Meet the Minds Behind BassamFellows

The duo behind the furniture and accessories brand sits down with CTC&G.
Left Scott Fellows Right Craig Bassam Credit Peter Hapak

Scott Fellows and Craig Bassam. Photograph by Peter Hapak.

Pioneers of the luxurious Craftsman Modern style, BassamFellows is known for furniture and accessories defined by elevated craftsmanship, architectural rigor and sensual minimalism. For more than 20 years—since collaborating on a new store concept for Bally in Switzerland—designer Craig Bassam and marketing strategist Scott Fellows have been creating pieces known for impeccably simple luxury, sharing the philosophy that it’s the essential mix of beautiful materials and craftsmanship that stands the test of time. Furniture, a leather bag, a sneaker, leather boots and a candle are among the personal accessories and lifestyle products that embody their belief that there is more use, value and joy in beautiful items designed to last. “Longevity is harder to design, but in the long run, it gives you a whole lot more,” says Bassam.

Partners both personally and professionally, the couple works in an award-winning Philip Johnson building they renovated in Ridgefield and reside across from the Glass House in New Canaan in a Philip Johnson house where Bassam has assembled a stable of antique Mercedes automobiles, and Fellows is resuming dressage riding when not cooking true Italian dishes, which adhere to the pair’s aesthetic sensibilities. “Spaghetti aglio olio is pasta, oil, garlic, red pepper—the ingredients are really simple, but to make a really good one is not that easy,” says Fellows.

Bf 2 10 2019 Shot 6

BassamFellows’ Tractor stool is right at home in the company’s headquarters located in Ridgefield. Photograph by Eldon Zimmerman.

The carved-wood Tractor stool you designed for the Bally headquarters launched your collection in 2003. How does it embody your principles?

Using that old Swiss tractor seat had been done before, but nobody carved it out of a solid block of wood. We admire the classics, but wanted modern styles, and most contemporary pieces were so disposable and industrial. We like to use archetypes, something familiar, but there’s always a way to change it and make it new.

You had worked for several luxury brands. Why go out on your own?

We wanted to merge our know-how of design with architecture. We loved the idea of beautifully made objects that are meant to be kept for a long time, and architecture is forever.

What led you to that outlook?

Growing up, we had to use things and make do; you didn’t buy stuff just to buy stuff. It was instilled in both of us at an early age.

How does BassamFellows achieve that?

Merging the idea of simplicity—one of the key ingredients of timelessness—with beautiful material and craftsmanship to make useful objects that stand the test of time. Fewer, better things is more enriching.

But don’t you fall behind fashion trends?

If you buy things that are trendy and fashion driven, then you want to replace them and throw them away. That’s why there are so many landfills. That’s change for the sake of change. We’ve never bought into that.

How did you design “a candle for people who don’t like candles?”

Too many candles are overdone—too strong, sweet, spicy, overpowering. The smell should be a subtle thing in the background of a room. Our scents embody nature, like the scent of rain on dry earth.

What makes your cashmere T-shirt worth $680?

It’s like food in Italy, which is very simple but uses absolutely the best ingredients. Our shirt is made in Italy of the finest quality yarn, spun very fine, then knitted by a company capable of doing superfine knitting and shaping.

Bassamfellows Cb 21 Tractor Stool In Carved Solid Walnut 3 4 Front Credit Eldon Zimmerman Rough Silo

BassamFellows’ Tractor stool. Photograph by Eldon Zimmerman.

Which of your pieces would you like to see added to the MoMA collection?

Probably the Tractor stool, but we’re already on view in the whole museum. The curators had to agree on a furniture piece for all the galleries, and they chose the Tuxedo bench we designed for Herman Miller. It was a big moment for us.

One of you grew up in Australia, the other in western New York state. What drew you to Connecticut?

The look and feel of Connecticut is a core signifier of our brand. There’s a good myth around it, a sophisticated countryside. We do a lot of business in Europe and when we say we’re based here, it really means something to foreigners.

The print version of this article appears with the headline: BassamFellows.