After spending four years as British heritage manufacturer Bisley’s showroom and interior designer, Jeanine Goddard takes a step up to become the company’s creative director
Words by Emily Martin
HOW IS GETTING TO GRIPS with a new norm working for you? Whether it’s going from a busy office life to establishing a home office, then back into an office again, it’s undoubtedly been disruptive. But disruption brings about change and, with that, innovation. And amidst all current and continuing uncertainties – we are still living through the pandemic, after all – the architecture and design community is, nevertheless, starting to see the pain and struggles of the pandemic give way to better things. And it’s exciting.
For British heritage manufacturer, Bisley, there have been some substantial changes. Late last year, it appointed Jeanine Goddard as its first ever creative director. The role marks a long-term commitment from Bisley to design and innovation.
Released in 2020, the Belong range’s Bridge collection aims to bring stowage and display together in one seamless system
‘Since the pandemic struck, we know that the working world has changed beyond recognition. Many of us are now working in a hybrid pattern, between the home and office,’ says Goddard. ‘We recognised this model of working quite early on’.
Goddard and her design team helped bring to market Belong in 2020: it features a range of collections and was conceived because of the pandemic. While suitable for an office space, Belong sees it place at home. Its wide selection of colours and finishes with configuration options make the products suit and fit ‘any space’.
‘The pandemic has changed the landscape of our working world and, as a result, we’ve had to change and diversify our product ranges’, adds Goddard. ‘With both wood and steel manufacturing capabilities on one site, we’re able to maximise and extend our offering globally, looking at different products and materials’.
An example of one of Bisley’s multidrawers in palest pink
Goddard takes up her new position after four years as Bisley’s showroom and interior designer, a role in which she oversaw the development of the Bisley aesthetic in the UK and internationally. She brings with her a wealth of expertise, having originally trained as a cabinet maker and interior architect, as well as subsequently worked with leading interior brands including Bulthaup and Herman Miller.
In her new role as Bisley’s creative director Goddard will work closely with Bisley CEO Richard Costin. As a member of the Bisley leadership team, she will lead the creative direction of a new product development team to diversify the brand’s product lines and build upon its design heritage.
Another example from the Bridge collection, designed to be fully customisable and versatile to address any home or work space needs
‘It’s a particularly interesting proposition at such a pivotal moment in time when the lines between the home and the workplace have become somewhat blurred,’ she comments. ‘Looking ahead, one of my current priorities is to reimagine the workspace and offer ideas and suggestions, through our product ranges, as to how businesses can make the transition smoother and more productive by offering clever storage solutions, dedicated zoning and advising on how the introduction of colour, textiles and plants can positively impact the mood and creativity of employees.’
Pivotal, but no less thrilling. Working for a brand like Bisley with its resources, while in charge of a team of like-minded creatives, to develop and grow its product ranges further than ever before: these are the components for a designer’s dream job. As part of this wide-open brief, Goddard and her team are also continuing to develop Bisley’s sustainability initiatives to showcase its manufacturing and design capabilities.
Goddard adds: ‘I enjoy the very open design briefs as it truly allows the team to think, to challenge themselves regularly, while maximising collaboration and creativity. I’ve always had a fascination with finding new and unique colours, materials, textures and finishes for new product development, and this is a key part of what we do within the creative department, which I love.’
Goddard talks of a lifelong interest in design and architecture. She recalls the design of her childhood home, which was designed by her father who was a civil engineer. She says that he regretted not continuing with his architectural calling and, at 15, helped her focus on her career ambitions. ‘I know that through his guidance and witnessing his creativity, it really drove my passion for design – I’ve never looked back!’
Not feeling ready to continue her academic education after finishing school, Goddard opted for a cabinet maker apprenticeship. ‘I absolutely loved it and after completing the course, I was ready to head to university, where I studied interior architecture,’ she explains. ‘The cabinet making course really helped me with my understanding of design and architecture which greatly benefitted my degree and, ultimately, my career.’
And now, arguably, at the top of her career, she takes on a new challenge at an extraordinary time. Tuned with the right design and craft education, she has gained enough industry and business experience, working within several key global markets, to drive Bisley’s products forward.
‘I love the variety and diversity of the global markets that we operate within as each offers different ideas and perspectives,’ she adds. ‘Most importantly, I love the influence the creative team can have on the future and development of Bisley – seeing our ideas come to life never gets boring!’