Celebrated for distinctive textures, strong silhouettes and impeccable craftsmanship, FBC London – the namesake furniture brand by Fiona Barratt-Campbell – has been flying the flag for next-level British furniture design since 2013. Drawing inspiration from history and the natural world, every piece from Barratt-Campbell’s coveted collections tells a unique story. Here, the interior designer and brand founder tells us her tale – from establishing her business to the brand‘s plans for 2017.
How would you sum up the Fiona Barratt-Campbell aesthetic?
Strong shapes and very textured. I think that’s what sets us apart from our competitors – the different textures that we use.
Was there a defining moment that made you realise you wanted to establish your own brand?
Yes, it was basically the first business that I set up – my interior design business. I was designing bespoke pieces for clients and had very positive feedback. Other people who had seen the pieces that I’d designed said: “Where can I buy these?” I found it increasingly difficult to find a certain look that I wanted to put into the interiors that we were doing, so that’s how it really started. It was a need. I filled the gap for myself and quite a lot of other people, who seem to like our pieces.
Where do you look for inspiration when creating your pieces?
First and foremost, it’s the natural world. All different types of terrains, environments, things that you see in nature [such as] the shapes and textures that plants produce, animal skins, colours, shells – anything. Also, Roman history and Roman artefacts, anything sort of Roman is very important – it’s been very influential for me growing up in the North East.
Has your north east upbringing impacted your work in any other ways?
The north east culture is sort of ingrained in you. It’s like a work ethic. It’s very strong. You’re always very proud of your roots. The rugged nature of the [North East’s] countryside and the history [also has an influence.] Northumberland has a very bloody past and I think that’s just sort of ingrained in the culture. It’s [gives you] very much a fighter’s, strong personality.
Can you tell us a little bit about the craftsmanship that goes into FBC London pieces?
We use everything from sand casting, which is a 3000-year-old technique, right through to laser cutting. [It’s] that fusion of old methods and new technology.
Do you work with ship-makers as well as conventional furniture makers?
We use metal works who have predominately made parts for British steel warships. They’re making parts for our furniture!
How do you think being an interior designer first and foremost impacts on your product design?
I had ten years in the industry as an interior designer before I started designing products, and it means that you’re already ahead of the game in terms of what the end user wants and what the end user is looking for. It’s invaluable experience.
Where is your client base located?
We’ve had pieces going to Los Angeles, America, Asia, China, Hong Kong, Australia. All into Europe, Russia – everywhere really.
What’s the most satisfying aspect of your job as a brand founder and interior designer?
I just love what I do. Fact. Full stop. It doesn’t seem like work. I enjoy getting up every day and enjoy everything that I do, and I think it’s a real privilege to be in a position where you do a job that you love.
Of all your products, do you have an all-time favourite piece?
They’re all different. I love anything from the City range, which features the chipped-oak finish. We do credenzas, chest of drawers, bedside tables, all in different colours now – that has been the most successful selling range.I think it’s one of my favourites just because it’s so unique.
Also, the Aurora coffee table.
The Aurora coffee table is so distinctive. Can you tell us a little more about the piece?
The surface is identical to a picture that I took on holiday while in South Africa. I was on safari and I said: “Stop, stop, stop. I need to get out and take a picture of some cracked earth.”
The very wet ground had dried and the result was just so amazing. For a lot of the pieces, the inspiration is taken from my own photographic imagery.
What’s next for FBC?
We are looking in the next few years to open internationally, looking to the states. We’ve launched a kitchen brand, FBC London kitchens, which is great. People have had a fantastic reaction to that. We’ve applied the ethos of the furniture brand to the kitchen pieces. It’s that very strong, striking shapes and unusual textures into the kitchen – that’s a very exciting market for us.