We’ve recently discovered a wonderful family owned and run restoration and specialist finishing company Cox London. Co-founded by Nicola and Christopher Cox, Cox London specialise in cast bronze; cast and wrought iron; blown, cut and silvered glass; re-wiring chandeliers for the UK, EU and USA; patination and plating; restoration and as if that wasn’t enough to make your head spin….they are fabricators in brass, copper and steel as well.
This means they are able to create marvellous bespoke items such mirrors, tables and lighting pieces. The designs are only limited by your imagination. We were lucky enough to garner some time from Nicola Cox, one half of this exciting team taking London by storm.
Who’s responsible for designing your products?
Chris and I collaborate on the design. We both keep note books on ideas which we dip into for inspiration and when we both feel confident in a design Chris will draw it out to scale. If the piece involves sculpting we would both do the initial piece in wax or clay.
Are they made locally or abroad?
Everything is made in our own workshops based in North London. We like to be as close as possible to the pieces we design. As we are both makers we enjoy the buzz of a busy studio and find it inspiring to work with the highly sklilled craftsmen we employ. Only glass blowing is done outside of our workshop but we work with British glass makers and are able to get involved in the process there too.
What inspired you both to follow your current career path?
We met at art school where we were studying sculpture so it was a natural progression to designing furniture and lighting.
Do you have a signature design style or design element that makes your products recognisable as your own?
As time goes on and our individual styles converge more and more we are developing a passion for the more sculptural and less formal pieces we make.
Where do you source your materials from?
Materials are sourced mostly in the UK, Italy and Germany
Do you have a showroom where the public can view your products?
Yes, Giovanna Ticciati in Petworth, West Sussex, Charles Saunders Antiques in London and visitors to our workshops in North London are always welcome.
How do you manage to keep organised and on top of everything that being a product designer and business owner entails? Any systems or tips you’d like to share?
It takes 24/7 dedication. We have ten crafts people on the shop floor working constantly so to maintain efficiency we have to keep well ahead of the work they are doing to make sure we have everything we need to finish a piece on time. The designing is something we do out of hours when we have less distraction. You need two brains really ! One that can cope with the day to day organizing and planning that comes with running a busy workshop and one that is free, untroubled and creative.
How do you both keep motivated and inspired to come up with new ideas?
The world is full of inspiration be it artists and designers from the past, antiquities architecture or nature. I can’t imagine a time where we would be scratching around for an idea. Work comes from work. It’s time that we need more of.
Where/when are you most creative?
Usually after good night’s sleep!
What would be your dream / ideal item to make / design ?
A sculpted bridge over the Thames.
Recycling or Sustainability are such key words in today’s design industry – how are you able to bring those elements into your own company and / or products.
We make things to last both in style and construction with an emphasis on quality of material.
What is the biggest professional challenge you have faced so far?
Expansion is always troubling, you are only as good as your last job, so it is essential we maintain a high standard. Recently we have found ourselves so busy it can be difficult to manage but it’s important to us that we are able to have an input on everything that passes through our workshop. Juggling parenthood and a business has additional pressures but we have a great team and everyone works together really well.
In five years where would you like your business to be? How do you see your company growing over the years?
We always feel like we are at the beginning, as each year brings new challenges. We are exhibiting at Decorex this year for the first time and have designed seven new products for the show which we are very excited about. Five year’s time ? We hope to have established Cox London as a design house producing covetable objects.
What home decoration items are on your wish list for the future?
There is a fabulous sofa we are using in our next photo shoot, it’s a period piece made by a Danish designer.
What is your favourite place in your own home?
That would have to be the garden.
What’s the best advice about business you’ve been given?
Have the courage to follow your convictions but keep a sharp eye on the details.
We’d like to thank Nicola Cox for sharing her thoughts with us and providing an insight into what must surely be a very creative and inspiring place to work. If you hadn’t planned on visiting Decorex this year, then perhaps a rethink might be in order, so get on down there and let us know what you think of their work.