The Decorative Panels Group is widely recognised for innovation, leadership and an outstanding product portfolio. A confident investor in infrastructure, technology and people, the group’s sales revenue of £97.5m bears testament to the integrity the company applies to all aspects of its business. Recent work includes an investment of £10m in a new components production facility at its Elland manufacturing site which opened in 2012.
Now, following 18 months’ development, Decorative Panels has opened a world-class marketing suite – a showroom fit for the 21st century where furniture designers and manufacturers, architects and specifiers can come and spend time getting to know and appreciate all that the group can offer.
The imposing former office building comprises 8500 sq ft across two floors and is designed to show the group’s products and manufacturing capabilities. But perhaps more importantly, the areas seamlessly introduces visitors to the business, outlines the company’s products and innovations and puts visitors in a creative and interactive space with methods to explore and rationalise the options and permutations.
Arriving at the striking building, guests encounter what is described as a chill zone, resplendent with Flos lighting and classic seating from the likes of Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Arne Jacobsen. Beyond a large display unit containing inspirational objects and reference books is a large, multi-purpose meeting space. All of the furniture and displays throughout the space have been designed and created using the company’s own materials.
Moving on from the chill zone, visitors pass through a fascinating heritage space showing the history of the business from its inception in 1879. This follows through to an ‘about us’ area showing all the substrates the company uses throughout the business. Here, visitors also see the factory’s output with a live screen showing the production KPIs from all three Decorative Panels Group companies.
Steve Gaunt, Decorative Panels Group chairman, says the new marketing is an ideal communication platform for the business: "With an ever increasing portfolio of products that target a wider and more diverse market, it is increasingly important to be able to showcase all our group companies in a facility that is more informative and inspiring. The marketing suite allows us to do exactly that, it is a great addition to our state-of-the-art factories and that I am sure will prove beneficial to current and future customers."
The next two zones are impressive – and great fun too! Firstly, visitors can access A4-size physical samples from the entire dp-decor and dp-specialist ranges and then work with an excellent, easy-to-use virtual system. Using a large touch screen, they can choose a room setting then select from the company’s library of dp-decors, dp-specialist and selected dp-development finishes – and be creative. All roomsets can be seen in life-like renderings in a variety of angles, including a close-up option. Whilst designing, the image is simultaneously visible on a 3m screen making for a dynamic and compelling way to explore the wide world of the Decorative Panels Group.
Following on from the virtual zone is a more traditional ‘mix and match’ zone where A3 and A1 samples can be handled, closely examined, compared and contrasted to verify the creations from the virtual zone – or to test options which are best appreciated in the flesh.
Guy Metcalfe, Decorative Panels Group managing director, says that the proximity of the showroom to the manufacturing site is crucial: "For the first time we are able to bring together products, design and innovation potential from all our group companies under one roof. The fact that the marketing suite sits within metres of both our components and lamination factories, allows us to present to our customers in a meaningful fashion is exactly what the Decorative Panels Group is all about."
Moving up to the first floor, passing a screen showing live feeds from all the company's factories, the marketing suite continues by presenting sample bedroom and living room displays manufactured from substrates and finishes produced by dp-lamination. After that, dp-components is represented by an exploded display of kitchen carcass units including the use of dp-Biocote Quartz.
Then there is a display of panel components highlighting the impressive range of the company’s production techniques in dp-components along with technical detail on aspects such as PUR edgebanding and the onward processing of dp-lite hollowcore board.
Leaving the components area, a striking psychedelic tunnel manufactured entirely from differing colours of high gloss Senoplast TopX, laminated by dp-lamination. Such is the company’s confidence in this impressive product, not only the walls and ceiling but the floor too is built using what Decorative Panels Group managing director Guy Metcalfe says is an "incredible product".
The next area is a resource dubbed the ‘be-creative’ zone. It features a large table with all the products in the dp-specialist ranges to hand which can be used with a turntable system to play with different edging samples, handles and fittings to help the design process. Next to this space is another separate meeting room.
The last space is the innovation zone where the company’s very latest products are displayed on raised plinths – some which will become available soon and some of which are still in development.
Charlotte Metcalfe, Decorative Panels Group marketing manager, says that work creating the new marketing suite has been more than worth while: "The marketing suite has been all-consuming for the 18 months it has taken to create. We now have a fantastic facility that is not only a selling tool but also a place to gain inspiration and develop creativity. The challenges we set ourselves are now a reality that has exceeded our expectations."
The new Decorative Panels marketing suite is a singularly impressive facility – probably the best in the country – and a perfect adjunct to its latest high performance factory. The marketing suite offers visitors an opportunity to experiment with a spectacular variety of product in both real and virtual worlds and continues to place Decorative Panels in the vanguard of the furniture industry.