Leolux’s future-focused showroom makes visiting about much more than just furniture.
Described as a ‘state-of-the-art experience centre’, the latest Leolux site is more than a showroom. Its champagne-coloured façade, complete with slanted blades that cause the exterior of the building to morph as you drive by, makes it a striking landmark visible from the A2 motorway near Breukelen in the Randstad region of the Netherlands.
Opened late last year, the almost 3,500-sq-m destination replaces two smaller showrooms previously located in Eindhoven and Utrecht, and provides a new and more conveniently placed Dutch home for the family of Leolux Furniture Group brands – Leolux, Pode, Évidence and Leolux LX. It’s immediately apparent upon arrival that here, experience comes first.
In the hospitality area at the entrance, visitors are greeted with a taste of Leolux’s story. As hospitality staff serve cups of coffee, Sebastiaan Sanders – who represents the third generation to run the family-founded business – explains that the beans are roasted in Limburg, the Dutch province where Leolux was founded. Sanders commissioned Leolux’s art directors – Studio Truly Truly, a duo based in the Dutch city of Dordrecht – to design organically shaped coffee cups specifically for this moment, which were made at Dutch ceramics atelier Cor Unum.
In a continuation of the inherently Dutch operation, Amsterdam-based studio i29 was tapped for the interior, bringing into the mix its extensive expertise in design that maximizes the potential for engaging human experiences. A mezzanine level divides the space, offering an elevated section where customers can decide on furniture models, upholstery materials and colours, with the help of digital tools. The spacious wooden staircase connecting the two levels doubles as a grandstand for events and, along with the giant tree in the reception area, is a reminder of the natural materials that play a central role in Leolux products.
The presentations of the various brands are designed by the respective art directors: Studio Roderick Vos provided the Pode collection with a smart lifestyle look, while Studio Truly Truly gave the Leolux presentation its premium look. A circular, curtained exhibition space at the rear of the showroom showcases small experimental Studio Truly Truly-instigated collections as sources of inspiration for interiors. The holistic retail experience is topped off by the addition of unique art (local, of course, by the likes of Dutchman Thomas Trum) and even a branded scent.
Leolux’s forward-thinking approach is also evident in the building’s construction and services. Completely natural gas-free, it relies on electricity powered by solar panels on the roof. Glass walls and skylights bring in extensive natural light – a consideration of the environment, as well as an essential prerequisite for providing sound advice about colour samples – while wheelchair access was integrated throughout the site.
Under the leadership of Sanders, Leolux continues to innovate while respecting a heritage that dates to 1948. The company is no stranger to pushing the design envelope – it opened its first showroom in Utrecht before the concept was mainstream, followed closely by other advice centres across the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Two other design centres remain, in Brussels and Krefeld, but Sanders emphasizes the importance of staying ahead of the curve when it comes to brand locations: ‘There aren’t any holy houses at Leolux anymore. If you cling onto them for too long, they prevent you from making progress.’
Leolux is also looking outward as it moves forward, expanding its lens to others in the industry. In March 2022, the company took the initiative to organize a small trade fair called Destination: Design, with the aim of connecting retailers, architects and other professionals in the interior design industry. A group of 24 predominantly Dutch participants gathered in The Hague for the event. Despite having no intention of becoming an official fair organizer, Leolux led a second edition with 40 contributors in January 2023 in Eindhoven.
These events are yet another sign of Leolux’s focus on experience, a key drawcard for physical retail. At a time when companies must adapt to reflect the changing needs of modern consumers, Leolux is doing just that while simultaneously celebrating its legacy.