by Devanshi ShahMay 18, 2022
Henry Holland is perhaps best known for his fashion brand, the House of Holland. The former Creative Director of the eponymous fashion label discovered his love for ceramics during the pandemic. Transitioning from fashion designer to a ceramist, he has since launched the Henry Holland Studio, which creates ceramics and homeware projects. The pottery features a distinct pattern which is Holland’s interpretation of the Nerikomi technique. For the London Design Festival 2021, the studio collaborated with East London rug company, Floor_Story, to create and design a series of rugs integrating bold patterns and classic rave iconography, including motifs such as smiley faces and psychedelic-style patterns. The installation was part of the Design London presentation with designs that feature irregular shaping and runners which seemed to melt into the surroundings. The combination of muted tones that allow the pieces to be placed in various interior settings, and more striking designs, make for wonderfully unexpected statement rugs.
The collection bears a visual resemblance to Holland’s pottery. In an interview with STIR, the multi-disciplinary designer elaborates on the collections and the process.
Devanshi Shah (DS): From clothes to pottery, to rugs, could you tell us a bit more about how your aesthetics have travelled across these mediums and how they have evolved?
Henry Holland (HH): I have been so lucky in life that I have found creative disciplines that I love to explore and have managed to turn them into careers - I can’t believe it happened for me the first time with fashion, never mind a second with my new ceramics and homewares. I think my aesthetic is always really reflective of myself and my personality and I love to inject a sense of playfulness into everything I create. This has evoked as I have evolved as a person and my ceramics and homeware projects are much more reflective of who I am now rather than who I was when I launched House of Holland at 22!
DS: Can you tell us a bit more about your collaboration with Floor Story?
HH: I met with Simon a couple of years ago now after seeing his work with other artists that I admire, like John Booth, and we decided to work on a collection together. Simon is great and we share a similar outlook on just creating great things that people will love, incorporating amazing craftsmanship and design without too much stress!
DS: While the outline of the rugs has a regular form, the patterns within rely on classic rave iconography. Tell us more about how you conceptualised this series.
HH: I actually designed the collection twice. The first time I was working on references of 80s and 90s rave flyer graphic elements and then I started my ceramics. Once I saw the results of the ceramics I had been experimenting with, I went back to the drawing board as I thought the pattern would work really well in the rugs so I incorporated the two elements together and that’s how we ended up with the final results and the collection as you see it.
DS: One of the descriptions talk about the series "alludes to 'out of mind' experiences". What does an out of mind experience mean in relation to design?
HH: I feel like design is really easy to lose yourself in. For me it’s both the creative process itself of working on and designing pieces but also good design has the power to evoke emotions and memories that people can lose themselves in.
DS: The installation at Design London has a playlist linked to it. Please elaborate more on that. Why was it important to include this playlist?
HH: The playlist was a bit of a run and references from the rave culture of the 80s and 90s that we were playing on in the collection. I just missed out on that period being born in ’83 but I have always been fascinated by it and I think my upbringing in Manchester means that I really resonate with this cultural movement.