Henry Holland Studio Interview Luxury Property Magazine Abode2 1

Shape Shifters


Fashion designer Henry Holland has broken the mould with his new-found passion for all things ceramic. By LJ Andrew 

Renowned fashion designer, Henry Holland, made the unusual transition from the catwalk to ceramics in 2019, without seemingly giving it a second thought. He explains: “I made the decision to step away from the bright lights of fashion and was taking ceramics lessons in the evenings as a creative outlet and I quickly became hooked. I love the way I can create something in total isolation. It’s very soothing and meditative.” 

Holland decided to give this new-found passion “his all” and thus the Henry Holland Studio was born. From his Hackney studio, hand-built tableware is created using the traditional Japanese technique of Nerikomi which involves stacking, folding and rolling coloured clay, before hand-moulding it. The end result, ensures that each piece is totally unique by way of its signature colours, facets and patterns. 

Not content with creating stunning ceramic tableware collections, Henry’s hunger “to do more” has since moved him in the direction of designing glassware and larger statement piece ceramics. “The vase and candle holder silhouettes collection comes from playing around with the moulds that I use to create my dinner and tableware range,” Henry explains. “Due to limited space in our studio, we’re always stacking things on top of each other, and I started to play around with some of the shapes we could create from this. You can see elements from the mugs and bowls we’ve made, translated into an entirely different product, but still with the same DNA.” 

Henry Holland Studio Interview Luxury Property Magazine Abode2 1

The move into glassware specifically, also shone a light on one of Henry’s guiding business principles; the importance of collaborating with companies and individuals that share his own vision. “When we discovered a small glass maker in INSERT NAME OF TOWN who was up for experimenting with our designs, we set about trialling different techniques. It's been a fascinating process and the work that goes into each piece is truly a learning curve journey.” 

Whilst the mounting fascination with coincidental form sparked the opportunity to experiment with scale, as seen in the statement pieces big-boy Tudor and Profumo MAXI vases, Henry laughs: “I was spending so much time in the studio at night working on these vases, my husband thought I was having a secret affair. So, I naturally named these pieces after love affairs.” 

This new range has, more recently, lured Henry further into furniture and homeware design. “I’ve always been a fan of the bobbin technique used in wooden furniture," he explains, "so I started toying with the idea of creating ceramic spheres that would stack - like an abacus - over a solid oak frame to form the base of the lamp and create a similar silhouette.”  

While the resulting 'Table' lamp is suitable for, well tables, the studio has also created the 'Floor' as a more dramatic addition to the collection. “I love the impact of this lamp,” enthuses Henry. “It can easily stand on its own as a piece of sculpture within a space.”  

The irregularity of the different shaped marbled spheres of the lamp draws the eye upwards and the bespoke linen shade reflects the curvaceous profile while casting a relaxing, warming glow. The ceramic glaze meanwhile, delivers a reflective sheen to complete the soothing contoured outline. 

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Keen to find ever creative ways to incorporate the Nerikomi technique - the studio's mirror collection was conceived; re-scaled and re-imagined with art-deco curves forming unique statement ceramic frame surrounds in three distinct designs - Crescent, Lozenge and Floor. A nod to the Memphis movement, the designs capture an essence of freedom and irregularity, while maintaining Holland’s hallmark identity. 

“My work is reflective of my personality - playful, bold and colourful. I’ve always operated on the basis of making things that I love. That way, there’s the given opportunity for others to love them too. I always say that anyone with a creative brain is like a sponge – we absorb ideas from the world around us and then look at ways of reinterpreting those impressions. My process is certainly informed by my previous design experience and the desire to create distinctive, mesmerising patterns, although this time around, I have to admit, I’m revelling in the slower pace creative output.” 

A shining example of his desire to collaborate and his exploration of ‘where can I go next’, can be seen with the 'Nobody Cares How Good You Used To Be' exhibition. Partnering with design legend Paul Smith, the exhibition collection includes a curated collection of pieces that came about through Henry’s experimentation with form, shape and colours inspired by Paul Smith’s Signature Stripe. 

“There’s been a real sense of freedom with this project which I’ve wholeheartedly embraced. Paul allowed us to just go with it, pushing ourselves in different ways throughout the creative process – producing different iterations of our signature lamps, as well as experimenting with alternative forms of furniture and sculptural pieces.” Working with an impressive seven individual colours – inspired by the palette of Paul Smith’s iconic Signature Stripe – and hand-dying clay for the first time, the result successfully unites Henry’s tenacity for trying new things, while staying strong to his creative roots. 

But for Henry, future successes won’t be about brand achievements and notching up milestones. He reflects: “To contribute to someone’s personal environment and create treasured possessions, that’s the kind of connection we’re all looking for.” 

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