Terry Jonas launched Authentics in 1983 to retail and distribute contemporary furniture and interior accessories. From the very beginning, everything about the company, from the distinctive “A” logo commissioned from The Ian Logan Design Company to its iconic Covent Garden store, paid testament to Terry’s unerring eye for great contemporary design.
Authentics quickly gained a reputation as the source for contemporary design, with a collection that saw pieces by Alvar Aalto and Eileen Gray sitting alongside early designs by Ron Arad, Jasper Morrison and a young Tom Dixon.
Authentics remains a design-led family business, run these days by Mark and Terry Jonas from their head office on Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, and specialising in the sourcing, development, manufacture and distribution of an exclusive range of lighting and interior accessories.
Authentics has stayed true to its original values of authenticity and innovation, with Mark Jonas collaborating with a select group of young British designers, developing compelling products that are helping to build the reputation of a new generation of British design across the world.
Eel Pie Island
Authentics moved to the quirky and atmospheric location of Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, in 2009, taking offices in the newly developed Phoenix Wharf. The island is on the tidal Thames and can only be reached by footbridge or boat, which has helped it retain a uniquely eccentric and retro appeal.
Eel Pie Island was for many years the site of the legendary Eel Pie Hotel. The hotel first became famous as a genteel ballroom dancing venue in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1956 the newly re-opened hotel hosted jazz sessions, and in the 1960s Rock and R&B groups played at the dance hall, with acts such as: Long John Baldry’s Hoochie Coochie Men (including Rod Stewart), Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk, David Bowie, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (featuring Eric Clapton), George Melly, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who and many more.
In its final incarnation, the Eel Pie Island Hotel was, by 1970, home to the UK’s largest hippie commune, before being destroyed by fire in 1971.
The Island today
Today Eel Pie Island is home to a thriving business community and approximately 50 residents, including Trevor Baylis, inventor of the wind-up radio.