For this week’s Friday Five, we’re checking in with Jeremy Pyles, the Creative Director and CEO behind Niche Modern, a glass lighting brand whose pieces are hand-blown in the Hudson Valley. After Pyles’ Fine Art studies at the University of Texas at Austin, he spent three years in Tokyo before launching Niche Modern in 2003. Frustration about not finding good lighting options for his NYC home furnishings store led to him and his partner, Mary Welch, joining forces to create a hand-blown pendant called the Stamen, which became the store’s most popular item. In 2005, they showcased 10 different lights at ICFF, which has now grown to over 20 different shapes and a line of chandeliers, all that Pyles has designed. Let’s take a look at some of his favorite things.
1. Heath Ceramics
Heath is a US-based company designing and manufacturing gorgeous handmade goods – very aligned in ethos and aesthetic with my company, Niche. I visited their Sausalito studio years ago with my wife and we bought basically everything we could get our hands on at their outlet shop! The collection of bowls is one of my favorite things and I use them daily.
2. Poul Kjaerholm
I find inspiration in pretty much everything that Poul Kjaerholm designed due to the simplicity and economy of detail. But especially the PK22 chair. These chairs have been on my wish list for about 10 years and I still haven’t been able to find the perfect pair but remain hopeful. Now that my children are finally above the ages of constantly spilling blueberry smoothies on the furniture, a purchase feels within reach!
I moved to Tokyo as soon as I graduated from art school and intended to stay for only a year to save money for graduate school but ended up staying for 3 years, forgoing grad school and starting my own company with a Japanese business partner. Living in Tokyo deeply informed my sense of style and creativity and the influence of that experience is still very much with me today, decades later. I miss the food and the city’s eccentric culture. One of my favorite restaurants is Maisen in Omotesando – their tonkatsu is otherworldly.
4. My 4ad Vinyl Record Collection
The 4ad record label was founded by Ivo Watts-Russel in the early 80’s and they put out some of the most diversified indie music, spanning several decades. Everything about the label from the sleeve art to the music was impeccably curated and presented. I used to skip lunch in high school in order to save up enough money for a Friday pilgrimage to my favorite record shop in Dallas. This is how my collection began. I have incredible early pressings of Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins, Modern English and the Pixies. 4ad’s in-house designer, Vaughan Oliver is also one of my design heroes.
5. Negroni Bianco
I had no interest in gin until about 5 years ago when I discovered the traditional Negroni made with Campari. But when I tried the Negroni Bianco at Cucina in Woodstock, the universe shifted and it’s now my absolute drink of choice. The key ingredient is Drapo – a sweet white Vermouth from Turin. I have reversed engineered the drink at home over the past year and I’m an expert now. There’s nothing quite like sitting on the deck with one after a long day.