Earlier this month, we debuted our new lifestyle brand, NiX by Nicola Harding, with a collection of timeless lights and shades. Today we are delighted to take the next step in this journey with the introduction of a collection of furniture.
Like everything made by NiX, our furniture collection is made up of pieces that my interior design studio always wanted to specify but struggled to find, and most importantly, meet my combined requirements of quality, price and provenance.
At Nicola Harding & Co, we work on residential and hotel interior projects. Through our residential projects, we have been given the opportunity to work with the best of the best in terms of craftsmen. Meanwhile, for our hotel projects, we've had to source pieces that are highly durable while keeping to rigorous budgets. On these projects, where we have found a gap in the market and been unable to source a piece, we've made things ourselves.
On the one hand, we have a need for beautifully hand-crafted pieces of very high quality, and on the other, the need to find competitively priced, production-run pieces that are really durable. With this collection of furniture, I wanted to bring these two seemingly disparate requirements together, combining batch production and the economies of scale that come with that, with high-level design and craftsmanship.
So that's how these ten products came to be. Comprising bedside tables, side tables, a console table, coffee tables and a desk (some span several of these categories) they're things that nearly all of our projects need but are hard to find. Each piece is carefully crafted from FSC-certified wood – either beech or oak – by craftsmen at a factory in Portugal with whom our studio has a longstanding relationship.
Each piece that we've designed has been born out of a particular need; a bedside table that functions in a certain way, a side table of a specific scale that's got a shelf underneath for storing magazines, remote controls or a kid's storybook, a table that's the perfect height for reading. In all instances, it started with a gap in the market that I needed to fill.
In terms of design and style, each piece has been informed by the myriad of antiques that I have admired over the years. Before I was in interior design, since I was a child even, I've been fascinated by antiques. I looked at how they were made, how they worked, their design details and the purpose they fulfilled. I love the craftsmanship but I also love the stories that come with them. Over the years, I filed those things away in my mind. Creating NiX has been such a wonderful experience, recalling those pieces and mashing them together in different ways to create these beautifully useful pieces.
For instance, Revive is a rectangular, two-tiered table featuring four turned legs with rounded feet and finials informed by an antique Italian bedside table that we used in a project. We love this versatile piece because it can be used in a variety of ways – as a drinks stand, a side table or a bedside table.
Another endlessly versatile piece is the understated Perk coffee table. Informed by a finely crafted, mid-century table that we used in a country house project, this piece is our idea of the perfect coffee table. Its understated, round design takes up less space than a square or rectangular shape and gives the most flexibility for room layouts.
Meanwhile, our console table, Keepsake, has an elegant symmetrical design that nods to the rectilinear lines and simple decorative touches of arts and crafts furniture. Position it in a corridor to display a collection of treasured objects or in front of an exposed sofa back with a pair of lamps to create a cosy ambience.
Colours and finishes
It’s a well-known fact that I love, love colour. I believe it nurtures the soul. I'm always looking for ways that I can incorporate it into my projects and layer different colours together. As well as oiled oak, ebonised and smoky stained ash finishes, many of our new furniture pieces are available in a selection of painted finishes that include various tones of blue, pink and red.
For me, how you combine colours is part of the magic. I don't look at colours in isolation, always in combination. It's interesting when you're choosing colours for a piece of furniture, you're not necessarily looking for something that's your favourite colour and that is going to do all the talking in the room. Instead, you need something that's actually going to complement the things around it.
For instance, you might need a piece of furniture that is going to layer in an interesting way against a pink wall or the fabric of the chair that’s sitting next to it, or it's going to be a lovely foil for whatever it is that's going to sit on it, like a table lamp. That's what we've kept in mind with the colours that we've chosen for our furniture pieces; we're not just thinking about colours in isolation, we're selecting colours that will marry well with other colours in a space.
What I really like about painted furniture is that it sits very comfortably against different types of wood. As someone who really enjoys collecting antique pieces, quite often I'll find that I have a number of different timbers. Sometimes it's easier to marry those with a painted finish because it doesn't clash and it leaves space for the timber to do its talking – it doesn't compete.