Award-winning interior designer Thomas Hamel was born in the States but has called Australia home for years, giving him a truly international viewpoint. He recently added another string to his bow as a furniture designer. He told Interiors Addict all about it.
“I feel the world and our clients are now looking for more bespoke and special pieces as the world becomes so much smaller by means of the internet,” says Thomas. “We are striving to create show-stopping furniture pieces that bridge the gap of traditional and contemporary interiors.”
It seems sensible for an interior designer to get involved in furniture design. Like Greg Natale having a thorough understanding of architecture and art, the joined up approach makes sense. Creative director Dylan Farrell designed the new collection in collaboration with Thomas, who has had his business in Sydney for 21 years.
In order to create integrated and seamless homes there has to be a harmony besides the “shell” of a home and its interiors. “We spend a great deal of time trying to create cabinetry and furniture to suit a specific home,” says Thomas.
His international background too, gives him a very broad perspective. “I call myself a cross-pollinator. I am in a very fortunate position to give all of my clients and staff ideas that I gather from our international projects. It is wonderful to see products developed in one market and how we can translate then in another. For example, I found better wrought iron lighting in LA for a house in Provence, France.”
It’s perhaps no surprise then that Thomas tries hard not to have a signature style. “Besides the fact that my work has a common thread of quiet sophistication and subtle detail, I strive on each job to develop the client’s personality and style, not my own.” He adds: “My goal was always to build my reputation on impeccable service and I think this has been crucial to my success. A great reputation is only as good as your last job.”
On the subject of trends, he has seen more than enough of the ‘French Provincial’ look (“a few pieces of it are great but not entire homes,”) and while he tries to ignore them, he admits it’s hard. “In this media driven world it is impossible not to be influenced by trends but I do try to keep them more towards the back of my mind rather than at the front.
“A timeless interior should always be a harmonious mix of elements – too much of a good thing always becomes tiresome eventually. Mixing styles and finishes will never stop being the most timeless.” Likewise, while it’s tempting to plump for style over function, Thomas says function, and importantly proportion, is key. “I would never specify very low slung sofas or chairs. Who wants to sit on the floor? It is not a flattering proportion for anyone.”
He describes his own home as a calm oasis with a mixture of styles and furnishings to match his personality. “I love having everything remind me of an adventure somewhere on earth. I keep the palette neutral so the objects all speak for themselves and are the stars.”
His biggest advice is to be confident and buy items that speak to you in some way. “They always seem to fit into an interior and usually in a fun, unexpected way.”
Come back tomorrow for a look inside Thomas’ own home and to read about his favourite things (and people).
The Soleil Server and (below) the Ramblas Credenza from the Dylan Farrell for Thomas Hamel Collection.