Conversations: Campbell Rey
17 October 2018
There is a very specific niche in art, architecture, and design that almost venerates colour and geometry; and it is within this stunning aesthetic world that Duncan Campbell and Charlotte Rey absolutely thrive. Their creative consultancy and design partnership, Campbell Rey, has worked with a number of buzzy luxury brands. Recently, they have also expanded their practice with a range of glassware in collaboration with Murano, and a range of beautiful Carrara marble coffee tables called, The Thierry Table Collection.
In conversation with Duncan and Charlotte, we talk about how their lack of formal design background has actually pushed them to be Less Ordinary with their design practice. Setting aside the status quo; and letting loose with truly creative inspiration. Their latest project with Kitri is proof of this, and plays on all of Campbell-Rey’s strengths. Located in bustling Brewer Street, the new Kitri pop-up effortlessly seamlessly blends elements of colour, geometry, and temporality; while simultaneously expressing Kitri’s unique brand story. 

The Thierry Table Collection
Tell us a little bit about yourself what you do/your idea/your business does?
We are Duncan Campbell and Charlotte Rey and Campbell-Rey is our creative consultancy and design partnership. On the consultancy side, we work with craftsmanship and legacy brands, mostly in the luxury space across creative direction, art direction, curation, and storytelling. On the design side, we take on commissions, interiors, and produce our own furniture and glassware  ranges. We are also working on the design of our first building. 
In what ways do you push the boundaries and try to be ‘less ordinary’ with what you do/your company does?
There are quite a few things that we do differently. We are a very lean team but with big outputs; and so we are proficient across many different areas. For us, it’s the aesthetic, process, and tone that unites us. Neither one of us actually studied what we do now. This means we have developed our own way of doing things free from how things ‘should’ be done, which serves us and our clients really well. With our design output, we really feel that we have a strong universe which is grounded in culture and storytelling — and this really stands out. We strongly believe that every product we put out has its own story to tell. That can be from a place, that’s made in a special way or reflects a certain expression. We like to think about legacy and modernity, what our culture is about, and how or work will echo in time. 
What do you love most about London? Is there anything in the city that motivates your creativity?
Everything about London motivates our creativity. It is one of the most exciting cities in the world, and the more time we spend here the more we value it. It’s a very singular place on the international scene, and across so many industries too.

How did you go about bringing Kitri’s aesthetic to life with their new pop-up? 
The Soho pop-up is imagined as a colourful salon-style boutique that reflects Kitri's modern and playful aesthetic. We wanted to create an adaptable space that brings the brand to life in a surprising and elevated way; and we hoped that it would feel like an evolution from last year’s store in Marylebone.
Custom furniture was a big part of the design. We also used several key vintage pieces to create something that feels both layered and striking. The interior is all about colour, and it makes use of emerald green and ultraviolet tones, punctuated by a custom oversized blue leopard print taken from the Kitri collection. We were inspired by Danish architect and designer Verner Panton’s groundbreaking interior schemes for the Spiegel Verlagshaus in Hamburg in the 1970s, as well as the colours of the current Tate Modern exhibition ‘Picasso 1932 - Love, Fame, Tragedy’. 
For us the mix is very important — the custom furniture was essential to unite the scheme and to create something unique. Part of the brief was to make the space modular, so we created a number of pieces on wheels that could be moved around for events. We also wanted the furniture to work hard, so we designed elements that had more than one function. For example the central freestanding mirror is also a bench, a shelf, and a display rail on the other side. The mid-century  furniture adds a layer of character to the design. This is a quality that’s difficult to recreate when everything is new. It gives a certain patina and adds a dimensionality of time, which we think is very important in a temporary space. 
What has it been like working with the Kitri team — moving their digital space into reality and in Soho nonetheless!
It’s always wonderful working with Haeni, Mike, and the team. They are incredibly clever, fun, hardworking and have an incredible brand. We try to distill the creative spirit that is so evident in their clothes by creating a space that feels equally as modern, feminine, playful, confident, and eye-catching.

St.Leonard's Restaurant
What trusted ‘less ordinary’ place in London do you find yourself going back to time and time again? 
There are a load of less ordinary places in London that we love. To name a few, we like the River Cafe, Primeur, the John Soane Museum, 8 Holland Street gallery, and St. Leonards restaurant. 
What are your ‘less ordinary’ hidden gems in London and why do you think its special? 
We like Petersham Nurseries for the food and the beautiful location, and also Western’s Laundry!
Which ‘less ordinary’ B&Bs, hotels or apartments have you discovered and fell in love with in other cities you travel to? 
Castello di Ama in Tuscany, Al Covo restaurant in Venice, and Da Adolfo in Positano, are all fantastic places for a perfect lunch!
Interview by Hannah Tan-Gillies

Check out our other Conversations

Creativity can oftentimes be limited by medium, and while Campbell-Rey’s aesthetic is distinctly defined, there are no limits to where they can expand they breathtakingly colourful world. And while we sit at home, dreaming about the Thierry Table Collection; we can’t wait to see what design’s dynamic duo come up with next. 


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