Contract - July/August 2011 - (Page 136)
Nicole Hollis Nicole Hollis Interior Design San Francisco, California
Do you have a mentor? Who is it, and how has he or she inﬂuenced your life and career?
The architect Howard Backen of Napa Valley, California, has been a great mentor in my career. He taught me to remain focused on the end result and gave me the trust and support to start my own studio.
Nicole Hollis, designer of the Ruti boutique (page 102), has developed a portfolio of beautiful commercial, restaurant, retail, and residential interiors since beginning her eponymous ﬁrm in San Francisco less than a decade ago.
Do you have a particular design philosophy? How would you describe it?
I am motivated by experimentation and exploration in materials: a mixture of opposites such as manufacturing and cra , high- and lowtech, traditional and contempora . Materials are brought together in unusual and o en contradicto ways. I also use materials that beg to be touched such as leather, stone, raw steel, natural cotton, and smooth plaster.
What would be your dream project?
I would love to work on an eco-resort; a perfect combination of luxu and sustainability. Preferably somewhere exotic so I can travel more!
What interior space—anywhere in the world, designed by anyone—inspires you? Why?
John Pawson’s Baron House in Sweden. The simplicity of materials, use of light, and minimal aesthetic are timeless. I love the way the landscape comes into the interiors and informs the environment.
You have a range of both residential and commercial clients. How selective are you with the clients that you work with?
I’m ve selective. I avoid taking projects that do not excite or challenge my creativity. I would be doing the client a disservice if I took the project but didn’t feel passionately about it.
Do you have a particular approach to dialogue with a client in the project’s early stages to understand what they want in the project?
Before starting the schematic design process, I have several meetings and discussions with the client. I do not have any particular list or questionnaire for clients to ﬁll out; I think the best way to understand the needs of the client is just to listen.
In your current work, is there a particular material that you enjoy incorporating? Why?
I like to incorporate natural wood into my projects, typically reclaimed. It brings a warm, natural feeling to any environment.
What are the major challenges facing designers today?
Photo by Fernando Cepeda Photography
Designers today have to contend with the design-it-yourself lifestyle and the battle against cheaply manufactured furnishings typically not made to last. Clients need to be educated on the value of working with interior designers and what they have to oﬀer in terms of superior standards in quality and cra smanship.
What advice would you give to design students or those starting out in the ﬁeld?
Pay your dues. I started out as an intern in an architecture oﬃce making blueprints (that is how old I am!), running errands, and dra ing. You have to work long and hard to learn the ropes and you should be willing to soak up as much knowledge as possible.
contract july/august 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - July/August 2011
Contract - July/August 2011
Product Focus: Change it Up
Product Focus: Angling for Attention
Product Focus: (Good) Writing on the Wall
Product Focus: Come Together
Best of NeoCon® 2011
Making a Marc
Ray of Light
A New Home
Bloomie's New Edition
Shring to Fitness
Practice: Smaller, Sustainable Retail
Trends: Retail Retrofit
Designers Select: Fabrics
Contract - July/August 2011