Since launching in 2012, Nest Studio has been on the forefront of the luxury hardware scene—imparting its unique twist on the usual push and pull of cabinetry for the home. This summer and fall, the brand is unveiling three new collections—Organic, Lauhala, and Geo—inspired respectively by the sculptures of Henry Moore, the Lauhala leaf native to Hawaii, and the sleek minimalist lines of 1980s Miami Modernism. Even with all these influences, the artisan range keeps it real with serious materials, like blackened and polished investment cast brass and powdered coated finishes, which give the tactile necessities their high-end oomph. Jessica Davis, founder and creative director of Nest Studio, recently spoke to Robb Report about her latest hardware designs. Knob snobs are very welcome.
How did Henry Moore’s sculpture inspire your Organic line? How did you translate his work into this series?
I am definitely a fan of his work. I grew up with one of his large sculptures in Hong Kong and enjoyed another work on the Princeton University campus. I love his play on positive and negative space and his sinuous shapes, both of which I tried to play with for the Organic Series. The undulating forms and imperfect surfaces of the blackened and polished investment cast brass pieces make them ideal for more natural and sculptural spaces.
You collaborated with Hawaii-based jewelry brand Kū + Moe on the Lauhala Series. What was it that attracted you to their work?
I found Iliahi [Anthony] on Instagram, and I just loved her use of the Lauhala leaf in conjunction with metal so it seemed like a natural fit. It’s a durable indigenous material and I love the contrast of the texture with the clean lines of our existing Mod Series so we decided to riff on it for a very different look.
And you looked to Miami Modernism with the Geo series?
I just love the simple shapes and cutouts of Miami modernism. But that is not my sole source of inspiration. The series also references the form-follows-function mantra of the Bauhaus school with its exposed mounting hardware and cleanly bent forms, utilizing the cabinet face as a canvas. I wanted something that spoke to that but that was clean lined and simple enough that it could be paired with a lot of different styles. The Geo can go totally Memphis in a bright color, or also super contemporary in polished nickel or black.
Have you noticed any changes in the industry since you launched? Are clients seeing hardware differently? Or is it mostly designers that get the value of investing in good, well-concept-ed pieces?
I think both designers and clients are now looking for more out-of-the-box hardware. With social media, it’s so much easier to peruse concepts and options. There are a lot more players in the landscape and more women—me, Matthew Studios, Lisa Jarvis—in what was formerly very much a boys’ club. It is also becoming more challenging as some of the larger players like RH [Restoration Hardware] and lower end categories like Anthropologie expand their lines.