With its Gibson Interior Design business and Algarve Property Agency the Gibson Group is about to enter its 22nd or 12th anniversary year. The Group’s focus initially set exclusively on furbishing villas, it nowadays offers a full real estate service ranging from selling property to building and reconstruction to providing support with special interior decoration of a kind unparalleled in the Algarve. But let’s start at the beginning.
The company’s founder, Erich Gibson, comes from an entrepreneurial family in the music field. While studying Music and Economics, he already had one foot in the music industry, composing, producing and co-producing countless records and CDs for Matt Bianco, Boney M and No Angels, which earned him the “ECHO” music award. Erich, however, was also internationally on the road, for example, with Craig David, Blue or Silk. He remembers with great enthusiasm accompanying Barry White on his 1979 tour. His impressions gathered on that tour were to have an impact on his later work in all areas of his life. Many years as a touring musician for Udo Jürgens rounded off his musical career. It was Udo Jürgens himself who drew Erich’s attention to the beauty of life in the Algarve since for decades he had been writing some of his world hits at his home in southern Portugal.
If originally the Algarve was a retreat for Erich Gibson for him to produce his music in a Mediterranean environment, he quickly discovered on wanting to furnish his own house that the area was lacking modern furniture stores. Soon afterwards, he opened the first modern design furniture store in the Algarve in 1998. “I already knew there and then that it would only be a matter of time before new furniture stores with contemporary styles would spring up, but I still went the extra mile and added a second pillar to my music by designing modern rooms,” Erich Gibson tells us. In all those years his company witnessed considerable economic ups and downs. However, while other businesses in the furniture sector had to close down due to a lack of demand, Gibson stood his ground in the market. Today his design furniture store is the largest in the Algarve.
During the 2007/2008 financial crisis the company was offered the opportunity to enter the real estate business as a partner of German real estate agent Engel & Völkers, representing them in Quinta do Lago/Vale do Lobo. A few years later Gibson started to manage the real estate business on his own and took it over in 2017, calling it “Algarve Property Agency”. The resulting synergy effects led the company’s management to further expand the Gibson Group. Today, GG (Gibson Group) not only sells houses or real estate but has expanded its corporate purpose to include service areas such as design, planning, construction and full property management. Meanwhile, GG also employs two full-time architects to meet the needs and wishes of customers within adequate time frames. Over the years, the key word “time frame” has turned into one of the Group’s most important business philosophies as, in the Algarve, the time factor and compliance with deadlines poses a major challenge. “It is usually an exception here if previously agreed time frames are actually met. Here in the south considerable delays in any area are the order of the day. ” That is why GG has made compliance with deadlines a very important priority of its business. If we promise customers that their house will be ready at a certain date, we make sure it is. Observing deadlines has made us what we are today,” reports Reinhild Schulte-Guerra, office manager at Gibson Group.
One of Gibson’s business philosophies is “The greatest honour one can bestow on a person is to have confidence in him, because trust and respect are the inseparable cornerstones of a good partnership”.
The Group’s After Sales Service is truly extraordinary too, often with late working hours even on Sundays. The Group benefits from the fact that it is managed with a German ownership mindset: “When a German company owner talks about service, he means service.” “While many providers refer to their good service, their respective level of service tends to be completely different,” reports Roman, chief fitter and “Handyman” who has been associated with the company for over 10 years.
A further focus of the Gibson Group is, of course, the sale of real estate, the field where everything begins, generally speaking. GG attaches great importance to individuality. As a result, the Group does not run a mass business but responds with great sensitivity to the individual ideas of its customers, even before they start looking for the right property. Catch phrases from competitors such as “Don’t look any further – we have all the best properties” are a horror to Erich Gibson, as they reflect a way of thinking that seems counterproductive for such an individual and personal purchase as that of a property. What may be “the best house” for some may be a complete misfit for others. From our point of view, they are cowboy methods and we do not work like that” says Gibson.
In the last years and through GG’s agency, countless dream homes have been successfully realized. It is a pleasure for the team to meet with their customers again after a while and to see them, even many years later, happy and satisfied with their purchase decision. “Over the years, and at first based purely on business relationships, even friendships have developed with some customers and that is a more than pleasant side effect,” adds Hugo Empis, real estate consultant at the Algarve Property Agency. As a result, what may begin as the sale of a house eventually leads to a possible change of customers’ interior decoration followed by fully looking after a customer’s villa – THE GIBSON GROUP AS A ONE-STOP PROVIDER! A large proportion of the properties today are secondary residences. As Roger Neumann, a GG client and himself a successful real estate agent in Germany, states “Knowing your treasured home in good hands during your absence, and to return to it in the same state you left it – or to even find it beautifully transformed due to refurbishing works performed while we were away – is to us of immeasurable value.”
In the wake of a flourishing real estate industry, the interior design sector has experienced an upswing as can be seen in the sharp rise in orders in recent years. Portugal, and the Algarve in particular, are in vogue. While the number of tourists has dropped a little this year, their overall number increased considerably in the last few years and is stabilizing at a very high level. All this is helping to revitalise the hotel and real estate sectors, and interior design specialists are also benefiting from this, of course.
In light of the above, differences between interior design, interior architecture and architecture must be taken into account. The interior designer deals with the furnishing of rooms, starting with the work on wall coverings entailing various materials, furniture, etc. The architect, on the other hand, has a construction expertise that ranges from urban and landscape planning to the evaluation of the building site and interior design (bathrooms, fittings, saunas, etc.). The architect is responsible for the interior and exterior design of a project, whether it is a new building or a renovation. He is in charge of pillars, openings, beams, statics, stairs and other details related to connections between individual rooms, their purpose and use. Interior design comes into play once the architect has finished his job.
In terms of a property’s value it is of fundamental importance to entrust the above-described areas of responsibility to proven experts. With this objective in mind, Gibson Design Furniture and the Algarve Property Agency have joined forces to provide an excellent service combined with a high level of expertise. It is on the basis of this partnership that GG is able to offer its ONE-STOP PROVIDER concept. “Consequently, at GG we not only sell villas or pieces of furniture but also an ‘experience and an individualistic lifestyle’. You may thus feel free to place yourself in our hands, because then you are in the best of hands,” is the firm conviction of employees at the Gibson Group.