HENRYTIMI’s pure shades

HENRYTIMI is an Italian company named after its creator, Henry Timi: a celebrated artist and craftsman, and advocate for “art interiors”. When in Milan, Henry Timi creates radical interiors, but it is in his homeland, the countryside of Marche, that he transforms natural materials into functional artifacts as unique as a work of art.

Henry Timi is an artist artisan based in Milan, Italy. Born and raised in the Marche countryside, he developed a strong sensitivity for beauty and the precious details of natural materials. He opened his eponymous gallery, HENRYTIMI, in 2009; today, it is one of the most exclusive and inspiring institutions of the Milanese creative world. HENRYTIMI galleries can be found also in Rome, Sydney and Melbourne, and more openings are expected in the coming years.

It was difficult to prepare for this interview; online you are very elusive, and on the HENRYTIMI website there seems to be more poetry than information. 

Yes, I have always been a little detached from the system. I am not part of it – or rather, I am now part of it, because the system takes inspiration from me and that is a great responsibility and a daily challenge – but also a great joy. HENRYTIMI is very much listened to, and widely visited, so we try to maintain a certain level of coherence, a strong perspective. But yes, we are – and I am – outside the system, so you can find very little information about me, but that's okay. I am also a very private person. As for the site, this was a conscious choice: we narrate our projects in black and white, for example. We try to be what we are, and up until now we have made a more silent choice. 

How was HENRYTIMI born?  

From a need. I felt the need for something different, and I invented that something. It all started about ten years ago; I was experiencing an accelerated everyday lifestyle, and I could see it in the world of design as well as in the world of fashion, architecture, food, and music, which are worlds that I have always been passionate about, have always followed. I felt the need to create what I felt was missing on the market, for those who had a sensitivity similar to mine. I began with pieces, which I call the 'primitive collection': these are fundamental, very minimal pieces. I started exhibiting them and people around the world looked at them with interest. Those people gave me the strength to believe in it all; to implement a reality that, from a whispered, humble beginning, has become recognised, important and respected. We do not overlap with any other brand; we follow our own path, and will always try to adhere to this vision. 

How would you describe HENRYTIMI today?  

HENRYTIMI is a company that has always tried to tell the story of natural materials like stone and wood. It’s a brand which – using modern techniques, and thanks to high-profile, high-tech artistic manufacturing and people who believe in design – transforms even the most difficult, exclusive and complicated materials into extraordinary functional works. HENRYTIMI is a unique example of artist-manufacture, because in addition to representing thought, we represent design and manufacturing. We craft everything in-house, so we also represent quality, exclusivity, luxury, and true craftsmanship... it's a combination of all these elements.

Collection by Elisa Ossino and HENRYTIMI

You collaborated with Elisa Ossino on the installation Time and Matter in Brera, and for the new V-ZUG Studio. How did you interpret her concept?

I did not interpret, but added the value of my research and mastery. Elisa and I have known each other for many years, she is a person of great sensitivity, and among the international designers she is the closest to my artistic journey. The installation in Brera is made up of works in natural travertine with innate HENRYTIMI peculiarities, artworks of profound knowledge and in-depth analysis, at the same time reflecting a simple beauty, therefore absolute. As for the V-ZUG Studio, it is with great pleasure that we shared this project, born as a path of continuous and extreme research combining our ideas and transforming it into functional artworks. The artifacts of the V-ZUG Studio – a washbasin, a kitchen, a container and a stool – are the coronation of a journey that has been going on for years with V-ZUG, the emerging result of art applied to function.

What does the capsule collection created with Elisa Ossino consist of?

An encounter, a vision, a force that binds two sensitive souls. The collection consist of a stool, a table and a kitchen, numbered and made in Italy. We called it Passione, which means “passion”. Passion as a feeling, as a guide, as the desire to remain true to yourself and open to the new while being anchored to the past, to the eternal tradition of matter and to nature, which are and will always be the bulwark of every choice.

Why did you choose V-ZUG as your partner?

V-ZUG is a brand that reflects us stylistically, because it focuses on simplicity, essentiality, and authenticity. We see ourselves as the 'other'; we are the other side of the market, the more extreme and less commercial side, so we like the idea of incorporating technologically advanced elements, but with a bit of poetry. We have called the collaboration between HENRYTIMI and V-ZUG 'advanced technology' because we don't like the term ‘household appliance’. V-ZUG is more than this concept, something that goes beyond, that tries to diversify and differentiate itself from the system. Its desire to market itself with an image that focuses on exclusivity, on a very high market position, appealed to me immediately, and I must say that the details make all the difference. We found the perfect counterpart for our projects in the elegance of V-ZUG appliances, where aesthetic essence speaks to unbeatable knowledge and technological performance. The appliances are set like gemstones in our functional containers, which have a totemic force, reflecting not only the stone, but an entire universe of values.

“The appliances are set like gemstones in our functional containers, which have a totemic force.” Henry Timi

How did the manufacturing of your designs come about?  

I have never considered delegating the creation of artefacts to third parties as the right way forward when it comes to a luxury product. The luxury product is not luxury because it is expensive; to us, luxury is service. This service is provided to the final customer but also refers to the service provided by the materials given to us by nature, which must be respected, taken, touched, processed, transformed, and reinvented. If you do this through different workshops, the soul dies. This is why we have structured ourselves in an important way, not only from an exhibition and storytelling point of view with our galleries in Milan and Rome, but also from a manufacturing point of view – so much so that our manufacturing brings together artistic carpentry, marquetry, carpentry, finishing rooms where we sand, paint, dye, and finish with our hands. We are an independent company: we make 90% of products in-house and offer a complete service, because whoever buys HENRYTIMI today buys a brand of the highest quality, one of the most exclusive, and we want to ensure maximum consistency. The factory is in the Marche region, in Corridonia: it's a magical place, just right for my artistic vision. It is not simply a place where work is done; I call it Manifattura [manufacturing] deliberately, because it is a place where hands combine with the mind, the soul, and a sense of sensitivity to produce beauty and wellbeing. Interestingly, it also represents who I am, who we are, from the outside. It is a white container surrounded by nature and animals: across from the factory is my horses’ stable. The interior is similar to that of my galleries.  

Your galleries are in Milan, Rome and Australia. Which of these places do you most belong to?  

The factory is in Corridonia because I am originally from Marche. I grew up among its ancient inland villages, nestled in Leopardi’s hills, their memory portrayed by Raphael's pictorial poetry. But I always dreamt of the city, so I came to Milan to work and study. I now split my time between Milan, Rome, Corridonia and the world: we work in all the most important cities and in the next few years are set to undergo some very important developments, keeping the approach we have here in Italy; i.e. high-profile gallery spaces located in high-profile places, with spaces that allow us to express who we are.