CELEBRATING SOME OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST BRANDS
Founded in London in 1896 by John Knight, Howard Frank and William Rutley, we are proud to be able to celebrate Knight Frank’s 125th year in 2021 – 125 years of being your partners in property.
To coincide with our own celebrations, we’ve carefully selected five big names that have been hugely influential in shaping their respective industries, and as with any great brand, continue to leave their mark on the world today.
20 Hanover Square: Knight Frank headquarters for 98 years.
Gucci celebrates 100 years
Founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, the eponymous global luxury fashion brand came from humble beginnings. Gucci himself was a skilled Italian leather goods maker, whom, after spending a stint working as a porter at the Savoy in London, became inspired by the opulent suitcases belonging to the guests.
When the first store opened in Guccio’s native Florence, it primarily sold high-quality leather travel and equestrian equipment. The label began to gain a reputation for its quality and design, and its style evolved as the second world war progressed, resulting in the creation of the iconic interlocking ‘double-G’ material and distinctive Gucci red and green stripe as leather became increasingly scarce.
In the 1950s, with the passing of Guccio, the label grew in popularity among the Hollywood elite, with the business taken over by Guccio’s three sons. As the years passed, Gucci became an established major player, but trouble brewed as the legacy was passed through the family. In 1990, Tom Ford was hired, and under his steer as Creative Director, the brand’s reputation was restored. Today, Gucci is led by Alessandro Michele, who has achieved record sales and proved that Gucci remains an enduring and ever-influential cornerstone of high fashion.
Clockwise: Gucci boutique. Milan, Italy. Aston Martin DB5. Wikipedia homepage.
Aston Martin: A British motoring icon for over 100 years
Aston Martin is the epitome of a quintessentially British brand turned global success story. Based on the principle that hand-built quality provides superior performance, it has long been viewed as the benchmark of excellence and luxury on the global motoring scene.
Founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford who sold Singer cars in West London, the pair also raced cars in the Aston Hill Climb. The first official Aston Martin was built and registered in 1915, however production halted for the duration of WWI, and returned at a slow rate, primarily building cars for racing, until it was eventually bought by tractor manufacturer David Brown Limited in 1947, which gave rise to the ‘2 litre sports’, and its popularity grew tenfold, particularly when it became the car of choice for a certain 007 agent…
In 1982 the Prince of Wales’s Royal Warrant of Appointment was awarded, further cementing Aston Martin’s iconic status. After decades of changing fortunes and ownership, Aston Martin was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2017, becoming Aston Martin Lagonda Holdings PLC. With new models for sale in over 160 car dealerships spanning 50 countries – the future looks bright for this legend of the motoring world.
Cartier Shanghai, China
Almost two centuries of exquisite craftsmanship with Cartier
Popularly referred to as the “jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers” by King Edward VII, Cartier has long been a favourite of European royalty since it was founded by Louis-François Cartier in 1847. From its Parisian workshop roots, today Cartier runs almost 300 boutiques in over 60 countries worldwide, with its four-storey mansion on New York’s Fifth Avenue operating as part-museum and part-retailer. 30 years after its founding, Cartier was taken over by Alfred, Louis-François’s son, but it was Alfred’s own three sons, Jacques, Louis and Pierre, who put Cartier on the map as a major international brand name. Cartier is still renowned today for its iconic jewellery designs and timepieces such as the Santos, many of which were created by the three grandsons. Louis was responsible for the creation of the mystery clock, as well as many of the brand’s key watch designs and Art Deco jewels, while Pierre focused his attentions on forming the New York City branch of the business. Passed through generations of the Cartier family until 1964, since 2012 Cartier has been owned, through Richemont, by the South African Rupert family, alongside Elle Pagels, the granddaughter of Pierre Cartier – retaining its family connections.
Wikipedia turns 20
Now we move onto a much newer name, but one which has defined the age of the internet since its domain was first registered 20 years ago. As the largest general reference work on the internet and one of the most visited websites globally, Wikipedia has revolutionised the way people research.
Founded by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, Wikipedia was initially launched as a single English language edition at www.wikipedia.com. Before its launch, other collaborative encyclopedias were attempted with limited success. Wikipedia began as an additional project for Nupedia, a free online enyclopedia that was curated and published by experts and reviewed under a strict and formal process, as a way of providing additional information from the public – but it quickly overtook Nupedia in popularity. Wales is largely credited with unifying the goal of creating a publicly editable encyclopedia.
Throughout its years, Wikipedia has faced some issues regarding the security and reliability of its information and sources, leading to the implementation of editing restrictions in some of its 321 language editions. Today it remains one of the most popular sites on the internet, dominating Google rankings and with an estimated monthly readership of 495 million.
As the largest general reference work on the internet and one of the most visited websites globally, Wikipedia has revolutionised the way people research
One Blackfriars, London. Developed by The Berkeley Group
45 years of property development with Berkeley Group
Having built 19,200 homes in the last five years alone, Berkeley Group has been one of the UK’s biggest contributors to the new housing market and property development sector over the course of the past 45 years. Founded by Tony Pidgley and Jim Farrer in Weybridge in 1976, Berkeley Group has established its brand as one of great quality and integrity, building homes and neighbourhoods across swathes of London, the Home Counties, Birmingham and the south of England.
By 1988, following expansion from the Home Counties across the South Midlands and East Anglia, Berkeley formed a joint venture with St George to build in Central London. By 1988, Berkeley was building over 600 executive homes a year. Throughout the 1990s, and the housing market crash, Berkeley turned their attentions to major urban regeneration sites in London, Birmingham, Manchester, and other major cities in the North, followed by large-scale urban redevelopment in London in the early 2000s.
Today, Berkeley Group specialises in long-term brownfield regeneration – focusing on sites perhaps deemed too challenging for conventional homebuilders, with the highest focus placed on creating homes and neighbourhoods equipped for the future and defined by quality, design and attention to detail.