TFP People: Andy Billingham, Head of Hospitality
As Head of Hospitality, Andy has joined TFP to support clients across hotels, restaurants, retail spaces and leisure facilities. With a career as a designer under his belt as well as 14 years’ experience in the furniture industry, Andy brings an incredible depth of knowledge and expertise in design, consultancy and procurement for hospitality spaces.
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Tell us about your role at TFP
I’ve come in to focus on the hospitality side of TFP’s business. Hospitality is a big market that includes retail spaces, hotels, restaurants, and leisure facilities (such as football stadiums, golf venues and tennis clubs) and much more. TFP has delivered some great hospitality projects over the years, and there’s now an opportunity for us to support more clients and project teams in this exciting sector.
What led you to the hospitality sector?
In some ways it’s been quite an unconventional career path! But everything has centred on my love for design – I couldn’t really see myself working in any other sector. I studied furniture design and manufacture in Manchester and originally, I wanted to be a furniture designer. But it’s a tough gig being a freelancer. I spent around 6 years working with an interior designer on some really interesting renovations and restoration projects. From there, I retrained in restoration of classical furniture and upholstery, and worked in the Lake District for 4 years. Before joining TFP last year, I spent 8 years working in furniture companies in account management and consultancy roles. It’s been a journey!
I met a lot of people at TFP before joining the business, from directors to account managers and operations. One thing I liked was the ethos and desire across the company to want to continue to improve. I was also impressed by their bespoke design capabilities. Many clients today are looking for that one-of-a-kind solution that will help set their scheme apart – it’s exciting that TFP has these amazing relationships with manufacturers and factories all over the world; so if a product isn’t available, we will work with the client to have it designed and made.
I also liked the fact that everyone has clear roles and responsibilities here: account management, project management and operations are discrete functions so everyone knows their job and is an expert in their area – something that is often not the case elsewhere where you have to be a ‘Jack of all Trades’.
Do you have a favourite furniture designer, brand or product?
I really like sculptured furniture that’s big on aesthetics, quite minimalist and sleek looking. I think Zaha Hadid designed some amazing furniture and I also like furniture brands like Bassam Fellows (minimalist but great craftsmanship) and SOLLOS (beautiful craftsmanship) another favourite of mine is O&D (exquisite detail, designs and precision).
Looking back over your career, what projects are you most proud of?
I worked with Philippe Starck on designing the bespoke lighting for super yacht maker Nobiskrug, which was a great project to be part of. Another highlight was working on the fit out of Mesh House in London, designed by award-winning studio Alison Brooks Architects.
What do you do when you’re not being Head of Hospitality?
I like to keep my hand in with design and am particularly interested in sustainable furniture design. Other than that, being a family man means time is pretty limited! I live close to Kennington Park which is great as we have recently acquired a dog! I do like sport and when time allows, I like a bit of golf – but that’s pretty rare these days. Shopping for vintage clothing is also a past time.
Any tips for the weekend?
The Light Bar, in Shoreditch is a good shout. It’s a hospitality venue I recently worked on and is one of the newest bar/restaurant in the area. It’s great for music and live bands at the weekend too.