Designer Crush: FettleAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
Boutique interior architecture and design firm, Fettle, has transformed the spaces of hospitality clients from Los Angeles to New York and from London to Rome. With offices in California and the UK, directors and co-founders Tom Parker and Andy Goodwin lead a team dedicated to building beautiful, functional spaces that capture the local history, spirit, and culture. Learn more in our Q+A below:
1. How did you get your start in design?
Tom Parker – We were both lucky in that we knew what we wanted to do from a young age and both studied interior architecture at university. Andy completed his bachelor’s degree at Nottingham Trent University and I completed mine at Oxford Brookes.
Andy Goodwin – During my time at University, I completed an internship at an architectural practice in Shoreditch called CGL and took my first full-time position at United Designers where I met Tom. From there, we both went on to work at Martin Brudnizki Design Studio in London, where I became an Associate at the studio and Tom moved to the New York offices.
TP – This was what really gave us our understanding of high-end hospitality as we were working on projects such as The Ivy in London, Boulud Toronto, Beekman, Holborn Dining Rooms and Bullion in Dallas. Eventually we both left the studio to start Fettle and have been building the company ever since.
2. What are the biggest aesthetic and energetic differences between London design and California design?
There are several differences in the aesthetics, most obviously the overall palette and freshness of the color and fabric schemes, but also in regard the ornate detailing of interiors. In the U.K it is very common to be working within a historic building, replicating cornice details and wall paneling details and using quite ornate finishes such as Versailles paneled flooring. In California the finishes are often much lighter and fresher and there is much more scope in regards utilizing outdoor spaces year round which is always exciting for us Brits. It’s also very interesting in that our West Coast based clients are always really interested in our European projects and vice versa. We feel the history and richness of European culture is a big drawer for Californians, and the outdoor, bohemian nature of California is likewise enticing for Londoners.
3. What’s your process for getting to know a client?
This varies greatly depending on the client. Many of our clients — such as the team behind Yardsale Pizza in East London, or Marissa and Matt Hermer who are our clients behind the Draycott — have dreamt for years of opening their own venture, and we often get to know them extremely well when just running through the concept and helping them clarify exactly what it is they are aiming to do. Larger brands we work with, such as Hoxton Hotels, not only have bigger teams but established concepts and these relationships build over longer periods. We have now worked with Hoxton in both Portland and Rome, Italy and have developed a great relationship with their talented team over the course of the last two and a half years.
4. Describe a particularly memorable project and what made it so special.
The Draycott, Pacific Palisades was a particularly special one for us as it was our first American project. As is often the case with these things it was a concept that tied in well with where we were at during that time as a studio. A traditional British brasserie in a great Californian location was perfect for us as we, as a studio, began to understand the culture and heritage of California and particularly the Palisades. As our relationship with Matt and Marissa developed so did our understanding of how best to find the balance between a very European concept with a Californian flair and feel. We were very pleased with the final result and it has been a springboard for us in terms of being part of a rapidly evolving Angeleno design scene. We are now working on our second project with the Hermer’s, who have become good friends of the studio, which we are very excited about.
5. Who are some of your biggest professional inspirations and why?
We want to be connected to design on a day to day basis. We both left good positions in large companies as our job roles became more and more human resources based and in turn less design based. The beauty of a job in this industry is the opportunity to be creative and collaborative on a day to day basis. It’s also important to us to create a great environment in both London and LA studios with long term staff who travel between the two and gain the benefits of understanding both cities.
6. Describe your perfect Sunday from morning to night.
TP – My ideal Sunday would entail a 6:30am start at the Rosebowl flea market searching for antique treasures followed by a museum visit. I love the Broad but my favorite is the Hammer museum which I got to know well recently when we design their restaurant Audrey with Michael Maltzan Architecture. I would then head to the Sunday English roast buffet lunch at the Draycott and would then require a solid nap potentially on the beach conditions allowing.
AG- Spending quality time with the family is always difficult during the week so on the weekends we like to wake up early and make the most of the day. A great start to a Sunday is always going for a walk around Columbia Road Flower Market with my wife and little boy. It’s just around the corner from our offices on Arnold Circus but really comes to life when the market is on.
Once we have had a look around and inevitably bought a small house plant or bunch of flowers we would go and grab brunch locally at breakfast club in Shoreditch. After brunch we would have a walk around the shops making our way to the Geffrye museum so we can have a look around whilst Beau has a nap. There is usually an interesting exhibition on and if not we love walking through the Period rooms, Gardens or Almshouses.
We would then jump on the tube and head up to Parliament hill for a run around in the park or woods at Hampstead Heath. My little boy loves running around in the woods and we are so lucky to have the heath on our doorstep.
Now we have built up an appetite we would grab dinner early at the Bull & Last on Highgate Road or St John in Archway with friends and their children. Both of these gastropubs do a fantastic roast which is a family favorite and it’s always an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.
After dinner we would walk home to put Beau to bed before retiring to the garden for a glass of wine or setting down on the sofa to watch a film, ideally directed by either Mike Leigh and Wes Anderson.
7. Favorite ice cream flavor?
AG – Vanilla, classic is the best.
TP – Double chocolate with chocolate chip and chocolate sauce. Basically, anything involving chocolate.
8. First concert?
AG – Oasis, old Trafford Cricket Ground.
TP – Mano Chao at the Kentish Town Forum.
9.Go-to karaoke song?
AG – “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” Billy Joel.
TP – I have a horrendous singing voice so am allergic to karaoke for the safety of the general public but if forced into it will do an enthusiastic if talentless rendition of “Regulate” by Warren G.
10. Best Halloween costume?
AG – I don’t do fancy dress.
TP – Brains from Thunderbirds.
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