CFAS was invited to visit one of our members, Frem Group Limited as part of their media launch in April, before their grand opening dates in May. Coincidently the same dates which would have been Clerkenwell Design Week (25th, 26th, 27th, May 2021). We share our an insight and sneak preview of this lovely showroom with our readership.
Frem Group have moved their London Showroom from the outskirts of Clerkenwell to, not only a more central position, but into an iconic landmark on Clerkenwell Road, No.84 The PrintWorks.
Whilst some manufacturers left Clerkenwell during the pandemic, Frem decided to take the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the area to our industry and their confidence in a prompt business revival. Moving into the 1879 gold chain factory, designed by architect Ebenezer Gregg, they carried out a sympathetic refurbishment, bringing back the industrial heritage theme to the building.
Waking into the building with dramatically high windows, the light floods in, cascading beams of sunlight onto the furniture of this British manufacturer. With three floors at their disposal, they have cleverly furnished each floor highlighting the beauty of the building with their design-led furniture. Not only are they presenting their portfolio, but they have stunning and contemporary artwork complimenting each range. Their new social initiative, Frem supports the Arts, creates a platform for British Artists to display their artwork, showing how art can be appreciated outside of art galleries, and how it readily fits with commercial furniture.
The lower ground floor is an Oasis of calm, literally, an immediate calming quiet space, with the colour scheme, the contemplative artwork and the selection of Hubs, Booths and Pods on show. Not forgetting this is a commercial furniture showroom, the Oasis collection provides all you could imagine, plus more, for the demands of return-to-work and the progressive workspace. With the Oasis Linear Team Pod demonstrating a constant ultra-quiet, air flow system, which not only pulls fresh air in with a complete change of air (minimum) 10 times an hour, it also has a CO2 sensor. This sensor detects when there is a higher CO2 percentage in the space, immediately increasing the fan speed to bring in more air. Comfort and oxygen enriching energy guaranteed without lifting a finger.
Recognising the current hesitancy of being in enclosed spaces, Frem have shown how booths can have openness, with acoustic comfort. Not only that, they cleverly recognise the new phenomena of video call anxiety, where users are distracted by critically looking at themselves. They have a solution to overcome this in their collection, with suitable lighting which changes from cool to warm hues and different light intensity. Being able to choose the hue of light, for a more skin complementary light, helps to reduce anxiety thereby increasing concentration and efficiency.
There is so much to see in the lower ground floor, from the use of Perspex screens within Booths and Hubs, to the eye-catching Oasis Media Hub, which sits in the natural curve of this wedge shaped building. Frem have expertly shown how to create a colour palette, with varying shades, textures and patterns, which makes the semi-circular media hub a place where you want to sit for the pure pleasure of the craftsmanship and design aesthetics.
Moving up to the ground floor, there is a different energy, with mobility and style evident everywhere. From the innovative Oasis Soft Mobile Booths, which brilliantly demonstrate how two meeting spaces can quickly and easily become one larger meeting space, to the Novus Mobile Easel, and the tall mobile screens, again a very ‘now’ product. Moving along the floor, past stunning artwork from various artists, you then come to their Novus A-Zone a height adjustable collaboration table, in production this year, and being launched for the first time in the showroom. The design concept is from understanding the blended work approach, where the office is the space for collaboration and networking. The Novus A-Zone is part of the Novus range, keeping the same uncomplicated industrial style. Manufactured from welded steel square tube, the dominant A-frame structure is impressive, dressed with planting along the gantry and end frame, the Linak motor effortlessly and quietly raises the Fenex table top with fingertip light touch. Combatting meeting fatigue, the Novus A-Zone provides the ergonomic comfort of movement for users.
Frem’s skill, design capabilities and craftsmanship are evident throughout the building, from the ranges they sell, through to the bespoke pieces they have installed. On the ground floor, the fully stocked kitchen in tactile veneer is made-to-measure hiding the uneven walls and awkward angles, and is higher than a standard kitchen, to meet the Novus bar alongside it.
On the mezzanine floor, not only is the view of the showroom and the now busier Clerkenwell Road a sight for sore eyes, this floor is also a demonstration of their bespoke expertise. Rising through the three floors are circular structural pillars, on the mezzanine floor a circular table encloses one of these pillars, with Fenex seams impossible to find, which makes you wonder if it really is one piece. The meeting room not only has a Signature 3.6m American black walnut table, and matching credenza, there are made to measure colourful acoustic wall panels and even an acoustic picture, showing that every space can have the Frem touch whether from their standard portfolio or bespoke.
Throughout the showroom are eye catching modern art sculptures, pictures and installations, set on plinths and positioned within the Frem furniture. The artists name proudly labelled with details on how to find out more about the artwork and artist. Not only a wonderful social initiative, but an insightful way of showing how modern art is accessible. When restrictions are lifted and social events occur, Frem intend to expand this into Performing Artists, with live performances to help struggling artist gain recognition and the PR which they have missed out on, due to the closure of recreational activities.
The artwork and the Frem furniture bring not only new life to the impressive building, but another dimension of style to the space.
This is a showroom which is going to be on everyone’s ‘must visit’ list whenever they are in Clerkenwell.