In Conversation with Milan-Based Artist and Designer Henry Timi

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    Milan-based designer and artist Henry Timi discusses the inherent allure of Italian design, the greatest influences on his work and how his sensitivity and ambition continue to drive new projects and possibilities.

    Every design that leaves Henry Timi’s namesake studio HENRYTIMI embodies a resolute vision: quiet in nature, simplistic yet luxurious, monastic and restrained. He works exclusively with natural materials and most pertinently timber and stone, enjoying the privilege of transforming these materials with his hands. The importance of nature is embedded in everything Henry Timi touches – especially in his own home. 

    Henry Timi’s designs are lauded for their Italian craftsmanship, as he credits the history of Italian cities as a principal source of inspiration. All designs by HENRYTIMI, including the monolithic HTGR60 Kitchen and HTGR702 Basin are handcrafted in his factory in Italy. It’s here he also researches, experiments and percolates ideas for new projects.

    Following our exclusive tour through Henry Timi’s Milan Apartment in est Magazine issue #33, we jumped at the opportunity to speak with the designer and artist. In this philosophical conversation, Henry Timi shares insight on his love of travertine, his most significant commission to date, and his constant quest for aesthetic perfection, the essence in absence, the symbolic and the eternal.

    Produced in partnership with vboaustralia, the exclusive retailer of HENRYTIMI in Australia

    “We follow the philosophy of sensitive hands and minds. Research, experience and manual processing are the essence of every project and every product we make.”

     

    – Henry Timi

    When did you first develop an interest in design? 

    Henry Timi: I have loved materials and construction since I was a child. One of my favourite things to do growing up was look for stones and wooden pieces to build and create imaginary objects.

    Your designs are handmade in Italy. Could you talk about your relationship with the artisans and the production process?

    Henry Timi: I carry out thoughts, ideas and product manufacturing in my factory in Italy. We follow the philosophy of sensitive hands and minds. Research, experience and manual processing are the essence of every project and every product we make. Wooden trunks and stone blocks, through advanced technology processing, as well as accurate detail and specialised craftiness, are transformed into HENRYTIMI products. 

    What is the importance of purity and minimalism in your work?

    Henry Timi: I have always been fascinated with pure, primary, primordial and essential forms. They belong to me as I belong to them. I have always rejected decor and opulence.

    How does your apartment in Milan reflect your approach to design?

    Henry Timi: HENRYTIMI Domus is an example of my research and experimentation. It is an artifact of my thought, of my being and of my essence. The natural materials create a unique bond with the origins and through the forms create a place of quiet and hidden functions.

    “I have always been fascinated with pure, primary, primordial and essential forms. They belong to me as I belong to them. I have always rejected decor and opulence.”

     

    – Henry Timi

     How do you think your work as a designer embodies Italian design? 

    Henry Timi: Italian design is characterized by very important artistic and historical values. I find inspiration not only from mother earth, mother nature, mother matter but also from mother archeology and mother history – through urban environments and monuments. Italian cities are sources of great impact and inspiration for my work. I translate those values, those aesthetics and those thoughts through sensitive interpretations. I believe that there is no other way to be able to embody Italian culture at the highest level than like this.

    Could you talk about your use of natural materials, especially stone? 

    Henry Timi: I love natural materials; I love the earth, I love man, I love the being. Mother nature has granted us the luxury of being able to enjoy its products and transform them with our hands. Matter is born from the earth: wood and stone. Lots of different types of stone represent my work, but one of my favourites is travertine in all its shades and nuances. Travertine represents Italian excellence.

    What has been your most significant commission to date?

    Henry Timi: Every work I have completed to date is a significant commission for its level and its importance. But a unique project that I’m particularly thrilled with, is the brass altar located in the Church of San Marco in Milan. The building dates back to 1254 and is the major place of Catholic worship after the Cathedral of Milan.

    Who or what has had the greatest influence on your work?

    Henry Timi: My path has always been stimulated by knowledge, the study of shapes, masterpieces by great masters, the need for function and my customers’ desires. Today what influences my work more and more is the search for aesthetic perfection, for absolute quality, for the essence in absence, for the symbolic and for the eternal.

     What is something you hope to achieve that you haven’t done yet

    Henry Timi: I consider myself a very sensitive and ambitious person. I do not place a limit on the projects and possibilities. My goal is to be the most exclusive world reference for the luxury of simplicity and formal rigour. I also hope that, in this historical moment, all people understand how important it is to have a welcoming place to live; a place set up in the best way and to share our time with everything we love. Life and time are man’s greatest values.

    Design insider’s guide:

    Favourite local designers and studios?

    Henry Timi: I follow all those who operate in the simplicity and exclusivity of fashion, design, art, architecture, food and music.

    Favourite design stores?

    Henry Timi: I don’t have an absolute favourite designer, store or gallery. I follow many Italian and international protagonists who have both a stylistic vision close to mine and opposite.

    Favourite galleries or spaces?

    Henry Timi: My favourite places are my manufacturing – which is a place of high research and experimentation, and my gallery – which is a place of high emotion. Both satisfy my sensitivity and from them, I find everyday inspirations for new horizons. 

    “Today what influences my work more and more is the search for aesthetic perfection, for absolute quality, for the essence in absence, for the symbolic and for the eternal.”

     

    – Henry Timi

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    Henry Timi

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