Humanised Design – Cameron Foggo
Cameron Foggo is a New Zealand born, Australia-based designer of high-end furniture. Known across the globe for his unpretentious yet refined approach to design, Cameron’s work, spanning furniture, interior design and architectural collaborations, is informed by travel and the human experience.
Cameron’s story begins in New Zealand, with his early years spent developing an inherent appreciation for design and a passion for creative expression, established in part by his family’s interior design and furniture business. “The initial years of working with my father served as an apprenticeship of sorts,” says Cameron. “It was the best education in the industry I could have asked for.” These formative years were integral in crafting Cameron’s design philosophy and focus on combining beautiful design with functional comfort that places the tangible experience front and centre. “From an early age, I was taught by my family that if a piece looks good but isn’t comfortable – it doesn’t count,” he recalls.
“From an early age, I was taught by my family that if a piece looks good but isn’t comfortable – it doesn’t count.”
Fast forward through years during which Cameron trained formally, established furniture brand NoNN and became a highly regarded as both a designer and painter, to 2011, when we find Cameron working out of his Christchurch studio. Like so many in the region, Cameron and his family lost a tremendous amount when tragedy struck the South Island on the afternoon of February the 22nd. “The earthquake destroyed the showroom that housed much of my NoNN product, in the process signifying an abrupt end to my personal work in New Zealand at that point in time,” says Cameron. “I have always been an avid traveller, so, in a way, the events of 2011 acted as a catalyst for a fresh start across the Tasman.”
Faced with the challenge of relocating out of necessity, Cameron brought his laid-back design approach, as well as his passion for elegant and functional furniture, to Sydney, where he immediately began picking up where he had left off in New Zealand. “The move to Sydney enabled me to transfer what I had learned collaborating on architectural projects in New Zealand into more interior design focused work, whilst further developing the NoNN brand,” he explains. The move to Australia also allowed for an increased focus on work with major national and international furniture brands, with NoNN products first being represented by Living Edge and now District in Australia, in accordance with Simon James and Belle Interiors in New Zealand.
“The move to Sydney enabled me to transfer what I had learned collaborating on architectural projects in New Zealand into more interior design focused work, whilst further developing the NoNN brand.”
After several years spent living and working in Sydney, Cameron’s intrepid traveller’s spirit would once again catch up with him, as he could no longer supress the urge to look further afield for design inspiration. “The travel involved in the design industry has continually been a career highlight for me,” he says. “I have always loved attending the European fairs and the opportunity to meet up with some of the international designers I have admired for many years. Whilst I am not defined by a solitary aesthetic, the dark and moody tones of Scandinavian design have always very much been my bag.”
Following two years spent travelling and working through Asia and Europe, Cameron has returned to Australia, refreshed and energised from the inspiration only travel can bring. “Recently, I have been focused on working with the Danish-owned Natadora as well as Tolv,” he explains. “Both these brands approached me, which is quite humbling and extremely exciting as it allows me to further explore my Scandinavian and mid-century modern proclivities through pieces such as the Archive collection.”
After receiving international recognition, the temptation for any designer is to expand into new territory through modified design pursuits, however, Cameron remains focused on the creation of elegant, functional and highly comfortable furniture. “I most enjoy designing pieces that are relevant now and will be well into the future,” he says.
In many ways, his nomadic existence has shaped Cameron’s humanised approach to design. His upbringing in New Zealand and work in Australia truly moulded his unpretentious style, while the lessons learnt through travel are present in every piece of sophisticated furniture he designs, with each product telling a different story in its stylish yet functional form.
“Whilst I am not defined by a solitary aesthetic, the dark and moody tones of Scandinavian design have always very much been my bag.”
Fusing the relaxed Kiwi approach with innovative Australian spirit, Cameron has developed work that transcends international boundaries to achieve a global appeal. While adjectives like ‘timeless’ and ‘sophisticated’ certainly ring true in conjunction with the furniture he designs, the most satisfying outcome for Cameron is the creation of a piece that feels just as good as it looks. Because after all, “if it isn’t comfortable – it doesn’t count.”