Although Diespeker frequently welcomes people to our South London premises to view products and discuss their projects, we haven’t been in the habit of offering tours – until now.
It all came about when Diespeker was contacted by Mark at Kaymet, another business local to the Old Kent Road area, regarding the launch of a book we’ve been involved with (Made in London, more on that soon). Mark also mentioned the Open House Festival which Kaymet is involved with, and suggested we think about taking part. Well, how could we say no?
Open House Festival is an annual two-week celebration of London featuring events, tours and open days of special buildings across all 33 London boroughs. With hundreds of thousands of visitors, it is one of the most popular events of its kind in the world. The festival is the brainchild of Open City, a charity dedicated to making architecture and neighbourhoods more open, accessible and equitable.
Visitors to the festival can explore remarkable homes, architecture and landscapes, and learn about London’s unique heritage and communities. Including, for the first time, natural stone and terrazzo at a 141-year old business in Ormside Street!
We duly signed up and on Friday September 16 we welcomed visitors to two group tours of our premises. The tour ‘guides’ were Senior Sales Manager Sydney and Strategic and Operational Development Manager Ollie, who gave an introduction to the business and its history, showed the groups around and answered their questions.
Everyone on the tours appeared to be really interested and engaged, both with Diespeker as a long-standing business in the area and with terrazzo as a product. Unsurprisingly, the bespoke area was a particular highlight, with lots of questions about the process of making terrazzo.
Samples of Rubblazzo and the bespoke flooring made for Exchange House caused a stir, as did items from previous projects in our showroom and consultation area. The tour also took in the new depot where the visitors were impressed by the amount of natural stone and terrazzo kept in stock.
There was an additional benefit as some of those on the tour were considering terrazzo for their own projects. We were able to answer their questions about what terrazzo could be used for, and what they would need to consider if they decided to use it.
One of the organisers of Open House popped in, interested to see a business like Diespeker open its doors; the festival venues are more usually heritage buildings, museums, libraries and architectural features.
Our tour visitors were given goody bags to take home as a reminder of their time with us. Overall, we were really pleased with our first ‘tours of Diespeker’ and may well be doing the same next year. Watch this space!