In the Brooklyn workspace of , stacks of books and enormous pin boards speak to the process of founder and creative director Oliver Haslegrave. Culling inspiration from travel, art, literature, and film, the designer develops a rich palette for each interiors project. He spins marbles, metals, and woods into cozy bars and restaurants that populate New York City and beyond (his latest include Bibo Ergo Sum in Los Angeles, Fausto and Elsa in Brooklyn, and the Spaniard and the Loyal in Manhattan). The studio’s emphasis on using custom products resulted in , a furniture and lighting outfit that launched in 2017. Noting the increased breadth of the practice and continued popularity of its hospitality projects, and have named Haslegrave the recipient of the American Design Honors, for which he will present an installation at WantedDesign Manhattan from May 19-22.
Wifijerez: You formalized your work in lighting and furniture design by launching the Homework division. What’s it been like to focus on product?
Oliver Haslegrave: It’s somewhat familiar in that we make a lot of custom decor for our interiors. But also new in that they're made with no set context—they're more like mixtapes in between or as a counterpoint to the interiors.
ID: What are you planning for your installation at ?
OH: 5 new pieces: a clothing rack, two lamps, a standing mirror, and a bench. And maybe a few surprises.
ID: You have many projects in New York, but you’re ramping up in other places around the country (with upcoming projects in Memphis, San Diego, and Philadelphia). How does it feel to work elsewhere?
OH: Diversity is at the core of our work, and visiting many different cities is really increasing our horizon and vocabulary.
ID: You mentioned that your studio does regular film nights.
OH: Every 4 or 5 weeks we watch a film and focus on the production design. Film is a big reference for us (I was a film major), and production design is a strong parallel to what we do. We started this year. We're watching Bottle Rocket, the Graduate, In the Mood for Love, Chinatown, Band of Outsiders, There Will Be Blood—about 10 in all.
ID: Where did you grow up, and how did it influence your work?
OH: In Connecticut, near Rhode Island. My dad's an architect, so I grew up working on job sites, which definitely shaped my work ethic.
ID: Latest design obsession?
OH: Villa Borsani in Milan. I took a tour during and it was incredible. I liked pretty much everything: the use of space and material, Borsani's own Tecno pieces, the curation of art by and others, and the thought and intent put into every decision.
ID: Latest interiors pet peeve?
OH: The current rents in New York for small bars and restaurants are a drag!
ID: A secret source you’re willing to share?
OH: . My favorite place.
ID: An item you couldn’t live without?
OH: Good headphones—the big noise-cancelling kind. I’m always listening to music and really care about sound quality. New York also can be quite loud, and they help balance that out.
ID: Dream commission?
OH: A hotel in Paris.