Creativity Meets Commerce at Cole & Son’s Jubilee Place Salon

Words by
Candice Tucker

5th July 2024

Cole & Son recently hosted its second Jubilee Place Salon, bringing together a distinguished panel of Creative Directors for an enlightening discussion titled "Where Creativity Meets Commerce." The session was moderated by Ed Vaizey (Lord Vaizey), former MP and Government Culture and Digital Minister, and current presenter on Times Radio. SPHERE Magazine is the proud luxury media partner for the Salon.

The panel featured illustrious speakers: Marek Reichman, Chief Creative Officer of Aston Martin Lagonda; Alexandra Llewellyn, CEO of the luxury board games brand Alexandra Llewellyn; and Marie Karlsson, Creative and Managing Director at Cole & Son.

Cole & Son - entrance to a brick building store with a white door and plants around it
Cole & Son's inviting entrance to its flagship gallery on Jubilee Place
Cole & Son  - two women standing between two men
Marek Reichman, Marie Karlsson, Alexandra Llewellyn and Ed Vaizey
Cole & Son -a woman smiling wearing a white shirt
Marie Karlsson, MD and Creative Director, Cole & Son

The discourse delved into their individual creative processes, the delicate balance between fostering creativity and driving business growth, and the extent to which a brand can push its boundaries to meet bespoke requests.

From the outset of the panel discussion, it was evident that Cole & Son remains unwavering in its commitment to expertise and trust in their creative process. Marie Karlsson remarked, “We want to go where others don't in the interior industry. We want to start our authentic journey from the raw paper and the canvas we paint on… it needs to start by the hand in our design house. That's what defines us.”

Cole & Son - a man looking at a sheet of fashion drawings hung on a rail
Mark McMullin inspects a sneak preview of new collaboration between Cole & Sons and Harrods
Marie Karlsson and fashion designer and podcaster Amanda Wakeley
Marie Karlsson and fashion designer and podcaster Amanda Wakeley

Alexandra Llewellyn shed light on the distinction between creating to sell and producing bespoke pieces, a domain familiar to both Cole & Son and Aston Martin. Llewellyn noted that bespoke projects begin with the client, but working on various bespoke pieces simultaneously means they all inform one another.

Cole & Son - Alexandra Llewellyn wearing a black dress
Alexandra Llewellyn, designer of luxury board games
Cole & Son - people gathered together for a photo
Olivia Barr and colleague, Harrods Interior Design, Richard Tanner and Tamsin Graham, Cookson Adventures

For all these businesses, whether crafting luxury board games or designing some of the world’s most opulent supercars, Marek Reichman emphasised that the essence of creativity remains the same. “The immediacy of your though onto paper is what we do as creatives. Drawing is the fastest way to communicate an idea.” He highlighted the importance of team synergy, explaining that if he is the conductor of the orchestra If the main violinist is out of tune, then the music is going to sound awful.”

Cole & Son - people listening to a talk
Guests enjoyed lively debate around conversations around the balance between business growth and pushing the boundaries creatively
Cole & Son - a man pouring a glass of champagne
Like Cole & Son, Champagne Bollinger also holds a Royal Warrant, making it the perfect pairing for the evening
Marek Reichman, Chief Creative Officer of Aston Martin Lagonda
Panellist Marek Reichman, Chief Creative Officer of Aston Martin Lagonda

Reichman’s primary role as Chief Creative Officer involves aligning business needs with client desires, ensuring clients fall in love with the creations. He pointed out that while clients know their needs, they might not always know their wants, which is where his team steps in to inspire and guide them.

Cole & Son - three women standing together
Cole & Son Marie Karlsson, Sphere's Lisa Barnard and writer and editor Charlotte Metcalf
Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut, the Champagne partner for the Jubilee Place Salon
Guests enjoyed a glass of Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut, the Champagne partner for the Jubilee Place Salon
Cole & Son - two women chatting over a glass of champagne
Sphere's Jane Washbourn and Anke Summerhill, MD and Creative Director, Minotti

One challenge inherent in bespoke projects is budget constraints. Marie Karlsson addressed the difficulties of balancing client desires with budget limitations, noting that these two factors often clash. There is also the matter of maintaining brand integrity; luxury brands steadfastly avoid copying others’ work or creating something that doesn’t align with their identity.

Cole & Son - a man and woman hugging for a photo
Panel host Ed (Lord) Vaizey and editor Charlotte Metcalf
Cole & Son - canapés being served by someone wearing a black Bollinger apron
Delicious canapés were served as the conversation and Bollinger continued to flow
Cole & Son - Marie Karlsson sharing Cole & Son wallpaper archive designs with Amanda Wakeley
Marie Karlsson sharing Cole & Son wallpaper archive designs with Amanda Wakeley

The panel also touched on their personal drive for success. Reichman highlighted that continuing creative work necessitates that past work be profitable to fund future projects. Sometimes, it’s about “convincing those holding the purse strings to invest and then showing them why.”

Cole & Son - a bottle of champagne being poured into a glass with a bouquet of flowers in the background
Champagne Bollinger was the event partner of the Jubilee Place Salon
Cole & Son - sphere magazine next to a Cole & Son bag
SPHERE is the proud partner of Cole & Son's Jubilee Place Salon

The evening's discourse was complemented by glasses of Champagne Bollinger, the event’s partner. The elegant pairing of Bollinger with the timeless refinement of Cole & Son made for a perfect conclusion to the second Jubilee Place Salon.