Push and Pull: Nest StudioMatt Dougherty • May 17, 2018
In 2011, following a stint as a producer on Home Again with Bob Vila, a detour to get her master’s in interior design at the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University in Boston, and nearly eight years designing luxury hotels with New York firm Wilson Associates, the Australian-born Jessica Davis decided to once again try something new. Her frustration with finding hardware that “felt sculptural or like jewelry for cabinets and furniture” led her to create her own pieces, which she debuted at HD Expo at Inlight International’s booth that same year. There was some interest from the hospitality market, but “nothing really happened,” she says. Hardware “was kind of a niche market within a niche market.” Yet, as a global citizen who has lived in Hong Kong, Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston, Brooklyn, New York, and now South Orange, New Jersey, Davis’ journey was only just beginning.
The products had generated a sizable amount of buzz on Davis’ blog, prompting her to launch an ecommerce store on Shopify while fulfilling orders from her basement. That basement shop evolved into , which currently has five employees and more than 40 showrooms globally, with new ones in Bangkok, London, and Australia soon to come. “I’ve always been interested in metalwork and fabrication from jewelry to hardware on handbags,” she says. “I never thought this would be the position I would be in.” Now, her pieces dress high-roller suites in such places as the Venetian Macao.
First to launch were the residential Facet and Transparency series; both evoke the machine age with a contemporary flair, with the former notable for its precise hexagonal shape. “In the hardware world, people like things that complement each other,” Davis explains. “I think about how something can work in a collection when I’m designing.” From there, she expanded again into hospitality with the Mod series—nodding to the hubcaps of midcentury car design—and Glaze, a collaboration with ceramicist Jonathan Castro. Inspired by his use of color and texture, the ribbed handles contrast brass backplates. For the collections to come, Davis hopes to find more collaborators like Castro “who experiment in their medium, push the limits,” and think differently, she says.