Czech & Speake is the product of an unusual idea: the creation of a tradition. In England in the late 1970s, interior design was becoming big business and in a nation famous for a house being a home and a home being thought of as a castle, fitted kitchens and bespoke bedrooms had been crafted for years. The bathroom, however, was left unloved. With this in mind, Frank Sawkins spotted what proved to be a fantastic opportunity: to create a company that combined bathroom fittings of supreme quality with a genuine bespoke appeal. Sawkins wanted to sell the idea of the bathroom as sanctuary, combined with a modern Englishness, to convey a sense of history, elegance and craft.
After realising that the bathroom had become purely a place of necessity and utility, Sawkins sought to beautify and objectify a room in which the day begins and ends and in which we are all, perhaps, at our most relaxed.
With an eye on the elegance of the Edwardian age, Sawkins was inspired to launch his first collection of bathroom fittings. Greeted by an incredible response to the quality and design of the products, Sawkins founded Czech & Speake in 1978. The following year he opened the first shop at No. 39 Jermyn Street, opposite his studio at No.88 (from which the brand’s signature fragrance, No.88, takes its name) and Czech & Speake soon found itself as respected a store as any of the more established names in the area. Following the success of the Edwardian Range and the first shop, Czech & Speake developed its Cubist Range of bathroom fittings, updated versions of Art Deco fixtures. As creative director of Czech & Speake, Frank Sawkins continues to produce unique designs every year. Their exclusivity remains subsumed beneath artistic considerations rather than marketing strategies.
Over thirty years later, Czech & Speake is more famous than ever for the bathroom fittings that made its name and – accompanied by fragrances and accessories – Frank Sawkins’ good idea and an eye for opportunity have created a genuine English luxury brand and a rare success story of quality and style, vision and tradition.