MFL 56 – Faye Toogood: “Learning is important for free creation”

MFL 56 - Faye Toogood:
A portrait of Faye Toogood (photo Philip Sinden)


From the English countryside where she grew up, she especially loved collecting small rocks, stones and bird eggs. That imprint is poured into his art, in between design, sculpture and painting. From the East Midlands, Faye Toogoodrepresented by the gallery Friedman Benda, has arrived on the roof of the world. In 2008, he founded the studio that bears his last name, which later grew up with the clothing division along with his sister Erica. In the design world, he has collaborated with companies such as Dryad, cc-tapis, Seam. Published next June Phaidon will publish the volume Faye Toogood: drawing, material, sculpture, landscapethe first monograph about her, her work and the creative process behind her objects.

Do you use a different approach to industrial design, sculpture or art?

I look beyond the boundaries of discipline. It seems natural to me to work with a holistic rather than multidisciplinary method. I feel able to find the right medium or genre to express the narrative I want to tell in that moment. In the studio, we define the disciplines we work in, only in that way can we communicate who we are and what we do to the outside world. For example, we believe that there is room for a greater fusion between furniture and fashion, and we want to break down these boundaries with a multifaceted approach.

His pieces seem to belong to the images of ancestors. Is nature an inspiration or is it an inner calling?

I grew up in Rutland and have always had a strong connection to the British countryside. From a young age, I was an avid collector of the artifacts I found: rocks, cliffs, bird eggs. Since the beginning of my career, nature has been a huge source of inspiration. For example, the English landscape and the ground became the inspiration for a fashion collection, which was transformed into a wallpaper design and then into a new material for one of our chairs, Roly-poly. I do not have a routine method, but projects are often materially or narratively driven. There is a starting concept that is usually triggered by something in my daily life, and then the process develops from there.


Its seats have an architectural presence. What will it express?

Geometry and sculpture are at the center of my work and at the same time new shapes can be an expression of my life. The rounded shapes I made for the Roly-poly collection came the moment I had my first child. Its rounded parts were a departure from the hard angles and lines of my previous work. This change reflected my journey into motherhood. For my latest limited edition collection of furniture and items, “Assemblage 6: Unlearning”, I was looking for a whole new geometry, with no reference to what I had done before. For me, the process of “unlearning” has the feel of an intuitive game. To have the freedom to create without an end result in mind.

He worked on custom pieces for his interior design projects. Does your vision or customer needs prevail? Is it easy to understand what people are dreaming about?

I want the spaces I create to resonate with those who live there. I want to add experience and sensory layering to create a deeper connection with the owners. I observe the client closely and try to be inspired by this slow discovery. Often it has nothing to do with the interior, it can simply be the way she dresses, the food she eats, how she spends her free time.

You use many colors like white, gray and black. What significance do they have?

This neutral palette has emphasized form and materiality, the basic elements that inspire me. However, my work is not exclusively neutral, and I have started to embrace more color, both in the fashion collections and in my interior design projects.


She is an English designer. What do you think you bring to the world with its traditions, culture and landscapes?

My first influence was Barbara Hepworth. When I was eight, I went to her studio and immediately wanted to be a sculptor. Although I studied art history, I never lost Hepworth’s love of landscape, geometry, and materials. As for the history of the decor, I am particularly inspired by the Bloomsbury period in the 1930s, when everything was handmade and covered in patterns. And I’m fascinated by John FowlerEnglish decorator in the 1950s.

She also works in duo with her sister on the fashion side of her business. Does double vision enhance creativity?

We are very different, but as sisters we have a very natural understanding of each other and our respective competencies. I bring concepts and fiction to our collections and Heather translates them into physical form with its pattern-cutting abilities. Ours is a perfect balance. (All rights reserved)

The full number of MFL-Magazine For Living 56 it can be consulted here.

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