Men Of Design: Nathan Goldsworthy

Nathan Goldsworthy

An industrial design specialist, Natahan Goldsworthy has built his own high-end furniture design company. He studied at Victoria University and graduated with a Bachelor of Design. He then went on to lecture and teach design at the same university. After leaving, he produced both commissioned and production pieces which were sold in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. He now is the very talented Director at Goldsworthy Ltd.

How would you describe a typical day for you? 

Coffee at Millers to think, desk time in the morning, studio time in the afternoon. If I’m into it, I’ll work into the evening and eat late.

How do you define great design? 

To be considered great, a work of design must be both useful and novel.

It can’t be useful enough, but it can’t be too novel either.

It’s in the junction of these two qualities that beauty emerges.

What kind of questions do you ask before beginning a design project? Which piece of information is of utmost value?

Beyond the pragmatics of time & cost, I start with utility. What does it need to do? How is it used, and by whom?

Is there a certain New Zealand aesthetic that you could define?  

I don’t think I can; we’re pretty new at this, we’re not a highly industrialised nation, and we have a small population. Therefore, we make relatively few things so I think it’s difficult to claim an aesthetic definition. Maybe in another 50 years…

What inspires you? 

Late nights in the studio, climbing a hill, people, places, & animals. And Instagram, of course.

What as the moment you knew what you wanted to do as a career?

I was interested in design from about the age of 14, I’ve always paid attention to the shape of things’ and how they are made. There was never really any other option.

How do you get unstuck creatively?

Honestly it’s not easy to say. Swimming in the sea can do the trick, but stuck-ness is sticky, so sometime it persists for a while. I do think a change of environment is the key though.

What do you want people to see in your work now? 


How do you hope people will look back on your work in a 100 years? 

I seriously doubt they will! What will be relevant to people in 100 years? It’s fun to imagine something I’ve produced still proving useful to someone that far in the future, but I have no expectation that it’ll have any historical relevance.

Also, it’s possible I’ll still be working…

How do you balance work & life? 

I don’t.

What’s the best piece of advice that you have been given?

I’ve become careful about taking advice! There’s no shortage of it.

Probably the most useful piece of advice for me has been this:

Be careful what you take responsibility for, but take seriously those things you choose.

What is your life motto?

I have lots of them, I’m not a person who can choose one!

This is going to sound strange, but ‘I don’t know’ is a powerful phrase. Telling yourself you don’t know the answer, even if you think you do, promotes an open mind and can lead toward further discovery.

Images from Goldsworthy Studio