Continue Shopping

Your Cart

(0 Items)

Your cart is currently empty.

Continue Shopping
Back to Journal


House Guest: Fred Rigby

We visited Fred Rigby at his design studio to find out what inspires his work, and why he’s excited to partner together for the upcoming London Design Festival next month.
House Guest: Fred Rigby
House Guest: Fred Rigby

Our appreciation for well-designed products extends to every piece of furniture in the home. Good tableware deserves to sit on an equally good table, alongside a selection of furniture that adds to the experience. Designs that take inspiration from organic forms, and which are crafted by hand using the finest natural materials, this is the kind of furniture we want to live in harmony with at home.

In the surroundings of an original purpose-built Victorian cabinet maker’s studio in East London, furniture designer Fred Rigby designs and makes handcrafted furniture that mirrors our belief in beautiful, authentic design.

Since founding his business Fred Rigby Studio in 2008, Fred has been curating both complete interior design projects and furniture designs. His passion for making objects from wood, however, can trace its roots back further, to the rolling landscapes of Dorset where he grew up, and endless summer holidays of what he refers to as “being inventive” and making skateboards and go-karts in his father’s workshop at home.

As he serves up a freshly brewed black coffee to the table in his favourite mug (Monoware, of course), we ask Fred about his inspirations, how to approach a ‘curated’ design aesthetic, and, why he’s excited about the event that we are working on together - a sensory living showcase set to take place during the London Design Festival in September.

Can you start by telling us a bit more about why and how you became a furniture designer?
I grew up in Dorset which was very remote and beautiful. Our home was surrounded by fields and as a result, I was constantly drawn to the outdoors. My dad would always come up with some wacky stuff to make in the garage and I seemed to spend most of my weekends and summer holidays making go-karts, skateboard ramps, and treehouses. It was all about being inventive. I then discovered that I could turn a love of making things into a career, and that’s when I embarked on my furniture design degree.

On this note, can you explain to us what it is that inspires your work?
Nature and the Dorset landscape have remained a core inspiration, however, over the years I have also developed an interest in researching and learning about sculptors - for example, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore - the work of whom I would also say is now equally significant to me. I like things to have meaning, and this idea of sculpture inspiring furniture design consistently intrigues and draws me in.

Your studio is a unique Victorian warehouse building next to London Fields, however, we’re wondering what your home environment looks like, and whether it’s equally tranquil and well-curated?
It is equally tranquil, yes, but I have a medley of vintage furniture pieces in my flat. I have some interesting artwork on the walls, and I currently have a lot of desk lamps which I have taken to collecting. It’s quite important to me that I leave a sense of my work in the studio. So, whilst I have a few of my designs placed around, it’s not a showcase.

Do you host at home, and if so, what would you normally cook and how do you style the table?
I suspect I do most of my hosting at the studio. I love the idea of tapas and antipasti - informal, loose, fun, and just a really interesting group of people sitting around and socialising. My vibe is curating a dinner party table that looks a bit like a Jackson Pollock painting - I like it to look authentically creative.

We have learned that you love to collect coffee table books, is there one in particular that you think no home should be without?
I’m constantly buying new books. It’s normally serendipitous that after starting a new project you discover, say, a book on Japanese clothing stores from the 1980s, which then inspires the project you are working on. If I were to choose one book? It would have to be Small Trades by Irving Penn.

Is there a specific item of furniture that you own that has a special meaning?
At home I’ve got early prototypes and one-offs I’ve designed and made over the years which have a special meaning as they built the brand to what it is today. I also recently bought a pair of Rodney Kinsman Sling Armchairs, I love pairing new and vintage pieces together to create a homely, comfortable settling.

What one thing might help people seeking to achieve a ‘curated’ interior?
I think it’s about using furniture as a canvas to create the home around. Our Raindrop Coffee Tables - for example - have been designed to tessellate and assist the art of display. They can work together or individually, but they are the ideal canvas to then add a little piece of sculpture or a beautiful curation of your favourite coffee table books. These pieces of furniture can be pedestals for your most treasured possessions.

We’re excited to partner with you for London Design Festival for our sensory living exhibition. What is it about the Monoware aesthetic that you appreciate
We share a similar understanding. Monoware pieces are beautifully created yet also useful, and ultimately do what they say on the tin. It’s the same with our furniture. Our designs allow people to curate around those objects without any sense of tension.

Would you like to explain to readers what it is that they might anticipate discovering at the showcase?
Our furniture has always been playful, however, we’re now pushing the boundaries in terms of colour. We want to bring a punch of bright colours into the home that embodies beauty. The Monoware range pops so well against the backdrop canvas of our furniture. It builds a picture, a bit like when an artist curates a picture…

Is there a tabletop item you own that you couldn’t be without?
I have a passion for collecting objects and recently picked up a sculpture of a small marble head whilst I was in Greece a few weeks ago which evokes a great deal of meaning. It is currently sitting on my desk at home catching my eye and making me smile daily.

Your favourite cuisine?
I love being away and finding a tiny fisherman's taverna, eating seafood where you can hear the waves lapping nearby - and being within such a short distance to where the source of the ingredients have come from - it’s that freshness to the table that appeals to me.

Best song/album for a dinner party?
I would always choose Portishead to get things going! 


London Design Festival
Showcase: Sensory Living in a Modern Space, 16 – 24 September, 10:00 - 18:00
Public Event: Coffee Tasting with Special Guests Coffee, 20 September 10AM - 1PM, Fred Rigby Studio, 5A Gransden Avenue, London E8 3QA

Portrait by Jake Curtis

Back to top