Discover how this iconic British brand has been given a new lease of life
EMMA AND KAM YOUNG HAVE BROUGHT FALCON’S TRADITIONAL ENAMELWARE INTO THE 21ST CENTURY
With its instantly recognisable combination of ice white and deep blue, Falcon Enamelware has been a mainstay of the British kitchen since the 1920s. Emma Young, who now runs the business with her husband, Kam, tells us how they’ve brought the brand into the 21st century.
How did you first discover the Falcon Enamelware brand?
I’ve somehow subliminally been aware of ‘those white dishes with the blue rim’ for as long as I can remember. I assumed this was the case for everyone – until I married a New Zealander. He didn’t have a clue what I was referring to when I wanted to specify the dishes for an interior project we were both working on through our design practise Kiwi&Pom. We went on a mission to locate the elusive enamelware, which included a trip up to the Black Country Museum in Birmingham, and this is how the Falcon revival began.
What is the particular appeal of Falcon’s designs, and enamel as a material?
To my mind, Falcon’s designs strike just the right balance between being simple yet distinctive, functional yet elegant, having a specific purpose yet also highly versatile. Falcon’s designs are timeless and the products are both practical and non-precious, lending them a universal appeal. In terms of materiality, enamel is very tactile. The glass frit component of the glaze gives it its intense depth of colour that changes luminosity depending on the light, which I find particularly beguiling.
IMAGES: (TOP) EMMA AND HUSBAND KAM AT THEIR LONDON DESIGN STUDIO; (BOTTOM LEFT & RIGHT) THE COUPLE HAVE INTRODUCED VIBRANT LIMITED EDITION COLOURWAYS
Did it feel like a big responsibility to take on such an iconic but ailing British brand?
Falcon Enamelware was founded in Britain in 1920 and is most recognised perhaps not by its name but more by its products. This is very much how I recalled the brand when I started researching its heritage. I’ve never really felt a weight of responsibility with regards to reviving Falcon – I just had a very strong instinct from the outset as to what needed to be done and continue to do so.
Maybe this has something to do with the fact that, by coincidence, Falcon was founded in the West Midlands which is where I grew up. I feel a strong affinity with the industrial history of Birmingham, which was once the city known as ‘the Workshop of the World.’ I studied Product Design at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art, so I knew exactly how to approach design and product development.
I care very deeply about Falcon Enamelware and consider myself a custodian of the brand – giving it a new meaning and purpose for the 21st century and, in doing so, hopefully helping reconnect a new audience with enamel and securing the brand’s relevance for generations to come.
LAUNCHED IN 1920, FALCON ENAMELWARE IS A GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO PLASTIC, WEARS IN RATHER THAN OUT AND IS CHEMICALLY INERT. IT LOOKS GREAT, TOO
What are your favourite products in the collection and why?
If I had to pick one object it would be the 3 pint jug. My husband Kam and I designed this item from scratch, developing various prototypes before finally committing to production. It is a really elegant product which manages to strike a fine balance between the traditional Falcon aesthetic and our love of modern design. We’ve had a really great response to the jug from customers – so much so that we now release it in limited edition colours for S/S and A/W. Watch this space for the new September colour launch – it is my absolute favourite so far…
What are your hopes for the brand?
We have lots of exciting plans for Falcon Enamelware in the future – not least next year which will mark the brand’s centenary. Falcon enamelware embodies so many brand values that resonate with the current zeitgeist – an aspiration for ‘slow living’ and ‘living with less’ (enamel is designed to wear in not wear out), a heightened environmental conscience (enamel is a viable alternative to plastic), a heightened health awareness (enamel is chemically inert) and a desire for a sense of identity – for some the Falcon brand carries a British nostalgia. For me personally, Falcon enamelware is my creative outlet which reflects my pure design sensibility and brings together my preoccupation with design, colour, materials, interiors, architecture, photography and food.
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