It is a truth universally acknowledged that being confined to four walls isn’t particularly conducive to joy - that is, unless the space is one designed by Campbell-Rey. Duncan Campbell and Charlotte Rey have amassed a cult following (not to mention a client list that includes the London Edition, Christie’s and Baccarat), who, like us, have fallen for their brilliant, irreverent way with colour and curation.
The award-winning creative duo’s work, which spans interiors, creative direction, furniture and product design, is always impeccably crafted and executed, but never, ever takes itself too seriously. While scrolling Campbell-Rey’s Instagram, one rather wishes one could jump through the screen, recline upon that custom walnut daybed and sip something delicious from a sorbet-coloured Murano glass...
In lieu of teleportation, we invited Charlotte Rey to join the Mondo party (virtually, of course) so we could quiz her on dream briefs, fantasy dinner parties and her secrets for capturing that elusive je ne sais quoi.
Charlotte, what is your favourite project to date, and why?
Any project that we are currently working on is my favourite project. When you take something on that’s a creative endeavor I believe one has to be a bit obsessed with it for it to be good. It doesn’t matter if it’s small like a tumbler or big like a hotel interior scheme – although when a project has beautiful bones to begin with, like original plaster work or gorgeous proportions, the excitement of its possibilities is a nice feeling.
Campbell-Rey Ogee sofa in Lisa Corti fabric.
Tell us about your creative process.
It varies depending on the output. I guess I’m always looking at things and playing with things and pursuing possibilities in my head. I am always collecting things that stand out to me for their material or their colour or the thought behind them or something else that catches my eye or imagination. Sometimes you find something hugely exciting that it’ll take years to find an application for. Then when an opportunity to make something comes along, sometimes the idea comes to me immediately, sometimes I muse on something for a while and it comes to me in the moment of waking up. Then I discuss it with Duncan and he brings his thoughts and then we work out what we want to do and how to refine and how to best present it from there. Because we have worked together for so long, more than ten years, it’s a never-ending dialogue going back and forth which is a working relationship that I treasure immeasurably.
What makes for a dream design brief?
A really engaged client with good taste and a sense of adventure or an opportunity to do something really beautiful and clever. As a designer we work for people, as opposed to an artist who most often work for themselves, so it gives me a lot of pleasure to make things that are really beautiful but also comfortable and cool. Design should always work for people or a person, the human is at the heart of the experience, so when one gets to make something really beautiful, elegant and fun that brings out joy and the best in people or an occasion that’s when we have succeeded as designers.
Imagine your fantasy dinner party. Who would you invite, how would it be styled, and what would be served?
I’d like to be at the ball in Il Gattopardo, the film by Visconti.
Campbell-Rey handblown Murano glass coupes, "Cosimo" collection, available at matchesfashion.com.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere and in everything. I don’t have any pretension.
What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
Impossible to say, I have been lucky to see many beautiful things. At the moment, I am taking great pride in the roses in my garden, we have about 25 different kinds, which I inspect every morning over my first cup of black coffee. They’ve occupied a lot of my time and imagination lately, so I cannot wait for them to bloom. I hope them to be beautiful.
What makes a house a home?
Its people and their lives.
Apart from family and pets, what would you save in a fire?
My life size black ceramic panther Hubert who was given to me for Christmas. He gets me.
Thank you Charlotte!