Exeter-based manufacturer and distributor of tiles, Original Style converted a 1966 London Routemaster bus into a mobile showroom for its major Russian distributor. The iconic British symbol was used to tour cities in Russia, Ukraine and Latvia; as a providing a novel way to promote Original Style’s range of wall and floor tiles.
The bus was fitted with a traditional Victorian bathroom complete with Victorian and Art Nouveau tiles on the lower deck and, on the upper, a luxurious meeting area in the style of a Victorian salon, complete with an extensive range of fittings and product samples.
The bus set off from Original Style’s Exeter offices in June 2008 for its epic journey to Russia. The first stop was Moscow where it was joined by directors from Original Style for the Queen’s birthday celebrations at the British Embassy. The June event was attended by 650 delegates, including leading business figures and politicians.
Original Style were invited to the birthday celebrations following a presentation that Steven Heath, Original Style’s Export Sales Director, made at the Anglo-Mania Export Show in May 2008 in Moscow.
Demand in Russia for Original Style’s quintessential English product ranges such as Victorian floor tiles and Artworks – a range inspired by Renaissance, Regency and Victorian design – had grown significantly in the years leading up to 2008, aided by a more competitive exchange rate.
Great care was taken to ensure that the balance of the Routemaster was not compromised during its re-fit; the combined weight of items installed in the bus required a great deal of planning and engineering input. The bus also had heating and air conditioning to deal with the Russian climate.
As well as the roadshow, the bus toured key customers to promote Original Style’s range of luxury tiles and bathroom products and help open new retail outlets around Russia, Latvia and the Ukraine.
Steven Heath said at the time: “One evening we were discussing ways in which to promote our products which would reinforce their ‘Englishness’. A London Routemaster bus is such an iconic symbol; it struck us as the perfect way to advertise our tiles!”
Exert from an article written in July, 2008