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Mieke ten Have featuring the Atlanta sofa

Published on 28 Apr 2021

Mieke ten Have - The interior stylist and writer speaks with Orior on how travel has influenced her design language

Orior furniture was created in 1979 by Brian and Rosie McGuigan, who met as teenagers in Northern Ireland, lived in Copenhagen for a couple years, then came back to Ireland where they found the brand.

Q: Have you ever been to Ireland, have family from Ireland, or have any connection to Ireland?

A: I met my husband, Tyler Graham, on Saint Patrick’s Day at a champagne and hot dog pairing dinner.

Q: What city or cities has influenced and/or inspired you the most?

A: I was born and raised in Manhattan, and my mother was really into the arts, so we went to museums almost every weekend. Growing up with the Met, the Frick and MoMA in my backyard had a tremendous impact on me.

My father is from Amsterdam, which I think is so old, quaint and approachable. There’s nothing very tall there, so the scale of it feels humane. I like that you can always see water and stone and sky.

I spent my summers in Maine so colonial vernacular architecture of Maine really still resonates with me. I’m like an old lady, I die for that kind of thing. I like looking at architecture in decline and a lot of houses in Maine are like that – there’s a tension between their former grandeur and the way they have aged.

I also lived in Paris after college, working for a literary agent. The entire French interior design sensibility is something I very much relate to, especially the fabric. I have a love affair with French fabric, and their determined and irreverent use of color.

Q: Do you live with any family heirlooms? If so, please describe the piece and its history.

A: I have a Louis XVI settee and bergère that were both in my grandmother’s library. I upholstered the chair in a Le Manach floral fabric, it is really Grandmere and I love it; the sofa is in a red damask that I upholstered on the reverse. The colors really don’t go together but I like them together. They live in the great room in our barn, by the fireplace, and next to our Orior sofa.

Orior furniture is hand made in Ireland. It took 50 hours to make the Atlanta Sofa, often by someone who has been with the company since its early days.

Q: What is the importance, if any, of making things by hand?

A: That is generally what I respond to – the imperfections of the hand that are very obvious in a piece so carefully made. That’s why I am not so much of a modernist, I like to feel that there’s a hand that made the thing I’m touching or sitting on. The barn we have upstate was handmade sometime in the 18th century, deconstructed, stored, moved and put back into place. There are roman numerals on all the beams – they were the guideposts in putting it back together.

Q: Do you make anything by hand?

A: Do flower arrangements count? Creating florals is a big part of what I do, and that is by hand, and each is different from the last.

Our creative director (and son of Brian and Rosie) Ciaran McGuigan believes that good things take time and that the taking and making of time is important to create long lasting products and relationships.

Q:What do you wish you made more time for?

A: Reading -- I don’t do nearly as much as I used to. I drive so much to go to locations for shoots so a lot of the reading has been supplanted by listening to podcasts. Also, gardening. I wish I had a green thumb. It’s currently a work in progress, but it’s a skill I would like to learn.

"Orior pieces have an attitude and personality, which is important to us." - Ciaran McGuigan

Q: Give us three reasons you chose The Atlanta Sofa? What about it appealed?

A: I chose the Atlanta sofa for the shape, the fringe. I love fringe. The proportion and scale is beautiful, it’s incredibly comfortable and ha attitude with that fringe. This is a forever sofa, I’m never going to get tired of it.

Q: Where does this piece live now? Has it moved around?

A: It is in the living room in our upstate house, with the sofa and chair from my grandmother, by the fireplace.

Q: How do you use it? How do others in your household use it (including pets)?

A: The cats are obsessed with the fringe, so they are often under the sofa batting at it. Every now and then I’ll be sitting there and feel a cat arm graze my feet.

Q: All Orior pieces have names, but if you could choose a name/rename your Orior piece, what would you name it and why?

A: I would name it Purrrrrr.

Q: If you were to be reincarnated as a piece of furniture or home décor item, what would it be, and why?

A: A table candelabra, because I think any kind of festive, dinner party accessory that lights up the space would be a good thing to be.

Text by Rima Suqi
Photography by Jonathan Hokklo