You don’t need Diespeker to tell you that 2021 was not a normal year – from the January lockdown to the emergence of Omicron, it’s been and is still a testing time for all of us.
But with a new year of opportunities upon us we wanted to take a moment to look at the positives from the last year and we are proud to say that there have been many! So here’s our round-up.
140 years of Diespeker
2021 was Diespeker’s 140th year as a specialist stone business. So we did a little celebrating in our own inimitable fashion. Visitors to our premises can’t miss the stunning mural we commissioned from street artist Lionel Stanhope. It depicts some iconic images of the business, including a cyclist crossing Tower Bridge – our MD John, of course.
In April we published our second magazine, celebrating some of the many projects, innovations and stories we’ve been involved with over the previous two years. It was as hard to decide what to leave out, as there were so many to choose from.
Projects & Materials
Projects-wise we have made more worktops this year than in any other year, from beautiful designs from our Standard, Standard Plus and Luxury ranges to unique worktops featuring glow in the dark, coloured glass and even handmade ceramics. Interestingly in the latter part of the year there’s been a revival in enquiries for marble worktops, which we’ve been able to respond to promptly due to our level of stock kept in our two London depots.
Our large-scale commercial work has continued to grow particularly with poured floors. One particularly significant project currently underway at Exchange House involves an incredibly intricate placing of thousands of marble shapes prior to the pouring. More of that in the new year. We’ve created more unusual and innovative curved terrazzo reception desks and provided eye-catching Palladiana terrazzo designs for hospitality venues.
We’ve also been excited to work with garden designer Tom Massey to launch a brand new bespoke material, a first in the stone market. Currently, in its final stages of development, Rubblazzo is made from rubble from demolished London buildings set into a base of an ultra-low carbon alternative to traditional cement. It’s ideal for exterior use, particularly plant containers, benches and tables. Watch this space for more news in 2022.
With such an extensive knowledge of the materials we work with, Diespeker decided to develop Knowledge Base, a series of articles looking at key questions clients ask, from how much a kitchen worktop costs to what you need to know if you want a marble worktop. So far we’ve focused mainly on questions from residential clients, but we plan to widen contributions to help answer questions about terrazzo and stone from every sector.
Diespeker on TV
We were excited to be on the small screen not once but twice over the year. In July it was great fun to welcome the production company behind BBC2’s Your Home Made Perfect to the factory, with architect Will Foster and the show’s presenter, Angela Scanlon making their own terrazzo designs under the tutelage of our bespoke terrazzo team.
Later in the year we responded to a call from London architect Abul Mahdi from Studio Jayga Architects who was involved with a new Channel 4 programme Extraordinary Extensions, presented by Tinie Tempah. We worked with Mahdi to supply and install one of our more popular terrazzo designs TE084A in super-quick time. The results look spectacular!
Immortalised in print
In our 140th year it was an honour to be immortalised in print in the wonderful Ghost Signs book. This anthology beautifully catalogues over 250 old, faded hand-painted advertisements for businesses and products, left in situ on the walls where they were painted. The book includes Diespeker’s sign at Diespeker Wharf in Graham Street, London N1 where we were based until three decades ago.
Our charity fundraising over the years was a little quieter due to the pandemic, but we still managed to take part in the Southampton Marathon in September, raising funds for our chosen charity stem4, whilst in October MD John ran the London Marathon, raising over £1,000 for Holly Lodge Centre. It was the 10th time John took part in the iconic road race.
So what’s coming up next year? There are a number of major plans afoot, including changes to our premises in Ormside Street. We’re looking forward to developing new products with our existing collaborators for Diespeker and Diespeker Living. We’ll be adding commercial project articles to our Knowledge Base – as well as (of course) continually developing our range of unusual terrazzo designs.
Diespeker remains one to watch in so many ways, but of course our success is due to the clients we work with, from the large scale commercial clients to every residential client. Your ideas are our inspiration!
Thank you one and all – here’s to starting a very happy New Year.