Established in 1980, Birmingham-based practice John Evans Interior Architecture and Design Ltd is an interior design practice, specialising in architectural work for the residential, leisure and retail sectors.
The company operates under two divisions – John Evans Interior Architecture and Design Ltd and je+1 – to provide clients with the best possible service to meet their needs.
Keen to find out a little bit more about the two businesses, Premier Hospitality recently caught up with Company Director, John Evans. John, who is a Member of the Chartered Society of Designers, an active member of the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) and a Fellow of the Royal Society, told us about the types of projects he is involved with, as well as his long running association with furniture specialist, DFS.
“We started the company as John Evans Interior Architecture and Design Ltd, which handled all of our operations, including both retail and residential schemes. However we soon realised the business needed a bit more of a cohesive presentation, which resulted in a division of our operations.
“We now have two different sides to our business, je+1 which handles interior design work on our retail projects and John Evans Interior Architecture and Design Ltd which focuses on residential schemes.”
For the past 34 years John Evans has been creating classic contemporary interior designs for an array of clients. John has worked with many leading industry names and has worked on projects such as the Zoffany Trade showroom in the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, as well as a collection of Topps Tiles boutique stores in London.
Throughout 2014 je+1 has been involved with more than 50 Bensons for Beds stores; reinventing the customer experience as part of a nationwide roll-out programme. Je+1’s approach has helped boost Benson’s business with a reported trading increase of between 24% and 56%.
A key client for John is DFS, the furniture specialist who has been manufacturing high quality, stylish sofas for the past 45 years. DFS’ sofas are designed with comfort in mind, are handcrafted to order and come with a ten year guarantee as standard.
John has been working with DFS from the early days, long before the company was known by the DFS name and it is a working relationship which John values greatly.
“We have worked with DFS for the past 34 years. We started working with Lord Kirkham – founder of DFS – when he had just three stores under the Northern Upholstery brand and then we continued working with him as he built the brand into what it later became.”
Three recent DFS projects have included DFS Torquay; DFS York; and DFS Ayr. DFS Torquay opened on Scotts Bridge Retail Park in December 2013, whilst DFS York on Clifton Moor Retail Park followed in September 2014, and the Ayr store on Heathfield Retail Park opened in October 2014.
Moving forward, John is working on stores in Amsterdam, Basingstoke, Carrickmines and Oxford.
“At present we are involved with DFS Amsterdam – a new location for the company. The Netherlands is a great market for the brand to enter into and it is a project which we are very excited to be working on.”
One of the biggest challenges which John faces is the ever changing face of the industry, something he is very aware of when working with a company such as DFS.
“DFS is a fashion retailer; and as furniture fashions continue to change, furniture stores must change too. We have worked out key areas of the design which work for DFS, but we are constantly looking to move the brand forward.
“Working with clients like DFS is very important to me – I love working with retail clients. My parents owned a shop when I was younger and when I grew up I also had my own shop. The thing I love about retail is that it is all very instant. When working on one of these projects we normally have a month to design the store and issue all the drawings, with an onsite build time of around five weeks. So in just over two months the work is finished, we can see the results and we can see how delighted our clients are with their new store.”
“We get a big kick out of working on these projects. It’s not just about controlling the design; it is about knowing that we are doing the right thing as we help our clients sell their products. I’ve always felt that if you can present the product in the right way a product sells itself.”