The world’s first showroom dedicated to mother of pearl surfaces recently opened in the Centre Dome. To find out more about this fascinating material – natural, beautiful, sustainable and versatile – let Siminetti’s Simon Powell introduce you to his brand below. Find out more about where the freshwater and saltwater pearl shells he uses are harvested, and how he is reinventing an ancient material for today’s interiors, from swimming pools to bespoke furniture.
We wanted to have a presence in front of our key audience, ie, the world’s leading designers and architects. We felt that the Design Centre was the most suitable location for us to open our first Siminetti showroom as it is renowned for attracting leading designers.
What should we expect from the showroom?
It is designed to be very much a customer experience. Those who visit us can see the full collection of mother of pearl surfaces that Siminetti offers: they can see, touch and feel large samples as well (in addition to the smaller samples that we provide).Everything in the showroom is designed to make life easy for our clients and enable them to show plans to their clients, but also for us to show completed projects for visual reference and inspiration. We have an interactive screen, with a central console table kitted out with phone and computer chargers so our clients can bring their clients. The touchscreen makes it possible to zoom in and out of projects that have been completed as well as looking at all the styles and colours that we offer.
Why should customers visit in person as opposed to looking/buying online?
The beauty, quality, craftsmanship and intricacy of our luxury mother of pearl surfaces are best appreciated when you can see and touch them. The material is renowned for being a difficult product to photograph, and it is not easy to convey their true sense of luxury. By visiting our showroom, clients will really get to be wowed by the beauty of Mother Nature and what she produces, and what we work with to produce our striking products.
What’s Siminetti’s design philosophy?
It is simply to bring to the world’s attention to the benefits of mother of pearl and how it can be used in a large surface area format for a variety of interior and exterior design projects. Mother of pearl is renowned for marquetry inlays, but Siminetti brings it to a completely new audience, offering the opportunity to complete large surface areas, including interior and exterior feature walls, kitchen backsplashes, shower walls, swimming pools, spas or furnishings.
What are some of the broad trends in your industry that you’re embracing?
Sustainability is obviously a key area for the brand: it was one of the reasons I created Siminetti 14 years ago. Mother of pearl has been around for centuries and will be around for centuries to come. It doesn’t do any damage to the planet, so sustainability is a key factor of Siminetti’s business model.
But equally, so is design, and bringing forward market-leading designs that have never been seen before. We also offer bespoke designs, it is something we can be very flexible with, and we can very much meet any client’s personal demands with the bespoke design solutions that we can develop.
Where are the raw materials sourced from?
Our mother of pearl is sourced from farms from around the world. For freshwater pearl (grown for the freshwater pearl industry), 98% comes from Asia, the remainder is saltwater pearl, sourced from farms around the world, from Tahiti to Australia, the Philippines and Japan. The shells are always at least 10 years old, and all our products are handcrafted by artisans, which we utilise as close to the source of the material as possible because it’s where the skills are based. But 100% of the quality control is managed through Siminetti’s head office here in the UK.
What craftsmanship or innovation goes into Siminetti’s products?
We have created a number of collections that are innovative. With our mother of pearl mosaics, for example, we’re able to install them outside, including in swimming pools, and we are one of the only companies in the world to be able to do so. We have also created unique decorative panels, which we produce in large format. They are produced on an aluminium honeycomb, which means clients can install panels without the need for grout, making the installation quicker and cleaner, and they are then sealed for life, so there are no maintenance issues to be concerned about.
Is there anything else you’d like the Design Centre’s community to know about your brand?
We also would like designers to understand the capabilities that we have, and the usability of the product. Our surfaces are an exceptionally strong product that can be used within furnishing, steam rooms, for feature walls etc. Many people think it’s a very delicate product, but in fact through our production techniques we ensure it’s very robust and can be used for so many applications.
We also want to raise awareness that we have the opportunity to use the products for complete bespoke solutions and we are proud to offer that flexibility and these design capabilities too.