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A launch party on May 26 saw more than 1300 guests filling the spacious new saleroom. Major auctions have already taken place, starting with the successful Albion miniatures sale which drew in a healthy crowd of buyers.

After the makeover of the Knightsbridge rooms last year, Bonhams are clearly smartening up their London properties with the aim of reinforcing their brand and bringing in the big punters.

Bonhams acquired the Bond Street headquarters when they took over Phillips. The premises consisted of a warren of seven different buildings and the refit has now grafted these together to create a far more cohesive structure. Out have gone the dark and dingy corridors, offices and salerooms. Now all is light, airy, opulent, modern and grand.

The front entrance has been redesigned to emphasise Bonhams' presence on Bond Street. Access from the former doorway in Blenheim Street will now be mainly for staff and deliveries.

The net result of the refurbishment is that there is now twice as much open space on the ground floor. The new reception area is much broader and has four plasma-screen TVs displaying rolling information about sales, upcoming events and auction highlights. The bidder registration desk is adjacent to this, and lies en route to the saleroom. Here they have also fitted custom-designed meeting rooms, where Bonhams' specialists will be able to carry out valuations. This means that clients will not have to trek around the different floors in search of a particular department. Chairman Robert Brooks' vision was to meet all client needs within a few paces.

The saleroom itself is much larger and located at 90 degrees to its previous incarnation. It has glossy new flooring and moveable partitions that divide up the space, echoing the Knightsbridge rooms' recent facelift. This will mean that the space can be varied in relation to the scale of the auction.

There are new galleries and viewing areas on both the first and ground floors. In the basement, where the books department used to be, there is a purpose-built 60-seat lecture hall, a first for a London auctioneer. Down here also lies the cashiers' booths, which are based opposite the collection desk. Clients can now pay and collect their goods in the same place.

As with the Knightsbridge refurbishment, Bonhams' new facilities have been designed by Claire Agnew. She has created an auction house fit for the 21st century, but tried to retain its sense of tradition. Bonhams will doubtless be hoping that these splendid new surroundings will be matched by a surge in sale totals.