Boston’s Haute Furniture Designer: Nolen Niu

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Boston’s Nolen Niu knows designing furniture requires an exceptional eye for detail. After all, he has been the key designer for clients like Google, Guess and Bellagio. His unique styles and designs caught the eye of Esquire as he was one of four designers chosen to complete the sixth rendition of the Annual Esquire magazine House and design a room in a 7,000-square-foot, ultra-modern mansion in Hollywood Hills, which hosted celebrity driven charity events. His collection is now being offered on Boston’s Wayfair site.

Nolen Niu
Nolen Niu

Photo Credit: William Cole

“The line is inspired by the automotive and fashion industries,” Niu said. “With the automotive industry, proportions are important and with fashion, colors are. The collection offers a mixture of different colors.”

How does he come up with the idea for a new design? “I do a lot of sketching,” he said. “It starts out with mostly doodles. When I see something I like, I develop it into a bigger model and from there into a 3D model.”

Nolen Niu
Nolen Niu

Photo Credit: William ColeNiu was featured as a recent judge on Spike TV’s design completion series, “Framework;” featuring 13 emerging furniture designers who competed over the course of 10 weeks for a $100,000 cash prize and the opportunity for their work to be sold by a major manufacturer. He knows firsthand that hard work and perseverance are the secrets to success. “I think if you put in the effort, you will get results,” he added. “I have always been very willing to listen and learn. I got an understanding through apprenticeships how furniture comes together. Finding ways to break the rules is what my furniture is all about. It’s avant-garde, very niche. The collection straddles the line between art and furniture.”

Nolen Niu
Nolen Niu

Photo Credit: William Cole

Niu is recognized for his holistic approach to design creating custom one-of-a-kind pieces for corporate, private and celebrity clientele. “My clientele appreciates design, is willing to take risks and likes a clean look,” he said. “Traditional sofas are high and plush, but mine have a lower back. They might look rigid but they are comfortable, too.”

Nolen Niu
Nolen Niu

Photo Credit: Wayfair.com

Boston’s Wayfair has been a huge fan of his collection since the beginning. “They were one of my earliest supporters years ago,” Niu said. “They are using some of my pieces to showcase in their new location, including my hot pink leather XO sofa.”

What does the future hold for Niu? “I would love to have my own retail store or a boutique in a hotel,” he said. “Right now, I am working on designing a nightclub in LA, which has allowed me to expand my creativity. For 2016, I am working on a new collection that is more lifestyle. The focus is on coffee tables, side tables and dressers to round out the collection.”

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