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Cozy Meal that Fill the Heart: Waverly Inn, NYC
Walk Down Memory Lane: Athens, GA
Showroom Affair: Adam Otlewski – Series 03 Sconce – Goatskin Parchment
Modern Ballad: “Fallingforyou” – The 1975
Love Swap: The Holiday


Food for the Heart: Atoboy, NYC
City of Love: West Village, NYC
Showroom Affair: Collection Particulière – LEK Banquette
Serenade: “A Song For You” – Carpenters
Romance Abroad: Notting Hill 


Some Like it Hot: Abbalé Telavivian Kitchen, South Beach
Foreign Fling: Sevilla
Showroom Affair: Apparatus Talisman Loop Sconce : Sepideh 
Epic Love: “Wild” – John Legend, Gary Clark Jr.
File under Fantasy: Emily in Paris 


Casual and Cool Eats: White Tiger Deluxe, Athens GA
Aventura Amorosa: Barcelona
Showroom Affair: Pierre Augustin Rose – Enfilade 240
Crooning Blues Ballad: “Sunday Kind of Love” – Etta James
Unforgettable First Love: Call Me By Your Name

Happy Meal: Launderette, Austin
A City Fit for a Queen: London, England
Showroom Affair: Coup Studio – Oasis Sofa
Tearjerker: “Songbird” – Christine McVie
Nancy Meyers’ Romantic Classic: Something’s Gotta Give
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R HUGHES Welcomes De La Vega Designs

Mark de la Vega

R HUGHES is honored to announce that De La Vega Designs is joining the showroom. Mark de La Vega opened De La Vega Designs in 2010 within a 7,000-square-foot loft in a historic dock building in Brooklyn creating bespoke furnishings for luxury retail clients such as Harry Winston, Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany & Co.

Taking cues from a variety of global and historical references, DLV uses the highest-quality materials to re-invent forgotten techniques.

R HUGHES: What instigated you to open a 7,000 square foot space in 2010? This wasn’t a particularly easy time for the design industry.

De La Vega Designs: When we first moved into this space, it was a total steal. The rent was low, the space was gorgeous, expansive, and by the water – and we knew we would grow into it as we did. However, starting off we were just thrilled to have a place to work that was beautiful and inspiring. We used to skateboard around the loft and installed a rope swing for our kids.

Now… we have the space designed to function as a busy atelier.


RH: What is the collaboration process like between you two?

DLV: We have a great understanding of each other’s roles, and our duties are siloed for the most part—design vs operations. We do draw inspiration from similar sources and agree on most everything—we understand each other well. Maggie nudges me on certain things, but my process is more instinctual and creative, a bit like lightning.

RH: What was that first commission process like with David Collins for Madonna? Having this be one of your first residential projects is certainly a feat.

DLV: It was a thrill, and at the same time very scary. We were new and inexperienced, but we knew it was something we had to pull off. I remember volunteering to deliver it personally and waive the delivery fee. The table was huge and heavy, and navigating it through the stairs to place in front of the fireplace in the Great Room gave me a tremendous amount of pride.

It wasn’t until later that we realized just how important this table would be to the company’s success. It became a symbol of our commitment to quality and service, not only for our clients but also for ourselves.

RH: DLV designs are playful, yet refined. Mark, how do you strike a balance?

DLV: I approach my designs as if they were a sculpture. It tends to be a process rooted in historical references, which are usually from early modernism, but I always like to branch out. There is definitely something playful about the way I work, and perhaps that comes from my enjoyment of what I do. I love my job!


RH: Using materials like Coquille D’oeuf, Verre Eglomise, Cast Aluminium, Silicone Bronze, Eggshell, leather & more to create eye-catching pieces through unconventional & long forgotten methods. Firstly, what is your preferred material to work with? (You can see a list of all materials used by DLV HERE)

DLV: That would be like choosing your favorite child! I truly love them all. I think that’s part of the reason I gravitated towards design in the first place—to be able to explore new materials and new ways of using them. I believe it’s important not just to use the same tool over and over again, but also to learn how each tool can be used differently, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

de la vega designs in studio

de la vega designs in studio

RH: Secondly, what is one of those forgotten techniques you’ve enjoyed discovering & enjoyed exploring?

The Coquille D’Oeuf, eggshell mosaic, is definitely the most special technique. Most people have never heard of it and it allows me to play and explore my background in fine art and graphic design. I love working with the eggshells because they are so fragile. It’s like a puzzle—grouping the fragments together. The broken edges can even be used as part of the design or just left as an interesting texture.
My work has always been about combining different things that I love into one piece.


RH: What is the most challenging technique when creating pieces?

DLV: Working with wood and metal, I find the two to be equally challenging. Both have their own sets of rules that must be respected in order to become adept at craftsmanship.

RH: You’ve mentioned before that “A well made, well designed piece of furniture becomes more than a reliable friend, it becomes a member of the family”…what is one piece in your home do you view this way?

DLV: The Abuelo Bureau is actually the piece that triggered the quote that you are referencing. Not only did the original come from my grandparents home in Mexico, but it has now evolved into a beautiful and well made collection. I interact with it every day. My kids interact with it everyday… decades later, generations later.

RH: We are big on monthly playlists at R HUGHES with our OFFICE Radio series. That begs the question, what song of his would you add to our next playlist?’

DLV: Right now, anything from Samm Henshaw – his song Broke is a real ear worm.

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R HUGHES Holiday Gift Guide


Lantern: 3 Pendant by APPARATUS ; Rhubarb Smoke by Boy Smells ; Todd Snyder x Peanuts French Terry New York Hoodie 

Palais Royal Froufrou Sofa by Pierre Augustin Rose; Artwork by Jack Penny ; Glass Dessert Plates by Still Johnson

Tributary Occasional Table by Refractory ; Leopard Crew Socks in Beige by RoToTo ; Owl Sculptures by Chris Condon 

Craft Round Coffee Table by Pierre Augustin Rose ; Juno Daypack by Kolo ; 002 Round Tray by Populus Project

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APPARATUS + Business of Home: 5 PART PLAY

“Since its founding in 2012, APPARATUS has exploded. The brand has two dedicated showrooms in the U.S., with another forthcoming in London; more than 30 stockists internationally; and more than 100 employees. The company is that rare beast: both a financial and an artistic success story. It’s a result, says Gabriel Hendifar, of a design vision based around emotional resonance more than any one aesthetic.”

In an episode from early October 2022, Business of Home podcast host and NY School of Interior Design Dennis Scully interviewed APPARATUS founder and Artistic Director Gabriel Hendifar to understand the nexus of the brand’s creativity – its past, its present, and its future. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, Scully and Hendifar take the listener through a five part play, revealing glimpses into the brand’s hero journey. As the audience, we know the magic is partly in awaiting the collections – also known as ACTS – that APPARATUS launches with baited breadth, knowing the curtain is about to lift upon the most enveloping story that unfolds through various channels.

“What good is the set if you don’t actually have the play to watch? Those moments of communal joy and celebration and seduction and excitement and intrigue—that’s the whole point,” Hendifar shares.

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The He(ART) of it All: R HUGHES + Alan Avery Art Company

Alan Avery

We often get questions regarding the art collection we feature at R HUGHES, which encouraged us to reflect upon our relationship with the oldest sustained art gallery in Atlanta, Alan Avery Art Company. It is because of this partnership that R HUGHES is able to showcase an ever inspiring list of emerging, mid-career, and internationally established artists.

We asked Founder and Principal Alan Avery to sum up why he feels this partnership has been such a successful one over the years, and his answer was simple, yet profound. A much needed reminder for how we approach all collaborations, “A partnership is a relationship and with any relationship there are key components to making it work: Understanding, Mutual Admiration, Respect, Trust, and Good Communication. It was obvious that there was symmetry in the way that we viewed and valued art, so I chose to make our partnership an exclusive one.”

“Aside from being a champion of R HUGHES early on, Alan has managed to consistently curate and spotlight talent that surprises its viewer consistently for 40 years. The works from his gallery have become those missing puzzle pieces in our showroom, bringing further personality to the space,” says Ryan Hughes.

While many who visit the showroom have seen rotating works from the artists below, we wanted to properly showcase these talents in combination with Alan’s perspective of why a finishing touch to a room is often the art that provides the punctuation at the end of the design story.

Betty Merken

Betty Merken is a lyrical minimalist that harkens back to abstract expressionism and the works of the likes of Mark Rothko and Piet Mondrian. In the edges of her color is where you see the power and movement prism as the color resolves, at the edge of the composition is where the magic of her work happens.

In the shadows of the American Pop Art and other New York artists that followed, I have always felt that Gregory Botts is one of the great American Painters that has gone unnoticed and not given his due. I love finding these artists putting them out there as collectors and institutions re-discover them and begin to give them the attention they deserve.

fabiola jean-louis

Her work is so complicated in its creation. Dresses made of paper painted to look like the finest fabrics, with backdrops and accessories constructed and painted the same manner. I knew from the moment I first encountered Fabiola Jean-Louis‘ work and the message underlying its creation, the work and the creator would be remembered by many who had gone before her.

Bob Landstrom

Bob Landstrom is the only artist that I have ever seen working in the medium of crushed volcanic rock. His work has immense depth and often complicated, steeped with symbolism and formula, yet there is also a naivety and humor that makes you smile and feel good as they unfold.

Kathryn Jacobi

Kathryn Jacobi captures mages of figures from a previous time painted beautifully and with precision of the old masters, yet contemporary in message and tone. Kathryn’s characters always seem to be withholding a secret like they know something more than you do.

Pascal Pierme

Pascal Pierme is a wonderful minimalist modern sculptor favoring wood as his medium of choice. He has developed unique ways to patina and treat the surface in a way that fools the eye having the viewer second guessing whether the sculpture is made of glass, highly fired porcelain or metal, then discovering that is is wood throughout.

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Behind the Scenes of Caste with Ty Best

Crafted in noble materials including bronze, steel, marble, bridle leather, and classic woods, Caste founder Ty Best’s pieces invoke seemingly contradictory responses: luxurious/simple, complex/comfortable, fine art/furniture. The unique aesthetic has been described as “future primitive.”

Born & raised in Montana, Best left the Midwest to study fashion design in California & later create fantastical window displays for Barneys with the likes of Malcolm Hill and Simon Doonan. With this deep visual arts & sculpture knowledge in hand, Best returned to his home state to continue his creative journey which led to furniture design.

Inspired by his surroundings in Missoula, Montana, the tension between landscapes and seasons has created memorable, provocative work. Best continues to show us that Mother Nature knows…best.

“The rugged terrain of his home state of Montana is one of the many disparate influences he draws on for his powerful yet refined pieces the designer aims to incorporate his daily surroundings into his work. “I get inspired by elements in nature, whether ice formations or the erosion of a rock,” he says. “The daunting Montana landscape has a lot to do with the shapes of my ­pieces.” – Elle Decor

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Past Influences Present: The BassamFellows Petal Chair

Table and chairs from Bassam Fellows Petal Exhibition during Milan Design Week

Honoring the Eames experiments & the Saarinen Tulip Chairs that came before it, the BassamFellows Petal chair is the most advanced 3D molded wood veneer chair ever put into commercial production with a range of options including wood grain, height, type of base, with or without leather pads, and so on.

As BassamFellows mentions, “Technology can curb ambition. A designer’s intentions are often compromised by practical limitations as much as financial ones. While the 20th century saw spectacular shapes fashioned out of fiberglass and plastics, creating radical lines from timber was a challenge. You could steam bend, and of course carve, but for industrial production of a design from wood, there were limitations. For certain visionary practitioners, it was their refusal to accept those limitations that contributed to their legacy.”

Faced with material challenges of the time and necessity for quality product at a more affordable price point, Charles and Ray Eames proved that restrictions often produce innovation. Charles’ work for the military – creating leg splints with compound curves to follow the shape of a limb –served as R&D for the now iconic Eames LCW. This was a transcendant moment for not only design in theory, but also in actual production.

Today, BassamFellows Petal chair goes beyond following in the footsteps of its predecessors, in such a way that would make these very designers proud. “We want to make the best for the most for the least,” Charles Eames said, and so echoing those sentiments, the Petal chair is not only state of the art and environmentally friendly, but also available at a democratic price point.

It’s fitting that the Petal shell is pressed at Davidson Plyforms in Grand Rapids, MI –the same company that has been pressing the Eames’ molded plywood chairs for decades. The Petal is similarly ergonomic and organic-looking, but pushes the boundaries of what’s possible with molding: despite advances in 3D tech, the curvature of the rump of the shell, the waterfall edges and the shape of the arms are all extraordinarily difficult to achieve. And yet, the excitement rests in pushing the boundaries of what is known to be possible and what is to come.

Introducing BassamFellows Petal Chair.

bassamfellows petal chair insitu

bassamfellows petal chair variations

bassamfellows petal dining chair
BassamFellows Petal Dining Chair – Click for More
bassamfellows petal lounge chair
BassamFellows Petal Lounge Chair – Click for More
BassamFellows petal counter stool
BassamFellows Petal Counter Stool – Click for More
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Under the Stars: Dinner with OCHRE

ochre r hughes dinner

A dreamy night dining with OCHRE at the R HUGHES showroom. The mood payed homage to the delicate balance that OCHRE consistently achieves – between organic forms and elegant materials. As guests entered the showroom, there was an intrinsic draw to the glimmering features of the gaia pendant and the seed cloud installations. The decor on the tables mirrored the natural shapes and themes of the evening, while the menu featured seasonal provisions.

ochre r hughes dinner
Guests enjoyed dining under OCHRE pendants in the R HUGHES Dark Room.
ochre r hughes dinner
Dinner was served by Le Bon Nosh featuring beet and chevre salad, poached halibut with tomato fondu of field peas and fines herbs, and strawberry tart.
drinks at ochre r hughes dinner
R HUGHES kept it spicy featuring not one, but two cocktails featuring mezcal.
drinks at ochre r hughes dinner
Beverages were prepared by Kirk Gibson.
ochre r hughes dinner
To bring the production together, R HUGHES enlisted event designer Sheyda Mehrara who then commissioned Lauren Hill for the floral displays. Taking inspiration from OCHRE designs themselves.
ochre r hughes dinner
The evening was captured through the lens of Joanne Choi.
ochre r hughes dinner
Steven Leonard lighting the tapered candles before welcoming guests to their seats.

ochre r hughes dinner

event design: Sheyda Mehrara

dinner: Le Bon Nosh

floral design: Lauren Hill

photography: Joanne Choi

beverages: Kirk Gibson

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OBESSIONS: Biophilia

bird murmurations

The R HUGHES Obsessions series spun out of this desire to dive deeper into the world immediately surrounding us that provides great inspiration, once you dial in. When we pay attention, certain themes reveal themselves & right now, pieces that mirror the beauty of nature in our own homes are speaking to us.

Biophilia is the tendency to seek connections with nature & it’s an affinity that becomes more important as the world becomes more technologically dependent.

We see it as Nature’s calling. Enjoy.

Hallworth // Eclipse Pendant


Alexander Lamont // Ocean Armoire – Deep Coral


Christopher Boots // Meteor Pendant


Jean de Merry // Tree of Life Reverse Painting


Tuell and Reynolds // Klamath Bronze Cocktail Table


Ochre // Moon Moonlight Murmurations Installation


John Pomp // Moon Orchid – Cascading Chandelier


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Harwood House: Cortney Bishop’s Exploration into Textiles

Charleston-based interior designer Cortney Bishop is no novice when bringing a fresh & honorable take to existing design communities. Take, for example, the launch of Harwood House – her textile collection – with the well-respected Holland & Sherry that pays homage to her late father who had suits made by the London fabric house decades ago. And now her most recent collection named Kalos is a sentimental nod to her Greek heritage…specifically her influential Yia Yia. You can almost say that this venture is a love letter to her past. 

The ethos of her textile line all ties back to family & the little reminders of cherished moments that connect us to one another. We wanted to hear more from Cortney regarding her influences & desires with the line. 

R HUGHES: Where did the name Harwood House come from specifically? 

Cortney Bishop: HH was the name of my mother’s interior design firm. It seemed fitting to honor her and my heritage at the same time. Harwood is my maiden name.

RH: With various designers launching their own textile lines, how does one offer a fresh point of view? What makes Harwood House standout in your own words?

CB: Harwood House has a muse, a story to tell. It is a love letter to people who have influenced my life. It’s also an illustration of colors, patterns, and textures that offer layer-ability within the collection itself. It was important to address all applications within each collection. As a designer, fwe need specific weights for different applications. I encourage the collection to be used together, it’s a vibe. 

RH: How did creating your own line of fabrics provide a solution for your design problems?

CB: In creating Harwood House, we are able to explore a variety of qualities and hues we are feeling inspired by for our own projects. I am drawn to earthier colors and small-scale woven patterns; this is not always easy to locate in the market. With Kalos we found ourselves looking for something a bit richer and sexier, so we created it for ourselves. 

RH: What does a woven fabric collection crafted with a classic nod to the southern cool mean to you? What does it mean for a potential client?

CB: The South is grounded in hospitality and tradition. My intent with the Cardinal collection was to honor classic patterns while incorporating a fresh edge that brings the pieces to life. These fabrics are timeless yet modern, they will always be cool. 

RH: What lessons did you learn from your first release that you were able to apply to your second?

CB: With Cardinal, I learned so much about the creative process; how important it is to take time to feed your soul and create something meaningful to you. With Kalos, I was able to dive a bit deeper into quality, weights, and patterns to explore more ways to layer the collections together. 

RH: Cardinal introduced many wovens which you were able to expand upon with Kalos. Are there any special weaves or techniques that you would like to highlight?

CB: We created these collections with a variety of applications in mind. From heavy upholstery to sheer woven drapery weights. We love the nettings and sheer stripes we designed and use them obsessively in our projects for window treatments. I often use the same sheer netting throughout the house to bring a sense of balance to the play of patterns I like to layer throughout a room. 

RH: Why collaborate with Holland + Sherry? What made them an ideal partner?

CB: Holland and Sherry was the dream. Their timeless elegance and quality is iconic in the men’s fashion and home industry. I knew it had to be them even years before the connection came to be. Dare I say I manifested?  

RH: We know choosing a favorite fabric might be like choosing a favorite child…but which one is currently yours? 

CB: ‘Quilted Folkore’ in Rust and Olive, rich and moody, they upholstery so beautifully. ‘Infinity’ in slate – so sexy in drapery application and bedding. I am also amazed by ‘Prizm’ and how beautifully each color combination upholsters because the pattern has great depth. The ‘Striped Sheers’ – these are finding their way into every project we are working on right now. 

RH: What has been your greatest challenge as a designer?

CB: Saying no. I have learned the hard way and sacrificed valuable time engaging in projects that have drained my creativity. Choosing the right partners and nurturing good relationships is my forever focus.

RH: What is your dream project?

CB: Our soon-to-be created River House. My husband and I recently purchased a beautiful spot on John’s Island, miles from where I grew up on Kiawah. Grounded with incredible Angel Oaks on the deep water, I plan to build our ultimate weekend retreat. A place to enjoy my favorite people and pieces in harmony.

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The Power of Storytelling, Collecting Art, & the Australian Aesthetics with Dylan Farrell

The power of storytelling when intertwined with interiors can provide one with a dynamic sense of place that leaves a deep imprint, almost as if it’s a page of a book you earmark to never forget. New York born, Sydney-based interior and furniture designer Dylan Farrell has made a name for himself creating spaces & pieces that dance between personal & universal narratives. And, the result of his designs are most often rich with harmonious paradox. We were recently entranced by his latest collection aptly named Oceania with Jean de Merry & wanted to learn more.

R HUGHES: What ignited your desire to have your own firm?

Dylan Farrell: My wife and business partner, Nicolette, and I believed that we had something unique to say in the industry, both through our methods and resulting aesthetics. We wanted to look at projects somewhat holistically so that we could explore all of the aspects of a given residential design, so we thought the best way to do that was to have equally direct access to the clients, artisans, and service consultants alike – being the principal creatives at our own firm allows for this.

RH: What is the design community in Australia like? And what differentiates your designs?

DF: Australian design, speaking in broad brush, has a more clinical approach than American design… more of a leaning toward ‘case study’ type homes and clean aesthetics that do not interfere with the stunning nature that surrounds even the urban homes. This has advantages and disadvantages. When we came from America, our aesthetic at the time nodded to a more maximalist bent – we were young and aesthetically eager. So there was an automatic point of difference between our design instinct and Australian designers upon our arrival. Practicing in Australia taught us to edit – and I would like to think I have become more refined with age. When I complete a design concept nowadays, my last thought is almost always ‘what can be eliminated’.

RH: You create verbal narratives at the start of each project that serves as an anchor for how you approach the design of the space & client. Can you give an example of one that filled you with inspiration?

DF: We had an early client who asked me to help him create a new construction “Australian Homestead” in the Yarra, a wine country outside Melbourne. He however was definitely not an “Australian Homestead” type. What we immediately understood was that (1) he wanted a modest country style structure to set the mood for a certain desired casual and wistful lifestyle, and (2) he wanted to maintain some sense of classicism in the product. However beyond that, the brief needed much more honing… and a search for an honest representation and expression of the owner.

We had several rendezvous to explore through discussion… and drinks. As we dove deeper, we discovered that he wanted a stripped back cottage with finishes that were “rough as guts” and spaces that could house contemporary, vintage, and antique objects alike. He was a collector in waiting. He wanted odd items that were rare; one-offs; reclaimed junk made into treasure; museum quality art; taxidermy; and he had a period Chinoiserie grandfather clock likely valued at more than my total personal net worth at the time. Cocktail parties were important. He wanted a friendly kitchen, but he did not cook often. All of this, and more, began to paint a beautiful picture.

So I came back with a concept… “James Bond hiding from a villain at his grandmother’s house”. The possibilities were endless, but there was a definitive narrative touchstone that every decision came back to. If we needed to source a table, we would say, “did James Bond bring this table from his city apartment to feel at home?… did his grandmother already own this table?… or maybe James Bond went to the local country thrift shop and found the best version of a table that worked with his sensibilities… what might James Bond get out of a local artisan if they together imagined up a table?….”

Viewed through this lens, it was easy to take chances without losing the plot. The finished product is pretty unreal.

RH: Have you worked on any homes in the States?

Yes, but not in the last 6 years, because proximity in recent years has been an issue. We have 2 children (5 and 8), and being away from Australia for long stints while they were toddlers was not easy. Further, launching a business in Sydney kept me on the ground in Australia. Then add covid, so travel was difficult over the past handful of years.

HOWEVER, now that both the business and children have matured, we are opening a gallery-come-studio in 2023 in New York (Eastern Long Island, targeted). Prior to 2017, we worked on properties all over the world, both independently and then as the Creative Principal at Thomas Hamel and Associates. We have practiced on projects in New York, California, Colorado, Florida and Hawaii, amongst other countries beyond the U.S..

RH: Please share, if you have any, your thoughts on “Southern” design & architecture. And are you coming to Atlanta anytime soon?

DF: I would love to come to Atlanta, and we are openly looking for collaborators in the US, especially in the South where I have less professional experience. 2023 will be about growing the community of my design practice, and we are hoping to work with all sorts of professionals and specialists in the US.

As for “Southern Design”, I have a great admiration for certain easy-going-eclectic aesthetics – often much less wound up than Northern Atlantic design. Specifically, we are often inspired by the work of Bobby McAlpine and Jeffrey Dungan. Regardless of differences, I hope to have moments of similar eclectic comfort in our own works.

RH: How do you balance the furniture design & your own interiors practice? How do you approach both in relation to each other?

DF: I like to think we have three different wings of common practice under the same roof. There is our interiors practice, our collection with Jean de Merry, and our freestanding object design practice. They all bleed into each other to create a fluid balance.

Our collection with Jean de Merry has almost been a separate personality that I view as a fantastic cabaret performance. It is a collection of inspired statement pieces – they are bold, opinionated, and filled with specific intention. They are not designed to be sympathetic and gently slide into every decorative mix.

Conversely, our interiors, whether they are bold or more reserved, are an empathetic response to a deep collaboration with a specific client, a unique house

or block of land, and an endless negotiation with scores of other decorative objects and motifs. Those solutions need to sensitively address all the personalities and sensibilities in a room. And though I do encourage our clients to be confident, our interiors viewed in whole are rarely as boisterous as our individual works with Jean de Merry.

In keeping with that reality, we also design objects that are not yet part of a specific collection, and these less promoted and often one-off objects and furnishings are usually birthed by necessity (lack of a solution in the marketplace) in response to a very specific interior brief.

All of the above said, each of these aspects leak back and forth into each other in terms of inspiration and logistics – and this is intentional. We want our practice to be fluid, so solutions flow freely, in a gravity-like path that leads to a well of inevitable design solutions.

RH: We’ve read that you are influenced by paradoxes when designing. What about them leads you to use the materials that you do?

I think of design like a great conversation or an engaging piece of music. There should be ups and downs, changes in topics and tones, opposition as well as consensus, and genuine investment in the moment. Perfect harmony can be great, but as Diana Vreeland suggested, too much of it can also be boring and clinical. So I like to invest in paradox to create metaphorical texture… or if you want to stick with comparisons to harmony, I decidedly invest in the use of occasional dissonance in addition to harmony.

So when I want something to feel shiny, I first polish it, and then I ponder placing it next to something that has a hyper-weathered surface. If I want a graphic to pop with vivid and lively color, I first develop a punchy color concept, and then I consider placing it on a minimalist canvas of chalky white plaster or dulled concrete. These intentional points of difference push the desired expression and create an engaging visual rhythm that is more interesting than the beat of a single snare drum.

RH: Something so striking about your designs are the art pieces that feel referential to the space & its respective clients. How does art shape your design process? Do you bring your clients to the art or do you work around the clients existing art?

DF: Art is critical. It is considered at the very beginning by addressing what the client has or desires as well as the client’s personality if the desires are not immediately defined. It is then again considered loosely inside a budget that is developed at the earliest stages of the project. It is again considered at the earliest stages of mood-boarding as we develop the concepts. We then consider art placement at the earliest stages of planning, deliberately designating spaces and vistas for art placement. So, we have a loose plan for art before we ever start building or purchasing. I cannot imagine considering an interior without thinking about the art it might exhibit.

Clients mistakenly think that to have an amazing collection of art, you need to take out a second and third mortgage. Th

is is true when one wants to consider blue-chip artists with established contemporary reputations. However, art should be about a personal preference rather than a measure pronounced by a community of gallerists, auctioneers, and museum board members. Do not get me wrong – I love what I will here call ‘high-art’. But just like a Bentley: just because I cannot afford one does not mean I should give up driving.

I recently picked up an artwork by a Sydney graduate student for, speaking judiciously, well under $10K AUD at about 6 foot x 6 foot. It is on the center wall of my studio, and I love it! I then referred work by the same artist to a new client, who could surely have afforded something more dear. I am hoping it is also a good investment, but that is beside the point in this instance – they loved the work. Conversely, we recently helped a client acquire a work of similar size for just shy of seven-figures, and they too were enthralled with the acquisition and motivated by investment potential.

How we land on final art selections is never the same. Sometimes clients have a large collection already before we meet. Some buy from our personal collection of acquisitions in our studio. We also have relationships with dozens of galleries that give us first look as newly acquired or represented works. Equally as often, clients have their own routes to purchase art, in which cases we always prefer to consult with the clients to assure that the works are properly considered inside of the interior design.

RH: We believe that certain objects & furniture pieces are considered art. Do you view your collection of furniture as inheritable objects? And what makes an object or piece of furniture a smart investment?

I definitely think certain furnishings should be and are considered works of art. My desire would be to make mostly inheritable objects, but whether or not we are accomplishing that, I will leave to others to decide. However, if an object is well-built, unique in its expression, and not patently subject to trend, I believe it will naturally find its place in a line of inheritance or vintage significance otherwise.

RH: Why did you choose Jean de Merry instead a Circa or Arteriors? What has that process been like?

DF: Jean de Merry chose us! We received a call from them about a decade ago; they had seen design works I had created while working with Thomas Hamel, and they asked to have an ongoing relationship for an evolving capsule collection. I had been an admirer of their furnishing and interesting promotional campaigns for some years prior. It was flattering to receive consideration from such a company.

It is interesting to have a third-party design brand oversee the finalization of our design concepts, especially designs that are more ‘poetic’ than industrial. During engineering and logistical analysis by JDM, our design concepts often are required to evolve. But I believe in JDM as wise practitioners, so I always leave room and consideration for their feedback and alteration to our designs, as they have certain essential commercial practicalities in mind that I might not when designing for a one-off fabrication. Further, unlike certain other companies, JDM has a penchant for artesian techniques, which is a special draw. In the distant past, I had a fruitful career of creating licensed furniture designs for more commercial/industrial brands. Those designs usually did not inspire. There is something about the artisan approach that makes an object more personally engaging – JDM has that ability, and we appreciate it.

RH: What continues to inspire your unique collections? Movies, people, fashion…

DF: Add music, especially. Inspiration sincerely comes from everywhere. Even attitude, eg Gore Vidal. I think the key to having a fruitful practice (and interesting life) is to keep an open mind and always evolve. More specifically, recent items on/in the inspo mix and boards…

RH: What about travels…What location has inspired you most?

DF: Well, I have no choice but to say “Australia”, as I am here as an expat. I will be in Tasmania next week, which I find an amazing place; and then Byron a couple weeks later, which is wonderful in a different way. Australia has been a forever inspiration in so many ways.

Just a month before Covid hit, I spent another long stint in Bali, Indonesia, which I also have found wildly inspiring. I find both the contemporary and traditional aspects of Balinese culture completely intriguing.

RH: What’s your most treasured possession?

DF: I really have transient feelings about possessions, so I do not really put too much stock into any objects that I might own. But if pressed, perhaps a pair of oversized clear, red, and indigo Murano Glass perfume decanters that were given to me as a gift by a client… or a 18th century etching of a party scene inside a colonial Hudson River cabin, the work titled “Snap Apple Eve”.

RH: We are big on monthly playlists at R HUGHES. What’s your go-to song at the moment?

Spirit of the Beehive, “The Server is Immersed”

Image Credits:

Featured Image / Photo credit: Dylan Farrell // Interior Design in progress by DFD. JAX Table with artworks by Nick Vasey.

Dylan Farrell Portrait // Photo credit: Dylan Farrell // Portrait of DF in studio with LADY LEVELLER, Custom Tension Lamp, and antique side table. Artwork by Scott Richler (Gabriel Scott).

Factory Image // Photo credit: Dylan Farrell // SPIKE Pendant in factory displayed for aesthetic review

Art Image // Artist Sophie Victoria, work Entreferen

LEVELLER Chair and RACHIS Table // artworks by Scott Richler (Gabriel Scott) and Paul Rousso.

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Riloh: A Q&A with Peyton Avrett and Melissa Sutton

riloh at r hughes

To celebrate the addition of Riloh’s inaugural collection at the R HUGHES showroom, we were able to catch up with second-generation metalsmith Peyton Avrett and interior designer Melissa Sutton who have joined forces with the goal of creating accessible lighting that transcends conventional notions. We were able to get a sense of how they blur the lines between old-world craftsmanship and modern technology in their pieces as well as what inspires them through the process.

riloh designers

R HUGHES (RH): How did you both jump from what you were doing to designing a lighting collection? Can you describe the transition from Avrett to Riloh? Is RILOH a reinvention of Avrett or something completely new? 

Peyton: With Avrett, the narrative was often through custom one-off works or designer collections that we had manufacturing rights to produce. Both types of work were highly rewarding and equally challenging. I often enjoyed outside perspectives on what might be possible to be manufactured. As a second generation metalsmith, I usually approached design with unintentional blinders with the capabilities of the material. It was always fun to have a designer outside of those material parameters approach designs that challenged us on the manufacturing end. That said, I often felt that I had a unique voice and perspective that I wanted to showcase. As Avrett grew into one of the premier one off manufacturers, it grew increasingly difficult to express and explore what I was thinking and looking to achieve. While I could have released it under the Avrett brand, it didn’t feel like Avrett and I was ready for something new. Partnering with Melissa was a natural pivot. Her aesthetic was one that I appreciated and I felt I could compliment with the skills I picked up over the course of a lifetime in metalsmithing trades. She also did a wonderful job of pushing the boundaries within these new Riloh perspectives that were being explored. Like designers, Melissa also approaches designs not thinking about materials inherent restraints. This created a very dynamic partnership. 

Melissa: For me, it was timing. I had my own furniture/interior design company and had approached Peyton a few years prior about helping produce a private label lighting line. Fast forward a few years and he came to me with a new concept and presented the opportunity to partner up. Designing lighting was always my end game. It still feels serendipitous that our plans lined up.

Peyton: Avrett had some very wonderful staple designs through our designer line partnerships. For instance the Synapse and Oeuf pendants that we designed with Barry Dixon come to mind. I absolutely love those fixtures. They are interesting and unique, yet familiar, they are modern, yet timeless and they have really stood the test of time. These designs opened the door for me to what is possible, but they were rooted in a particular style of manufacturing and technology that I wanted to move past. As artists, our tastes, interests andriloh at r hughes desires for our work continue to grow and evolve. I wanted to explore integrated lighting sources, where the illumination aspects of the light fixture were as carefully considered as the design of the light fixture. New technologies have allowed for this exploration. With manufacturing methods, might roots are in artist blacksmithing which is all done by hand. While hand manipulation of metals is a beautiful art, it is very limiting on what type of materials and processes you can implement into this manufacturing method. Avrett had hit its ceiling years ago and I was ready for something new and engaging. I needed a new challenge both with manufacturing technologies but also the voice of this new company. It all had to be something new. 

RH: We have seen a distinctive voice from RILOH in its branding and marketing. Where did this voice come from and to whom is it speaking? 

Melissa: Peyton and I are very much in line with the long term vision and I have to say there is a lot of trust on his part, as most of the voice starts with me. My ideas are very conceptual and can feel abstract but I tend to lead with intuition, emotion, and curiosity. The “story” of lighting is challenging because it can be stagnant. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel but we want to create more “movement” because our intentions are for it to feel more poetic and theatrical. And ultimately wenever want Riloh to feel unapproachable so we don’t take ourselves too seriously. But we’re speaking directly to anyone open to discovery and authentic craftsmanship.

RH: What is the importance of materiality at Riloh? Why do you use the materials that you do? What materials would you like to incorporate in future collections? 

Melissa: Materiality is extremely important to us because it goes hand in hand with the quality of the product. We want to embrace the naturalness of materials. Our current collections incorporate all brass but we will soon introduce stone and ceramics. We’re interested in how they convey a sense of movement and how the metals will juxtapose with more warm, tactile materials.

RH: What words come to mind when thinking of Riloh’s ethos? 

Mellissa: Riloh is focused on designing and making products with intention and in a way that feels true to us. We want to design lighting that continues the conversation of what we find beautiful. Riloh is rooted in function and craftsmanship but we’re also interested in how we can connect our narrative to an object that is part of a person’s everyday life. Lighting can be provoking and intimate and we’re very cognizant with the relationship it has in someone’s space. Riloh has an honest aesthetic.



RH: What is your design approach when thinking of objects that also have to illuminate a space?

Peyton: For me, the inspiration is mostly in the engineering and methods of construction. Creating something that just appears whole and correct, seamless if you will. Those tiny details that you notice, but you don’t really notice. Those are what excites me.

Melissa: It’s a combination of instinct and longevity. Coming from an interior design background, I’m hyper aware of the acquisition of space. I imagine if there were only a few objects in a room, could it hold its own? I collect photos and ideas that influence my thought process but I also take in account the individual and emotional response of how lighting can elevate the space.

I’m a student of design history and I’ve studied what creates longevity in design – those influences directly impact what ideas I think need to be developed more.

RH: What continues to inspire your unique collections? Movies, people, fashion…

Melissa: I think Peyton and I share roots in classical traditions but we’re also deeply interested in modern art, design and architecture.

People also have a huge impact. I live for meeting or reading about exceptional people. They don’t visually influence but rather influence on how I approach what we want to put out in the world.


RH: What about travels…What location has inspired you most? 

Peyton: In my travels, I would say I continue to think back on Venice, Italy. This abstract thought of a city dotted in the ocean… Form completely swamping function. When designing products, I tend to look as far through something as I can to try and find the potential for hangups early on. While I am sure the architects and engineers in Venice thought about these things, it is obvious that the end result wasn’t going to be compromised regardless. I love that.

Melissa: I find that my favorite travels are when I feel small. I like when the experience trumps the destination. Whether it’s driving cross country, hiking Machu Picchu or just taking a walk around my city. Observation has a direct correlation with what inspires me no matter where I am.

RH: What’s a recent project that filled you with energy? 

Peyton: Contemplation and deconstruction of ideas really energizes me. Take the idea of beauty for instance. Why is something beautiful to my eye? What causes the perception of beauty and why? Am I recognizing beauty or is there something underneath my consciousness that recognizes it. As creatives, we all know beauty when we see it, so is this something that isn’t actually a singular but rather a shared universal. Maybe beauty awakens in all of us when we recognize it outside of us. In that thought, it is energizing to put beauty into the world, regardless of the method. It’s a unique dance that humanity shares with each other and it is timeless.

Melissa: We were recently approached to design a few pieces for a phenomenal property in Los Angeles. Having the freedom to design but to not have stipulations on whether people will purchase it or not is incredibly freeing as a creative.

RH: What’s your most treasured possession? 

Peyton: Life

Melissa: Curiosity.

RH: When thinking about what is next in the world of decorative lightning, what do you dream of bringing to the market? Bigger designs, new materials, finer finishes, line extensions?

Melissa: We’re currently exploring a lot with new materials and bigger designs. The first collections were more about familiar silhouettes and understanding how the relationships of integrated LED’s work with illuminating solid glass. Moving forward, I think people will be excited to see more dramatic pieces that feel unique to Riloh.

RH: We are big on monthly playlists at R HUGHES. What’s your go-to song at the moment?

Peyton: Turnstile’s new album Glow On is perfect from start to finish, but I am especially enjoying their tune “Mystery”.

Melissa: Black Pumas “Colors