Fred Rigby grew up in Dorset, between the rolling hills of the English countryside and the limestone headlands that continue to inspire his work as a designer. Since graduating from London’s Kingston University with a degree in product and furniture design, he has worked with a range of designers and artists, developing a knowledge of processes including fibreglass casting and CNC technologies while perfecting his own craft from his eponymous studio in London.
Drawing inspiration from nature and melding the old with the new, designer Fred Rigby creates thoughtful spaces and intriguing, bespoke pieces that consider the spaces we inhabit and the functions we demand from his London-based interior and furniture design studio.
His Eclipse Desk for MENU unites his design ethos with sculptural, organic forms reminiscent of the shapes of pebbles.
What inspires your practice?
I am most inspired in and by nature. Although, anything can spark my imagination, whether it’s something I see or simply playing with scraps of paper or sketching forms.
Describe your creative process.
It starts with sketching – crude line drawings that develop into more detailed elevations and plans before becoming models and maquettes and, finally, full-scale prototypes.
Who or what has been most influential to this?
There are so many amazing contemporaries whose work I love. I am, however, most inspired by the concepts behind art and thinking about how this can influence work.
What do you always consider before beginning each new project?
I always look to the end-user when developing an initial project brief. I think about how a design will be used, where it will be placed. Ultimately, the most important thing is how it will look and function in a space. Pairing the two is key.
You have created The Eclipse Desk for MENU. Tell us about your thoughts behind the design.
I found inspiration for the piece by looking to the shapes and forms of pebbles I collected on a beach. I wanted to create a design that wasn’t static, and one which was bold in colour yet tactile in form. The Eclipse Desk is ambidextrous: it can stand in the middle of a room as a centrepiece or up against a wall as a more conventional piece of furniture. Its solid oak top and intriguing form draw the eye and invite to touch.
What challenges did you face when creating it?
How to integrate the lid into the desktop so that the grain chases through the top. The Eclipse Desk has an in-built storage cylinder to stow cables – or anything else, for that matter – out of sight, leaving behind a beautiful, clutter-free sculptural object in an office or space commandeered as a work-from-home station.
How do you want people to use the Eclipse Desk?
The Eclipse Desk is sculptural, functional and tactile. I want people to feel inspired when they sit at it. To lean back and touch the curved edge; to find a calmness within to focus on work.