Focus on Ideaworks integrated systems

  Tuesday, 03 December 2019 16:48
Chris Jones, managing director, image supplied by Ideaworks Chris Jones, managing director, image supplied by Ideaworks

Ideaworks lighting design and audiovisual consultancy’s expertise lies in the design, installation and aftercare of integrated systems.

At the heart of Ideaworks is a company dedicated to the discovery of new technologies and fostering talent; complemented by working partnerships with craftsman, enabling it to offer its customers quality, tried and tested products. We work closely with Ideaworks on bespoke product development, and were delighted to be given the opportunity to catch up with Chris Jones, who was appointed managing director of the company in early 2017.

Chris, what attracted you to a career with Ideaworks?
Honestly? I ended up at Ideaworks (Sound Ideas at the time) by accident whilst looking for a placement year from university in 1999! At the time I was interested as I had no idea that this world existed, never mind the technologies that went into making client’s homes incredible. There were only nine of us so it was a very different company back then.

How has founder Kevin Andrews inspired you?
“Do the right thing.” It probably isn’t the answer you might have expected and has nothing to do with technology but his obsession with those four simple words continues to provide lasting guidance for how I and we act. It is the simple answer to any question, regardless as to whether that be about integration, about clients, about people or about the latest technology apparent ‘must have’.

What makes Ideaworks stand out from other integrated systems companies?
That would be for our clients to say. However, when we have the opportunity to take over an existing project in the form of rescue works then we normally get very similar feedback from those clients. They normally refer to the level of design that we put in at the beginning, the ease of use of the home (or yacht) and most importantly, how responsive, knowledgeable and polite our aftercare team are, regardless of the time of day or night.

What’s been your most challenging project?
For me personally it was a project in Thailand back in 2006. The scale of the project combined with the distance and the local customs and ways of working made it a real learning experience. In fact, you helped us on that project by coming up with a completely bespoke outlet plate finish – designed to match a teaspoon handle the client had! As a company though, we completed the world’s largest yacht a few years ago and as you can imagine, that was quite challenging. Those sorts of projects inevitably push the boundaries of the technology and force you to be creative. All this at the same time as dealing with the sheer scale of the project and honing your processes to ensure the same level of quality and reliability for the client.

Do yacht interiors present additional challenges when it comes to specification?
Not normally. They are just floating homes, albeit with a lot more rooms and entertainment spaces than in a home.

Which Ideaworks services are most sought after and why?
We introduced a Fastrack team a few years ago in response to clients wanting to make changes to their homes without wanting to wait for capacity within a ‘normal’ project team. This service has been a runaway success and continues to grow in response to the demand from our clients but also from new clients who need their unreliable system rescuing. Being able to meet the client, produce a proposal, design and install the technology and then hand over their new system within a few weeks or months is a popular service to offer.

Ideaworks has grown exponentially since its inception, what are the secrets of the company’s success in your opinion?
A committed core of people who have dedicated their careers to deliver incredible homes and yachts, thereby building the company. This team represents who we are and what we do far more than any set of values or mission statement could do. They are the ones who ensure that every new member of the team ‘gets it’. They take a personal interest in mentoring them, training them and also holding them to account should they witness something that doesn’t match with who we are.

What are the most important factors when it comes to sourcing the perfect craftsman or OEM partner?
I have to use an overused phrase here so please forgive me - shared values. If we are to have a successful, long-term relationship with another company then we have to trust each other. This trust goes beyond the normal day to day transaction of buying or selling services. It should be a trust that when something goes wrong or when something urgent comes up, we can trust them to help pull off the seemingly impossible. We have been very fortunate to have built up a number of these sorts of relationships over the last 34 years, Focus SB is one of them.

The A’ Design award winning, patented Turn product was conceived by design house Tyba Design, founded by Ideaworks. Talk us through the unique features of the product and describe what was important when collaborating with Focus SB during its development.
Turn is unique in its simplicity. It is a beautiful rotary controller on the wall that allows the client to adjust the lights, temperature, volume or curtains and blinds without any training or without the usual wall clutter that you would need to achieve the same result. During the development of Turn, we worked with Focus to design and prototype plaster over backboxes that would be easy to install whilst also allowing Turn to mount on the wall in a circular form without any apparent fixings. We also rely on you to provide some of the finishes.

What’s next for Ideaworks?
Let’s just say that there are more exciting times ahead!

Discover more about the company’s design, project management, engineering and aftercare services and its London Experience Centre in Great Portland Street at Ideaworks™.

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