Meet the team at James Tobias – Head of Design, Darren Clarke

Pictured with DIY SOS, in the middle is Ryan Williams (L) & Darren Clarke (R)

Head of Design and DIY enthusiast Darren Clarke is now in his eighth year at James Tobias, leading the design team in creating bespoke designs and solutions for projects across the UK.

As Head of Design at James Tobias, what does your role involve?

Bespoke design is our passion at James Tobias and we love creating concepts which bring our client’s visions to life. Our client base is broad and many of our projects involve some element of architectural and bespoke design.

Initially our sales team deal with every enquiry but for any bespoke detail, those conversations come into me and the design team. I do have a couple of customers who work directly with me and I tend to deal with a number of architects on relevant projects.

Every customer is different and we can customise and adapt every product in our range for the end purpose of our customer. Because we work with different businesses in a range of sectors, we can pass on our expertise and commercial awareness whilst adding our creative mark to each project. We also liaise with the factory and fitting teams to ensure products are manufactured correctly and optimised for production and installation. A very varied and creative role.

How did you get into the industry?

I graduated back in 2005 with a degree in interior design and swiftly moved into the retail industry where I spent seven years. I joined James Tobias as a designer eight years ago and have now proudly built up the team during that period.

Do you have a particular sector focus?

We work in a number of sectors, but have recently completed a number of hotel projects and those with display units and focal features. Our retreat seating booths are also extremely popular.

There are so many interesting projects, SI Games was a recent one, which was design led which I was proud to be involved with, seeing a design come to life is extremely rewarding.

I’ve also noted a number of home office installations that we’ve done for our domestic client base. Interestingly these are all connected to those we have completed commercial focused work for, so they understand our products and our bespoke focus.

What’s your career highlight so far?

It has to be our time working with DIY SOS for a project in Weston–super-Mare. Our Head of Innovation & Marketing, Ryan Williams and I joined the DIY SOS team to help fit a wardrobe space and desk area with LED illumination for a young boy. It was a stand out project for me, everyone supported each other and it meant so much to the boy and his family.

How do innovation and sustainability feature in your work?

Sustainability and innovation are always front of mind, but we have been developing the way we work with materials for many years, our RPC product is a brilliant example of this. From being savvy with material use, reducing wastage and taking on feedback from those we work with, it all has a place in our work to reduce our carbon footprint.

Communication enables innovation and we as a team, work really closely with those in the factory and fitters so that we can always improve. We have recently done this with the development of our retreat booths. Natural product development means less materials, a reduction in transportation which means less fuel and perfecting the build process.

A bit more about you…

A DIY enthusiast and family man is probably the best way to describe me. I live in Taunton with my wife, two kids, two dogs and three cats.

My DIY portfolio is extensive from block paving and revamping our kitchen from design to fitting.

To find out more about James Tobias and our bespoke approach get in touch here…

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