Working from a rich heritage of Northern English craftsmanship, NOVOCASTRIAN produces timeless pieces with an understated splendor.
NOVOCASTRIAN was established in 2014 by architect Richy Almond, metalworker Dean Almond, and designer Mark McCormick, and is based between London and the north east of England, where the manufacturing takes place. Richy Almond trained at the University of Northumbria, the University of Westminster, and the Glasgow School of Art before obtaining his professional diploma from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2013. Passionate about the industrial heritage of his native Newcastle and its environs, he has a proud family history of shipbuilding and sheet metal fabrication, and, in his work, seeks to repurpose these regional skills and craftsmanship for contemporary use. He is supported in this endeavor by his brother, Paul Almond, who, with technical expertise in laser cutting, high-precision CNC bending, and powder coating, leads a team of craftspeople, makers, and metalworkers. As a consequence, the studio’s output features a rich emphasis on local materials, with a central focus on metalwork and stone, and each piece is hand-crafted by specialists in the studio’s workshop. Influenced by the Art Deco period, Almond is also fascinated by Zen Buddhist art and architecture – in particular, the latter’s facility for providing “the impression of disciplined restraint, of having held something in reserve.”
As a consequence, there is a subdued opulence to NOVOCASTRIAN’s designs; geometric forms are gracefully contrasted or exaggerated, the slim steel structural supports and thin, straight-edged surface sections interlocking in elegantly graphic, angular grids. There is also a formal grandeur and burnished quality to the materials; though derived from the region’s industrial heritage of steam travel, coal mining, and nautical engineering, they seem to hark back to the ancestral halls and heraldic devices of an earlier age. Almond utilizes these fusions to majestic effect. The Sonar Boardroom table harnesses the impressive, expansive scale of a banquet table but, in utilizing specialized metalwork techniques, does away with its heft. Made from bronze patinated steel with an oil and wax finish, the thin top, with its exaggerated cantilevering, appears as though floating, lending a fresh and powerful sharpness to the piece. This sparse, elegantly ratioed approach is also evident in NOVOCASTRIAN’s Binate table designs, which integrate a slate surface and brass trim with a smartly proportioned linear network of steel supports. There are further allusions to medieval splendor in the Shield mirrors produced by the workshop. Much of NOVOCASTRIAN’s work is customizable, in accordance with the client’s wishes; the central metalwork components may be combined with one of a variety of Cumbrian slates in black, grey, green, and silver, or – for the most exceptional commissions – an assortment of rare and beautiful British marbles. The steel itself is also subject to a range of handsome hand-produced finishes, such as bronze, patinated brass, oiled steel, and black.
Alongside NOVOCASTRIAN’s own creations, the studio has collaborated with Faye Toogood, Burberry, and David Collins Studio, and their stockists include Rue Verte, Copenhagen; Bazar Noir, Berlin; and Perspective Studio, Stockholm. Richy Almond is also co-founder, with Pernille Lind, of Lind + Almond, an architecture and design studio specializing in interior design, product design and branding. Their primary focus is luxury hospitality design, and they recently completed work on the boutique Hotel Sanders in Copenhagen, as well as the beauty lodge at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.