A Conversation with Andy Goodwin, Co-Founder of Fettle Design

A Conversation with Andy Goodwin, Co-Founder of Fettle Design

Oct 25, 2023Gabriel Tam

We speak to the mastermind behind Fettle Design & Cicchetti Knightsbridge's triumph in the 2023 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards.

In the company of the world’s most influential hospitality designers and operators, Cicchetti (London, UK) was awarded the Overall Restaurant Winner at the esteemed Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, held on a dazzling evening in mid-October. 

This accolade is a testament to the brilliance of Fettle Design. We seized a moment with the luminary behind this triumph, Andy Goodwin, Co-Founder of Fettle Design, to talk about his design ethos, and why lighting remains a cornerstone in his architectural symphonies. Dive in with us for an immersive dialogue with an award-winning designer.

Can you share the story behind your journey into the world of interior design, and what made you decide to pursue it professionally? 

For as far back as I can remember I have always had a really strong interest in design and construction. My father was a design and technology teacher so I was always surrounded by design drawings and joinery works when I was young. I went to university to study business, not really knowing what direction I wanted to take. In my first term, I discovered more about the Interior Architecture and Design course and decided to join this programme instead.

How do you balance the need for functionality and aesthetics in your designs? 

The two elements shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. There is always a balance – however, for us, the functionality of a space is critical for its success within the hospitality industry. As such, we spend a great deal of time in the early planning stages of the project and work closely with the client operation team to ensure that the spaces flow effectively and operate seamlessly. The aesthetics become irrelevant if the service is poor as a result of the functionality of the room. 

What was the project brief & design inspiration for the Cicchetti project? 

Cicchetti was our second project working alongside the client team after a successful collaboration on Isola by San Carlo. Unlike the first project, Cicchetti was an existing brand so our brief was more defined and had to be more of a development of the aesthetic that the client had already started to determine. The original concept for Cicchetti was for a well-established series of sophisticated yet relaxing all-day dining restaurants with sites situated in some of the UK’s most iconic neighbourhoods. We were asked to design timeless and elegant interiors to complement the restaurant’s small-plate menu.

As part of our design proposal, we drew inspiration from the architecture and design of Venice itself, the home of Cicchetti, as well as from the work of some of its most influential residents including Carlo Scarpa. We utilised finishes synonymous with the region with a light and fresh palette and details reminiscent of luxury yachts and water taxis.

How crucial is lighting consideration when designing restaurant spaces? 

Lighting is always absolutely critical within the spaces that we design. Its importance only grows within an all-day dining restaurant offering such as Cicchetti, where we needed to carefully manage the atmosphere throughout the day. The lighting of a space sets the tone for the experience that guests will have in a restaurant. 

What essential factors did you prioritise in lighting design to create the intended ambience for Cicchetti?  

Typically we like to utilise a layered approach to the lighting scheme including, amongst others, chandeliers, wall lights, picture lights, table lights, floor lights and discrete linear LED lighting to ensure that the space can be dark and moody enough to create the desired ambience, whilst bright enough to function effectively. Often we like the spaces we design to feel residential in scale and having lots of light sources at a low level, rather than from above assists in this, whilst also allowing a much more flattering light to dine in. 

What prompted you to include NEOZ lamps in your design and why?

We have included NEOZ lighting within many of our projects and within all of the San Carlo restaurants that we have designed to date. The battery-powered table light is a fantastic solution to create warm lighting directly where diners need it without having overhead spots for example, that are less flattering and don’t have the inbuilt flexibility of a table light. The dimming function means they can be used throughout the day, whilst aesthetically they tie in well with our overall design language for these projects.

When guests walk into Cicchetti for the first time, what do you hope they will notice and feel about this space?   

Our hope is that guests feel a sense of quiet luxury as they enter the dining room and are transported to the feeling of being in Venice. The combination of the furniture and lighting, coupled with the fantastic service provided by the operational team creates a comfortable, yet sophisticated atmosphere. Undoubtedly, the most prominent features in the space are the solid Cipollino marble bar and the oversized bespoke murals by artist Jessalyn Brooks. The vibrant colours and abstract figures of the artwork provide a dramatic backdrop to the space and create a luxurious setting for guests to dine in.

What would be your dream project to work on? 

A project that we have talked about and would love to work on is a small-scale boutique hotel located in the UK’s countryside with a fantastic F&B offering, but we feel the variety of projects that we undertake is really the most enjoyable, or perhaps the dream aspect of our jobs. We are incredibly lucky to work on a diverse range of fantastic projects both in Europe from our London studio and in the US, which my business partner Tom manages from our L.A studio. We have a great mix of projects coming up – 2024 will be another really exciting year for the studio.

Thank you for reading “Spotlight on Andy Goodwin.” We love showcasing unique design perspectives with our audience. If you have your own design story to share in a feature story, please email us at submissions. We would love to hear from you.

To learn how our cordless table lamps can transform your next project, we invite you to connect with our dedicated sales team. With a thorough understanding of lighting and design, our team is equipped with the expertise to integrate NEOZ into your vision.

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