects.”

And taking learnings from its Chelsea showroom, which she says didn’t offer the same level of intimacy, flexibility and movement, she expresses the Clerkenwell space feels warm and homely.

Showroom design

Taking inspiration from an art gallery, rather than a typical bathroom showroom, Ashley Sinclair says she knew she wanted a breakout area.

She also wanted to feature displays which would suit all levels of the market but with a focus on elevating the brand in an aspirational environment.

So, alongside the product displays, the showroom features a dedicated meeting room with double height ceiling, to allow more light into the basement space, and entertainment area with built-in bar.

“It’s very relaxed”, says Ashley Sinclair talking about the design of the space.

“Upstairs, is an open space, like an art gallery layout, and we are showing product in a different way with wallpaper on the walls.

“You come downstairs and it’s like somebody’s garden at home meets Ibiza.”

Working together with the managing director Daryl Barker, who curated the products, Ashley Sinclair continues: “It was my idea to put the bar in here and space for people to visit.

“Because it’s all very well using every inch of space to display product, but if you’ve not got a comfortable, seated area, people won’t want to spend time in the space.

“We are getting people coming in and enjoying using this space.”

She adds: “It’s homely and there’s more elements to it than walking into a showroom, so it encourages people to enjoy spending time here.

My favourite part of the showroom is downstairs, with the double volume space. Even though it in a basement, you still get natural sunlight”.

Featuring its three ranges of Bristol, Orology and Chiasso, Askey Sinclair explains: “We wanted to highlight the variety of available finishes and show how the ranges worked together, for designers who want to mix and match. The idea is to constantly keep the showroom updated with new products.”

Showroom fit challenges

Talking about creating the “quirky” space, Ashley Sinclair continues: “It was a little difficult to put the displays together because the walls are a bit wonky and the ceilings are a bit low and bowed. It had its challenges.

Bagnodesign | A peek inside it's Architecture + Design Gallery luxury bathroom showroom 3

The floor was in disrepair, with holes and different heights. So we had to find ways to level the floor.”

She adds, “there’s also been some movement of the building, following fitout.” But it all adds character, which the company has wholeheartedly embraced.

Adding to its fitout challenges, the showroom needed a new boiler and a shortage of construction workers in London, meant Ashley struggled to find local builders available to build the space.

However, the company flew in an expert installation team from its parent company in Dubai, so it took just three months to complete, following the signature of the lease.

Continual investment

Established in the UK since 2000, the investment in a new Bagnodesign showroom forms part of a much larger, global story.

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The global warehouse management system of Sanipex Group holds more than 20,000 products, at one time, with a stockholding of $50million.

It has three distribution centres – Dubai, Milan and Leeds – with all items available in the UK in 24-48 hours.

However, it hasn’t stopped the group from investing in product design for the Bagnodesign brand –which has seen new ranges and additions to existing collections of WCs, basins, baths, furniture, brassware, and accessories, as well as manufacturing.

Ashley Sinclair says “With all the ranges, we have a whole suite, so we can offer a flushplate, shaving mirror, shower/bath mixer and shower all in the same finish, so you don’t need to go shopping around.”

And boasting its own “world leading” testing facilities for its brassware finishes, which provides “rigorous” testing of all brassware products, Bagnodesign can offer five years warranty on taps on mixers.

Having invested in its own porcelain fabrication facility, with recycled water jet cutting technology, it allows designers to personalise elements such as indices for its Chiasso brassware, which match its porcelain slabs and tiles.

With four finishes, the choice of indices provides 48 options of mixer, and this personalised range is already popular. “We have only just launched the range but we’ve already got it specified in a big hotel in Croatia”, says Ashley Sinclair.

Stand out appeal

As the latest bathroom showroom on the block, how difficult has it been to showcase the brand and tell the story of Bagnodesign and its positioning?

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Judging by the number of designers attending its opening event during Clerkenwell Design Week, along with relationships Ashley Sinclair has forged, it easily answers the question – not difficult at all.

“The experience is 100% Bagnodesign. This is our brand. This is the way we want to be viewed.

“If designers can identify with you and feel confident in your product and service, I think you can stand out regardless”, she concludes.