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In the studio with Shoreditch House member Henry Holland

The designer and creative director introduces his exclusive ceramics collaboration with Soho House and shares his tips for entertaining friends

By Megan Murray

Henry Holland's new creative direction has seen him launch a range of ceramics including mugs, plates, and serving dishes. Crafted using the ancient Japanese technique of nerikomi, each piece is compiled by hand in Holland's east London studio.

'I'm so excited and engaged when I'm learning something new. I love solving problems,' he says. 'Working with ceramics began organically. I started classes in my spare time, and after sharing a few things on Instagram interest began to grow.'

'As a creative, there's a piece of your heart and soul in everything you make. These items are shaped with my bare hands, so to see people's positive reactions has filled me with joy.'

Just in time for entertaining season, Holland's collaboration with Soho House features eight pieces in a bespoke terracotta and blue colourway, perfect for festive dinner parties.

Here, Holland shares how he likes to entertain, either at home or in his studio. You can shop the full collection here.

Where do you like to entertain?

'I love welcoming people into my home, but it's fun to play with the purpose of a space and get creative, so I host friends in my studio, too. As a fashion designer, I enjoyed making commercial clothes that people would wear on a day-to-day basis, and the same applies to tableware. My ceramics aren't ornaments; they're used every day.

'I like inviting my friends to see the process of the products and become part of the cycle. I'm happy for my studio to be a fluid place where people can be involved in every stage of what I'm doing.'

What’s the secret to a great dinner party?

'It's all about the guests. The food and drinks don't hold sway on how fun the night is; the most important element is bringing people together and having good conversations.

'It's cool to invite friends from different parts of your life and mix them up but, to be honest, I like a gathering where everyone knows each other. People are more comfortable and I prefer a relaxed atmosphere.'

How do you create an ambience?

'Lighting is the most important factor. I'll turn off the main overhead light and use lamps to create a warm glow, then set the table with lots of dinner candles to amp up the atmosphere. Scented candles dotted around the house are a nice touch - I like Soho Home's Bari floor lamp for positioning in the corner of a room.

'I like gatherings that are fun and easy going, so my music choices will reflect the feel I'm trying to create. I started my career working at Smash Hits magazine and I hark back to those days with playlists of lively pop music.'

If we came for dinner, what would you serve?

'Welcome cocktails would be a spicy Picante - I'm probably about 98% Picante myself! And tequila is a good option for getting a night going.

'Food-wise, I'm not an enthusiastic cook, so I'd invite my friend Anna Barnett to help me with the menu. Her slow roast pork belly tacos, dolloped with Granny Smith chilli salsa, are amazing.'

Is dressing a dinner table important?

'Absolutely - I love creating an eclectic aesthetic for the dinner table by mixing height, colour, and texture. I recommend creating different levels with tall candle sticks and a Henry Holland elevated chalice bowl to offer alternative serving suggestions.

'Use linen napkins and table runners to add texture, and consider glassware, too. It should complement the tableware by picking out a certain colour, or add an interesting finish to the mix.'