Design wundertwins Nikolai and Simon Haas – known in the design world as the Hass brothers – build and craft just about anything: from an unfinished brass table designed to collect fingerprints to wings for one of Lady Gaga’s costumes.
Raised in Austin, the twins worked in their father’s stone carving and furniture business every summer before venturing out on their own – Nikolai toured with a band and Simon was a painter in NYC after training at the Rhode Island School of Design. The guys came together again in Los Angeles where they’re both stars in their own experimental design studio.
Their success is relatively recent. The Haas brother’s commissions have come from their actor brother’s friends (it doesn’t hurt to have a Hollywood connection), to Mario Testino and Peter Marino – all interested in having something unique from this duo’s studio – whether it’s one of their baroque “Beast Chairs”, a ceramic piece or even a cast bronze candelabra (see below and above).
What makes the Hass brothers successful is not only their demanding attention to detail and craft, but also their imagination and wanderlust experimentation with new products and materials to create their pieces.
Take for example one of my favorite pieces, the Hex Stool (above). Typically you can only fix hexagonal tiles to a flat surface, but how were they able to clad the rounded edges of this stool? As for imagination, how about the cuddly and cute – but admittedly somewhat quirky – Mini Beast with Coyote Feet sculpture (below) measuring a mere 14.5 inches tall. It’s kind of a mini-me to the larger and functional “Beast Chairs”. Can’t you just see it on the floor peeking around a door and having guests ask themselves if it isn’t one of the bizarre creatures straight off the pages of Maurice Sendak’s book Where the Wild Things Are?
I’m always rooting for rising stars in design like the Haas brothers – that’s what keeps the field so interesting and fresh. But I’m particularly rooting for these guys since we both have an Austin connection.
Richard Rabel is a New York Interior Designer and Principal at Richard Rabel: Interiors+ Art, a studio offering residential design, decorating and art advising services.
image credits: the Haas Brothers, LA.