Our Story & Philosophy
Where it all Began
Ocee Design has evolved as a business over the last 30 years. Our strategic development has taken us from a producer of operator and task seating to an established British furniture manufacturer of superior designed, high-quality products.
If you are interested in our history, please feel free to explore our timeline below.
Where it all Began
1990 saw the start of Office Chairman. Founded as a specialist operator and task seating manufacturer focused on providing a higher level of customer service than seen in the market at the time.
Establishing Ocee Design
As part of a new strategic direction and to align the business to evolving market trends, the company name was changed to Ocee Design..
A Huge Milestone
In 2010 Alistair Gough invested in Ocee Design and became CEO. This was the start of our journey to becoming the global operating company we are today. With a clear plan to transform the product range, strengthen the team, and enhance the marketing strategy to ensure our customers’ added value. 2010 also saw the birth of our brand mission which was and still is, to focus on People, Place, and Purpose.
The Product Range is Expanded
Eager to meet the demand for an expanded product range Ocee Design acquired its first table system for the UK market in 2012.
This proved to be a positive strategic decision for Ocee design since it expanded our product range beyond seating and secured a solid platform for future growth.
Creating Shared Value
In 2013 Ocee Design entered into a partnership with the Danish company Four Design to exclusively sell its product portfolio in the UK market under licence.
The clean Scandinavian designs perfectly complement Ocee’s own highly acclaimed soft seating collections, and together, they make a perfect match.
The partnership proved to be the starting point for something even greater, as we would experience in 2016.
Welcome to the London Showroom
We opened the doors to our London showroom in 2015. The inspiring space in Clerkenwell, one of the most important design hubs in the world, showcases our product portfolio to the largest market in the UK. The investment proved transformative to our UK growth objectives and has been a valuable resource for us as a team and for all our clients.
We pride ourselves on our hospitality, and we always have the kettle on, ready for exciting and fruitful encounters.
If you wish to come to visit, please find all the information you need here.
In 2015, Ocee Design was awarded our ISO14001 certificate proving our commitment to environmental management.
As a company, we take seriously our impact on the environment and, where possible, reduce this within every part of the business, from product design to resource used to preparing for environmental emergencies. We assess and address risk, comply with relevant legislation, conduct internal audits and set objectives that prioritise sustainability and help us continually improve as an organisation.
In 2016 Ocee Design secured a solid platform for future international growth by acquiring the Danish furniture manufacturer Four Design. This investment was not random; Ocee Design and Four Design had been successfully collaborating since 2013.
The acquisition doubled the group’s size and has enabled a truly global offering with a highly relevant product portfolio and exceptional customer service.
Our CEO Alistair Gough commented, “The strength of the relationship between Ocee Design and Four®Design is a significant driver in our decision to purchase the company. We share the same values and have individual strengths to enhance the newly formed group. Both companies are acknowledged for their quality, passion for innovative design and research into new working methods. We have a similar ethos and commitment to service, which, I believe, will underpin the success of the Group”.
2016 was also the year where BGF, a long-term capital growth fund provider, acquired a minority stake in the group to support our ambitious international growth plans.
Acquisition of Race Furniture
Ocee International announced the acquisition of British based Race Furniture. Strengthening the group by expanding our audience and product portfolio with seating solutions within the Theatre, Auditorium and Transport market sectors.
Race Furniture has been at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of seating for public spaces for over 70 years. Founded by Ernest Race to manufacture his visionary and innovative designs, the company still produces some of these mid-century classics, including the BA3 and the Antelope chairs.
Race is well known for its range of expertly crafted bespoke seating solutions.
Read more about race furniture here
Years of growth
Our success was recognised for the second year running when we were listed in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 fastest growing privately owned UK companies.
EU Ecolabel & UN Sustainable Development Goals
As part of the Ocee International product range, a selection of our FourSure® chairs received the EU Ecolabel accreditation. The strict requirements of the EU Ecolabel accreditation scheme allow us to confidently provide certified sustainable products to meet growing customer demands throughout the UK and EU.
EU Ecolabel assures the environmental impact and sustainability of the product through their whole product lifecycle, from sustainably sourced materials to chemical use restriction, and eventually to end-of-life and the recyclability of the product.
2019 was also the year we committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which you can read more about here.
In 2020 we were proud to receive the FSC Certification.
Being certified under the Forest Stewardship Council allows us to provide a product Chain of Custody to our customers. As a furniture manufacturer, we know the importance of sustainable forestry. Whilst all timber we use within products complies with EU Timber Regulations, having FSC certification provides the next level of certainty that the timber is from legal sources and sustainably managed reforestation schemes.
Design Philosophy People. Place. Purpose.
People. Place. Purpose. That is what we believe design should be all about. Our furniture combines unrivalled functionality, ingenious design, and a healthy dose of wonder. If you ask us, that is what shapes good environments into great experiences. We believe that the furniture we design and the spaces we fill should enrich and inspire the lives of the organisations and individuals that use them. Everybody should be able to work, learn, meet or be entertained in the most beautiful, comfortable, creative and productive spaces. This belief is what makes us tick; it reflects our approach to design and manufacturing, the people we hire and how we go about our work.