Turning the everyday into the extraordinary at The Rug Company’s Chelsea Harbour Showroom

30 May 2024

Embarking on our recently completed project for The Rug Company, a new flagship showroom in Chelsea Harbour, our NLS studio team were challenged to adopt a strategic approach to bespoke interior architecture and design. Guided by a respect for the brand’s heritage alongside a vision for its future, we set out to create a space that would not only showcase the brand’s exquisite rugs but also elevate the entire retail experience.

Our process was thorough and immersive, rooted in securing a comprehensive understanding of the retail landscape and The Rug Company’s unique identity.

We conducted 24 interviews, exploring the brand’s creativity, its reputation for technical and design capabilities, and its credentials as a sector leader in environmental considerations. We visited 6 existing showrooms and analysed every aspect of The Rug Company’s current retail spaces. And we examined the manufacturing processes involved, the customer and staff journeys, and broader style trends.

This groundwork laid the foundation for our approach to the custom build and design: a holistic vision that would embody The Rug Company’s core values and aspirations while giving the team and their clientele a space that would be both inspiring and practical, in which they could connect, collaborate and create.

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Located in the vibrant Chelsea Harbour – a nexus of creativity and design – the new showroom needed to resonate with the discerning tastes of interior design enthusiasts. Keeping the concept of a luxury apartment front of mind, we opted for a palette that would allow the rugs to take centre stage, while creating an atmosphere of understated sophistication through the use of material blocking.

Starting with the exterior, we reimagined the showroom’s shop window as a captivating introduction to The Rug Company’s world. Here, we envisioned creative installations that would not only showcase products from the latest collections, framed by select pieces of furniture, but also tell a story of artistry.

Stepping inside, visitors are greeted by a sample wall installation, an ode to the diverse textures and designs that encapsulate The Rug Company’s offerings. In creating this installation, we played with scale and juxtaposition to create moments of intrigue and inspiration.

Lush greenery punctuates the space, infusing it with life and warmth, while inviting guests to explore and engage with the products on a tactile level.

Central to our design philosophy for this project was the idea of creating a space that would foster connection and community. To this end, we chose to incorporate a creative library into the concept – a haven where customers and designers alike could explore materials, experiment with textures and collaborate with The Rug Company’s knowledgeable staff to bring their design visions to life.

Continuing our journey through the showroom, a lounge area invites guests to linger and immerse themselves in the world of design. Equipped with a large screen featuring related content, this space serves as a canvas for storytelling, offering insights into the craftsmanship and inspiration behind each rug.

To elevate the showroom experience yet further, we integrated a stylish bar into the interior architecture. This is a place where guests can relax and recharge over coffee or drinks. Designed with events and gatherings in mind, this space serves as a testament to The Rug Company’s commitment to hospitality and excellence in service.

Reflecting on this project several weeks after its unveiling, The Rug Company’s bespoke showroom feels like the perfect example of our overall approach at Nick Leith-Smith Architecture + Design. With each design decision, our studio endeavoured to celebrate and accentuate the brand’s core offering and ethos, while charting a course towards innovation and evolution, thereby harnessing the power of custom design to transform the everyday into the extraordinary.

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