It’s no secret that Fiona Barratt-Campbell hails from a family of high achievers, but now she’s making her own mark with a new furniture line and flagship store in Fulham
Quite possibly, 2013 could prove the busiest year yet for interior designer Fiona Barratt-Campbell. As well as overseeing her thriving interior design business, and being a mother to two-year-old Isabella and nine-week-old Ethan, this summer sees the launch of her own-label furniture collection, FBC. In the autumn, she also opens her eponymous Pimlico Road retail space. ‘I’ve got my work cut out for me,’ she says.
When we speak, Fiona is particularly excited because the first six pieces of her capsule furniture collection have just arrived at her home. ‘It’s amazing to see them in a real setting, rather than in a workshop or photographer’s studio,’ she says. She and her husband, now retired footballer Sol Campbell, have recently moved into a new 2400 square foot apartment in Cheyne Walk. They already own a 6-storey house here, but with a young family ‘lateral living is where I’m at right now’, Fiona says. High days and holidays are spent at their Northumberland house.
Fiona was raised in the North East but came to London 14 years ago. She trained at Chelsea College of Art and the Parsons School of Design in New York, then worked at Kelly Hoppen. She launched her practice in 2006 and now has a five-strong team of designers at her Chelsea studio. Recent commissions have included a new-build villa in Majorca, a 24,000 square foot Grade II listed hall in Harrogate with modern additions and a triplex in Knightsbridge. ‘I oversee everything,’ she says. “But I also want my designers to grow creatively and to bring new ideas to the table.”
Now she is set to expand with a 1200 square foot showroom. But why here and why now? ‘Pimlico Road has developed into a mecca for antiques and design – this is really where it is at,’ she says. It was Sol, who is passionate about architecture and design, who found the shop after a 14-month search. Fiona is delighted to be joining the Pimlico Road community and she loves working close to home. ‘I couldn’t go anywhere else,” she says. “Living in Chelsea is like living in a village.’
The shop will be divided into room sets showing drawing room and dining rooms, bedrooms and a study. The look, says Fiona, will be ‘sumptuous and luxurious’, including one wall featuring a specialist metal finish and artworks by Fenella Elms in conjunction with Flowers Gallery in W1. ‘Clients can see the furniture in a home setting and feel the quality,’ she adds. There will be lighting by Lindsey Adelman from New York, and by Christopher Boots from Australia.
Star of the showroom will be the furniture collection, FBC London. Fiona has been developing it for over three years and first had the idea when she realized she was increasingly designing bespoke pieces for clients ‘because I couldn’t find things I liked.’ The prices are high – from £2000 to £38,ooo – but these are timeless pieces conceived to mix happily with antiques. ‘I have always experimented with different materials and textures,’ she says. ‘I wanted to push my potential with this collection.’
The 32 pieces take their inspiration from the history, geology and topography in Northumberland. It is all hand made in the county, using a mix of cutting edge and traditional methods. ‘I have spent years developing contacts up here so that I could use the very best craftsmen,’ Fiona says. ‘Each design is unique but they fit together as a family, too.’
The silhouettes are bold and geometric the finishes are intricate, with materials from solid cast bronze and sandblasted wood to Brazilian fish skin. The City chest of drawers, one of Fiona’s favourites, has a patinated bronze base, but the finish is walnut stained dove grey, with hand applied white oak detailing. By contrast, the Corbridge armchair is in textural silk velvet with a patinated bronze base. Taking the designs from her own 3D sketches to finished product has, says Fiona, been ‘quite a journey’. There are three pieces made of cast metal, so she has employed specialist pattern cutters more used to creating steel ships than furniture, before each piece was cast at the foundry.
Fiona’s signature style blends sophisticated neutrals interlaced with bursts of accent colour, but although this theme remains core to her interiors, she says recently she has been experimenting with antiques, particularly 20th century pieces. ‘For our new apartment I’ve just bought a bronze 1960s cabinet by the American designer Paul Evans,’ she says. Oh yes, and there is a pair of 1960s Italian mirrors for the bathroom.
As to whether combining motherhood and interior design has taken her in a new direction, Fiona just smiles. ‘I used to be pedantic about certain details,’ she says. ‘Now I don’t sweat the small stuff, I focus on the essential big picture.’
FBC London, fbc-london.com
Fiona Barratt Interiors, fionabarrattinteriors.com