Brothers and Fetherstonhaugh directors Tristram and Patrick formed their consultancy around 30 years ago, and will be showing projects they feel best represent each decade of their practice.
‘It has been fun [putting everything together’, they say. ‘We’ve grown up with [all the materials] around us so we’ve already known what’s there, but it’s nice to see it again’.
From the 1990s, Fetherstonhaugh has decided to show their work with Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation Award. The now-defunct prize was awarded each year, and the consultancy produced catalogues for artists, interviewed, photographed, wrote and commissioned articles and made a series of short films for each of the awards.
‘With those sort of projects you’re trying to create a neutral space for the art to come to the fore’, says Fetherstonhaugh. ‘We regard a lot of what we do as “communication”, but not in an ad sense.
‘For us, there’s a client, and then they have their clients, so we have to think about what they want to say and what their clients want to hear. You’ve got to produce something that makes everyone happy’.
Fetherstonhaugh’s aim, say the brothers, is to create designs that are timeless – ‘the right design for the right place’.
‘With us it’s best if you don’t really see that it’s been designed’, they explain. ‘It stops you from making something that could go out of fashion’.
Their project from the 2000s is their gorgeous work for Finch’s Quarterly Review, a glossy luxury and lifestyle newspaper-style publication covering film, media, art, music, culture and finance. The design is a beautiful, carefully anarchic style, with a traditional tabloid style layout balanced by clever use of typography and a wealth of brilliant images, including rare photographs of David Hockey.
The final project the pair will discuss is their new Galleries Now website, an international art listings site. Unlike its peers, it’s refreshingly simple to navigate, selecting the best galleries from cities including London, New York and Berlin and allowing users to search by closing date, opening date and location.
Alongside examples of the complete projects, the show will also display the process behind creating them, with a talk on 13 February looking to outline ‘everything else’ not covered in the show.
Inside Design with Fetherstonhaugh runs from 14 – 25 February at Great Western Studios, 65 Alfred Road, London W2