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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: Dan Robbins

This month we continue our series delving into the personalities behind our design team here at HØLTE. We sat down with Dan, a Lead Designer at HØLTE, to discuss ways to spend a weekend in Hackney, and how furniture-making runs in his family.

Could you start by telling us about your background and how you came to work for HØLTE?

I grew up in Hertfordshire, about an hour north of London. I studied Industrial Design at Northumbria University – it was a really open and varied course where we learnt many different areas of design – everything from footwear and furniture to service design.

During the course I interned at a British lighting company which was much more focused on ‘true’ industrial design. I also spent time with a furniture designer in Rotterdam. I began to realise that technical design could be quite restrictive sometimes, and that I preferred working on projects where materials and visuals lead the design.

By the end of the course, I knew I wanted to do something in the furniture world and went on to intern with another furniture designer in London. After a period travelling around Australia, I returned to the UK and saw the HØLTE job advertised on Dezeen. I remember thinking the job looked really interesting.

What’s the best thing about working there?

I think it’s the variety of work we do. We don’t just work to one set standard format – we’re always doing and trying different things. The whole studio gets very excited by new materials and it’s great to be somewhere we can experiment with design. There’s also so much scope to design joinery in other areas of the home beyond the kitchen; open shelving units, window seating and wardrobes to name a few!

How would your co-workers describe you?

Hopefully, they’d say good things!

What’s your favourite part of your day at Holte?

It’s always nice coming in in the morning and seeing everyone. You tend to get updates from clients in the mornings, along with photos of completed and in-progress projects – it’s great to see designs come to life. Once all of my admin is out of the way, I like to get stuck into new design work in the afternoons.

How do you like working in Hackney?

It’s a really nice location. We’re right by the canal, and there’s lots of great local independent businesses. It’s a challenge not to buy lunch out every day! I’m biased though, as I only live about ten minutes from the studio, near Victoria Park. The park is great when the sun’s out; I try to run around it now and again.

What would be your favourite day out in London?

I like a slow start at the weekend. I’d head to the Pavilion Cafe in Victoria Park, maybe get a pastry, walk up to Broadway market, and then see where the day goes. I just like strolling and seeing what comes. Sometimes if I’m looking for ideas, I’ll head to the furniture showrooms and shops. There are lots of them in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch. It’s always nice to discover new things, and also see and feel things physically having been on a screen all week!

Who are your favourite designers?

Definitely a tough one but Jasper Morrison does it time and time again.

And now on to all things food and kitchen related!
What’s your favourite family recipe?

I like cooking if I have the time. I prefer cooking in the summer when you can cook over a fire. My dad makes ‘green chicken’ – it’s delicious and has become a family tradition. You blend many ingredients like coriander, garam masala, yoghurt, lime and other spices and marinate the chicken overnight.

What is your favourite sweet treat?

Definitely sticky toffee pudding.

What would your dream kitchen look like and be designed by?

At the moment, I’m really into our dyed veneers, which can be produced in very bright colours, however, the muted tones are more my boat. There is a particular deep olive colour that is on my mind a lot at the moment. I’d ideally want materials to be the focus of the kitchen – perhaps something straightforward like timber paired with a Marmoreal worktop and some considered small details – something that I know I’d love for years to come.

I love large, free-standing pieces within kitchens. Islands and tables often take on a life of their own within a kitchen – from laughing and crying with friends to booking trips and planning your day over a coffee. It’s not just about cooking.


And now on to some quick-fire questions.

Do you have a nickname?

My name is Daniel, but people call me Dan. It’s not really a nickname. I’m only Daniel if I’m in trouble!

What’s your most prized possession?

One of my great grandads was a furniture maker, he made very traditional timber furniture in an ornate style, and my mum has a couple of his pieces. I know they’ll always be in the family.

What kind of animal would you be?

I think I would be a giraffe. They’re such amazing animals and so graceful.

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

When I was about eight, I owned a pair of those baggy 2000s cargo trousers with lots of tags hanging from them. They probably looked pretty awful.

What’s your guilty pleasure song?

We’ve been playing a lot of the Sugababes in the studio – they definitely take me back to my childhood. Their song Overload is a favourite of mine.

What’s something everyone looks stupid doing?

Trampolining definitely used to cause some laughs at school.

What’s your favourite conspiracy theory?

I don’t believe in them, so my favourite theory would be no conspiracy theories!

Thanks, Dan; nice to meet you!