Brighton and London-based Liqui Group was originally founded in 2007, by furniture designer and maker Cameron Fry. Today, it is a multi-faceted, cross-disciplinary practice, ranging from contract furniture to branding. We caught up with Fry ahead of the practice’s launch of its Theodore Bench Desk System at 100% Design.
OnOffice: Tell us about your new Theodore Bench Desk System. What makes it smart and sustainable?
Cameron Fry: We drew inspiration from a bygone era where desks were more than just something to sit behind; they could become a status symbol within their own right. We named it after the Theodore Roosevelt desk that still sits in the White House to this day – if that’s not sustainable design, we’re not sure what is.
OnOffice:What inspired you the most in the original Roosevelt desk?
Cameron Fry:It was the realisation that it’s not really the desk that’s amazing, it’s what happens on it. We realised that for the first time our furniture could be involved in some amazing things. We were trying to take some of that thought process into the design of a very practical product.
OnOffice:What’s your design process?
Cameron Fry:I’m very process-led. I love learning about a new process, then figuring out the best way to design products around it. The reason I became a designer rather than an artist was because I enjoy the problems that have to be solved when something needs to go into production.
Although it can be quite tough, the satisfaction you get when you get it right is worth it – at least that’s what I keep telling myself.
OnOffice:What drove you to expand from furniture to the cross-disciplinary brand Liqui is today?
Cameron Fry:It was always the plan. I’ve been obsessed with design from a very young age. I believe that regardless of the discipline, the thought process behind good design is the same. Although we span many different sectors, design is the common thread that runs through them all.
OnOffice:You now head up four separate companies under Liqui Group. Do you still find time to design?
Cameron Fry:Yes still quite a bit, I’ve tried to hire people that are much better than me at the technical side so my job becomes more and more focused on creative direction and design concept. But none of it would be possible without the guys who actually draw this up and my technical director, Alex Trenear-Thomas, who designs ingenious ways to produce it all.
OnOffice:Liqui’s motto is “Because things can be different”. What makes you different?
Cameron Fry:When I started, I couldn’t believe some practices going on within the manufacturing sector – it still astounds me today our food comes in packets where at least 50% of it can’t be recycled. If you have to use materials that aren’t good for the environment, it should be on something that is going to last a long, long time.
My aim is to have the motto become less and less relevant as more and more companies follow suit. I’m pleased to say over the 11 years we’ve been going, it is already starting to happen.
Inspired by the Roosevelt desk in the White House, Liqui Group’s new Theodore Bench Desk System shows how the firm sets its sights high