‘Sorry for the delay in replying. We’re in the woods this afternoon with unreliable signal,’ Brogan Cox emails. Tracking down Brogan, partner of Sebastian Cox and co-director of the eco-friendly design brand, is not easy – there’s the outdoor coppicing to do and newborn daughter Sorrel to care for – but she can always find time to talk about her other baby: the new ‘Barker’ furniture collection.
‘It’s so nice to do a project of my own, and with my name on it,’ says Brogan of the range which takes her maiden name. It began with the small green ‘Emerald’ table that debuted at Decorex last year, and now ‘Barker’ exists as a four-strong collection of bright, simple wooden pieces. ‘We’ve done some pop-up shops and I had noticed something glaringly obvious: we don’t have colour,’ she adds. ‘Green felt like a good place to start. I suppose it’s a reaction to Seb’s work; clean and blocky and colourful. I had to add more pieces,’ she says.
Until now, the pair have created almost everything together, although Brogan leads the interior design projects, and limited- edition gallery pieces are solely Sebastian’s work. They met at the University of Lincoln when studying a design Masters. Sebastian finished the course,but Brogan didn’t, heading instead to London to work in advertising. She joined Sebastian’s business in 2012, learning on the job.
‘Composition and shape is what I really enjoy and that’s what I bring to the workshop,’ she says. For ‘Barker’, that approach was stripped back to basics; the concept behind each piece was to choose one shape, one joint and one colour. ‘They began like children’s scribbles,’ explains Brogan – ‘a green circle, a strange blue oblong, a red square and yellow rectangle.’ Crafted from sustainable English ash, all of the designs celebrate construction, with the joints evident and the wood’s grain showing through the water-based dyes. Inspired by medieval colour pigments (from which the pieces take their names), these are applied by hand.
Creating the collection has given Brogan a taste for branching out – the studio recently produced ceramic tableware and more plans are forming. ‘I would love to do tiles and wallpaper,’ she says. ‘We really try to put nature into people’s home and connect with raw materials. I’d love to introduce some wild and messy pattern next.’ From £1,850 for an occasional table. sebastiancox.co.uk
This article first appeared in August 2019 issue of Elle Decoration
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.