Influencers in the Scottish Licensed Trade: Jim Hamilton

Jim Hamilton Design

Jim Hamilton’s design fingerprints are all over many a great interior design in the Scottish hospitality industry. His recent work includes the fabulous re-design of the bar at Glasgow’s Radisson Blu, The Grahamston. It’s so creative and a real quantum leap in terms of hotel bar design innovation.

Who is your biggest influence?

I tend to be influenced by every day experiences involving a wide variety of people, and I take great inspiration
witnessing first hand people performing to the best of their ability. Whether that be an amazing craftsman (or woman) producing something intricate or very complex and making it look easy, a chef taking time to make a dish taste amazing but also placed to perfection on a plate, a mixologist crafting the perfect pour,n powerful song lyrics written beautifully, an upholsterer ironing out all the awkward details that most people can’t deal with or
a carpenter talking with great knowledge and care about timber species and their respective qualities.

What motivates you to do what you do?

My main daily motivation is the pleasure I get from seeing ideas develop into reality, ideas that might have started out as a scribble on a train, a plane, or in the garden or notes jotted down discreetly on your phone in the cinema. I often find a solution for an earlier thought or notion can pop up when you are in a more relaxed environment free of distraction. Late night/early morning is a good time for me. The notion of sitting at a desk staring at
a computer, waiting for motivation, or an idea to pop up in front of you, is in my mind counter intuitive. I need to be travelling, wandering around, talking to people, observing, asking questions and enjoying a wide variety of environments to fully open my mind up.

Have you noticed any trends in hospitality/the Scottish licensed trade?

The introduction of both fresh and faux botanicals, and other elements of greenery has also been a very evident
addition within Scottish interior landscapes in the past few years. They are popping up in many locations, and as well as being an interesting tool to play with, it does add a softer more natural layer to many venues. This in turn appears to have caught the appreciative attention of a very wide ranging audience. There are many traditionalists who detest the idea of faux planting, but given our climate and the quality of new products on the market my opinion has changed quite a bit re the merits of using these within social spaces.

How do you stay ahead of the curve?

For me if you can approach each project with an open mind and create interesting spaces that suit the demographic, then you have a good starting point before you add any layers of magic. I also hear the word narrative used aplenty when listening to people talking about the story or ideas behind a project. This clearly is an effective tool used by many, with the only danger being whether people can differentiate or walk the narrow tightrope between narrative and theme, with one being celebrated whilst the other is castigated.

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