If you wanted to do a little research on the design partnership and creative consultancy Campbell-Rey and scrolled through their catalogue of work, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little unsure about what their particular niche might be. One moment, you might be looking at their elegant geometric designs for Murano glassware — scroll down and you’ll be met with an opulent interior design project commissioned by Christie’s.
“I think that’s the biggest misconception of our work,” laughs Duncan Campbell, who co-founded the consultancy with Charlotte Rey in 2014. “Because our practice is so broad, people have at times underestimated the scope of what we do. We might be making a book for someone, the next day working on the design for a hotel.”
This pair met 12 years ago in Paris, where they worked at the Acne Paper, the publishing arm of Swedish fashion label Acne Studios. “For us, that job was our grounding. We worked our way up to becoming the editors, and it was almost like taking a Masters degree in all these different subjects,” says Duncan.
“We learned about the history of photography, fashion, design and architecture. We also learned to put together a photo shoot, how to budget, how to put on an event. It became an incubator for us.”
“We benefited a lot from people saying: ‘we’ll give you a chance'"
In 2014 they struck out alone. “We got lucky when we were starting out,” says Charlotte. “We benefited a lot from people saying ‘We’ll give you a chance.’ That left it up to us to do a good job and hope that people kept asking.”
“We want to produce work that has a cross-generational appeal, and our designs are always about congeniality and bringing people together,” says Charlotte. “It’s about bringing a kind of warmth — and it is work that really is not exclusive to luxury.”
You get the sense that a large part of the company’s success is due to the relationship at its heart. “We always say: if you want to go fast, go by yourself — but if you want to go far, go together,” says Charlotte. “On those days when things are more tricky, we feel lucky to have one another, but we feel even luckier when things have gone well. To have someone there to appreciate and understand what you’ve achieved — that’s really wonderful.”
This Tastemakers interview was published in the June/July issue of Gentleman’s Journal. Get your copy here…