Organic Evolution

Thomas Hayes Studio showcases fresh interpretations of Modernism and meticulous craftmanship in his Hollywood workshop.

“Put your neck on here and your feet fully on here,” Thomas Hayes instructs. The designer and craftsman points to either end of a sumptuously oversized daybed swing constructed of brass, wood, and leather that’s installed in his Hollywood showroom. Other than, say, a hammock, it’s rare for an adult to have this kind of chill-out moment. This brief experience is enough to understand why his clients of means part with significant amounts of money and wait many months to bring this prized piece into their homes. If you’re going to play in the Los Angeles sandbox of high-end bespoke furniture, Hayes’s swing might be the ultimate toy.

In contrast to his meticulously handmade wares, Hayes’s direct attitude is refreshingly unvarnished. “I want to do the very best, and I charge for it,” he explains. “That’s what allows me to be able to do right by people — as long as they’re kind.” Everything is fabricated on-site (and a stone’s throw from the Paramount lot) at the Thomas Hayes Studio compound he’s occupied since 2008. Processes for goods that are both custom and from his established line cannot be rushed, and the demand for his signature stools in particular is high thanks to high-profile clients such as L.A. interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard and lifestyle maven Athena Calderone, whose internet-famous Brooklyn kitchen showcases the Iron and Rolled stools that are inspired by Cleo Baldon’s designs.

Hayes grew up in the Bay Area, where an Eames stool he encountered became a gateway to an obsession with modern furniture and its history. He dived headfirst into his own education through trial and error. Before introducing original designs under the banner of his eponymous business, Hayes’s previous gallery, Noho Modern, featured significant works of impeccably restored decorative arts and design. Brazil’s furniture design heritage became a particular passion, resulting in an ongoing influence in his reinterpretation of organic modernism. This sensibility is reflected in Jacqueline, the most recent seating collection Hayes developed with interior designer Jacqueline Downs that incorporates soft curves and an inviting tactility. Hayes also thrives when collaborating on projects with creatives in other mediums, including Miami-based Samantha Gallacher of Art + Loom rugs and Texas fiber artist Lauren Williams.

While Hayes has spent the last decade refining his portfolio, he’s still a risk-taker at heart who’s always open to compelling experiments. “If I like the idea and can make it part of my conversation, then I’ll figure it out,” he says.

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