Fameed Khalique sources exquisite materials for the interior design industry, from marble and leather, to beading and glass. His portfolio includes high-end projects such as One Hyde Park, The Four Seasons Hotel, Harrods and The Corinthia Hotel as well as private residences. Tracking down the most unusual materials and skilled craftspeople from far-flung corners of the world, Khalique is London’s go-to for beautiful and unique surfaces. Always at the cutting edge of innovation, the studio works closely with interior designers and architects, and consults for trend forecasting agencies.
Were you always interested in design and materials?
I was always interested in the arts and even studied fashion design very briefly at Sixth Form College. That’s when I realised that I couldn’t draw and subsequently for the next 30 years convinced myself that I wasn’t a creative at all! So instead I hung around creatives by producing fashion shows and then going into publishing. However, I’ve always appreciated quality and workmanship which started with the clothes that I bought when I was younger through to purchases for my first apartment 13 years ago. Its since starting my company that I’ve begun to realise that I am creative and have proved this to myself by designing my own embroidery collection (below) which I never thought I would do.
Who or what helped you to develop your creative eye?
I always had older friends and so their tastes and lifestyles definitely influenced me. Although I think creativity is innate – even if we try to convince ourselves that we don’t have it. My dear friend Ronnie Cohen who as a painter, architect, linguist – a real renaissance man – was a great influence on me. Going to a museum with him was like having your own personal tour guide! And designers in the industry like Bill Bennette and David Collins were very good to me – encouraging me along the way.
What was the first design ‘thing’ or moment that had an impact on you?
I can’t remember the first thing (I’m too old) but I remember my Dad’s Ford Zephyr complete with an in built record player. My Dad was very tall and had a lot of presence and style. I recall seeing the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao for the first time and it absolutely moved me. I had certainly never felt like that about a building before. And some of Yves Saint Laurent’s collections were just awesome.
How would you sum up the Fameed Khalique style…
I would say classic but quirky – I love tradition but you have to have an eye on the future.
What was the last thing that gave you a spark of inspiration?
The craftsmanship at the atelier in India that makes my embroideries is just so magnificent. Seeing their work just makes you so happy and brimming full of ideas.
What would you say your design signature/trademark is?
We definitely specialise in the unique and its what we’re known for. As someone once described us “they have things you never knew existed let alone desired until you see them”.
You work on a variety of different projects, what sort of project attracts your attention?
I very much see what we do as providing inspiration to designers. I love to work with designers who take something we show them and with their creativity take it to the next level and create something unexpected from it. Those are the fun projects along with those where you can be totally creative with materials and come up with something new for a project.
What has been your favourite project to work on?
The one with the designer Gavin Brodin in London – because he’s great fun to work with!
What has been the most unusual project you’ve worked on?
Ohh, the one with the encrusted and embroidered kitchen cabinet doors!!
What’s the best thing about your job?
Finding new things and seeing clients get as excited as children on Christmas morning when opening presents! And the look and feeling of wonder we all get when we see something beautiful.
Do you collect anything?
The odd bits of tchotchke – but I do like photographs and quirky/amusing artwork.
The best design always seem to have….
a certain timelessness.
Trends I can see happening at the moment include…
Hollywood Regency, glamour, textures, and artisanal products – no more minimalism!
What are you working on next?
A collection of wall coverings and super glamorous cushions using some of our really interesting materials. Lots of architectural projects and some new international hotels, some very interesting homes – that of course I can’t talk about – and of course launching my eponymous leather collection (below).
As well finding exquisite materials for design, I’m also good at…
organising events and parties. In another life I would have been an event organiser!