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Moorside, Colchester,
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Our GS Contracts Success Stories in 2022

Once again, another year has flown past.

2022 has been a very successful year for GS Contracts; we have been fortunate to secure some fantastic new clients providing us with a wealth of opportunities.

With 2022 coming to a close, we thought- what better time to share and celebrate some of our favourite projects and events throughout the year?

Completed Projects

We kicked off 2022 with the completion of both One Crown Place and Ottolenghi in Chelsea.

GS Contracts fitted-out this residential and commercial marketing suite for the new One Crown Place housing development in London back in early January 2022.

This 7-week project soon came to life, creating something visually spectacular to set the tone for the rest of the complex.

One Crown Place
One Crown Place
Ottolenghi Chelsea Interior
Ottolenghi Chelsea
Ottolenghi Chelsea solid surfaces
One Crown Place
Ottolenghi Chelsea Interior

Ottolenghi opened their new Chelsea branch in January of this year, one of their largest delis to date.

Ottolenghi’s Chelsea deli has a unique design that doesn’t follow the ‘typical’ Ottolenghi look, but still incorporates their distinctive Corian counters and displays throughout the restaurant.

The GS team carried out works from an empty shell unit, to deliver this bright and stylish deli.

The Thin White Duke

Later, at the start of 2022 we also welcomed The Thin White Duke, a unique bar and recording studio in Soho.

Inspired by David Bowie’s persona, The Thin White Duke, we worked with Caffeina Consulting to transform an existing recording studio unit into something truly spectacular.

The recording studios and bar are full of life and character, from glass-stained artwork to hand-painted murals- The Thin White Duke isn’t a spot to miss!

The Thin White Duke recording studio

Martello Café Felixstowe

Later in May of 2022, we delivered Martello Cafe in Felixstowe. Working with Plaice Design, we delivered this brand new 1.5 million-pound cafe on the seafront of Felixstowe.

The opening of this café has been hugely successful for Felixstowe, attracting both local people and new visitors.

Unsurprisingly, this spectacular space has been awarded a RIBA Suffolk design award, with thanks to Plaice Architecture, Barnes Construction, East Suffolk Council and GS Contracts!

The Kitchen @ Felixstowe Exterior
The Kitchen @ Felixstowe Interior
The Kitchen @ Felixstowe Interior
The Kitchen @ Felixstowe Joinery

Other Project News

This year, we’ve ventured back to our roots, working on fast rollouts for some chain businesses. We are excited to reveal these projects in due course.

More recently we’ve completed the fit-out for ‘Pacific Wine Bar’ in Islington. Pacific Wines is both a store and an events space for wine tasting. Stay tuned for our case study and completion photos on this project!

New Starters

This 2022, we have welcomed many new faces to the GS Contracts team. Due to our continued expansion, we needed to take on some new team members to help support the successful growth of the business.

We have many new Site managers, Contracts Managers, Estimators and Workshop Staff to introduce you to in the New Year. Make sure you’re following us on social media to keep in the loop with company updates and new news!

Celebrating our 30-year Anniversary!

This year we are celebrating our 30-year anniversary!

Founded in 1992 by Gary Smith, we have grown from humble beginnings to the strong team we are today.

We’d like to thank you all for your continued support over the last 30 years and we look forward to what the future holds.

As you can see, 2022 has been an extremely productive year, and we can only see a progression from here onwards. With the positive growth and development of the business, we can’t wait for what 2023 has to offer!

Start your 2023 off right by getting in touch with us today.

GS Contracts to Net Zero by 2050

GS Contracts have committed to becoming Net Zero on Carbon Emissions by 2050 and Carbon Neutral by 2025, supporting the Net Zero Strategy.

Build Back Greener is a campaign set out by the UK Government, the strategy sets out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet the Net Zero target by 2050.

The rising global temperatures caused by daily tasks such as filling up our cars and heating our homes are taking a detrimental toll on our environment.

It’s our time to get involved and help make a difference.

We have joined forces with Gaysha and Heart of the City to determine a baseline carbon footprint, making science-based targets to help reduce and eliminate it.

We aim to be Carbon Neutral by 2025, meaning we will be offsetting our Carbon Production by investing in organisations that give back to the planet, such as planting trees in the Amazon, protecting the rainforests in Peru and preserving plant land in Indonesia.

Once we have established targets, the GS team will all contribute to deciding on whom to support.

In the meantime, we are collaboratively working together, focusing on our recycling and energy reduction in the office and workshop.

We hope you can all support us on this journey, and join us in the Build Back Greener strategy.

If you are searching for a sustainable and reliable contractor to carry out your future project- get in touch today.

21 October 2022 by Hannah Steel 0 Comments

We became ISO Certified for Quality, Environmental & Safety!

GS Contracts is delighted to announce that we have become ISO Certified for Quality, Environmental & Safety.

With a collective effort from the GS team, we underwent an audit by Alcumus ISOQAR for GS Contracts Ltd to become ISO certified.

ISO is the formal recognition of an independent body, that the company operates to international standards set-out to standardise practices in Quality, Environmental and Safety. It streamlines systems and shows that we meet the specific requirements within our management systems.

We achieved ISO standard 9001 for Quality Management, certifying our strong management system, operating procedures and risk management strategies.

We also received a positive certification for ISO 14001, relating to our competence, skills and abilities to carry out procedures whilst avoiding potential environmental impacts.

GS Contracts also received the international standard ISO 45001 for the management of Health and Safety; and have been certified in the reduction of occupational injuries and diseases.

Thanks to the hard work put in by the GS team, we were thrilled to receive the news and announce that we have received a positive recommendation for certification.

If you are searching for a reliable contractor to carry out your future project, why not get in touch today?

Why source ethically & sustainably?

Over the last 30 years, we have been manufacturing joinery work for some remarkable projects. Our 20,000 sqft manufacturing space and team of machinists, bench joiners and sprayers provide bespoke joinery services for all our valued clients.

As a business, we understand the importance of sourcing our materials from ethical and sustainable retailers as we are conscious of the environmental impact we have on our planet.

Manufacturing a counter

What makes timber sustainable and why do we use it?

Sustainable timber is simply timber that comes from well-managed forests and are harvested responsibly. They ensure new trees are planted to replace those harvested, which helps protect the surrounding environment.

Sustainable timber helps buildings to meet government regulations – the UK government is increasingly making use of legislation to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. The environmental credentials of sustainable timber can help to ensure that projects meet government requirements, future-proof planned projects against future legislation and even give projects a better chance of getting through the planning process.

One of the main benefits of why we supply sustainable timber is that it can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which reduces the impact of global warming, and improves our environmental footprint. However, there are also many other reasons as to why we use sustainable timber in our fit-out projects.

For example, it takes less energy to produce sustainable timber products than other building materials such as concrete and brick. The amount of energy used in timber production and transport is far lower than these alternative materials. For us, this means it reduces the overall carbon footprint of a project.

Bespoke Joinery Staff

Working with suppliers

By working with suppliers that we value and trust, we can feel confident in the services we are then able to deliver.

We are all for saving the planet. One of our frequently used suppliers requires us to request the materials we need in advance- stopping them from holding unnecessary stock and end-users from over-purchasing.

Great efforts are being made across all of the suppliers we use, ensuring that their products are acquired sustainably whilst limiting the waste generated when distributing these products.

As a result, the suppliers we source our materials from all support the responsible trading of the products they sell; and by working with the appropriate waste management companies, they aim to increase the proportion of waste sent for recycling.

Once our joinery team have acquired the necessary materials to begin manufacturing, it’s our responsibility to ensure that any waste we create is recycled and dealt with accordingly.

GSC Team

Our Workshop

All of our joinery is manufactured in our workshop, giving us full autonomy and allowing us to ensure all bespoke joinery is of the highest quality.

We are lucky to have built a reputation for manufacturing and installing luxury bespoke items on many of our fit-out projects over the last 25 years and have developed an efficient and structured delivery process from the initial manufacturing to delivery on site.

As much as our joinery team works to support full fit-outs, they can also help when a client wants a unique standalone piece.

Take a look at some of our favourite pieces below:

Frescobaldi Joinery
Frescobaldi London
ROVI Ottolenghi Bespoke Joinery
ROVI Ottolenghi
Pre Salons Retail Fit-Out Interior
Seven Layer Retail Interior
Seven Layer
White Pine Bespoke Joinery
White Pine
The Kitchen @ Felixstowe Joinery
The Kitchen @ Felixstowe

If you are searching for a reliable contractor to carry out your future project, why not get in touch today?

Our top 5 tips: How to create a Timeless Restaurant

We have now been fitting out restaurants for over 25 years, so we thought it was about time to share with you what really makes a timeless restaurant.

Working alongside some of the industry’s most reputable architects, designers, and industry professionals, we have uncovered what makes a long-lasting restaurant that everyone will love!

We all love keeping up with the latest design trends, but is it always the best approach to follow when fitting your restaurant out?

Below are our top 5 tips on how to create a timeless restaurant- that will impress over and over again!

Frescobaldi Interior
Zuaya Interior

1) Be Unique

First up, one of the most notable tips-be unique! Nobody wants to see two of the same restaurants along the same street!

Pinterest boards and Google searches are great places to begin your restaurant design inspiration. But if you’re continuing to see the same style, maybe you should reconsider your choices.

You want to stand out from the crowd, so come up with something original that will invite new people and make them want to visit over and over again!

The last place you want to visit is an outdated restaurant with no character. Keep in mind that trends come and go, so ensure the design of your restaurant will hold its value throughout the years.

Hyde Park Lido Lighting

2) Durability

Durability is a vital part of maintaining a timeless restaurant. Ensuring you are using high-end quality materials on the fit-out of your restaurant lengthens the time in which it remains looking fresh and pristine.

Undoubtedly, you will face wear and tear; glasses get smashed, and tables get messy. You need to invest in good quality, durable materials that will withstand the abuse.

Our workshop team are constantly working with a variety of easy-to-clean, durable materials. For more information on why you should implement solid surfaces into your restaurant fit-out, click here.

Solid Surfaces

3) Branding

A strong brand is arguably what creates the personality and identity of a successful restaurant.

We have worked with both chain and individual restaurants over the last 25 years, and have found that a solid brand strategy is vital for the success of their business.

ITSU, Coco Di Mama and Ottolenghi are prime examples of well-established brands, with multiple different restaurant locations.

The shopfront of your restaurant is one of the main focal points to broaden your client base. Continuing the same theme throughout the restaurant creates a memorable brand for your business.

Take a look below at some of our favourite shopfronts we have completed:

El Norte Exterior
Ottolenghi Chelsea Exterior
Ottolenghi Marylebone Exterior

4) Structure & Efficiency

Considering the structure and efficiency of a restaurant is extremely important for your customers to be comfortable and content.

Think about your seating efficiency; you don’t want your customers feeling trapped or too close to others. You want to maximise the space whilst maintaining a suitable distance between other diners and the staff moving around.

Your restaurant should be structured with careful thought put into it. Your floor plans should allow for easy circulation of both staff and customers and should flow naturally.

Rovi Ottolenghi Restaurant Refit
Hyde Park Lido Fit-Out

5) Location

The location in which you are planning to open your restaurant plays a massive factor in its success.

The food market is a thriving yet competitive industry- You should think about who you’re trying to attract, its accessibility and what other shops are located around it.

Is the area busy enough for you to attract your target consumers? Does the location fit the design of your restaurant? Do you have a great deal of competition around you?

All of these factors should be taken into consideration before finalising the location for your restaurant.

You not only want to target the right people but generate enough business for it to be worthwhile.

Pavilion Road Chelsea

By taking into consideration our top 5 tips, we can assure you that your restaurant will be well on its way to success.

If you are looking to open a restaurant but don’t know where to begin, get in touch today and our team will be happy to help.

How can solid surfaces transform your fit-out project in 2022?

Solid Surfaces

Did you know that in addition to wood joinery, GS Contracts are also experienced working with a variety of different solid surfaces across our projects? Solid surfaces are becoming increasingly popular on our fit-out projects, and we’re not surprised considering the endless list of benefits they offer.

Design visions are limitless with the solid surface choices we offer here at GS Contracts. Our in-house team are skilled in working with such high-quality materials including Corian, Staron, Hi-macs, Hanex, Tristone, Krion & Avonite.

Working with a variety of unique materials, we will always try to provide you with the perfect solution to any problem or requirement you may have and solid surfaces can often be the perfect choice.

Solid surfaces worktop
solid surfaces worktop

What are the benefits of using solid surfaces in your next fit-out project?

There are many great benefits to using these solid surface materials in your future fit-out project. Take a look below at some of the advantages of using these different materials:

  1. Easy to clean & maintain– The solid surfaces we work with are extremely easy to wipe down and clean, making it a manageable and low maintenance option to implement on our projects.
  2. Versatility– You are spoilt for choice with endless colour, pattern, and design options, giving you complete freedom to create seamless shapes and joins.
  3. Durability– The properties that make up the solid surfaces are extremely hardwearing, making it difficult for them to be scratched, cracked, or damaged.
  4. Cost Effective–  We can implement various forms of solid surfaces into your project to reach your desired visual outcome at a competitive price to suit your budget.

Below are some of our favourite solid surface features to date!

Ottolenghi Marylebone

Ottolenghi Marylebone solid surfaces corian
Ottolenghi Marylebone solid surfaces corian

Kineya Mugimaru

Solid surfaces kineya
Solid surfaces kineya

22 Bedford Square

solid surfaces 22 bedford sq
Bloomsbury Custom Made Tea Points


solid surfaces itsu
solid surfaces itsu

Ottolenghi Chelsea

Ottolenghi Chelsea
Ottolenghi Chelsea solid surfaces

Working across the residential, commercial, retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, our team have proficient knowledge and skill to deliver project after project at exceptional quality.

By combining our interior contracting, bespoke manufacturing, and solid surface experience, our team are your perfect match to exceed your expectations time after time. We’ll always provide you with high-quality products accompanied with competitive prices to suit your budgets. Our team are always more than happy to talk you through the best options to meet your design and costing requirements.

If you are searching for a reliable contractor to carry out your future project, why not get in touch today?

Why join a GS Contracts Apprenticeship Scheme?

We are proud to offer a range of apprenticeship schemes here at GS Contracts. Many staff members that make up the GS Contracts team originally began working with us as an apprentice and have since worked their way up within the business.

Not only are apprentice schemes a fantastic way for us to train new staff members, but they are also a great opportunity for staff to develop the skills needed for more senior and more complex roles

Contributions in the Workplace

All apprentices we’ve taken on in the workplace have made great contributions to our team whilst learning and gaining the necessary skills on the job.

Many people think that apprenticeship schemes are primarily taken advantage of by those who have recently left school/college, but- research has shown that the age profile of those starting apprenticeships has changed, with a higher proportion of apprentices starting over the age of 24.

One example is one of our talented workshop employees, Martyn Rhodes. Martyn joined us at age 31 and began a bench joinery apprenticeship; today, he is valued as one of the most essential members of our workshop team.

Apprenticeship Joinery
Martyn - Bench Joiner
Manufacturing a counter
Martyn- Bench Joiner

We understand apprenticeships aren’t just for young individuals looking to grow and develop, which is why we welcome those from different backgrounds taking the opportunity to join our team.

Similarly, we value the continued progression of our apprentice’s. If presented with a permanent job offer, we will consider future training and education for our team to progress into new areas.

Liam Saunders is a great example of one of our long-term employees here at GS Contracts who has worked his way up from an apprenticeship scheme to becoming one of our committed contracts managers.

GS Contracts Apprentice
Liam's work as an apprentice- Taken in 2003!

Current Apprenticeship Schemes

Here at GS Contracts, we currently have two apprenticeship schemes running within the business- one in the workshop and the other in the office environment- providing both with an opportunity for continued growth and development.

Comments from Michael Sullivan, Director

“Freddy has recently enrolled on bench joinery NVQ levels 1 & 2

The apprenticeship will assist Freddy with his theoretical knowledge and basic practical skills before implementing this into all aspects of manufacturing and joinery.

His weekly attendance at college has given Freddy relevant basic skills to assist with his development at GS Contracts. In his short time at GS Contracts, Freddy has shown a great attitude to his work and day to day activities within the business”.

Bench Joiner Apprenticeship GS Contracts
Freddy Level 2 Bench Joinery Apprenticeship
Digital Marketing Apprenticeship GS Contracts
Hannah Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship

Comments from Lewis Elsey, Director

 “Hannah has recently enrolled on the Digital Marketer Level 3 course which I believe has played a key role in her development.

 The apprenticeship has given Hannah the ability to develop her theoretical knowledge before implementing this into practice. Not only has the apprenticeship given Hannah relevant and up to date digital marketing knowledge, but it has also given her the confidence to lead our digital marketing strategy.

Within the last 12 months Hannah has grown from strength to strength and the combination of her apprenticeship coupled with her on the job experience has facilitated this”.


At GS Contracts we are always on the lookout for motivated individuals interested in a career in our sector, either as a site apprentice, a workshop apprentice, or an office apprentice. If you are interested in discussing a potential apprenticeship contact enquiries@gscontracts.com.

Working with Entrepreneurial Clients

Since our inception in 1992, we have been extremely fortunate to transform some amazing spaces for our clients, working in collaboration with national brands on their aggressive growth strategies along with one-off clients on their first project.

In recent years we have noticed the growth in what I would class as the entrepreneurial client. i.e. Looking to open their first or second premises, to make this a success with the potential of opening more sites in the future. Working with this client can be challenging but is very rewarding when you support them through the journey working as a collective to the same goal, helping make their ideas a reality.

Below we have provided insight into how we, GS Contracts, can add value when working with entrepreneurial clients whilst highlighting the key factors to consider when thinking about your first project.

Man holding sheet of timber

How can we add value?

  • We offer a complete project management service from start to finish making the process as stress-free as possible- Which includes the development of a scheme prior to starting on site, management of on-site works, health & safety, subcontractors, and financial management. We ensure to host weekly meetings to discuss all of these topics whilst ensuring the project remains on track.

  • On all of our projects, the bespoke joinery items are manufactured in-house from our workshop in Colchester, giving us complete control of our supply chain; ensuring that all items are the highest of quality.
  • With over 30 years of industry knowledge and experience, we can share our expertise in terms of material specifications, value engineering options and legislation that needs to be adhered to (to ensure a compliant fit-out).

  • Our operatives are highly skilled undergoing regular and ongoing training, coupled with a hand-picked specialist supply chain that supports us on all of our projects.

In times of recession there are massive opportunities and fortunes to be made, so for new up and coming entrepreneurs, this is the time to go and start a business.
Quote from Richard Branson
CAD Office

Factors to consider when thinking about your first project:

1) Budget

Budget is an important factor to consider when looking to fit out your first project. It is easy to underestimate the cost of a project, so we would advise being cautious whilst ensuring you have a contingency available to capture any unexpected items that arise throughout the project. If you want a better understanding of the funding options available, we work with a selection of finance brokers who can help fund all or part of your project. We are always more than happy to make an introduction to you.

2) Time Frame

It is not uncommon for projects to take longer than initially planned. For you to receive a comprehensive quote, time is required at the initial stages to visit the site, understand the information, put together prices and gather information from subcontractors and suppliers.

3) Team

Having the right team is essential when delivering a project. You need to ensure you select the right contractor and understand their capabilities. Some contractors will only carry out the building works, whereas others will offer the design and build element under one umbrella.

Are you looking to employ an interior designer to put together a design scheme in terms of finishes, layout, space planning e.t.c?

Will you need an architect to provide technical know-how such as licensing, planning, listed building consent?

Other stakeholders involved in a project can include building control, the landlord, the local council, the property agent and many more.

GSC Team

These are just some areas to consider when selecting the right team. At GS Contracts, we are well versed in offering a complete turnkey solution in terms of design and build.

We are also more than happy to assist by just offering our fit-out services if our client has a preferred designer they wish to use.

Ultimately, having the right team on board should help eliminate any potential problems along the way.

Upon acceptance of a quote, planning time will be necessary to carry out any procurement, health & safety, mobilising resources and identifying any long lead items such as the manufacturing of joinery & metalwork etc. In our opinion, getting this stage right is essential to create a seamless and more efficient project delivery.


“Gary Smith and the team at GS Contracts are a true pleasure to work with. They were flexible, professional and went above and beyond to successfully complete our first project to a very high standard. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them and look forward to working with them on my next site.”
Mimi Gaston-Kennedy
Founder of Pre-Salons
“I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you for the fit out of my shop. I am extremely happy with the result, and everybody was super helpful. I would like to highlight Gavin, Alanna and Phil in particular who all have been excellent, and Phil made the entire process very easy for me and looked after everything well. I will for sure be in touch for my next shop.”
White Pine
Sebastian Doehring
Founder of White Pine Forest
White Pine Interior
White Pine

Do you have a project you wish to discuss?

In summary, your first project is an exciting prospect; and luckily, we are here to help. Our role is to make the process as seamless and stress-free as possible whilst providing advice and support along the way.

If you have a project you wish to discuss or would simply like some advice, feel free to reach out to Gary Smith or me- and we would be more than happy to discuss this further.




24 January 2022 by Hannah Steel 0 Comments

Design Trends for 2022

Having settled into 2022, we thought it might be the perfect opportunity to look ahead at the interior design trends we can expect from this year.

We have checked in with some of our closest friends in the interior design sector to find out some of the design trends they think we’ll be seeing more of in the upcoming months.

Having worked extremely closely with Harp Design on lots of projects, we reached out to uncover the latest trends and styles and discover what elements we may be implementing into our projects later in the year.

Sugar Quay Plants
Sugar Quay
Zuaya Interior

A message from the Harp Design Team:

“The way we use spaces has changed drastically from pre pandemic times compared to how we use them now, whether it’s how often we use them, how we move through them or how we interact with them in general; Interiors need to react to how we live and work now rather than staying rooted in the past.

Given that 2022 is the Year of the Tiger, it’s expected to be bolder, zestier, more rebellious and regal than ever before.”

Take a look below for some more predictions…

Biophilic Design

First up, we can expect to see more design briefs incorporating a biophilic design, defined as a concept used to increase connectivity to the natural environment through direct & indirect nature and space and place conditions.

Harp has pictured us seeing more organic designs throughout 2022, enabling us to encompass lots of organic and natural materials such as woods and marbles into our fit-out projects.

Together with organic materials, we are also expecting to see an increase in natural lighting and ventilation, encouraging and promoting sustainability.

Zuaya Interior
Frescobaldi Interior
White Pine
White Pine
Como Garden
Como Garden

Bold Patterns and Colours

The team at Harp Design are excited to see a growth in bold patterns and colours this year. We can look forward to seeing greens, lavenders and other vibrant colours with bold prints and patterns reminiscent of the 60s and 70s.

Geometric grid patterns may also be making an appearance. We saw a glimpse of this in 2021, manufacturing and installing some of the impressive joinery work on this residential property in Sugar Quay.

Harp believe that ‘Minimalism is out with maximalism coming in strong’

Sugar Quay
Sugar Quay

Sustainable Design

Making sustainable choices is becoming more prevalent in our everyday lives and is certainly something to consider when designing your future fit-out. Sustainable solutions could involve up-cycling materials and re-purposing them to last longer.

Sustainable design choices are something we all encourage for the long-term health of our ecosystem. Not only will it look unique, but it’s great for the environment and will have a long-lasting style.

Ottolenghi Marylebone
Ottolenghi Marylebone
Kineya Mugimaru

Pantone Colour of the Year

Pantone has once again released their colour of the year 2022 – 17-3938 Very Peri.

We can expect to see this colour very frequently, encompassing the qualities of blues with a violet-red undertone.

Carefully selected by the Pantone team, it represents a spritely, joyous attitude, which places the future ahead in a new light. 

Pantone Colour of the Year 2022
Pantone Colour of the Year 2022

What Trends Should be Left in 2021?

Steering away from safe colour palettes, pared-down designs, and putting form before function are all things we can agree with the Harp Design team on.

We can’t wait to provide a new sense of life and excitement to our projects this year and are looking forward to seeing new design trends unfolding.

We would like to thank the Harp Design team for giving us insight into the design trends we can expect for 2022 and look forward to collaborating with them on an abundance of other projects throughout the year.

With over 25 years of experience designing, manufacturing, installing, and managing fit-outs, GS Contracts are experts in turning all our client’s design visions into a reality. 

If you have a design concept you want to discuss, contact our team today.