The home of architecture and design in Asia-Pacific

Get the latest design news direct to your inbox!

HENRYTIMI: “An education of the mind towards history”

Milanese artisan Henry Timi celebrates natural materials through strikingly reduced geometric forms, creating a stripped-back vision of interior luxury.

HENRYTIMI: “An education of the mind towards history”

This feature originally appeared in INDESIGN #89, the ‘Magnetic Workplace’ issue. Get your copy here!

It’s sometimes said that there is no better designer than nature – and, marvelling at the pattern of grain in timber or the hypnotic swirl of the veining in marble, it’s an easy argument to make. This natural beauty is the driver behind the idiosyncratic vision of Milanese artisan Henry Timi, who has built his practice, HENRYTIMI, on exploring and celebrating singular natural materials, emphasising their inherent character through geometric purity of form.

“HENRYTIMI is a universe of truth based on the relationship between form and nature, and a real culture of know-how is embedded in our daily work,” explains Timi. “The precious craft techniques – every grain of timber, split in the stone, or metallic reflection – is an education of the mind towards history. It is capturing the rigour of mother nature.”

Henry Timi, DOMUS art interio project, Milan.

Timi’s magniloquent way of expressing his vision offers dynamic contrast with the striking reductionism of his artistic output. In a way, this can be likened to the balance found between the natural vibrance of the material palette Timi uses and his minimalist forms.

Perhaps the best way to understand the world of HENRYTIMI, however, is to explore Timi’s own home and gallery in the elegant and creative Brera neighbourhood of Milan. The interior of the early-20th-century former laboratory building has been almost entirely stripped back and every surface skimmed with a fine layer of clay to create a gallery-like backdrop for the furnishings, all of which are designed by Timi himself.

DOMUS private residence, Milan.

Every aspect of the home is a study in minimalism and visual reduction: doors are stripped back to their most primitive form; tall archways take the place of walls to create a visually open plan; the kitchen island and bathroom vanities are monolithic sculptures hewn from stone; and even the bookshelves are concealed behind split-face stone panels.

These same qualities also define the HENRYTIMI collection. Armchairs are constructed from slabs of raw material that challenge conventional – and visually comfortable – proportions; tables are assemblages of balanced geometric forms that evoke ancient architecture; and cabinets and consoles are a study in sculptural minimalism designed to conceal anything that might interrupt the precision of Timi’s vision.

Related: Alba Thermal Hot Springs, also from INDESIGN #89

HT313 Sfera Table, natural solid oak wood.

While these strikingly reduced forms might appear simple, each one draws complex meaning from the material elements of its composition. The HT313 Sfera Table, for example, comprises a perfect disc balanced atop two spheres. Each of the three parts is skilfully crafted from solid timber, with the geometry emphasising the character and grain of the material.

Stone is another of Timi’s favoured materials, one that is celebrated in the HT657 Roccia kitchen collection. Here, what appears to be a solid block of Nero Fossilestone with contrasting polished and rough-hewn surfaces is actually a kitchen island with concealed storage, defined by nuances of light and shadow. It’s collections like this, which reimagine the potential of furniture and elevate it above its utilitarian functionality, that have cemented Timi’s reputation and won him clients around the world.

Art interio gallery, Milan.

Timi also finds inspiration in architectural forms – both ancient and modern. The Duomo collection that launched at the most recent edition of Milan’s design week is case in point, with the rugged fluted surface of the travertine kitchen islands and precisely staggered table bases echoing the dramatic silhouette of the iconic Duomo di Milan.

“Each project has a constant awareness or cultural background that ranges from archaeology to monumental architecture – like subdued ancient artefacts in the light of a new gaze,” explains Timi. “The shapes and profiles evoke sculptural and structural details [to create] minimal works with a pure beauty in the harmony between history and innovation.”

HT645 Duomo kitchen, greige travertine natural solid stone, hand-made ancient extraclear mirror with silver powder.

In order to achieve this fine balance between the raw essence of a material and purity of form, it’s essential that Timi is intimately involved in the production process. HENRYTIMI has its own factory in Corridonia, five hours drive from Milan – a location poetically described by Timi as “the heart of HENRYTIMI in the landscape of Leopardi’s memory” –  where the work is produced by the hand of skilled artisans.

“We are focused on production so we can control every detail of the whole project and I work on site with my artisans to realise the artworks,” adds Timi. “HENRYTIMI is a brand that celebrates a minimal and methodical philosophy that treats materials with respect. I want to share these values and each collection is a part of my soul.”

Get your copy of INDESIGN #89, the ‘Magnetic Workplace’ issue, here and find out more about subscribing to the magazine here.


HT245 Duomo Sofa, INCAS noble fibre-crafted loro piana interiors, alpaca suri and wool.
HT657 Roccia kitchen, nero fossile stone materical and rock finish, hand-made sculpted.

More design ideas with industrial designer Tim Phillips

INDESIGN is on instagram

Follow @indesignlive

The Indesign Collection

A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers

Indesign Our Partners

Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!

Related Stories

While you were sleeping

The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed