Russell Pinch – a former Senior Product Designer for the Conran Group before co-founding The Nest, a multi-disciplinary brand design agency with clients including British Airways, WHSmith, Rip Curl and Selfridges – explains how he has developed and grown PINCH from Clapham North Art Centre.
“When we moved here, we were looking for an architecturally interesting environment that would be prepared to offer us real flexibility in terms of the décor and dressing of our space,” he says. “Since arriving, we’ve done an awful lot to create a beautiful and complementary ‘by appointment’ showroom – repainting, installing staircases and lighting, adding a wood-buring stove… By now – our fourth expansion into adjacent units – it’s unrecognisable from what we initially leased and we’ve invested a lot into making the space our own. But Needspace has really encouraged our sense of ‘shared ownership’ – they’ve worked with us well beyond what you’d normally expect of a landlord and tenant arrangement and have allowed us to create the right kind of environment for our business to flourish.
Russell and his wife and collaborator, Oona Bannon – also a design industry professional with a background spanning TV research and production, as well as a glamorous spell reviewing European hotels for luxury hotel guide Mr & Mrs Smith – live locally in what Russell describes as a particularly nice community, much like the one they find in Clapham North Art Centre. “This is a great place to come to work,” Russell continues. “There’s a brilliant buzz – partly due to the centre manager Coral, who’s always around to say hello in the morning. Her ‘can do’ attitude is a great asset and she’s a real hub for the centre, acting as a conduit between businesses – which invariably leads to opportunities for us to help each other.
“Needspace has given us the flexibility to transform an interesting architectural space into a fitting studio and showroom for PINCH. They’ve supported us in realising our vision and – when we’ve had unusual needs – they’ve gone out of their way to accommodate our requests. They are far more personable, dynamic and daring than any landlords we have previously worked with.”