The new premises at 127 Fulham Road, near the landmark Bibendum building, is a former carpet store that only became available in June. Shop-fitters are currently modifying the premises to create a ground-floor showroom with office space in the basement.
The scheduled opening date is September 6, ready “for a piece of the pie at the start of the new season”, said Chiswick’s co-owner Leigh Osborne.
Osborne – who joined managing director William Rouse in the west London firm five years ago – said the building will be used both as a consignment and valuation office and a viewing and live-streamed bidding space for forthcoming sales. It will also move into retail, offering vendors of high-end luxury goods a different sale route that will operate independently of the auction business and not comprise unsold lots.
He told ATG he does not believe the endeavour will overstretch resources at a firm that already holds 180 sales a year.
To help with space for consignments the firm last week took a long lease on a warehouse building opposite its saleroom in Colville Road, W3.
“When the news of the CSK closure was announced I was very much of the opinion that we were not going to wait for that business to come to us. We had to go and get it,” Osborne said.
The firm has announced the names of seven of the staff who, having been made redundant at Christie’s, have now signed full-time, permanent contracts.
CSK’s long-serving carpets and rugs specialist Mark Henry Lampe joined earlier in the summer alongside Nigel Shorthouse, at Christie’s for more than 20 years, who will lead the new operation as head of business development.
Wine specialist Peter Mansell, Charlotte Soehngen (jewellery) and Melissa van Vliet (Old Masters) will also be based in Fulham Road together with former CSK porter Fernando Rest repo and receptionist Elizabeth Parson.
“I wanted continuity for regular CSK clients and Elizabeth and Fernando will help provide that,” Osborne added.
Contracts for four other ex-Christie’s staffers are yet to be finalised but should be in place next month. Chiswick is still keen to hear from other specialists in all disciplines who may wish to join a firm with a headcount now numbering over 70.
Back to 'CSK'
Osborne told ATG the business will be called Chiswick at South Kensington, providing an acronym easily recognisable to London’s auction regulars.
“Over the next two years we have plans for up to four London branches.”
He quipped: “We are now the only CSK.”