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Weekly Chew: Less is more for ‘control freak on edge’ inventor Marcus Halliday

Marrying form and function, Marcus Halliday of Halliday & Baillie pursues a timewarp of classic perfection for his architectural hardware designs in New Zealand.

Who the heck are you?

People in the office say I’m a control freak on edge! I’m an ideas guy who puts it all together to make it happen, though I get an engineer to help.

But you’re not a designer?

I’m a farmer’s son from Hawkes Bay with a background in finance. At the age of 38, I worked out that I was a creative. After importing architectural hardware for a long time, I saw gaps in the market and realised I could fill those gaps. So, no formal training in New York for 15 years, studying under some guy who wears black clothes with long grey hair. I don’t call myself a designer, rather I’m an inventor.

What inspires you?

Anything timeless that you look at now that doesn’t ever go out of fashion—the Chrysler Building, the gardens of Versaille…It’s about products that look cool and they work as well. They have to be functional. At Halliday & Baillie, we like to set ourselves challenges. We ask, how can we make this stair bracket work and make it stunning as well. Everything is manufactured in New Zealand so that means there has to be less thought process involved in it to make it viable without resorting to importing from China and India. We export to the US and Australia and they like the fact our products are from New Zealand.

5 things that influence your every day?

- the weather

- solving problems

- French Early Grey tea from Jones the Grocer

- Good people – people who make you stop and think

- Good conversation 

Essentials that contribute to great architectural hardware design?

The less is more ethos, timelessness, no committees (that definitely wouldn’t work). The feel good factor. It’s got to be tactile and highly visual.

What sets Halliday & Baillie apart?

Innovation is key. For us it’s not about fashion. We constantly strive for a better way. We think outside the square to commoditise something that someone does to make it easier, better.

Your latest designs/projects?

A new extension based system for ceiling blinds which lets hidden blinds fall down from the ceiling—it saves the builder having to recreate something new every time. A new sliding door lock for narrow sliding doors—the HB640.

Favourite furniture/design classics?

The body raft by David Trubridge. The classic, rusty old, Shabby Chic horsehair sofa that you can throw your shoes on and the Burmese cat can snuggle up in the corner.

Favourite café snack?

Mousetraps at the Axis Café in the Auckland’s Axis Building.