Designer Interview: Baines & Fricker

By Susannah Dowse

Please meet Baines & Fricker. Steve and Eliza are a husband and wife design duo who proudly produce all their work in the UK. We had the pleasure of working with them on the design of our Brighton shop.
Steve Baines has been a furniture maker for a number of years and Eliza Fricker has worked as an illustrator and screenprinter. Their collaborating has come from a passion for long-lasting design. They think that the mundane and everyday are worth looking at and have used these to influence their designs such as the Fruit Crate and Cement Works wallpaper.
We happily represent their work in Brighton at the shop. Their wonderful wallpapers and furniture are also available to order through our website. 

Tell us your story please, where did it start for you?
We launched Baines&Fricker at 100% Design in 2011. We had shared lots of ideas about what we wanted to make and do before this though..

Is being a designer what you imagined it would be like?
Yes, I think so. We always said if we could make a living out of doing what we love we would be happy and we are getting there!

What are your greatest challenges?
Juggling everything! Financial restraints.. Unpaid invoices, the usual woes of the self employed.

Where does your greatest satisfaction come from?
People liking what we do. Its great when people come back and ask for more furniture.

Why do you manufacture in Britain and why does it matter to you?
There are lots of great materials in this country- especially wood. We are very interested in heritage and craft. So many things are still made or sourced materials abroad.
We like to design something and then see how we can make it with what is around us.
We also like to use local businesses when we can for the bits we don't make.

What are the pros and cons of making here?
I suppose cost can be but we haven't really got a comparison as we don't tend to look abroad.
The pros are you are investing in other businesses in this country and establishing relationships.
We also have lots of clever and talented friends that we like to do 'creative exchanges' with. It can be a bit weird using money with friends so we often make furniture for them in exchange for their skills.

What ambitions do you have for your work?
I think things are really going in the right direction for us- if we can keep going like this and make a living that will be really really good.

Outside of design what influences you?
Photography books British post war photographers such as Don McCullin, Beautiful Losers- Alleged Gallery. Painter Stanley Spencer and the Lost Soho writers such as Patrick Hamilton & Julian McLaren Ross

Does where you live influence you?
Our home influences us- we live in a small flat but we have crammed it with everything we love.

Please tell us some best kept secret's in your area.
Steve knows some superior workman's cafes but you'll have to ask him..

Which other British designer / manufacturers do you love or admire?
Pinch design is always beautiful and Very Good and Proper for functionality.

Please shine the light on any emerging designers you think we should know about?
We exhibited next to Thorody fabrics at Design Junction this year. They are another husband and wife team and I think they will do very well indeed.

What does a typical day involve for you?
Walking the dog and answering emails and general admin for a few days a week and I aim to have a day or two for drawing/creative stuff but that doesn't always happen.
Steve is in the workshop most days unless we have meetings or stuff we need to do together.

What are you favourite websites for inspiration and / or wasting time?
Pinterest is really good and annoying as you can lose many hours of your life to it

What do you enjoy doing apart from designing and making?
The shows for Design Week- they are really tiring but we get to be together for a whole week and talk to lots of other designers.

If money was no object what classic piece of British design would you buy?