“The ergonomics and limitations of our body aren’t changing anytime soon, but the design to fit them always is. While the “a chair is a chair is a chair” mantra still holds, the proportions of ideal delight have changed over the eons. This is due to cultural adaptations and the advances of material science, but also an inquisitive personal need to explore new forms of design that lend comfort and meaning to our evolving world.
Note that in ancient design, individual furniture pieces held much more meaning; each object was usually created for a simple and unique purpose. In the modern context, furniture plays a more ensemble role, and its individual importance has been relegated to serving the whole. One might call this the socialism of design. Fine proportion and certain meaning have given way to a living utility where each piece of furniture may and must have a dual purpose, must be more durable, shippable, and adaptable to many different design possibilities.”
“In our work, we may start a project with an underlying ideal, yet never a hard-and-fast one. Like cooks, designers allow their ideas to evolve as they work. There is absolutely an element of chance to both pursuits.
For a chef, the discovery of a particularly wonderful, seasonal ingredient from the farmers’ market may inspire an entire menu. The designer, like the chef, must be consumed by the beauty of materials, found or invented, “raw” or “cooked,” analogous to the ingredients in a recipe.”
“Architectural space consists, if nothing else, of continuous portals. The construction of interior space depends as much on the transparency of its portal as on the opaqueness of its walls and the closure of its ceiling.
When looking into a doorway, window, mirror, or painting or past a proscenium wall, we encounter an opening not only of light and space, but also of imagination. We are looking into another world, a world that stakes a claim on our attention in the same way that we lose ourselves to the drama on a movie screen.”
“The Japanese impact on Western architectureis well known. Early visitors to Japan such as Frank Lloyd Wright were much influenced by the rectilinear, undecorated style of Japanese buildings. This, in turn, spread to the Bauhaus, which rejected over-decoration and espoused the Mies van der Rohe philosophy of “Less is more.” Likewise, in interior design, the spare interiors of a traditional Japanese tearoom had a huge influence on the new postwar minimalism.
I am hardly a minimalist, yet the three cornerstones of Japanese design—kazari, wabi-sabi, and shibui—are everywhere in my work. Striking a balance between these concepts is my ultimate goal.”
“When we begin a floor plan, we picture ourselves walking through the space as if we were the client. We imagine living how they told us they would like to live with the objects they have or will have. We try to think and articulate their actions: Here you enter your apartment and find your mail in a tray on the console. This is where you can put your dripping umbrella. Here is a bench where you can sit and take your shoes off. Here is the mirror where you can check that your tie is knotted correctly.
This process continues throughout the entire home as we try to anticipate the various parts of their lives. Every good floor plan contains life, and you should feel a flow from room to room and from floor to floor.”
“In interior design, the happy marriage between architecture and decorating, the way you look at things makes a big difference between a pleasant solution and a transformative one.
For example, if you’re going to watch TV in the living room and possibly fall asleep, why not put a bed in there? Or if you watch TV in your bedroom with all your children and friends, why not design an eight foot-wide mattress that can allow everyone to view your programming comfortably? Even more radically, why not make the entire room a bed? If we forget the labels and functions that we apply to rooms (and the furnishings that typically inhabit them), our interiors become more exciting and appropriate.
Bunny Williams — one of America’s best known and most acclaimed decorators — and I have something in common. We both love rescue dogs.
I learned about this connection at a book signing Bunny attended in November for the launch of IDMC, and her latest book from ‘A House By The Sea’ (Abrams). As it turns out she and her husband John Rosselli have been rescuing dogs for decades — several of which live exclusively at their home in the Dominican Republic. It’s a dog’s life! Continue reading “Books: Bunny Williams’ ‘A House By The Sea’”
“I want a project to be as great as it can possibly be, and I really work to push the client to attain quality. Things needn’t be expensive, but materials must exude honesty. They must be a true representation of what the client wants, whether a simple basket or a gilded bronze statue. Honesty in materials and purity of objects is very important.
Aspiration, when it succeeds, promises the client something beyond good taste. It invests the daily tasks of decoration with meaning, pleasure, and vision, elevating interior decoration to the place of high art it deserves.”
In keeping with this blog’s focus on education, it’s my plan to write about anything and everything that advances an understanding of design. And what better place to start than with a great book on color?
Textile designer Lori Weitzner’s Ode To Color (Harper Design) is just such a volume. I’ve had the privilege of getting an advance copy, and can enthusiastically say that Lori’s approach to the subject is beyond the basics of the color wheel. Some of the words that come to mind? Sophisticated, romantic, nuanced and poetic. It’s a treasured glimpse into Lori’s thought process, linking her understanding of color to her textiles and wall coverings.
So here’s the thing: I’ve heard preservationists scoff at the stark juxtaposition between the newly constructed townhouses on Sullivan street just north of Broome, and the quaint 19th century houses across the lane. But I find such contrasts exciting; they are part of the DNA of New York’s architectural landscape, metaphorically linked to the city’s much respected multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-religious panorama.
Inside #40 and #50 Sullivan Street, Holiday House New York founder Iris Dankner has orchestrated a group of talented designers for a two-for-one show house event benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. And in keeping with the streetscape, diversity is the order of the day… Continue reading “Holiday House 2016”