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The Early Years

As part of the very fabric of Christchurch, Belle Interiors and founder Colin Foggo have long been at the forefront of furniture design in New Zealand and beyond. Over 40 years ago, Colin Foggo was tinkering in his garage on one of his various furniture projects, when he recognised a gap in the market for enduring, timeless and functional design. What started as hobby quickly evolved and in 1978 Belle Interiors was born in Christchurch’s fashion district of Merivale.

Styled in what can only be described as avant-garde, the original showroom pushed the boundaries of ideas and creativity- just as their furniture does today. During the early years, Belle Interiors transitioned to an opulent style, heavily influenced by the international English and French Country fashions of the time. Colin employed European trained interior designers who were experts in the art of interiors and followed logical and practical design principals. Despite changing trends and a move towards its now renowned contemporary style, Colin is adamant that the fundamental rules of design never change, “it is about being creative within these rules and exploring a space’s potential” says Colin.

In the late 80‘s, the Belle Interiors showroom also began representing designs from top furniture manufacturers from around the world, giving their clients at the time exclusive access to international design houses. Later, Belle Interiors would move to its iconic Victoria Street location, bringing Colin’s son Cameron Foggo into the fold and focusing their attention on creating locally designed, custom made pieces by their skilled craftsmen. This cemented their brand as a leader in design and paved the way for their continuing reputation for quality furniture.

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A Unique Perspective on Furniture Design

Colin’s heavy interior design influence gives him a unique perspective on furniture design. He understands how spaces work and is quick to underscore that design must also be functional. All too often the way a piece of furniture, and even more so an entire space works, is forgotten in favour for the way it looks, “It’s important to consider the flow of a room, taking into consideration how you will use the space when adding furniture. It is amazing what a well organised interior will do for your home” says Colin.

Every detail in a Belle sofa is carefully considered. Notably, the frames are made in primarily one piece, rather than several components and the fill and foam systems are the highest quality. “Considering the quality and longevity of the materials we utilise and the construction methods we use, you won’t find a high-end European sofa that would be any better in terms of quality” adds Colin.

Colin was quick to realise that the off-the-shelf solutions available at the time often didn’t provide enough options in modern homes. There is no ‘standard sofa’ for Belle as nearly everything can be customised. “Our own quality manufacturers handcraft our pieces in a range of sizes often larger than standard to better fit a space, or they can be custom made to suit your requirements” explains Colin.

Not only are Belle Interior pieces made to last but they are designed in a timeless aesthetic to remain looking contemporary as trends come and go. “Our emphasis is on providing extremely comfortable, high-quality pieces, using only the best durable materials and paying attention to the finer details.” There are a range of styles, from the Bradley with its sculptural characteristics (a current favourite of Colin’s), to the Linear which is based on a quintessential ‘English T cushion’ design but has evolved into a much more modern version of the classic.

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Bringing Together Two Great Interior Brands

The recent relocation of their showroom to the Christchurch McKenzie & Willis building brings in a new era for both McKenzie & Willis and Belle Interiors. This new concept space will run as a ‘store within a store’ bringing together two great interior brands. The move also saw Belle Interiors reborn as ‘Belle Interiors Collection’, signifying this very special partnership under the McKenzie & Willis roof.

Combining expertise and knowledge, will no doubt strengthen the interior offering for both, something McKenzie & Willis General Manager Bill Willis is excited about, ‘Colin is a leader in the interiors and design field who we look forward to working alongside. The knowledge and expertise he and his team will bring to the McKenzie & Willis space will strengthen our product range, interior design service and further establish our showroom as a one stop shop for everything interiors.’

Click here to find out more or head in store to the new Belle Interiors Collection concept space at 181 Blenheim Rd Christchurch.

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