Hugh Miller Furniture

"I just love wood"

Tells us what you do

I’m a designer and maker, and I specialise in studio furniture in wood. I started my business almost eight years ago. I sell to private clients (mainly in London), and to collectors, through galleries, and at exhibitions.

What’s involved?

I developed my design principles during my Winston Churchill Research Fellowship to Japan in 2015. The result was/is the ways of making that are now hallmarks of my collection. Most noticeable is the hand-gouged texture on the underside of all my pieces. I love wood. It’s the most amazing material and, as a staunch atheist, it’s as close as I get to a “spiritual” connection.

My work is unique, I think, because of this dual Japanese and Western culture. This has given me a subtle confidence and I feel I am producing the best pieces of my life.

What’s your background?

I trained as an architect. I’m self taught in furniture making, and rejected some of the more traditional ways of thinking about wood and cabinetry. For example my Coffee Cart no.1 fuses UK and Japanese cultures and techniques, using wood, brass, bamboo and ceramics.

Where do you work?

My studio is in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle – the city’s creative incubator. It’s the second floor of a Victorian warehouse, a tall, columned space with memories of its maritime past. It’s the perfect setting for my modern furniture studio of today. All materials are hoisted up the outside of the building, as they were 100 years ago, and finished pieces go out the same way. I love it for its solid, industrial character, its quietness, and its location – right in the city centre where all the action

What of the future?

I want to expand my high-end studio furniture collection, but I have also started to design pieces for international design houses, with two exciting project in the works.

Any advice?

Well, a life in making is not an easy road. It is extremely hard work; it does not pay well; and there is jeopardy at every turn. But it is the most rewarding decision I ever made. I love my job, and I would advise anyone who wants to make a business out of their passion to just do it. But do it for the love of the work, as that is what will get you through the many tough times ahead.