Sydney’s new Earp Bros showroom is now open and it’s definitely a ‘site’ to behold!
May 12th, 2017
Earp Bros had a lot to celebrate on the eve of April 27 at its highly anticipated White on White showroom launch. Not only has the family-owned company now been in business for 135 years, but it just opened one of the most stunning showrooms we have ever seen. (And boy have we seen a lot of showrooms!)
With the who’s-who of Australia’s A+D community putting on their Sunday best and heading out to check out the new space, hundreds were treated to fine wines, the most delicious canapés (and, we all know a good amuse-bouche when we come across one!) and the exclusive opportunity to check out the latest stone and surface products direct from the top-tier quarries of Europe.
Located in the increasingly trendy suburb of Alexandria, the new Sydney Flagship showroom is a feast for the senses – grand, bold, edgy and beautiful all at once. The nine-metre ceilings and formerly-rusty industrial columns in this vast art gallery-style space have been bathed in white, creating a clean and ethereal backdrop to further illuminate the magnificent range of colours, tones and textural surfaces from around the globe.
Designed by Sydney architectural firm Villa + Villa, the team – spearheaded by owners Eduardo and Maria Villa, have done a truly amazing job. The duo realised the challenge of showcasing over 1000 varieties of product by creating sectional display pods, which ensure that each object category receives the focus it deserves.
“Everything has been created on a grand scale and designed to embrace our architectural and design clients’ very focused approach to choosing materials,” explains joint Managing Director Richard Earp. “The space celebrates the world’s best and most desirable high-tech hard surface options, all with a design edge.”
Many of the company’s products herald from exotic far-flung places, including Tunisia and Morocco, but one of their most prominent influences is Spain, with a strong commitment to various brands from the country. The Porcelanosa Group, in particular, is one of Earp Bros’ key partners and four of the company’s representatives even made the long journey over for the showroom launch. Moreover, one lucky party-goer won an all-expenses paid trip to Spain for 2018, where they will accompany Earp Bros on their annual Espana tour!
As well as bringing the world’s most beautiful and innovative tile products to the Australian A+D industry, Earp Bros has a fascinating history, of which they are immensely proud. And rightfully so.
Company founder, George Frederick Earp, arrived in Australia in September 1883 after health problems led his doctor to suggest swapping an English winter for the more forgiving Australian summer. He quickly established himself as an import merchant and by 1885, the port of Newcastle was a constant stream of merchandise.
Soon after, he partnered with Mr W.J Gilliam to form Earp Gilliam & Co and invited his brother Frank to join as another partner. They were entrusted with taking over a local colliery and a large building in Newcastle still stands today with the ‘new name’ cast into its façade.
The company began the 20th century as Earp Brothers & Co with a staff of 26, rising to 34 within a year. Coal sales continued, as did importation of produce, commodities and building products, and in 1914 they opened an automotive repair shop called City Garage. By the 1930s they decided to end wholesale grocery distribution and upgrade City Garage to Earps’ Motors Ltd, with the sale of Model T Ford cars indicating a profitable future. Their other main lines of plaster and cement were also seeing growth during this decade.
However, upon Roderick Earp’s return from the Second World War, he was made Managing Director and a redirection towards building supplies saw hardware and ceramic tiles flowing throughout the store. A shortage of manufacturing goods in the second half of the century led to the decision to import substantial quantities of tiles, bath and bathroom furniture and, as a number of the older Earp businesses faded away, this side of the company flourished.
Finally, in the early 2000s, Earp Bros resolved just to focus on importing the highest-quality ceramic tiles and natural stone in the world.
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