Cover British designer Faye Toogood designed the Tubby table for Danish brand Please Wait to be Seated

“In terms of colour, I always think that if something looks good in its natural material, it means that you can put it in any hue and it’ll look great no matter the colour,” declares British designer Faye Toogood. She tells us more about her creative process and her latest collaborations

British designer Faye Toogood delights in the dynamism that collaborations can bring, whether she’s creating a new chair design or a rug. “This is probably why I chose to be a designer and not an artist, because I truly love collaborations. They are such an important part of what I do,” she says.

Toogood’s latest collaboration sees her reuniting with Please Wait to be Seated, a Danish company that was founded by former interior photographer Thomas Ibsen in 2014; the brand is available in Singapore at Cult Design. Toogood is expanding her Tubby Tube collection with new pendant lighting that references the existing products’ curvaceous forms. 

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Toogood has known Ibsen for nearly two decades; they first met during her eight-year stint as interiors editor at The World of Interiors magazine. “We would shoot quite a lot of projects together! Our relationship goes way back and far beyond our different businesses,” she recalls fondly. “Thomas was the first person to really want to support what I was doing, and I’ve just always appreciated that about him—his enthusiasm is so strong.”

That said, the designer is selective with her collaborators: “I tend to say no to a lot of them. For me, I prefer doing collaborations with people and brands that I genuinely feel I have a really strong connection with.”

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This is not Toogood’s first foray with the brand. She had previously collaborated with them for her iconic Spade chair, whose silhouette takes after the handle of a spade and a traditional three-legged milking seat. She then teamed up with Please Wait to be Seated again to produce the Tubby Tube collection of stools and tables, which are crafted from distinctive bulky round tubes constructed with an interlocking connection system.

The new pendant lighting is designed as part of the Tubby Tube collection, referencing the existing products’ tubular shapes and clean silhouettes. It is made from a hollow aluminum extrusion and hangs suspended from the ceiling. Available in two different lengths, the tube’s empty cavity reflects the light downwards.

Besides the Tubby Tube lamps, Toogood has also placed her spin on the Please Wait to be Seated showroom in Copenhagen. Created for the recent June edition of 3 Days of Design, Denmark’s annual design event in Copenhagen, Toogood’s team reorganised the showroom’s merchandise display and created an installation that showcases the designer’s and the brand’s body of work thus far.

“We’ve painted all the rooms and transformed them into spaces that are dark, beautiful, and very natural, echoing my interest in the British or northern European landscape,” says Toogood. The installation, available for public viewing until the end of October 2022, is housed in a room with an artist's canvas serving as a backdrop. “We took strips of the primed canvas, so they take the shape of the Tubby pieces with their round, full forms, and hand-painted yellow abstract shapes that resemble topiary trees within a formal garden,” explains the designer. “I've moved out of London and now I live in the countryside in the middle of nowhere, and this idea of bringing nature inside is something that I've been exploring. I guess I'm bringing a bit of the British garden landscape to Copenhagen!”  

In designing the showroom, Toogood has orchestrated her distinctive stamp within the space; she has also recently released a book entitled Faye Toogood: Drawing, Material, Sculpture, Landscape. Published by Phaidon, it covers the wide breadth of her work, which spans from furniture, and womenswear to interior design. “It’s our first book on the studio that covers the nearly 15 years' worth of work,” she says. “I realised while working on the book that there are three really important pillars for me and the studio, and they are: materials, sculpture, and landscape—and these can be found within the showroom and installation.”  

Here, Toogood tells us more about the new Tubby lamps and what keeps her inspired.

Tell us more about your new lighting range for Please Wait to be Seated.

Faye Toogood (FT): Thomas asked me if I’d like to do a lamp, and this is the type of lighting that I’ve always been looking for, but could never find. The Tubby Tube lamps are the type of light that you would always need over a dining table or even over a kitchen worktop. We’ve designed the light to shine evenly over the surfaces, and it’s really clean and offers simplicity and elegance.

When we collaborate, Thomas does a really good job of bringing out the practicality of a design. But I will always push him on the form and shape of a product. With this light, he would have probably wanted a much slimmer and thinner shell to hold the light, but I wanted it to have a presence and volume. I didn’t want the lighting to be too architectural. 

What are some of your other favourite collaborations thus far?

FT: I’m really proud of the collaborations that we’ve done with Italian rug maker CC-Tapis; I really enjoyed the exploration of textiles and colour. We’re working on our third collection with them, and this continuous relationship in a collaboration is important. I’m also really proud of our collaboration with Birkenstock last year, where we made a series of shoes and ready-to-wear clothing, and we even made a bed!

Do you have a favourite colour and material that you enjoy working with?

FT: Canvas, cardboard, clay and paper. These are elemental and essential materials to me. I tend not to draw first—I always tend to make first, and I need to be able to model my designs. In terms of colour, I always think that if something looks good in its natural material, it means that you can put it in any hue and it’ll look great no matter the colour.

That’s one of the challenges to myself when I’m designing—can I make this object look good in a neutral or white tone? And if I had to choose a colour, I would force you to allow me to choose a colour palette and that it will come from nature. At the moment, I’m very drawn to natural earth tones—but not in a sombre way!

I always think that if something looks good in its natural material, it means that you can put it in any hue and it’ll look great no matter the colour.
British designer Faye Toogood

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

FT: For me, design is so connected to people and the way that we live. The most rewarding thing is when you see that the object that you’ve made makes a difference in somebody’s life. I love seeing how people use my work on their own, how they adopt it in their own environment, and how they create their own identity out of it.

It’s magic that I cannot really explain; you feel like you are inspiring and empowering people with your work. I’m not [trained as] an industrial designer, so I’m not going to give the world the best ergonomic chair or design a supercar, but I am able to touch people’s emotions and so that aspect is beautiful for me.

What do you appreciate the most in your own home?

FT: For me, home is a sanctuary, and the most important thing is that I have space, and good light, and I must have a view and feel like I’m part of the landscape or garden. You can take all the design objects away from me and I’m fine with that, but I must feel connected to nature. I grew up in the countryside and I need peace and quiet, and to be close to the ground.

  • PhotographyCourtesy of Please Wait to be Seated, Faye Toogood and respective brands
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