Our Artisans: carpenter Marcin Miller
Our Houses celebrate the meticulous work of artisans, emerging and established. Throughout this month, we introduce the creators behind some of our most beloved and iconic design pieces – this week, carpenter Marcin Miller
Words by Charlotte Harding Monday 6 April, 2020 Short read
Marcin Miller (Cat Garcia) and a cabinet built by Miller in White City House (Simon Brown)
'I’m fascinated by pioneers such as William Morris who had wonderful ideas and vision about interiors and furniture. They wanted to create a better world and that’s what design is about'
My grandfather Wojciech Jastrzębowski was the leader of the appliance art or Art Deco movement in 1920s Poland. This was when an incredible generation of young people wanted to change the world by making it beautiful, like an ideology. I was brought up in the same house as my grandfather, where he also had his studio, so I met a lot of fantastic people and watched him study and design, learning from him.
Is there a set of values that you approach your work with?
Honesty is the most important thing in the world. In everything you do, you have to be honest.
Do you have a favourite object you have made?
I always say that making is like giving birth, it’s so intense. The intensity is good and bad. You have to make choices constantly and follow them; there is no time to go back. I think my favourite projects were at the beginning of Soho House, probably Babington – Nick [Jones] saying we need seven beds and a bar in one week, it was like school with a small team.
Has a particular object or material influenced you?
For me it is about history, not materials. I’m fascinated by pioneers such as William Morris who had wonderful ideas and vision about interiors and furniture. They wanted to create a better world and that’s what design is about. It’s important to pass something on to the next generation, to pave the way.
Swivel Chair, Wojciech Jastrzębowski, 1953 (Commons) and Marcin Miller at work (Cat Garcia)
Marcin Miller’s bespoke commissions and ad-hoc repair work on existing design pieces can be seen throughout the Houses, including his addition of ‘some salt and pepper’ in order to age The Ned’s dining tables, and a line of 1950s-style furniture at London’s White City House.