“The loft is my retreat. I have done exactly what I wanted to the space and filled it with objects I love in the casual way I want to live. You, too, can take your space into your own hands. I am not suggesting you copy what I’ve done, because the point is not to mimic anyone but to follow your own muse, whether you choose a designer or design yourself. What I am offering is a template – a few strategies to adopt or discard to get you started – because once you have really learned to see, you will find what you like and go your own way. Designing anything is a process and you should continue to add and subtract. Change is what keeps a space, and an individual, alive. How do you want to feel when you walk into a room? Comfortable? Tranquil? Energized? Once you know what makes you feel good, you can create a room that reflects your own emotions and sensibility. Designing is all about getting in touch with yourself.”
I’m a huge fan of Vicente Wolf – designer extraordinaire with a definite point of view; with passion for design guided by simplicity and integrity; master of combining different styles in a way that feels effortless; extremely talented and a natural at what he does; superb photographer, passionate art collector and intrepid world traveler. Vicente Wolf has been at the top of the design industry for over 35 years. Architectural Digest included him in their “AD 100“ and he was also named one of the top 100 designers by Metropolitan Home’s “Design 100”. House Beautiful named Vicente Wolf one of the 10 most influential designers in the United States and Interior Design Magazine inducted him in its “Designer Hall of Fame”. He has received the Pantone Color Award and was named one of the “Top 20 Designers of the past 20 Years”. Vicente Wolf has published 3 books - “Learning to See” 2002, “Crossing Boundaries: A Global Vision of Design” 2006 and “Lifting the Curtain on Design” 2010 – all favorites of mine! I’ve posted quotes from them here and here. I’m running out of superlatives. So here is the interview. Enjoy. I sure did!
How would you describe your own style?
Spaces that are comfortable, elegant, but still relaxed with accents of different cultures and periods. The architecture shines through with clean and sharp lines.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be an interior designer?
In my early 20s.
Looking back at your first project what decorating knowledge do you wish you had back then designing the interiors?
The conviction of my vision to not use pattern. Even though the pattern was used everywhere in my first project, which neutralized it, but now I wouldn’t use pattern.
Is there a designer that has influenced you?
Yes, David Hicks.
Some designers believe that the first piece for any room is the rug or a painting that sets up the color palette. What is your first source of inspiration?
The requirements of the client, the pros and cons of the space, and my imagination.
How do you find connections between disparate things?
It is instinctual to me, and I see if they play well against each other.
How do you achieve this simplicity in your interiors?
By not using pattern, dealing with the architecture of the backgrounds in a balanced, clean way.
How do you achieve a sense of warmth and unity?
Warmth is a subliminal message that gets conveyed by a balance of shapes, tones, and a strong sense of humanity in the space.
How do you achieve a sense of good scale?
Born with it.
Please finish the sentence: The best moments of any project are:
Beginning and the end.
What do you find fascinating?
Being in places outside of my comfort zone that allow my imagination to come up with new ideas and visions.
You visited the tallest sand dunes in the world in Namibia, tribes in Papua New Guinea that were still living in complete isolation, you heard the temple bells in Bhutan… What surprised you the most?
How lost we are here in NY, and how we’ve lost the sense of what’s really important.
The treasures that you found…
I bring to my showroom, VW Home. I have the pleasure of finding them and the freedom to let them go.
Your top travel tip…
By an around-the-world ticket. It gives you the opportunity to travel to many places at a low cost.
What are for you the keys to a happy and meaningful life?
Nice clients, time off to explore, a meaningful relationship, and the freedom to eliminate the things that work against these things.
photos: Vicente Wolf
p.s.: A note by me
Some years ago I have no idea of interior design. A few months before my bar exam my husband gave me a wonderful book – it was “Learning to See”. This book has changed the way I view things. I began learning to see… It is not enough to be passionate about design. We have to stand for something. Vicente’s way inspires and reminds me of my favorite movie scene. In “Indecent Proposal” an architect (Woody Harrelson as David Murphy) stands in front of his students talking about architecture and great architects. His words: “the great ones are impossible to deal with… because they know that if they do their jobs properly… if they just this once get it right… they can actually lift the human spirit… take it to a higher place.”
Thank you, Vicente, for doing your job properly, continually inspiring us, sharing your knowledge, taking us to a higher place…