Two Worlds Colliding
James and Hugo bring decades of experience and skills to Bard. They have worked for some of the world’s leading creative minds and hands, brands and businesses, near and far, in the realms of architecture and interior design, journalism, brand strategy and curation.
Our understanding of how design can improve life is broad and deep. Having previously worked as independent consultants, we now offer our services under one roof as Bard Studio. We are a creative studio of two heads, four hands and one vision: to bring craft and design to life for people in ways that are important, enlivening and fun.
We can do any of the following:
If you have an inkling that you might like to work with us in some capacity, please get in touch to start a conversation. Talking together is always the best way to start.
What follows is a very brief introduction to a variety of work that we have done in the
past. These are examples to illustrate the breadth and scope of our individual and combined
experience. We are very happy to share more information about any of the following that
might pique your interest.
The Harewood Biennial
Hugo twice curated the Harewood Biennial, an ambitious and immersive group exhibition of contemporary craft, shown throughout the historic Yorkshire house and around its grounds. The first show in 2019 was called Useful/Beautiful; the second biennial in 2022 was called Radical Acts.
Hugo gathered and commissioned some of the UK’s leading craftspeople to deliver site specific
environmental and social responses. The mission of the biennial was to celebrate the value of craft as an active force in contemporary life. Over 40 craftspeople were involved across both biennials. He also curated a full-day craft symposium of speakers and discussions to bring individual projects, principles and narratives within the show to life.
Whilst at Retrouvius, James led the interior design of the inaugural atelier for nose Lynn Harris to launch her own perfume brand, Perfumer H.
The aim was to create a sensorially engaging sequence of spaces that function as shop and laboratory, study and salon.
The School of Life
Hugo wrote a title in the book series for Alain de Botton’s school for emotional intelligence. How to Live in the City explores ways in which we can hold onto our humanity in an inhumane environment.
With the title’s launch, Hugo became part of the school’s faculty, delivering a series of lectures and workshops on the subject of human-centred urbanism.
The George Inn
James led the interior resurrection of a 16th century coaching inn, following a fire in 2019, which destroyed huge parts of the building.
The task at hand was to gently reconfigure the interior for 21st Century hospitality, while retaining the historic fabric and enhancing a sense of time and place.
The inn now has 45 bedrooms, two bars and a restaurant, all closely housed across a sprawling site in the historic centre of medieval Rye. The restoration was awarded by the Sussex Heritage Trust for its use of traditional crafts and skills.
Object at MIART
Hugo twice curated the Object section of design galleries at the Milan contemporary art fair (MIART).
Each year he brought together more than a dozen galleries from around the world for the four day selling fair. In addition, he curated and hosted a day of panel discussions under the title “Design for The Common Good” as part of the fair’s talks symposium.
James rationalised the peculiar jigsaw of a medieval cottage and a Georgian townhouse, and brought them together into the present as our home through a careful restoration.
He crafted every element of the work, responding over time to the building, the light, the weather, the seasons and our daily rituals to create a layered and beautiful home, made of and for the two of us.
Hugo is a contributing editor to Wallpaper* magazine, and writes for a wide range of global design publications.
Alongside opinion pieces, he writes about the social impact and potential of craft and design in life.
Over successive winters, James oversaw the refurbishment of Hugo’s family hotel, founded by his parents and today run by his sister.
The brief was to steer the interior design back to the lodge's roots as a place for special, secluded and indulgent hospitality. The creative direction embedded the personality of a host and the fun of a house party into an experience that delivers warm and seamless hospitality, of culture and place.
As design editor at Monocle, Hugo was the launch host of the design show on the magazine’s digital radio station.
He was also a regular host of the live current affairs programs, and enjoyed unleashing his peculiar music taste as an occasional DJ.
James masterminded the restoration and conversion of a Victorian mission hall in East London’s Leytonstone, to become the headquarters of Nest, a textile design studio.
The brief was to create a secular sacred building, turning a single meeting hall into a series of studios for additional makers, alongside a large space for the new community to come together.
James is an architect, designer and craftsman. He is interested in commissioning, materials
and process. After graduating from the Bartlett School of Architecture, he spent a decade in
the design studio at Retrouvius. Throughout his career he has worked with creative leaders
on challenging buildings, commercial and residential, medieval to modern, castles to cabins.
He has designed stores for Perfumer H and Bella Freud, homes for Helena Bonham
Carter and Eddie Redmayne, and hotels in Rye and Skye. James brings soul to space by
understanding the relationship between craft and architecture, materials and interiors,
atmosphere and experience. He is a keen photographer and can make almost anything.
Hugo is a curator, strategist and critic. He is interested in culture and context, understanding
how ideas and experiences connect. An editor at Wallpaper* and Monocle, Hugo was then
brand director of Studioilse, Ilse Crawford’s design practise, where he led strategy and
communications across projects that became global benchmarks. He has since worked for
pioneering people and brands as an independent consultant, from Instagram to Ikea, Vitra to
Airbnb, Erdem to the School of Life. In all cases he works at the intersection of strategy,
design and communication helping to deliver projects with relevant social and cultural
purpose, and voices with clarity and soul.
We love working with people, and bringing our enthusiasm and expertise to projects of all
shapes and sizes. Please get in touch if you have a seed of an idea that we might help take root and flourish.
“Have fun while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.”
- Scottish proverb.