October 25, 2013 7:38 pm

The Inventory: Faye Toogood

‘Commercial is a dirty word for creatives, but you must understand business,’ says the British designer
Faye Toogood©Philip Sinden

Faye Toogood, 36, is a British designer best known for her innovative designs and distinctive furniture. She founded her multidisciplinary design studio in 2008. She won a Wallpaper* award in 2012 and was chosen as a “Designer to Watch” by Art+Auction magazine.

What was your earliest ambition?

To be an astronaut.

Public school or state school? University or straight into work?

State: King’s School, Winchester. Then Bristol university to study history of art and the University of the West of England to do fine art. Then I somehow began working as a stylist at The World of Interiors magazine. Min Hogg, the editor, gave me the job based on the fact I had done … nothing. The World of Interiors formed my eye.

Who is your mentor?

Min Hogg saw something in me that perhaps I didn’t even know I had. I will be forever grateful.

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How physically fit are you?

I’m not sporty but I’m very active; I hardly ever sit down. But I’ve just had a baby, so I’m really not fit at the moment.

Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?

Intuition and being able to take a risk are the two things I think have got me where I am.

Have you ever taken an IQ test?

No.

How politically committed are you?

My father instilled in me to have an opinion and stick by your principles. I very much believe in British manufacture and craftsmanship. All my work is made in this country.

Do you consider your carbon footprint?

No. I have recycling bins but I fly round the world for my work.

Do you have more than one home?

No.

What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?

A hut in Suffolk – a retreat and escape, but a modest one.

What’s your biggest extravagance?

Just having half an hour to read a book.

In what place are you happiest?

At home in my garden – my oasis and my retreat.

If you had a coat of arms, what would be on it?

Faye Toogood's coat of arms

A magnifying glass, an eye, an owl and three geometric shapes – sphere, cylinder and square. It would have to be blue in colour.

What ambitions do you still have?

To design a hotel. And within me there’s a shopkeeper, so some sort of outlet for that instinct.

What drives you on?

My daughter. And I feel very privileged that my work is so closely linked to my creativity.

What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?

My daughter. It doesn’t get much bigger than giving life to someone.

What has been your greatest disappointment?

I wish I could have said to my younger self: “Don’t be so frightened, just go for it.” I didn’t push myself. I would have loved to have gone to art school and studied fine art properly.

If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would she think?

She’d be quite shocked. She was quite shy – I have a confidence now I didn’t have then. She would also be surprised at how commercial my world is. Commercial is seen as a dirty word in the creative world but to make things happen, you have to understand business.

If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?

Be a sculptor, making compositions and objects. If I had no resources I would scavenge.

Do you believe in assisted suicide?

Definitely, 100 per cent.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

I would never describe myself as religious but I do believe that people leave their spirits behind and there is life after this in some form.

If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?

Eight.

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Faye Toogood will be represented by Gallery Fumi at forthcoming PAD design fairs (www.pad-fairs.com)

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