Talking Out Loud is where I talk to young entrepreneurs and artisans about their careers, the path of how they got there and what lies on the horizon for them. It’s their thoughts, their words and their journey…….
I was recently introduced to the furniture line Miles 112 and it’s owner and creative director, Benjamin Hall. I was immediately smitten with his work – the lines are beautiful, the materials luxe and it feels how custom furniture should…..as if it was designed just for you and only you. It is this attention to detail that found me inviting him to create a capsule collection for my Joy & Revelry store. The three piece collection distills what Benjamin does best —- beautiful quality pieces for the modern home.
I sat down with Benjamin and we talked about his career path, his inspirations and what he thinks is the greatest compliment someone could give him……
Why opening up a furniture store? There are so many different types of stores to open, so what did you see that was “missing” from the home goods landscape?
It wasn’t a calculated decision. I was personally developing pieces that inspired me to imagine. I have a tendency to want to rethink things we already take for granted. This is my mentality and it’s pointless to explore if you don’t share your journey and discoveries. That’s why my shop exists.
Can you share a little about your background? Did you always know you wanted to be an artisan?
I grew up loving to draw and helping my dad with carpentry projects. It wasn’t until I went to college for architecture that I found a concrete application of those two passions.
Your designs have a fluidity and balance to them? What inspired the 3 pieces that are currently featured in the pop-up store?
It’s difficult to say there is a divine inspiration that the three share, but I can say that these three items all share my interest in steel. The planters are about repurposing a commodity item. The two chairs are about sitting in a frame that acts like a spring with or around our body.
When creating a new furniture piece which comes first, the design or the material?
This is tough because my mind is subconsciously hardwired to the properties of all sorts of materials, so when I put pencil to paper I usually already know what the material is internally. My biggest problem is when I play the game of switching materials. This typically sends me back to the drawing board for a whole new design.
In your opinion, what makes a “”good chair”?
This is difficult because, like architecture, the needs or comfort change as you get older. I used to love big puffy chairs that I would sink into, but then I got older and realized that I had very poor posture, partly due to how I was sitting in chairs. Then, I developed back problems when building. With those needs in mind, I developed the chair “Modesto,” which has a low-to-the-ground slung cowhide with a simple steel frame. At first look, you might not even know it is a chair, but oddly enough this chair has done wonders for my back. That being said, a good chair is a chair you like to be in.
Your job is something that many consider a hobby, so it begs to ask what do you do for fun?
It’s true, designing and building furniture is a hobby, passion, and a dream. My day job is applying these attributes to architecture, but when I step away from design altogether to have fun, it’s to do outdoorsy things.
If money was no object, is there a furniture piece that you would go out and buy for yourself?
I have always been a big fan of the work of Poul Kjaerholm. I find his work way ahead of the times and much more rich than the Eames, especially when you look closely at the details.
At one time, furniture was bought, as something you know would be passed down from generation to generation. You are creating heirloom quality pieces that I see future generations coveting, so with that said, what do you think could be the greatest compliment someone could say about your pieces in 50 years?
That’s really kind to hear. I’d would be honored if my work was coveted. I suppose the greatest compliment would not be a verbal one, but instead a visual one. Most of my work is made from natural materials that, when used often, leave a patina. The quality of the patina is a direct story of how much the piece is loved.
A big thank you to Benjamin for sharing his insight and thoughts. As I said, I am excited to be working with Benjamin on this capsule collection and hope you enjoy it to! To see more pics of the pieces, visit my Joy & Revelry store.
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