What does it take to make a home feel luxurious? It could be the deep mahogany flooring, the rich leather detailing on a sofa or intricate embroidery on a bed throw. Fameed Khalique, designer and founder of his eponymous brand, has dedicated his career to designing decadent materials that people love. We speak to him to find out more.
When and how did you start your company?
My first job in the design industry was working for a company creating leather walling and flooring. This is not only where my interest in design and interiors developed but where I was also able to broaden my skill set by observing and understanding how architects and interior designers think and work. I then went onto launch Fameed Khalique in 2008 with the aim of selling leather and, as time went on, a growing list of other surface finishes.
Fast forward to today and we’re celebrating 15 years. We now have what I believe is quite possibly the world’s largest collection of surface materials under one roof anywhere.
What does Fameed Khalique do?
It’s really about two things: identifying and developing materials I know our clients will love and finding solutions to the challenges that designers face every day. That can cover many things, such as finding a material to suit a particular budget constraint. I also specialisein creating and curating bespoke finishes for both residential and commercial projects, from private homes and super yachts to hotels and planes.
What exciting projects are you working on at the moment?
Our fabrics were used extensively in the new London Peninsula hotel, we were asked to supply the wallcoverings, leathers and fabrics for the guest rooms and suites. The team is also now working on several of the private residences which are part of the hotel, with various design firms.
I really enjoy that our projects vary hugely in size and scale across the design industry. We are currently working on several yachts where sustainability is a key factor in the design, and also a new private jet. No day is ever the same!
How do you provide a unique service in the world of luxury?
Our audience is very discerning, well-travelled but time poor, so our aim is to show them finishes and materials that they haven’t seen before. This allows us to push our creativity to greater heights, to go that extra mile and produce materials that provide the ‘wow factor’.
What does “luxury” mean to you?
Luxury to me means artisanship, noble materials and a great story. I think clients want to know the story behind how their interiors were created. They then want to recount these stories when guests come to visit, as it brings depth to a design.
What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your business so far?
When it comes to my work, I enjoy a challenge, it forces us as a business to push our capabilities to the limit. The most challenging projects that I have worked on and continue to work on are probably yachts. Only because that’s where our laboratory is, in the sense that with yachts, you get a lot more leeway and budget to develop ideas. Some of the projects that you want to cry over are the projects that no one will ever see.
What are some of the biggest highlights?
There are some products that I look on with a sense of pride – seeing one of our embroideries used on a Tom Ford dress was one of those moments. And I’m immensely proud to have worked on many of the world’s leading hotel chains such as Mandarin Oriental, The Peninsula, Four Seasons and Aman, as well as Cunard’s new ship the Queen Anne, which was a standout career highlight.
Personally, being able to create and produce our own collection of lifestyle accessories, cushions and throws also brings me a huge amount of joy.
Who inspires you?
For me, inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere. The British design scene is recognised globally for being at the forefront of innovation and continually encourages us to experiment with our design solutions. Fashion is often a starting point for me – our embroidery collection was inspired by couture techniques.
What’s your favourite place to eat out in London?
I love eating at Sucre because of its Latin American and European influences. The restaurant is housed in a former concert hall in London’s Great Marlborough Street and has an incredible interior with chandeliers and light fittings made from glass decanters.
What’s your best kept London secret?
The best martini can be found at the Egerton House Hotel.
What are you looking forward to over the next few months?
Launching our website, launching our new wallcovering collection here and in the US where it will be distributed in 10 key cities, and, of course, celebrating our 15th anniversary.