Nicholas Schmidt Studio is a research and design studio that comprises of two separate but bilateral entities. The first entity involves thorough research, the creation of an idea informed by this research, and guidelines for executing subsequent design. The second entity of the studio, that which relates to design, manifests in applied design solutions informed by the preliminary research. This distinction allows thought and practice to be disciplines in their own right, and only thereafter work together. The value of this research-centric approach lies in providing an unequivocal solution to each unique project. When a project presents itself to us, we evaluate it and work with our clients to determine if services from one or both entities is appropriate.

Although it is not always acknowledged or addressed, there is a fundamental creative tension between thought and action; often the action outweighs or limits the thought. The investigation carried out by our research entity is free from the bounds of execution. The studies we undertake serve to convey a specific narrative and to ensure its consistency throughout a project. We set out to understand or refine the essence of the clients we work with; this starts by identifying who, what, where, and why people interact with them. From this preliminary narrowing, a niche is extracted. The subsequent aesthetic research extends to complementary fields to create a rigorous, comprehensive, representative, and thus unique atmosphere that clearly guides all tangible design work then needed. What is left is a precise and compelling impression entailed by the unambiguous representation of complex thought.

Every project, with its unique needs, brings about highly specific research. This research, in turn, establishes a strict framework within which design is executed. Although each project operates in a different framework, the three principles by which the design entity abides are simplicity, elegance, and non-reference. Firstly, the aesthetics of simplicity are not the exploration of absence; rather they imply a concentration on the appropriate, stripped of superfluous adornment. The aesthetics of elegance, which transcend complexity, are free to be rich and exist outside the confines of time and trend. Equally, the design entity creates work that is non-referential. A concept developed by Valerio Olgiati and Markus Breitschmid, non-referential design is inherently significant beyond predetermined iconography and its contemporaneous context. This theoretical approach creates work that aims to be timeless and universal. It is the studio’s belief that this approach stands as the sole meaningful one to conceive design for the benefit of all.