Quirky, colourful and undoubtedly unique, UK-based company FLOOR_STORY collaborates with some of the design industry’s most avant-garde, established designers, which have resulted in recent collections with renowned names such as Dame Zandra Rhodes and Camille Walala. This month, Inex sits down with the boss behind the brand – the self-proclaimed friendliest rug dealer in the streets of East London, Simon Goff.
Please tell us a bit about your background.
It’s been a mixed journey with experience in the music industry, travel and interior design, but they have all contributed to where I am now. I think that the creative and explorative energy I had in my early days became more focused when I started working with my father at his flooring business. We opened a retail store in Chelsea’s Duke of York Square and a few years later, we launched the first carpet and rug store in Heal’s London store.
What inspired the start up of FLOOR_STORY?
During this time, I became enthralled with rugs and wanted to make them more accessible, so that good modern design became an experience open to all. Through the next few years, I gathered an intimate understanding of rug production – including a formidable address book of the world’s best makers – and some seven years after joining the family business, I decided to launch FLOOR_STORY. Working with upcoming designers, I then was able to include some stand-out collaborations that merged both the makers and designers into what has become the FLOOR_STORY collection.
Who has been your greatest source of inspiration throughout your career?
My partner Emma, who owns and runs her own design agency, *trifle creative. She has bundles of energy, is knowledgeable, super creative and the person I always turn to when I need advice guidance and inspiration. Emma has also been responsible for pointing me in the direction of more than one of our collaborations, she’s got a very good eye.
How do you approach new design collaborations?
There is no real formula; it depends on what we already are working on, what we feel we are missing; our mood even. The bottom line is it just has to stand out.
Is there anyone in the interiors realm you’d like to collaborate with?
Oh, that is a tough one! We are very lucky to have worked with many of our design heroes in terms of collabs or their own personal/commercial projects but let’s chuck it out there and see what manifests.
Would you say that FLOOR_STORY has a design style?
Colour – we love colour! It’s the boldness and construction that gives it the talk-about factor. Letting a rug define a space is a pretty powerful element for any interior, so providing a range that is lively, colourful and sometimes quirky, gives the versatility that modern and contemporary homeowners are looking for.
What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
I am proud of everything we do here at FLOOR_STORY; even the mess-ups – every day is a school day, hey? We have a great team who work really well together. I suppose the last six months have been really good as FLOOR_STORY have been recognised by our own industry, and we have won four awards. I am proud of the team and the designers that made this happen.
What has been your most notable project?
Again, a tough one to answer. We have quite a few high-profile clients, so many projects we cannot talk about. Still, last year we worked on a project to design, manufacture and deliver 500 rugs for a project in the luxury student accommodation sector – who knew that even existed!
Can you talk us through one of your most recent collaborations?
We are working with Child Studio at the moment. They are great to work with and have a very clear idea of what they want. The rugs are bold and very, very technical. They are quite different from what we have done before, and we can’t wait to release these at LDF 2020.
Have you witnessed any recurring requests from your clients?
I suppose the very nature of what we produce here at FLOOR_STORY is bright, bold rugs, so our clients tend to come to us with colour in mind.
How do colour trends influence the collections?
As arrogant as it sounds, we try not to follow trends. The designers we collaborate with tend to have their own unique style anyway.
What advice would you offer to those that are considering a career within the design sector?
Try and get job experience. That vital hands-on interaction is something you cannot learn in a college or university. Get absorbed in the design events around the globe, such as the LDF and Clerkenwell Design Week. All are relevant whether you are a newbie or established in the industry. Once you are in the sector, you will soon realise that there is no average day – interior design is such a fluid and exciting industry where trends are constantly emerging and developing.
What trends can we expect to see from the rug industry this year?
I am not sure what trends the rug industry as a whole will be producing. We just get our heads down and concentrate on doing our own thing. If I had to pick one though it would be sustainability – real sustainability. We are looking and keeping an eye on a few things at the moment, but there is no point making a recyclable rug if it can’t actually be recycled very easily?
What can we expect to see from you over the next year?
Collaborations with Adam Nathaniel Furman and Child Studio – plus some amazing new rugs from our in-house team, launching at LDF in September.