John Cantrell

John Cantrell is a designer specializing in the design of highly branded, sustainable environments for clients such as Bacardi USA, Porsche, and Sony Mobile and product designs for brands such as Mohawk and Steelcase. He studied interior design at Pratt Institute and Savannah College of Art and Design before joining global architecture firm HOK in 2005. John’s work and words on design can be seen in publications such as Interior Design and Fast Company, and he’s received awards from organizations such as USGBC, IIDA, ASID and Antron. John and his fiancé’, Weronika, live in Atlanta with their dog, MJ. Together they create and collect design under their brand Hela & Cole. They also currently direct and curate for Modern Atlanta’s “Design Is Material” exhibition exploring new and bold philosophies and research into material design and fabrication.

recent posts

Simply Sleek

This sleek, modern Atlanta guesthouse and swimming pool were situated on a 60- x 120-foot site once occupied by a tennis court. Along the northern edge, the guesthouse provides a backdrop to the pool and terrace when viewed from the main house. Sliding glass panels and clerestory windows along the Southern facade create an open pavilion aesthetic. Primarily a wood-framed structure, the guesthouse used concealed wood posts and beams to accommodate large window and door openings along the Southern facade. The concealed beams help create a “floating [... more]

Artistry, Inside and Out

The Savannah College of Art and Design has famously linked itself to the City of Savannah, Georgia, over the years by transforming historic buildings into new functions for entertainment, student life, and design studios. The new SCAD Museum of Art is no exception. The railroad depot, a Historic Landmark, now thrives as an art community with galleries, classrooms, art studios, a theater, and public spaces. I visited the museum last year and recommend first experiencing it at night. The sidewalk approach gently lights up the path while [... more]

Interactive Furniture

It’s hard for me to imagine that one of the coolest companies to offer interactive architectural experiences from furniture to installations would be based in Jackson, Mississippi. Instead, when I think of Jackson, I imagine Johnny Cash and June Carter singing the 1967 classic by that name. Nonetheless, NunoErin, a conjoined name of its founders and creative officers Nuno Goncalves Ferreira and Erin Hayne, the duo is creating some exciting objects that you actually have to play with to believe—from daylight sensored walls, to touch-sensitive LED benches [... more]

Always the Optimist

Atlanta restaurateur Ford Fry, designer Smith Haynes, and architect Tim Nichols whip up an amazing experience for this classic seafood restaurant and oyster bar, named The Optimist. The design has a chic sense of nostalgia as most of the spatial inspiration came from Instagram images of seafood plans and ‘70s Venice Beach surf lifestyle. The building renovation (or more aptly, a rehabilitation) enhances the existing steel truss-work while featuring amazing new custom details such as steel windows, antique wood strips inspired by lobster traps, and glass pendants [... more]