Here at Elysium Magazine we’re all about great style and good design. The two things go hand in hand like a hot dog with mustard. In many ways Elysium Magazine is the curator of the über cool and desirable for the discerning gent and we have mutual respect and admiration for anyone else who believes in the beauty of design. One such believer is Fab.com – known as the world’s design store – and the work it does to get great everyday design out to discerning gents with an eye for style is to be admired.
The rise of Fab.com has been stratospheric – from launching in early 2011 with an ambitious plan for world domination, it’s currently the biggest online destination store for any discerning gent looking for that stylish addition to his office or home. This global operation is currently valued at a whopping $1 billion. So far so good then.
Elysium Magazine was invited to the opening of Fab.com’s new European HQ in Berlin – a Google-esque tower of creative and flamboyant flair is encouraged around every corner. It’s bright and colourful with a sure-fire sense in the air that good design is the no.1 priority.
Bradford Shellhammer, Founder and Chief Design Officer at Fab.com, was on hand to share his thoughts with Elysium Magazine on becoming a behemoth in the world of design:
Elysium Magazine (EM): In what ways do you think we as consumers are more focused around design trends?
Bradford Shellhammer (BS): I think consumers are empowered with expression right now. Expression via technology. Look at Pinterest or Instagram. Everyone’s an editor! Everyone’s a photographer. That’s really inspirational to me. That trends, whether fashion or design, are no longer dictated by people who know better than you. They’re dictated by people you know. Your friends, your social networks, your favourite designers and bloggers. They’re dictating the trends. Fab’s simply trying to tap into that: to present many things – for the body, for the home, for gifts – that expresses an individuals’ outlook on the world: a happy, fun, inclusive world.
EM: If you were to name the three most important principles of good design, what would they be?
BS: Good design has to solve a problem. That’s number one. The problem could be complex, like an airplane. The problem could be small, like the need for a great white shirt that fits well and does not cost too much. But a problem has to be solved. That’s number one.
The second principle for me would be emotion. What I mean by this is that design needs to solve a problem, but it also has to appeal to our emotions, our humanity, love, desire. Design without human emotion is cold. Solving the problem is one thing, making humans fall in love with the design, that’s a completely separate thing.
Lastly design should be inclusive. Confusing design with luxury is something I deplore. Good design is good.
EM: What trends do you predict will take the lifestyle/interiors audience by storm in the next 12 months?
BS: Honestly, I don’t believe in manufactured trends. The trend I think will continue to skyrocket is one of self-expression, of discovering things you like not what others told you to like. Technology is shrinking the world. Meet people, see how others love, see what others love and in love with, but then make your own decisions. The best trend is a simple one: fill your home with the things you love and don’t listen to what others have to say.
EM: What are the brands that we should be keeping an eye on over the next 12 months?
BS: I am really inspired by Hay right now as is most of Fab. Their Hay House in Copenhagen was a revelation for me: an eclectic menagerie of colour, material. They’re bringing design and a point of view into a lower price point. They’re very inspiring.
I also just met two design studios while in Copenhagen: Form Us With Love and Note Design. They have unique outlooks on life and a colourful, inviting point of view. I hope to collaborate with them this year.
EM: Finally, if we were to speak to you again in 12 months, where do you see Fab.com in terms of growth and influence in the design sector?
BS: I’d like to see Fab continue to be the champion of emerging design talent. Nothing is more thrilling for me than to see the growth of young design talent. We’ve built Fab with them and they provide the discovery, the newness to Fab. In the coming months I hope to collaborate much more with these designers, creating custom products for the Fab audience while continuing to solidify our relationships with the design world.
I’d also like to see Fab breathe new life, new energy into many heritage and established designers and brands’ catalogues. We’ve done this with the Albers Foundation and Blu Dot and have many things in the works for the next 12 months.
We’re making things with designers we love. I am just eager to show them to the world!