Design Centre Stories

Meet the Showroom: Forbes & Lomax

You’ll know Forbes & Lomax for its innovative ‘Invisible Lightswitch’ with its clear Perspex plate, but the company, established by interior designer Serena Herbert in 1988, is about more than just a single product. With clients all over the world (and products designed to suit regional variants), nine finishes, and a drive to always incorporate the latest smart home technology, Forbes & Lomax remains beloved by interior designers. Now, it has opened a new showroom in Design Centre East, and the brand’s Gemma Mouton (above right) explains below how they got here, and what’s next…

What brought Forbes & Lomax to Design, Centre, Chelsea Harbour?

Moving to the Design Centre is an exciting new chapter for Forbes & Lomax. The company is growing, and we needed a dedicated space where we could meet clients. While considering our next move, a space became available at the Design Centre and it was everything we were looking for. It was destiny!

What should we expect from the showroom?

It is a simple yet elegant space, which allows the clients to browse at their leisure. There is a large meeting table where clients can bring plans and discuss projects. One wall is dedicated to all nine of our finishes, showing not only our Invisible range but an array of metal finishes, displayed in a variety of products. The other side houses the international switches, including our range of switches and outlets for the US. There are also interactive boards where clients can see what lighting can be achieved when installing our dimmers and get a real feel for the quality of the product.

Forbes & Lomax switches, showing a mix of finishes and materials

Why should customers visit in person as opposed to looking/buying online?

It allows people to browse and get a feel for our products, and it allows us to discuss with clients their projects and use our expertise to guide them. Customer service has always been our key priority and we like to make sure that each client has been well advised; the showroom provides the perfect space to discuss our clients’ requirements.

What’s Forbes & Lomax’s design philosophy?

Quality and longevity. Designed to stand the test of time, Forbes & Lomax switches and sockets are incredibly long lasting and durable. We have clients who have contacted us after 30 years, who need a replacement part only because of changing to LEDs. We pride ourselves on the quality of our components, which are made in the UK.

Is there a ‘hero’ product that you feel sums up the brand, or that’s been a long-standing bestseller?

Forbes & Lomax’s name is synonymous with ‘Invisible Lightswitch’, created by our founder Serena Herbert 35 years ago as an alternative to glass Victorian light switch covers. It enables the wallpaper, fabric or paint effect to shine through without detracting or obscuring the wallcovering. It’s as popular today as it was 35 years ago, suiting projects with both contemporary or traditional designs.

What are some of the broad trends in your industry that you’re embracing?

Homes are becoming smarter, and we are seeing an increased demand for intelligent light switches. Forbes & Lomax continually engages with its suppliers to check that products are compatible with these new technologies.

What can we expect from the latest collections?

Our latest finish is a brushed brass [pictured above], a new contemporary finish joining the long-established antique bronze and stainless steel finishes. This is showcased in the new showroom and offers clients a plate with a mellow tone. It has a lacquer, which means the finish will not age or patina.

What craftsmanship or innovation goes into Forbes & Lomax’s products?

The company retains its long-standing British heritage: all plates are handcrafted and assembled by a skilled team in our Battersea warehouse, where Serena started the company back in 1988. The setting has changed somewhat, from a small shed with two members of staff, to now three warehouses with over 30 knowledgeable and dedicated members of staff split between our London, New York and Los Angeles offices.

Is there anything else you’d like the Design Centre’s community to know about your brand?

We are continually exploring new ways to reduce our impact on the environment. Our ‘Invisible Lightswitch’ and dimmer plates are now made from 100% recycled Perspex, created from the waste and scrap material of manufacturers and fabricators that would ordinarily end up in landfill.

Forbes & Lomax, First Floor, Design Centre East