I first saw the FAO Shop pop-up at Design Junction back in September where it had an excellent spot near the entrance and opposite the Artek bar. And, as you can see from the pictures below (top left and bottom right are of their stand at the show) they also had some pretty slick presentation skills, in the form of artist and set designer Andy MacGregor. FAO Shop is a real passion project, and a true indie: run by two friends who source and edit all the products on the site, they run a quarterly online magazine which tells the stories behind the artists/designers, and they organise pop-ups to ensure the brand has a physical presence and isn't solely online. They're doing all the work, so you don't have to.
Who are you? Gemma Fabbri, Creative Director of FAO
Where can we find you? www.fao-shop.com
Describe your store in five words: Curated, Contemporary, Fashion, Art, Objects
What makes you different? Our collection is a carefully curated selection of the best in independent design from across the globe. We are passionate about design and promote the talent we represent. Our quarterly online lifestyle magazine features interviews with selected designers and art directed photo shoots. We also do regular pop-up shops and designer launches.
How do you decide what makes the cut? We look for beautiful innovative pieces by independent designers that fit the FAO style.
What were you doing before you did this? I was busy running Scene my design studio. We design furniture, interiors and curate design shows.
If you were starting again what advice would you give yourself? Don't be so hard on yourself and trust your instinct.
What are you most proud of? I'm really proud of our achievements at FAO. The team are really passionate about the brand and work so hard. All the incredibly talented designers on board have been really supportive of us too and have helped create an amazing collection to be proud of.
Do you have a favourite thing in the store right now? Of course I love it all but what particularly stands out for me right now is the graphic collection of products from CUSTHOM. I also love the Brogue Table by Bethan Gray.
What's hot for 2013? Bright, bold and colourful pieces are hot. I love the geometric scarves by Clare Gaudion and colourful works of art by Emma Lawrenson.
Every Wednesday 'Indie of the week' celebrates the best independent stores around. These places sell interesting and varied collections of design-related things you don't see everywhere else. They may support young or local designers or be great at finding unique things from around the world. By thinking a little more creatively about what they stock they are fighting the bland homogenisation of so much of the high street. And since I'm down with the realities of modern life, online only stores count too, because a beautiful and easy to use website is just as delightful an encounter in cyberspace.
Do you you have a favourite store? I'd love to hear from you.