How does your design process start?
Each of our creations is a blend of form, materiality, and process. One of these components tends to spark an initial idea, and then inevitably takes the lead in that respective piece. We’re contextualists, so a place or an existing object tends to act as the trigger.
Richy, how does your background in architecture and interior design influence the way NOVOCASTRIAN work?
Having worked in the high-end architecture and interior design industry for the past five years I have a pretty good understanding of what my fellow designers felt was missing from the furniture market, often struggling to find the perfect piece of furniture to fit the project.
As an architect, I naturally think spatially first and foremost. I consider each piece of furniture in an imaginary context, rather than as an isolated product. My experience in luxury interior design also gives me a good understanding of the subtle details which elevate a piece of furniture from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
I’m very keen on the holistic approach to design, from the architecture, to the interiors, to the furnishings and the styling. As a result I aim to design pieces which feel comfortable in a wide range of settings, without creating something generic or bland. It’s a really delicate balance to get right - to design a piece which demands attention without screaming, which feels coherent in its setting, yet is also a feature.
As a young brand, what would be your key piece of advice for a new studio?
The most crucially important thing to learn is to say no.
It sounds a little strange, but as as new brand you’ll be asked to undertake work which is way out of your comfort zone. In the natural desperation to bring in projects as a new studio it’s very difficult to turn work down, but often it’s the right decision.
Outline from the beginning the specific kind of work you want to be doing, then go out and actively target it. There are many generalists out there, but few specialists.
What's coming for NOVOCASTRIAN in 2016/17?
As well as expanding the range, we’re currently well underway on a project focusing on Mark’s graphic and print design expertise, with which we’re taking a little side-step away from furniture. The early results are looking promising and we’re hoping to reveal all later in the year.
Finally, Richy is busy working on the interior design for an exciting new boutique hotel in Copenhagen with his architecture studio LIND + ALMOND. Set to open in late 2016, we'll be hoping to get one or two NOVOCASTRIAN pieces on display in Scandinavia!
Finally, why does design matter?
Design matters because it offers us an incredible opportunity to craft the world around us. It allows us to place our little stamp in the tapestry of time. Of course it also presents us with immense responsibility, and it’s our duty as designers not to abuse this. At NOVOCASTRIAN, we aim simply to make people’s lives a little more interesting, but in the right hands design elevates humanity.