Founder & Designer
PETE HILL DESIGN
Could you tell us a little bit more about yourself and what made you start the business?
I have always been a creative person and we have cabinet makers, joiners and serial house renovators in the family. Growing up my perception was that work was something you enjoyed and always had a tangible, physical outcome.
I studied product design and wanted to pursue this but there are a lot of barriers to entering the industry, not least of all financial. I went out to work and for several years I made furniture in my spare time as well as renovating the house my wife and I lived in. Eventually, I was able to set up my own design studio and I've never looked back.
What inspires your work?
To be truthful, for me, the design process is inspiration led. As a rule of thumb, I don't have a day of the week that I sit down and design new pieces. Ideas and inspiration come from many places and at many times. Quite often the materials themselves provide inspiration which is why I love exploring new materials.
Also, I'm a really keen gardener (My wife and I grow lots of fruits and vegetables) and the textures, colours and forms I see in the garden often inform my material or design choices. I am always examining the balance between form and function which has a strong influence on the final outcome.
What is the most important thing for you in your business?
This one is really easy; I run a small business and I am super keen to champion other small UK businesses. Not to get too heavy but particularly in the current political and economical climate. It is now more important than ever that we all rally round and support small businesses and local producers. I'm not just talking about furniture either; farmers, growers, butchers, greengrocers, and independent businesses of all kinds. I also believe we have some of the finest materials in the world right on our doorstep.
Production processes that have been refined over hundreds of years with generation after generation of whole families dedicated to a craft. I'll give you an example; records for the tannery I source my leather from have been traced back to the Roman times. It is the last remaining oak bark tannery in the UK whereas there used to be one in every city across the country. Today they use the same process the Romans did (albeit refined). They sustainably collect oak bark from trees in the Lake District and take it down to the tannery in Devon.
Using hides from cattle raised in the West Country they steep the skins in a mixture of the oak bark and water, by hand. For 13 months they work the leather and oak bark mix to produce one of the finest (and most beautiful) leathers in the world. How can you not be excited to know that we still have these people in the UK, keeping these incredible traditions alive.
I could talk about this all day :-)
Based In: Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
Product Range: Sustainable Furniture, Home Decor