Useful/Useless by Nicholas Hamilton Holmes.
Black Arts Collection by Nicholas Hamilton Holmes.
Useful/Useless by Nicholas Hamilton Holmes.
DESIGNER OF THE DAY

Designer of the Day: Nicholas Hamilton Holmes

Through highly detailed woodworking, Nicholas Hamilton Holmes channels his reverence for traditional techniques to push the contemporary vanguard of the future. The Canadian artisan continuously crafts heirloom-quality pieces that set an entirely new standard for blurring the boundaries between furniture and sculpture.

Through highly detailed woodworking, Nicholas Hamilton Holmes channels his reverence for traditional techniques to push the contemporary vanguard of the future. The Canadian artisan continuously crafts heirloom-quality pieces that set an entirely new standard for blurring the boundaries between furniture and sculpture.

Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.

Age: 35

Occupation: Designer and manufacturer.

Instagram: @hamiltonholmes

Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Studio location: Haaaamilton!

Describe what you make: We make contemporary furniture, often based in wood, and often involving sculptural elements. My roots are in craft so I tend to design furniture that exhibits and utilizes my skills. We use traditional techniques in a contemporary way so that things can still be well made, while also feeling new, fresh, and current, but also timeless. Sculpture is an important outlet for the studio because it advances the furniture. It’s a great way to explore form without the burden of function.

Useful/Useless by Nicholas Hamilton Holmes.
Useful/Useless by Nicholas Hamilton Holmes.

The most important thing you’ve designed to date: The Captain’s Table is filling all of our current studio goals and it’s the most important piece we have in production. It’s a textured, mixed-material, scalable piece of traditionally built furniture, so it checks all the boxes. We launched it in March and now we’re filling orders and working on a lean production.

Describe the problem your work solves: Our work takes the quality level up a notch. The market has a lot of beautiful mid-level furniture, but we seek to fill the niche of people who want furniture that lasts longer and stays beautiful. Our furniture also pushes contemporary aesthetics, so it fits when clients want the best of both worlds.

Describe the project you are working on now: I’m always working on ten projects at once, but one of the most exciting projects on our desk is a fireplace design that has grown out of our BLACK ARTS Collection. It’ll employ much of the same design language while also sampling Victorian and Edwardian architectural forms. I really enjoy taking the proportions and overall feeling of past eras and spinning them in a new and different way. The results are usually interesting and vaguely familiar. My Rainbow Chair is a good example of this process. The fireplace is going to be awesome and of course ALL BLACK!

Black Arts Collection by Nicholas Hamilton Holmes.
Black Arts Collection by Nicholas Hamilton Holmes.

A new or forthcoming project we should know about: We just exhibited a sculptural coat rack called “Steve the Rack” with Jonald Dudd during NYCxDesign, and we’re starting to plan autumn and winter exhibitions. We’ll be with HUSKDESIGNBLOG in Paris in September, and maybe another European adventure around the same time…

What you absolutely must have in your studio: Music and lots of fuel (food and water). Friends are nice, but should be kept to a minimum.

What you do when you’re not working: Not working… rare! I have two wee humans and a beautiful wife that I enjoy life with—we play and sun tan and stuff like that. I also have a collection of Bonsai trees! They are fun and I probably won’t ever turn them into tiny furniture pieces.

Sources of creative envy: Ben Erickson, Tyler Hays, William Morris, Ariel Pink, Alexander McQueen, Connan Mockasin, and so many other great young designers and artists yet to be household names.

Captain's Table and Book Bombs by Nicholas Hamilton Holmes.
Useful/Useless by Nicholas Hamilton Holmes.

The distraction you want to eliminate: The internet.

Concrete or marble? Marble.

High-rise or townhouse? Moss-covered cave.

Remember or forget? Try to remember, often forget.

Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts.

Dark or light? Golden hour.

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