What Does Design Mean to You?

This week is London Design Festival and it’s a year like no other. Here at Goldfinger, we have been reflecting on what design means to us, both as an organisation and as individuals.


To celebrate a somewhat different than normal festival for 2020, we asked some of our team to reflect on what good design means to them and share their reflections, motivations and inspirations.

Daniele Barco - Designer & Maker

Daniele’s career in design was born out of necessity, building skate ramps for himself and his friends, because there weren't any in his home town. After studying industrial design, he co-created a design collective focussing on bespoke furniture design, making, and teaching workshops. With a special focus on upcycling and DIY, Daniele has a deep appreciation for Danish furniture and Japanese craftsmanship and seeks to champion traditional woodworking techniques in his design. 

When did you first become interested in design?
Design is a part of life, it is to understand the world and solve its problems. When I was a kid, I craved understanding how things work, so I started to tear apart and rebuild electronic devices and appliances. I think this had a huge impact on my interest in design.

How do you incorporate ideas of sustainability in your practice?
I always try to use materials wisely, to develop more sustainable ways of crafting pieces. I want to make things that will last a lifetime and track the carbon print of suppliers. To me it is extremely important to use reclaimed materials when possible, to understand how to reduce the outputs of production and to source local timber instead of exotic or foreign species of wood.

What is it that you love about the process of designing furniture?I love the journey with the customer in designing something extremely personal that they will take care of for decades. I also love going back to books to look for inspirations and technical solutions that could help me to deliver work of the highest quality and to the best of my ability.

Leslie Feeney - Head of Design Partnerships

With a background in architecture and design, Leslie is an entrepreneur with a focus on product design and project management. She first came into contact with Goldfinger as a client and now works with us to develop design partnerships and help with client strategy.   

What piece of design has made the biggest impression on you?
The Guggenheim museum by Frank Lloyd Wright had a really big impact on me and actually led me to study architecture. Every time I go back to New York, that's the first museum I visit. I love the emotions that it brings up. 

The glass dome at the top, the view back down the stairs, the crack in the corner of one room that reveals a bit of the outside giving you a sense of space- everything from the big idea behind the building right down to the door handles is fantastic.

What do you look for in a well designed object?

A well-designed object fulfils a function honestly, sustainably, aesthetically and forever.  

It has to respond to a need, have a truth to materials and evoke some kind of aesthetic response - be that beauty, joy or humour - and it has to be built to last. 

Which designer has most inspired you and why?

From the 21st century I’d say the designer that inspires me the most is Patricia Urquiola. She blends craftsmanship and industry. She has a real appreciation for properties of natural materials she works with yet uses innovative technology and plays with form. Her designs are always functional and she has a strong sense of aesthetics and playfulness. She doesn't follow fashion and I will see her older pieces being used in new buildings or in magazines, being part of stories and they are still so relevant. 

Sophie Rose - Showroom and Office Manager

Sophie has a background in writing, performing and producing live arts and community programmes. As a champion of commercial yet compassionate enterprise, she has a passion for transforming spaces and facilitating change. She can be found managing the Goldfinger showroom space, welcoming customers and seeking out new sustainable products from local makers and designers. 

What does good design mean to you?

Good design evokes a feeling. Whether of comfort, excitement, connection or peace. It is a springboard for possibility.

What is most important to you when looking for new products for the Goldfinger shop?

I look for products that combine good design with functionality and have a sustainable positive impact. I often hear customers say “that’s beautiful” followed by “that’s a good idea”. We want customers to learn that products we stock are not only beautiful and functional, but that they have been created with waste material and their sale directly supports Goldfinger Factory’s community learning and engagement opportunities . 

We are excited to be adding some new products to the shop that do just this very soon, so do make sure you pop in to find out more! 

What is the one thing you want customers to take away from the experience of shopping with Goldfinger?

We have curated a range that is not widely available elsewhere to provide customers with a unique shopping experience. On entering, they are welcomed to a tour of our wood workshop to learn more about our creative process and mission, and how buying a product or commissioning a bespoke piece directly supports this. 

We also want to champion local makers and provide them with a platform to showcase their items alongside high profile Goldfinger product collaborations with the likes of Tom Dixon, Arup and ISHKAR. 

On leaving the shop, I want customers to be inspired to join our community either through buying a product, commissioning a project, joining a class, volunteering with us or perhaps featuring in our shop.

Noel Madison Fettingsmith - Academy Manager 

Noel is an artist who engages society through employment within cultural production. He joined the Goldfinger Team after moving to London from Chicago bringing skills in collaborative making, education, furniture and architecture production. As Project Manager Noel coordinates and delivers Goldfinger Academy’s courses and workshops including Soulcraft at Home, an online course exploring craft, sustainable design and wellbeing.

What do you hope students take away from the courses you teach at Goldfinger Academy? 

That craft can serve as a practice for self care, something that builds confidence and helps students identify daily practices that allow them to be their best self. 

What does sustainable living mean to you?

Designing for planet over consumption and individuals. 

A well designed object has… listened to the community or user.

What piece of design has made the biggest impression on you?

Moving to London, one thing that has had a big impact on me is the public transport network, we don’t have a centrally designed public transport system in the US like this that allows people to move through space and creates much more access to the city. 


Despite this year's challenges, we are optimistic about the future.

We are excited to continue to promote sustainable living, at a time when this has never mattered more, and to continue innovating sustainable design solutions which benefit both people and planet.

As LDF continues, we look forward to engage with events, both online and across our home city, and spending some time connecting with like-minded partners in our industry.

If you have a bespoke project you would like to bring to life, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch here.