Atrium’s humble beginnings -back in 1976- were quite untypical in a number of ways. The late desire by a former teacher of French literature to realise his passion for architecture by creating a business operating in that field was the initial impetus (but there had not been any introduction to the practice -let alone best practice- of business). The initial location of Harrogate -North Yorkshire- as the base from which to operate the business was another quirk, and it took a couple of years to consider remedial solutions to the fact that though Harrogate was pretty central within urbanised UK, it was way off-centre in terms of Atrium’s specific business territory. The list of original inadequacies could easily go on, however, soon followed a phase of reflection with never ending readjustments in tail, and whenever their impacts got felt, strategic mistakes would be analysed and decisions taken and implemented until such time as Atrium had become a properly run business. It did take some time though...
In difference to what seems to happen almost everywhere else, London is the epicentre in the UK of where it all happens and the A & D sectors are no exception. The Company had therefore to start its approach towards London. It all happened in dynamic succession: Harpenden in 1981, St Albans in 1983 and finally to our current base of Centre Point (the most notorious location in London at the time) in 1986.
Atrium had started as a partnership. It changed its status in 1985 to become a Limited Liability Company to reflect the scaling up of its operations. By the early nineties and under the input of the second generation of what was still very much a typical family business the balance started to shift: from what had predominantly been a Furniture supplier with a lighting section attached to it, into a configuration where the two sections gradually reached similar importance for a while, before the positions of the two departments were reversed. By the late nineties the lighting section had overtaken furniture for good and by a gap widening year after year. In early 2005 the decision was taken to close down the furniture division and from then on concentrate all our energies on developing Atrium into one of the top performing independent lighting distributors in the UK.
To a large extent, the most reliable measure by which a company can be assessed depends upon the levels of satisfaction experienced by its customers in the various aspects of their dealings. Our suppliers and ourselves are part of the same chain and as each link must be at least as strong as the others, we had to ensure that all our core suppliers should be among the best all round. Modular: Atrium started dealing with Modular NV of Belgium as one of their UK distributors in 1992. Having become after a few years their most successful UK distributor a joint decision between the two companies was entered in 1998 to appoint Atrium as Modular NV’s sole UK distributor.
LTS: Even though our dealings with LTS, one of the best established German lighting manufacturer, go back much further, Atrium became their preferred UK distributor in 2003.
Ilti Luce: After several years of trading with them Atrium became Ilti Luce’s sole UK distributor in 2004.Owing to its expertise in the specialised fields of fibre optics and LED the Turin based firm occupies a much sought after niche in the fields of museums, art galleries and high end retail.
Flos: This Italian (Brescia based) lighting company is one of the oldest established manufacturers (est.1962) at the quality end of the spectrum. It is also recognised by many professionals and cognoscenti as the most prestigious. Atrium’s association with Flos is all the more special that we started dealing with them well over thirty years ago, at a time when both companies were run by the first generation of owner/managers. Over the years, trading with Flos never stopped, some years were even extremely successful... At the start of 2011 Atrium became the sole distributor in the UK and the Republic of Ireland for the productions of all Flos divisions: Flos Decorative, Flos Architectural, Soft Architecture and Light Contract.
The way we operate:
Our team’s head count is currently 44, of whom 10 are directly responsible for sales. The sales force is in turn supported by a group of 5 lighting technicians and 8 sales administrators. Together with the managing and accounting teams, they operate from Centre Point.
Logistics, maintenance and after sales services are run from our own modern warehouse facility located in Park Royal (West London)
Having decided from the time of the inception of the Company that we would operate at the quality end of our sectors, the brands we have selected to work with -on exclusive or occasional bases- are all well established, with proven records in their respective fields. Their luminaires and associated equipment will help us achieve the optimal solutions for projects within such environments as offices, retail, hospitality & leisure, education and high end residential to name but a few.
Each project has its own specific parameters and specific constraints and we aim to meet our clients’ objectives whenever technicalities and budgets will allow. We can operate at various levels of involvement, from acting as a straightforward supplier of luminaires and associated hardware, work alongside or under the instructions of the client’s consultants to help develop the lighting schemes and where it comes to the installation stage, we can then advise the electrical contractor with regards to best practice in the handling of the equipment we have supplied.
Most of our work is obtained through specifiers who have used us before and we take pride in the level of customer retention that we enjoy, however we are always very keen to meet new clients, always with the trust that one day they may choose to become repeat clients themselves.