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Emma and Kam, can you tell us a little about yourself? And your roles at Falcon Enamelware?
Kam: Kam was born in New Zealand where he grew up in a kitchen environment – his parents owned a handmade noodle making business and a Chinese restaurant so food has always played a central role in his life. Kam studied industrial design in New Zealand and then worked his way around the world as a design consultant before settling in London where he met his wife Emma and co-founded Kiwi & Pom and Falcon Enamelware.
Emma: Emma grew up in Birmingham – once referred to as the ‘The Workshop of the World’ – the city at the centre of the Industrial Revolution. This had a lasting influence on her obsession with factories and mass production which eventually led her to study product design at the prestigious Central St Martins School of Art.
As co-founders of Falcon enamelware, Kam and Emma are both actively involved in the high level strategic decision making as well as all creative direction including product development, art direction and collaborations. We have very complimentary skills – Kam has an absolute eye for detail and 3D form whereas Emma is instinctively drawn to colours and materials.
How did you first get involved with Falcon Enamelware?
Falcon enamelware came to the forefront of our conscience through a restaurant interior design we were working on back in 2009 through our design studio Kiwi & Pom. When we design interiors for food we think about the tableware as much as the furniture and fittings and for this particular job only enamelware would do. We struggled however to source the exact products we were looking for – so we decided there was only one thing for it, we’d have to design our own!
Emma was aware of the Falcon brand from her childhood and we managed to track down the manufacturer. From the outset we had a very clear strategy which was to range, re-brand and re-colour a selection of Falcon’s classic products with a view to tool new products if the demand was there. The initial response was phenomenal – our first clients included Soho House, Heal’s, Liberty London and Merci in Paris. Eight years on Falcon enamelware is sold worldwide and we continue to develop new products and frequently get asked by clients to self-specify for their restaurants!
What do you think distinguishes Falcon Enamelware in design?
Three things –- heritage, versatility and colour.
Heritage: The original Falcon enamelware brand was conceived in in the UK in 1920. There is a deep-set nostalgia attached to the product – it reminds people of their childhood, their grandparents, camping trips etc.
Versatility: Falcon has a broad appeal; our customer base is evenly split male : female, our products are enjoyed by young and old, our designs look equally at home in a country kitchen versus an urban warehouse… Although we are positioned as kitchenware brand our products are open to interpretation – being used creatively in the bathroom, garden, workplace environment, kids playroom…there are no rules.
Colour: We put a lot of thought into our enamel colour. We are aware of colour trends but careful retain a timeless palette in our core product range. We do experiment with limited edition colours which are launched bi-annually as a S/S and A/W collection. We invest a lot of time in colour sampling and over the years have come to learn about the various production process which can impose technical restrictions on enamel colour choice.
Why is good design important in 2018/2019?
Good design is consistent and long lasting. In contrast, 2018 has been a year of disruption and uncertainty. Good design, even if it is in a small way, can help restore a sense of identity, reliability and worth. Interacting with good design on a daily basis can bring a small amount pleasure, even to the simplest rituals, such brushing ones teeth or making a cup of tea – and this helps lift the spirits.
How does working as a couple influence your design work?
Often we disagree – and this forces us to really debate our ideas and justify the rationale behind our thinking which either results in a well thought out design (or a massive argument!).
Can you tell us about your morning routine?
Since we have three young children (Pip, Kit & Marni) and two businesses (Falcon Enamelware and Kiwi & Pom) we really don’t have much time for ourselves in the morning. This is one of the reason’s the M+G skincare range really appeals – it’s simple and effective. We both use the M+G Grapefruit Face Cleanser and Vitamin E moisturiser and we can’t live without the Eucalyptus Deodorant, which we also share (should we admit that?!).
What skincare products/other brands could you not live without?
M+G does a great job of covering off all the skincare and body products we need. The only other beauty brand I invest in is good old YSL Touche Éclat brush pen to hide the black bags under my eyes! In terms of other lifestyle brands, both Kam and I have a joint obsession with furniture and couldn’t live without our Walter Knoll Saarinen dining table (which looks great with Falcon enamelware!).We both also love the leather accessories by French fashion label A.P.C – like Falcon, their designs are timeless yet contemporary.
Do you share skincare, bath+body products or fragrance?
Yes and no. Skincare, absolutely, but when it comes to fragrance, we have different preferences. I adore the ‘Moroccan Fig eau de toilette’ whereas Kam prefers the Bergamot. I think the ‘Sage’ candle wins hands down whereas Kam would opt for ‘Vetiver’. Time permitting; I’ll always opt for a bath with a clarifying clay mask – whereas for Kam it’s strictly showers with the M+G peppermint body scrub.
What do you do for the holidays? Do you have any holiday traditions?
Holidays generally rotate around catching up with family and friends. Since Kam is from New Zealand we try and schedule a visit every three years. Whenever we go back it’s become tradition for us to visit Black Barn. We were married at their vineyard ten years ago and their retreats still represent our dream home. Maybe one day we will settle in the region of Hawkes Bay and build a family home in this style…
How do you plan to celebrate the New Year?
We’re very excited to be spending New Year with our ‘French Family’ in Montpellier. We first met our French neighbours 15 years ago, when Kam and I were living in Kings Cross. We didn’t realise the landlord hadn’t connected the bath overflow pipe and, unbeknown to us, it flooded their flat below shorting the electricity in mid- December! Luckily our neighbours saw the funny side and showed up at the door with candles and a bottle of red wine. We’ve been firm friends ever since and are mutual godparents to our respective children. We’ve made a promise to each other that we will meet up at least once a year – and happily for us this New Year it’s France.