While their aesthetics differ wildly, the Calvin Klein flagship on Madison Avenue, a Stella McCartney boutique in California, Dior in London and Paris, a Chanel store in China and The Store in SoHo House Berlin and London all share one common visual element — mineral and crystal pieces by Samuel Amoia of Amoia Studio. Amoia began working with powerful — and beautiful — crystals while working on the design for The One Hotel in Miami and quickly found a niche with handmade drums, tables and consuls that he creates with his brothers, including one of whom is a sculptor. See which stone brings about money and power, where he sources minerals and how one designer fits the bill for so many disparate fashion houses.
Harper's Bazaar: Do all of your pieces integrate crystals and minerals?
Samuel Amoia: Yes, all of them are made of different minerals ranging from pyrite, black sand, tourmaline, onyx, salt, agate — there's a lot. Some are mixed with cement, and then some are hand sculpted.
HB: Obviously these crystals and minerals have aesthetic value, but is there some sort of energy associated with them as well?
SA: Yes, all of them do. They're all sourced from trusted miners that we work with. They're collected from everywhere from Africa, India, the Congo, Mexico, some of the states like Pennsylvania and mostly Brazil. All of the minerals are hand-crushed and hand-washed by my brothers. So, it's basically only our energy touching them. We don't use any harsh abrasives or chemicals. Nor do we use any machines. So we really try to take a very old-school approach by doing everything by hand—you get that one of a kind look.
HB: It's not about being machine-perfect.
SA: Which is very important — I know it's the opposite trend in furniture design, everyone's 3D printing and there's a lot of amazing techniques, but I just think that the old school way is the best way for us.
HB: Do you think that there is a mineral or a crystal that works best for energy purposes in retail environments?
SA: Yes, pyrite is one our biggest sellers. It's the favourite stone of Dior, and pyrite is very powerful, it attracts abundance and money and success and it's very strong as a protective stone — it's very strong for blocking out negative energy and negative vibes. I carry pyrite in my book bag, suitcase, it's on my bedside, I have it everywhere around me. And I give it to people all the time. I just give handfuls of crystals to people. I'm like the crystal godmother.
HB: I love that. Obviously, each of the designers and houses we've mentioned have very specific and different aesthetics. What do you think is the through line of why they're drawn to your pieces?
SA: I think because it's fresh and it's innovative and also because of my interior design work and my brother being a sculptor we can customise anything. Even if you look at my body of work with all the crystals, all the pieces are pretty different. We have a lot of different styles and people can customise anything and they love that. We'll get, every month, calls from Dior, and they're like "we have this VIP something space and it's only 18 inches by this, and these are the colors we're working with and we want something that's going to be really loud but still subtle and in the tone of this and what can you come up with?" So we do a lot of drawings, especially for Dior, they're our biggest client. And we work with them one-on-one and it's great because they have such a strong aesthetic of their brand. It's great to get to do this collaborative work together. I have to say with all of my clients—Stella, Calvin Klein, Dior—I think they come to me because they have good taste. And they know what they want. They know what they like—they're collectors, they've seen a lot of design and art. We're able to really customise certain pieces, which makes it special.
HB: How would you generally describe your aesthetic?
SA: I would stay it's under-designed, but it's very specifically designed. And there's an emphasis on materiality and texture and that hand-touched look and feel. What I try to do is just take the beauty of what I'm working with and let that do the work. I try not to interfere too much. So if I'm making a drum, I'm using two materials in the most simple form possible. If I'm making a consul or a side table, I try to make things sculptural and that have a visual impact but also let the stone be the star—and not interfere and add too much onto it.
HB: How did you originally become interested in stones and crystals?
SA: It was for an interior client I had, the One Hotel in Miami, and I was customising pieces for them and they were all about natural living, nature… So I was always working in cement and plaster and rough natural materials like that, but when I got into the crystals, I was just researching materials, and they were just so beautiful that I started to experiment with how they could work in the form of furniture. And that's sort of how I got into it. Then my first big client was Stella McCartney. And I think she loved it because of her brand being naturally minded and ethical: no leather, no harming animals, things like that. From there it just sort of evolved and we still do the same practices, we still have the same sort of foundation, we are just growing it from there.
Via Harper's Bazaar US