We first met Peter Jacob during High Point Furniture Market inside Wesley Hall’s beautiful showroom. Immediately, we struck up a conversation about his business, his partnership with Wesley Hall, and his life back in Michigan. During our conversation, we learned three things: he values people, he is passionate about his craft, and he’s a big fan of Moore & Giles leather.
Describe the journey that led you to start Peter Jacob Kind Creative.
Peter Jacob Kind Creative began in 2008. I had worked for two pretty great companies and I knew a lot of people in the high end, traditional furniture world. Freelance seemed like a logical step because there were a lot of companies needing design, but they weren’t necessarily ready to hire a full-time designer. The firm is my name with the addition of an intention. As I see it, names should reflect intentions. My goal in business is to be both 'kind' and 'creative'. It's simple, and I think that's what makes it work.
Where do you find the most inspiration?
I like to get ideas from really basic sources. Like most designers/creatives, I get a lot out of travel and experiencing events that feel unique, fresh or that feel like what’s next. My friendships are mostly with creative people and that is a terrific way to gain inspiration also. If you surround yourself with striving, and interesting humans, new ideas are never far off.
When you look up from your desk what do you see?
Not surprisingly, a pin board. When I was in college I would always take over large pin boards in the classrooms. Especially when I was designing furniture for a class project, I felt that seeing every item at once caused me to make better decisions on scale, material, and theme. Even though I had to take it down every night and put it all back up the next day, it was the best way for me to work. Turns out, it still is.
How would you describe yourself as a furniture designer?
The feedback I get from clients defines the goals I set for future projects. I’ve been happy to hear from clients that I’m able to balance use and form. I suppose that’s a shared goal of most designers. But, it means something more when you feel you’re doing that balancing act well while expressing a personal viewpoint. My recent work has carried that balance and that result means a great deal to me.
You have your own furniture collection with Wesley Hall. How did that relationship get started?
My relationship with Wesley Hall is typical in the furniture industry. I knew Zack Taylor, president of Wesley Hall, through a friend years before he took on that role. Awhile into his first year as president, Zack had an idea that turned into our collection. I also knew Amy Huff, the creative director of Wesley Hall, from a shared inter-college scholarship. I’ve added to these friendships within Wesley Hall. That’s the great thing about the interiors/furniture industries, relationships are what make it thrive. Relationships are also what makes it continue to feel worthwhile.
What excites you most about what you do?
There’s no question. The most exciting thing is seeing the designs I created in my head months before coming into the showroom as finished, saleable items. The close second is in seeing what people choose to do with the items I’ve designed in their projects. The final result is always a nice surprise too.
What is special about leather?
Leather? What’s not to like? For me, it’s in the way that it ages so beautifully. Leather mellows and becomes richer the longer you own it. I should clarify…good leather does these things. That’s the key, I guess. Buy high-quality leather and you’ve got a piece of furniture that will only improve with time.
Why Moore & Giles leather?
Kidding! I’ve been a fan of Moore & Giles since I first joined forces with Wesley Hall. I’m always keen on things that are made at a level of a quality met or surpassed by none. Moore & Giles is a company of that ilk. The quality is solid but also, the color selection is extremely good. The taste level is on point. It’s the perfect pair of attributes. Moore & Giles is certainly a dream company for designers.
Where is the most interesting place you have seen leather used?
While it’s been done for ages, I really like leather wrapped desktops. I’ve not seen that for a while…maybe I’ll do that next! We do have several items in the Wesley Hall with Peter Jacob collections that can be leather wrapped. It’s a good way to keep things visually tidy and well mixed.
What’s your dream design project?
I fell like I live out my dream projects as they arise. There’s no real set expectation or goal. Whether it’s working with my partner Jason in the bakery we own or working on national scale events for my event design company @middle.west (shameless plug alert!), I’m just happy to have a variety of projects to engage in with people who really care about the outcomes as much as I do.