Seeking design inspiration

We are often asked what inspires Martin’s designs and when we answer “nature” I can almost hear the disappointed sighs at receiving such a cliched and glib answer.  But it is the truth and one of his favorite spots to visit and to seek inspiration is the Huntington Gardens.

We typically frequent this California gem at least 3 times a year and every time we visit we see nature in a different light, literally.  Those who visit Los Angeles, or any spot in southern California, don’t see the ways that our trees, succulents and cacti bloom and change with the seasons, giving you a different view at different times of the year.

The beauty of the Huntington Gardens is matched only by the immense variety of plants that have been cultivated for over 100 years.  Specimens range from the arid cacti and succulents native to our deserts to the tropical trees and and amazing carnivorous plants housed in the conservatory.

As always, we took lots of photos to study later.  But it is interesting to see how many of our designs have been directly inspired by nature, whether found at the Gardens or in other travels.  Here are a few examples to show how the shape of a plant, root or leaf becomes a piece of custom architectural hardware to use in your home or business.

The roots in this photo have amazing movement and power and while they were not the direct basis for the Hedgerow Heroic design they no doubt are buried in Martins sub-conscious.

Roots of trees Hedgerow Heroic inspiration

Hedgerow collection from Martin Pierce Custom Hardware

Hedgerow collection from Martin Pierce Custom Hardware

Similarly while this variegated agave has not been used as a precise model for any specific design,

Fluid succulent forms inspiration for movement for all flora correct pos (1)

the fluid movement  lurks somewhere in the recesses of Martin’s mind and I see the results in the swirling forms visible in our Willow series.

Willow door lever from Martin Pierce Custom Hardware

Willow door lever from Martin Pierce Custom Hardware

By comparison, when it came to creation of our Bamboo cabinet pulls we visited the gardens in November of 2004 and took this shot of a bamboo plant and later used it as an image in our first printed catalogue.  In this case I think the results of the inspiration are pretty obvious!

photo by Martin Pierce Custom Hardware

photo by Martin Pierce Custom Hardware

Bamboo pull from Martin Pierce Custom Hardware

Bamboo pull from Martin Pierce Custom Hardware

In some cases Martin has already designed a specific piece but needs further inspiration to satisfy his desire for realism.  In the case of the Lizard collection Martin wanted his large Heroic lizard to be “grounded” and not simply to be placed directly on to the door stile. This raised the question of what would make an artistically appropriate and natural landscape for the Lizard sculpture and Martin chose a stratified stone or boulder as the mounting platform or in hardware terms the back plate.  If you visit the Japanese Gardens at the Huntington Gardens you will often spot a lizard basking in the sun on these rocks but, alas, we did not see any on this visit.


photo by Martin Pierce Custom Hardware

photo by Martin Pierce Custom Hardware

Lizard Hero RHWhatever your excuse for visiting the Huntington gardens, I highly recommend at least 3 visits a year to not only view the changing seasons in this area but also to re-charge your batteries and maybe burn off a few of those Thanksgiving and holiday calories.

To view our entire collection of bespoke hardware and furniture, please visit us at


About martinpierceblog

Martin and Anne Pierce live in Los Angeles California with their beloved rescue dog, Iris. Martin's custom designs reflect his love of nature and include beautiful vine and fern drawer pulls, a realistic yet whimsical collection of bugs and other critters on door hardware and charming floral designs on everything from door levers to bathroom accessories. He also enjoys creating sculptural contemporary pieces that are easy to access for those with limited physical capabilities. All of Martin's designs are hand carved and cast in their Los Angeles studio where there is truly something for everyone. Please contact us with any questions or custom queries
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2 Responses to Seeking design inspiration

  1. Pingback: Design inspiration from Mother Nature | martinpierceblog

  2. Pingback: Summer travel | martinpierceblog

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