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    (Based on linear meters of cabinetry). Please include the circumference of any islands when calculating the size.
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The design team interviews: Aga Do Van

This month we begin a new series delving into the lives and personalities behind our design team here at HØLTE; first up is Aga, one of our Lead Designers at HØLTE. We find out about her creative inspirations, her top tips for a day out in London and why the team's pastry appreciation is her favourite part of studio life.

Could you tell us about your background and how you came to work for HØLTE?

I’m originally from Vietnam but was raised in Warsaw, Poland. I studied interior design at the Glasgow School of Art, after which my first job was for a high-end German kitchen company. I designed beautiful spaces, but for me they lacked a sense of personal touch and fun details. I decided to move to London and got a job designing big co-living and co-working spaces across lots of different sites across Europe. It was very fun and interesting.

After three years working there, I wanted to have the chance to do more detailing work such as bespoke furniture. I came across HØLTE and got a job working here in July 2021. I really loved how they paid attention to detail, how personal every project was, and how fun and different their designs were. Creating whatever the client has always dreamt about is very satisfying. It’s also really nice to have contact with the clients that you work with; that’s something I never had with my previous jobs.

What’s the best thing about working for HØLTE?

I have a very short answer for this –  the pasty and coffee appreciation. When I applied for a job here, even the job description had a pastry appreciation requirement!

The studio is based in Hackney, what’s the best thing about working there?

I think the best thing is probably the canal and the coffee shops. I cycle along the canal every day to work. I love the vibrancy of the area: there’s lots of quirky pubs and independent shops, and there are lots of people that work in the creative industries, lots of makers, cyclists and young families – it’s a great mix of people.

How do you think your coworkers would describe you?

They’d describe me as the queen of flat tyres! In the last two months I’ve had three, I think it must be a skill!

What’s the most satisfying or your favourite part of the job?

I think it’s showing customers all the possibilities they could have in their kitchen designs – showing them what can be achieved and just seeing that excitement in their eyes. I love helping them when they might be a bit lost – I show them different ideas, different ways of laying out materials, and that often results in them being inspired and excited about the project and looking forward to seeing everything come together.


Could you tell us about some of your favourite HØLTE projects?

I worked on a project (see images above) where I designed a bespoke freestanding island. The challenge here was to create a ‘light’ bespoke piece that combined storage within a multi-purpose breakfast bar / social space / homework area. We went through quite a few colour mock-ups and different handle shapes to get the design there – it was quite a fun exercise!

I also love our Earl Richards project (see images below). In my opinion, despite the classic colours and material choices, it proves that you can add some jazz by laying materials in a specific way. Great design details!

How would you sum up working for HØLTE?

I love the problem-solving side of working here – finding solutions that are sustainable, that don’t involve material waste, and that will still offer practicality and aesthetic beauty as well. I also love creating that ‘!’ moment – when our customers get joy and satisfaction from the space that we’ve created for them.

Now on to our next subject: let’s talk all things kitchens!
What would your dream kitchen look like, and what famous designer would design it for you?

This is a difficult one! I’m very much into bold colours and fun shapes but having worked here for a while I can see that there’s also so much beauty in monotones or having very simple veneered kitchens. I would love to see a kitchen designed by Camille Walala. She’s a French multidisciplinary designer famous for her lifesize murals and installations decorated with her postmodernism-inspired patterns. It’s very playful.

What would you say is the most important part of the kitchen?

For me, it would be the oven and the hob, as that’s where everything comes together. I love baking and often bring my baking into the studio; I definitely contribute to the overall HØLTE sugar levels!

Favourite family dish

I would say Phở – Vietnamese soup – because of my heritage. I like the way my mum makes it and love helping her whenever I’m home.



Let’s talk about all things London. Which part of London do you live in?

I live in Tufnell Park, North London. I love the greenery and the residential atmosphere. I live near a park – I definitely feel grateful for my view!

What would be your favourite day out in London?

In the summer I love going to Battersea park. There’s a lovely clay pottery studio nearby called Muni London. I also like visiting art galleries – places like the White Cube in Bermondsey, and 180 The Strand. Thanks to my colleague, I also now do life drawing classes at the Candid Arts Café in Angel.

Can you tell us about any other hobbies you have outside of work?

I enjoy creating art. As a feminist I’m inspired by topics relating to femininity, equality and body positivity. I created a project which was a celebration of the aesthetics of the female form, independence and self-love; it was recently exhibited at a group show in Islington (please see images below).

Who are your favourite artists and designers?

We’ve started doing regular design inspiration sessions at HØLTE. I chose to talk about Es Devlin, who’s an artist and stage designer. I love how she plays with volume, scale, and the senses. Her recent fashion show for YSL in the desert in Morocco was just stunning.

And now for a quick fire round, with questions selected by the collective hive mind at HØLTE.

What’s your nickname?

My friends used to call me Inez, which is basically my name in Spanish; I used to take Spanish classes, so that’s where it came from.

What’s your most prized possession?

My sunglasses – they’re a nice accessory that adds a bit of personality, and they also save you from UV rays!

What animal would you be?

My friends used to say I was a sloth, I don’t even know why, as I don’t even sleep that much! Maybe it’s because I like being cosy at home.

What’s the worst item of clothing you’ve ever owned?

Back in high school I had pink checkerboard slip-on Vans!

What’s your guilty pleasure song?

I very much like Toxic by Britney Spears

What’s something that everyone looks stupid doing?

People trying to lick their elbows, because they can never reach it!

Thanks Aga, lovely to meet you!