David Fox July 2017
July sees Spaceman’s Creative Director Andy Green head north to Leeds for ‘Those Who Design’ to visit David Fox, the award winning British designer, to talk motorbikes, quiche and the future of furniture design.
Hi Andy thank you for making the trip to sunny Yorkshire………
It’s my pleasure David, I always jump at the chance to head north of Watford, thanks so much for letting ‘Those Who Design’ into your world for the morning.
Growing Up - Were you interested in art/design/building/making things etc?
I was interested in motorcycles, both myself and my father used to race sidecars, so an interest in how things went together, also to the horror of my parents, a teenage graffiti artist.
Teenage graffiti artist! They must have been understanding :-) I hope there was already creativity in your blood!
My Father is an engineer, and mum a teacher, but my mum paints, throws pots, on a wheel, not at my dad ;) she also plays around with stained glass. So I think my evolution was a mix of the two.
So other than your parents, Who were your early influences?
Have to say Starck / Citterio / Le Corbusier / Panton / Eames / Paulin, and some of the Classic motorcycle manufacturers Matchless / Norton / Triumph / Vincent
Some big footsteps to follow then. What was your first job and your big break?
I worked for a bedroom furniture manufacturer in Dewsbury as a design manager for 4.5 years. However my first client was the iron bed company when I set up on my own in 2002. In contract furniture HJ Berry and Connection were my first clients.
What is your most successful product, not necessarily just commercially but also in terms of design? Is this also your favourite product?
Luckily a large percentage have been a success commercially and brought the manufacturers I work with revenue, so the sign of a good job. Honestly speaking I have a love hate relationship with a product, I spend so much time with it through the development stages that you are sick of the sight of it by the time it gets to production. This soon dies and you reconnect with it emotionally.
If you had to tie me down to one product at this time I would say Pana soft, it works on so many levels, hotel / contract / home.
That’s your upholstered seating range for Turkish manufacturer Deberenn isn’t it? What is your favourite product of all time other than your own?
Yes exactly. My favourite product would be the Warren Platner range for Knoll, you can see my love of wire in some of my products.
One of our favourite ranges too at ‘Those Who Design’. So let’s talk Geography. North South divide? With the cities of the North blooming over the last 10 years are they competing with what London has to offer from the product design world and the interior design world? Do you see the same trends all over the country or do they differ depending on location?
Leeds and Manchester are booming at the moment, Liverpool is also undergoing radical changes. London has always been the creative hub, and where in the past the concentration has been, however with the power of the internet, it's replaced the carrier pigeons we have up here so we all see the same inspirations at the same time ;)!!
Ha! I quite like the idea of a flock of pigeons carrying product samples 200 miles north! With flexible and collaborative working becoming more and more mainstream with the addition of products such as booth systems and integrated technology as well as modular reconfigurable furniture to allow for casual and social meeting spaces, what do you see the next trend being? They say 'invention is born of necessity' so what will be designed through the needs of employers and employees?
The next trend I think has to be driven by changing values in how people work, people are fearful that if a boss sees them laying down, feet up, they are not working! Contrary to this, people can be sat at a desk shopping on the internet taking a break and the boss seems content they are in their zone and working. Creative thought and problem solving can be stimulated by a change of environment, away from the task at hand. I take the dog for a walk or lay on a daybed.
So environments that offer privacy and comfort, let me suggest two examples that bear food for thought!
1 - When you buy a house, what has a large influence on the buyers choice? A view, the sea, woodland etc. The introduction of biophilia…
(at this point I had to google biophilia to find out it suggests humans have an inbuilt tendency to find connections with nature - apologies for the intermission)
…can stir emotions of being calm and relaxed. I would like to see more plants in offices.
2 - It’s about relaxation and comfort, when you are in a restaurant sat in an uncomfortable chair for instance, how does this effect the experience of the meal? (annoys me and makes me feel agitated and impatient)
So to answer, workspaces need to stimulate a sense of relaxation, less intense pressure, have homely values and make employees feel that they’re not tied to a zone. Joking aside a bean bag with a working tablet arm could be popular in 2018.
Sounds perfect to me, comfort and creativity :-) Is there a product or piece of furniture you'd like to try your hand at?
I would love to do a complete bathroom set and a motorcycle. A Task chair and high density stacker would also provide a challenging brief.
A motorcycle would be a cool opportunity. Which manufacturers do you follow most closely and is there any you'd like to collaborate with?
Ones that offer purity and refinement, product longevity is important for me! Which brands have and still offer this? My bucket list of brands to work for; B&B Italia would be nice / Arper / Knoll (lovely to line up with Platner ) But upmost anyone who has a dream and the ambition to drive it through, both good design and hard work is a rich platter for success I think!
Which designers do you follow and fear the most!
I only fear heights and the taste of shellfish or my family and children getting seriously ill! I follow as many as I can so I can get a commercial handle on potential upcoming trends. Which designers do I respect? Those that continue to work hard, and grow and improve.
Which countries around the world are influencing product and interior design / architecture in the UK?
Design is a rich melting pot of all cultures, I don’t think anyone particularly is leading, I think every nation has something to offer
Very true, it’s inspiring to work in an industry with such diversity. So what’s next for David Fox?
I feel that I have gained some really good clients globally, so to continue to service them to the best of my ability. It's always great to acquire new ones, but I would like to widen the project net a little. Lighting, more bathroom stuff, beds (my original skill set) and I would love to do an interior. If AC are reading this, an evolution of your car sympathetic to the brand for this era :-)
Stuck in a lift with David Fox, enemies for life or BFF's....let's find out!
Do you like coriander? It would be hard to avoid it living near Bradford, lovely enhancement to
curries - 0/1
Do you like nuts in your salad? Blue cheese walnut and apple salad…lovely - 0/2
What is your favourite movie? Jackie Brown - 1/3
Aston Martin or Jaguar? Both have stimulating values…..however an AC Cobra snaps my celery - 2/4
Do you like quiche? Love it - 2/5
Sail Boat or Power Boat? Sail Boat or a rubber dingy i love the tranquility of water! - 3/6
White wine, red wine or Rose? Red and White…rose who really drinks that !! - 4/7
Pool or Beach? Beach for me - 5/8
Thoughts on Gherkins? McDonalds made them famous, from time to time a hangover is blessed with a Big Mac! - 6/9
Staying in or going out? One is an antidote to the other - 7/10
Ok so 7/10 and although it’s hard to forgive a walnut and apple salad, McDonalds, Jackie Brown and a love of AC Cobra’s mean David Fox is now our new BFF.
Thank you so much for your time David....