Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Miles J Rice ("MJR") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.
MJR : As with some of the best furniture designers in the world, such as Joseph Walsh, Sam Maloof and James Krenow, I came in at a different angle as I never studied design. Like the aforementioned, I found my unique visual language by building until I discovered designs that were uniquely different from other furniture out there whilst having a common theme between them.
MJR : Having my own design studio, I own the risks, but it also gives me immense freedom. I am in the fortunate position to design what I like. For me, it is a responsibility to create timeless pieces of furniture, that survive the test of time and become design classics.
MJR : I believe you will feel it in your heart if the design is right. Also, put it in front of the right people who have an eye for design and who do not shy away from giving you honest feedback.
MJR : Having passion and never giving up.
MJR : One of my favourite designs is the Sculptura dining table as for me this was the breakthrough in finding my personal visual language. It is a truly unique design with its free-flowing form and realised with craftsmanship excellence.
MJR : Be open to feedback, but only from the right people.
MJR : Beauty meets function.
MJR : My wife, as well as my toughest critic.
MJR : Being a dreamer, my passion, and my ability for visualization.
MJR : Being self-trained there have been many obstacles, especially gaining recognition for my work. This gave me the determination to push myself onwards to prove myself as a designer.
MJR : I am currently working on a big collection of hand-sculpted gallery pieces. I am also planning collaborations with other crafts.
MJR : For my work to be instantly recognised as my own work.
MJR : I see the responsibility of design and being a designer twofold. For me, it is important to create timeless pieces of furniture, that become family heirloom. Family is the most important unit of society as it shapes us to who we are. I want my pieces of furniture to live with families across generations. This also benefits the environment as these pieces do not end up filling up landfills.
MJR : It can take from a month to several months. Sometimes I come back much later to rework what has not worked in the past.
MJR : The design process starts in my head, visualizing shapes and forms interacting with their surroundings. A very important part of this visualization is thinking of the use, of a specific surrounding for the design. Once I “dream up” a design that is both sitting proudly in its intended space and is unique and surprising, I start drawing pencil on paper. The next step is building models to finetune the designs.
MJR : Passion, hand, heart and mind combined.
MJR : Good design sets trends, trends set interchangeable designs. I strongly believe in the uniqueness, having your own visual language as a designer.
MJR : The material is a vital part of the design as I like working with natural materials, honouring their natural beauty. This is one of the reasons why I work with natural hardwood and not with manufactured materials. Knowing the materials well, allows me to design pieces where design and material complement each other, creating timeless and durable pieces.
MJR : For future projects I am looking forward to working with other enthusiastic craftspeople who are, like me, pushing the boundaries of their crafts regarding design and the techniques of their craft. I see a new generation of craftspeople emerging with great admiration for the traditions as well as with new innovative ideas. I believe in the strength of putting creative ideas together when the design partners come from very different angles.
MJR : I just built. First, I taught myself carpentry as I believe that only if you know the material and how to work it, such as the techniques, you understand what is possible. My first pieces centred very much around the natural beauty of the material. Over time I found my unique visual language of combining this natural beauty of the material with timeless sculptural shapes.
MJR : One of my favourite places is the Altmark region along the river Elbe in Germany, a very green and peaceful place. I like to get inspired by nature, by its beauty and its constant changes and new perspectives. Nature allows me to recentre my thoughts and to refill my batteries. This region will also be the place where we start a new chapter of our company story, we will open our first showroom later in the year featuring our designs and the work of other innovative craftspeople.
MJR : Being a designer does not come with quick successes, good designs take time. Being able to not give up throughout the process of designing very special pieces, not to cut corners and settle for something less than what makes you proud and to draw from the delayed gratification that awaits at the end of it can be so rewarding. This feeling is the best motivation.
MJR : It might not have been obvious when I was a child but looking back, I do not think there was a better choice for me. I have always been a dreamer, visualizing in my head, doodling, making little objects and imagining stories around them. I see designing as the combination of all these, dreaming up designs, drawing the initial sketches and building models.
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