In late 2017 we opened our first Tessa Packard London space: a two-floor showroom on Ives Street in London’s Chelsea district.
Originally housing a factory, the space was incredible: open-plan, lateral, bright, multi-functional and perfect for hosting events, big and small. It was even perfectly divided to be both client facing (the ground floor) and operational (the top floor) without the need to make any structural changes. The only minor set back was that it was in a terrible interior state. The kitchen had been stripped out bare, the bathrooms were slum-like, the carpets and floors throughout were unusable and the outdoor area a tip. A lot of work was needed to be done.
The first priority (once a contractor had been found and budget agreed) was to put a mood board together of what we wanted the space to look like.
Being so heavily influenced by curiosity cabinets as a brand, we decided that a fun way of bringing our DNA to life would be to create a space that mirrored the study of a fictional gentleman explorer, stuffed to the brim with specimens and curiosities collected from his travels. Our jewellery and their showcases would become part of this hoard of treasure, with the surrounding objects acting as reference points, helping bring to life the stories behind the pieces.
We pulled inspiration together from many sources: the English stately home, the Victorian curiosity cabinet, the Natural History Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Soane Museum, Moroccan textiles, alpine chalets, Oriental materials and Colonial indoor-outdoor living.
Working with the mood board in mind, we began sourcing fabrics, furniture and decorative objects from a myriad of places, both new and antique. An important component was getting the style and shape of the jewellery showcases just right – they needed to stand out from the rest of the interiors but also ‘fit’ with the scheme. For those we looked specifically at the style of cabinets used at the Natural History Museum, choosing to mirror the dark wood look employed there, but giving them a slightly modern edge with dark metal legs.
After three months of renovation the space was finished and it looked exactly as we had hoped and wanted: a 21st Century curiosity cabinet inspired by a by-gone era of Grand Tours and collecting and discovery.
Final touches came with the artwork. We were fortunate to have a number of galleries and artists wanting to partner with us and loan artworks for sale to our space. With thanks to Lyndsey Ingram, Megan Piper and Phoebe Dickinson for helping our showroom come to life.