Circle Experience Lab is one of our newest tenants, and we are proud to add them to our list of both sustainable and design companies here at the BDC. Shaping the future of retail and commercial interiors, it is a platform for exceptional design and sustainable products.

The inside of the Circle Lab Experience showroom.

From furniture to lighting to immersive customer experiences, the company really does have it all. We spoke to keen innovator and co-founder Paul Brooks to tell us more about his pioneering design platform, its commitment to sustainability and what it has in store at the BDC.

Far from being just a design showroom, the Circle Experience Lab, or Circle Lab for short, is an interactive hub and a platform for joining adjacent businesses together to create a collective. It’s a place to experience the latest in retail technology, sustainable materials, and forward-thinking trends. Currently the company is the amalgamation of three trailblazing sustainable and design companies.

Retail Monkeys is a cutting edge visual merchandising and retail fixture company. Innermost Plus is a leader in lighting and furniture design.  While Trison a global digital company specialising in unique brand experiences with the ability to digitise any physical business . All three come together under one roof to form Circle Experience Labs. Whether you’re eyeing a new furniture range, a unique light fixture, sustainable store fixtures or want to explore gamification in retail tech, Circle Lab can make it happen.

Paul moved into the BDC in November with his three co-founders, Peter Critchley of Trison Steve Jones of Innermost  and Stanislav Šik of Retail Monkeys, just in time for HIX – the leading exhibition for hotel design hosted here at the BDC. Since their grand opening the new showroom has been wildly popular.

“With Retail Monkeys’ creativity, Innermost’s design brilliance, and Trison’s digital prowess, we are redefining retail, creating eco-friendly and visually stunning spaces and immersive experiences,” Paul says.

The inspiration behind the brand

Creating innovative brands has always been a passion of Paul’s and Circle Lab provided the ideal opportunity to unite three companies based on their shared emphasis on creativity, sustainability and exceptional design.

Paul says that he is excited to be part of shaping the future of London’s retail and customer experiences.

“I wanted to create a dynamic space where physical and digital dimensions collide. A space that essentially houses brands that exemplify sustainable innovation. I believe that is what the Circle Experience Lab does.”

So why the name Circle, you may wonder?

“Circles are inclusive shapes, and our brand reflects that by fostering a sense of community, encouraging dialogue among brands, retailers, and consumers. It creates a space for shared values and ideas.

“All our brands adhere to eco-friendly practices which is a circular economy where products are reused, recycled, and repurposed,” explains Paul.

Paul Brooks sat in his showroom at the BDC

Paul in the Circle Lab Experience showroom here at the BDC, located on the top floor, Suite 327. 

Taking sustainability seriously

For Circle Lab, sustainability isn’t a mere trend but an inspiration for innovation. 

For example one of Innermost’s flagship sustainable furniture brands, Danish chair maker Wehlers, have completely sustainable products that are purely circular.

They log not just the recovered waste as it enters their supply chain and becomes a raw material. But they plan for the future by staying involved with the product throughout its long life and commit to reusing the material at the end. 

Wehlers is a pioneer in the sustainable furniture industry and was the first Scandinavian company to gain B Corp status back in 2016. Now they are working with companies who don’t recycle to build systems to get the material back before it becomes waste.

Retail Monkeys are aiming to be a B Corp by the end of July and have a selection of alternative sustainable materials displayed in our library such as HONEXT®.  These are featured in one of their retail fixtures in the Lab crafted using an igneous mix of sustainable material.

Interestingly the fixture, as all the fixtures do, comes with an information label comparing its carbon footprint from being made of sustainable materials versus what it would be if made from more traditional, less environmentally friendly materials.

“The result of using these sustainable materials as opposed to traditional wood is a 50% reduction in the carbon footprint, ” says Paul.

“For context, the equivalent savings would be 1104 km in an average car, 2048 km flight, 526 hours of television, and 27 days heating an average home.”

Trison have some great tech in the showroom too. Besides a gargantuan 3 m x 5 m LED screen there’s “lift and learn” technology where content on screen changes as a person interact with a physical product such as Trison’s very own scent machine. Plus excitedly a lot more to come.

B Corp Certification

Circle Lab is set to be certified as a B Corp this April. As a proud B Corp since summer 2023, the BDC were incredibly excited to welcome Circle Lab and their network into our historic venue as one of our newest design companies. 

“It’s an opportunity to be part of a community dedicated to making a positive impact, with a shared vision for a better, more sustainable world. Choosing the BDC wasn’t just a design choice but a conscious step toward a future where businesses prioritise people and the planet alongside profit.”

Beside our shared commitment to a more sustainable future, our fantastic location right in the heart of Angel, Islington was another major draw for Paul and the rest of the team.

“The area is buzzing, with an array of shops, cafes, and cultural hubs, which is a nice environment for our team as well as a great change from working from home!

“The accessibility is great too, with excellent transport links, making it easy for clients and collaborators to join us.” He says.

What the future holds

Not one to rest on his laurels, Paul has some big plans for the future.

“Beyond retail, we plan for the Circle Lab to serve as a thriving hub for thought-provoking discussions, innovative ideas and constant reinvention.”

Keeping the finer details close to his chest, Paul did let slip there would be an exciting surprise to unveil at this year’s VM and Display Show 2024 here at the BDC.

We wait with eager anticipation to see what Paul and the rest of the Circle Experience Lab team has in store!

So if you are one of the many sustainable design companies out there looking to be part of a thriving business community that shares your values then get in touch now. We have a wide selection of design showrooms and office spaces to meet all your needs.

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