Designer : design elements

30
Okt

Interview with Sarah Lavoine

categories Designer, Interviews    

It is my pleasure to welcome Sarah Lavoine – Polish princess and French interior designer – extremely talented and natural at what she does. Sarah is designer extraordinaire of perfectly imperfect interiors. I love the way she combines different styles in a way that feels effortless. The first 3 photos below are of Sarah’s art-filled Paris flat where she lives with her 3 children Roman, Yasmine and Milo and her husband, the French pop star Marc Lavoine. Enjoy!

How would you describe your style?

I think my style is contemporary, but warm and timeless at the same time.


What inspired you to get into design?

My father… He was the editor of French Vogue for 15 years, so I was always going to all the fashion shows with him as a child. My mother was also an interior designer herself, so I think she gave me a good feel for this profession.


Some designers believe that the first piece for any room is the rug or a painting that sets up the colors palette. What is your first source of inspiration?

I look at the volumes and the light straight away, at what I can change, transform, get rid of and readjust. But an interior is a whole, there is not really one single thing for me that I start on.


What do you enjoy most in your work?

The fact it’s a challenge, because you must constantly try out new ideas, invent and imagine new spaces, and include new materials. Once I had decided to become an interior designer, I immediately felt like it was exactly what I was meant to do.

What is the biggest mistake people make when they decide to decorate their own homes without the guidance of a designer?

They try to get the ‘total look’. I avoid the total look at all costs. People are not very daring – you shouldn’t be afraid to try out new colours and bold combinations.


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

When I’m not designing, I love to relax by going for a nice walk in the wonderful gardens.

Who are your favorite artists?

I love going to see the art work at the gallery Kamel Mennour. I really like the Japanese artists Moriyama and Araki, and the work of Camille Henrot.


Your favorite books?

My favorite book is Belle du Seigneur by Albert Cohen.

Your favorite places in France?

I have so many favourite places in France, but I especially love Cap Ferret.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Comfort, space and above all, light.

photos: Sarah Lavoine

25
Okt

Jonathan Ive: Why Simple is Good

categories Designer, quotes    

“Why do we assume that simple is good? Because with physical products, we have to feel we can dominate them. As you bring order to complexity, you find a way to make the product defer to you. Simplicity isn’t just a visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. For example, to have no screws on something, you can end up having a product that is so convoluted and so complex. The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential.”

Jonathan Ive, from the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson



19
Okt

Insights into the Design Mind of Philippe Starck

categories Designer, quotes    

“The only style of tomorrow is freedom.”

Philippe Starck

Insights into the design mind of Philippe Starck: “Pressure is not an issue. I am pressure proof. It is impossible to put pressure on me. I am the freest person in the world…”  You can see all the insights on Freshome.

29
Aug

Interview with Philippe Bestenheider

categories Designer, Interviews    

I recently had the pleasure of talking with the Swiss designer Philippe Bestenheider. His designs are cool and unique. I’m drawn to the way he explores geometry and the possibilities offered by a given material. Philippe Bestenheider graduated in architecture from Zürich Polytechnic and achieved the Master in Industrial Design at the Domus Academy of Milan. From 2001 until 2006 he became senior designer at the design studio of Patricia Urquiola in Milan working with Molteni, Moroso, Agape, Alessi and Axor. Philippe established a design firm in his own name in 2007. He loves reading cook-books and has a passion for pop-up-books. Enjoy the interview! I sure did.

binta armchair for moroso

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a designer?

As a child I wanted to be an inventor. I think the figure of the designer comes pretty close.


Looking back at your first project what knowledge do you wish you had back then?

Knowledge is never an achievement, it is always a goal. It is a dream to go back in time with the knowledge of today. But the reality is to look at the present and to tackle today’s challenges.

beth armchair for moroso

Is there something that connects all your projects?

I like to think that I do not have a specific style. I am particularly interested in exploring geometry, mechanisms and the possibilities offered by a given material. I like to apply the physical properties explored through research to my designs.


What do you enjoy most in your work?

For me the key moment is when an object takes shape, during the development phase that ideally takes place hand in hand with the manufacturer.


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Eating.

nanook for moroso

What are your favorite books?

I love reading cook-books. I have a passion for pop-up-books. Books can be incredibly beautiful objects. And I love to read fiction.


Your favorite places in Switzerland?

Near my home-town of Crans-Montana, there is a bench set in a clearing in the middle the woods, with a breathtaking view over the Alps. In summer the spicy smell of mountain-grass in the sun is just beguiling.


You have been awarded several significant prizes. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Prizes are great, but recognition of my work by my clients, some of my colleagues or friends is more important to me.

nanook for moroso and swirl for varaschin

What does success mean to you?

For a designer it means having your products integrated in peoples everyday lives and serving their purpose of functionality with a sprinkle of  wit.


What’s your advice to upcoming designers?

Be persevering!


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Synthesis.

22
Aug

Interview with Seyhan Özdemir

categories Designer, Interviews    

” The most important design elements? Knowledge of material, simplicity and the urge of constant improvement.”

Seyhan Özdemir

I’m impressed by the work of Istanbul-based architecture, interior design and product design studio Autoban, founded by Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Çağlar. Autoban was awarded “Best Young Designers” by Wallpaper magazine 2004, “Best Newcomer” by Blueprint magazine 2005, “Best Restaurant Design” by Elle Decoration China in 2010 for Hong Kong’s 208 Duecento Otto and Best Bed for Suite Bed at the Wallpaper Design Awards 2012. Reason enough to ask Seyhan Özdemir some questions… Enjoy!

Ayazpasa House

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a designer?

I decided to be an architect at the age of 13. Then during my education, the passion for design made me want to combine and explore both areas.


Looking back at your first project what knowledge do you wish you had back then?

Till today, all projects develop in their own manner and with our current knowledge. This process is still very challenging and something we appreciate fully.


Is there something that connects all your projects?

Challenge.

Turkish Airlines Cip Lounge

What do you enjoy most in your work?

Creating new, different worlds and suggesting new ideas.


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Travelling.


What are your favorite books?

Tom Robbins – Jitterbug Perfume.

Tünel House

Your favorite places in Istanbul?

The Princess Islands, the coasts along the Bosphorus and the area of Tünel in Beyoğlu.


You have been awarded many significant prizes. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Awards have always been motivation for us and rising responsibility.


Tünel House

What does success mean to you?

Definitely the satisfaction in what I do. To realize every time, that the work gets appreciated…


My signature Design Elements question – what are the most important design elements?

Knowledge of material, simplicity and the urge of constant improvement.

photos: Richard Powers, Autoban

13
Aug

Interview with Johnson Hartig

categories Designer, Interviews    

I can barely contain my enthusiasm for the work of fashion designer Johnson Hartig.  Energy, color, passion, celebratory spirit, a love for life… all are words that come to mind when asked about Johnson’s designs. Johnson has always been pretty independent and done things his own way. Not only are his clothes a joy to experience but also his LA home featured in Domino is for me the most inspiring home ever featured in a magazine. Recently I had the pleasure of talking with Johnson Hartig. Enjoy the interview. I sure did!

Your work is a joy to experience. What inspired you to get into design?

Thank you! I always appreciate a sense of humor and witticism and see no reason not to translate that into clothing. I also feel like there are enough serious clothes out there, and its not what our cients come to us for.


Is there something that connects all your projects?

I recon my unique perspective of the world.


Looking back at your first project what design knowledge do you wish you had back then?

Honestly can’t think of anything – I think my instincts have served me very well. I was surprised to find out that I had quite good business instincts too.


Your work revolutionized the way I think of graphics and recycled clothing. Please tell us more about your design process.

Thank you. I think it has too! I guess we just had an interesting perspective on the world. Macabre spooky graphics always appealled – we brought the scull back out of hiding ten years ago, and were the first to print on button down shirts and blazers for instance. I can’t walk a block now without seeing 100 generation copies now – its very interesting to thing we changed the course of graphics on clothing… now unfortunately its trickled down to the lowest level and we’re all forced to look at these terrible copies  and wonder when it will all end.


What is good taste to you?

Confidence enough to take risks and go further than necessary. Push the boundaries when necessary and use restraint when appropriate .


Valentino said shortly before his retirement a designer nowadays has to be more like a manager than a creative artist. Do you agree?

Hmmm… I don’t know, I guess I think everybody has to be a little bit of everything to be successful.

Libertine has always been pretty independent and done things its own way. What’s your advice to upcoming designers?

I don’t feel like I’m in a position to give advice as we did approach things so unconventionally. If any I guess, do your homework, have a great idea, and work relentlessly on honing your craft.


What does success mean to you?

Having a little bit of money and free time to travel.


What do you love to do when you are not designing?

LEARN, shop for interesting antiquities, look and commune with nature, and spend time with my dogs and friends.


Your favorite books?

“In Youth is Pleasure” by Denton Welch has been my favorite favorite for 20 years,  “The Razors Edge” by M. Somerset Maugham.


Your LA home featured in Domino is for me the most inspiring home ever featured in a magazine. How does it look today? I ‘m sure the Damien Hirst pieces are still the dominant focal points throughout the space…

Whoa…..thank you! It looks much as it did but perhaps with more in it… I’m always collecting something or another.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

As John Baldessari said – quality material, careful inspection and good workmanship. And I might add that a great idea is essential!

photos: Libertine, Domino

7
Jun

Interview with Charles de Lisle

categories Designer, Interviews    

Charles de Lisle is a San Francisco-based interior designer whose work I’ve been drawn to from the first moment I saw it on Desire to Inspire 2 years ago. Charles’ experience spans the last 25 years working within the art of ceramics, metalwork, custom furniture, product design and interiors. His projects – so full of character – has been published in many magazines globally, including Architectural Digest Germany, The Wall Street Journal, Metropolitan Home, Interior Design, The New York Times Magazine, Dwell, Sunset, California Home + Design, Traditional Home. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did!

How would you describe your style?

Traditional, with a fresh perspective I think.


What inspired you to get into design?

I think it found me, I was building furniture, welding and doing ceramics when I started a job with an event-planner in San Francisco. Years prior I had torn out a House & Garden page, and one day found myself in the very room that was photographed. I was introduced to the owner and she proceeded to tell me all abut her years working with Michael Taylor, one of California’s most important interior designers… and decided that I loved the idea of making amazing experiences and telling stories through architecture, just like that room did.

How did you get your first assignment?

A friend asked me to help design and build & design a small shoe store, the budget was $600.


Looking back at your first project what decorating knowledge do you wish you had back then designing the interiors?

None. I miss having the opportunity to be naïve, just dreaming up crazy ideas and be fearless in hoping clients would consider them.

Is there a designer that has influenced you?

Francis Elkins, she brought moderne interiors and the magic of the artisinal, fully created interior to California in a fresh and interesting way.


Some designers believe that the first piece for any room is the rug or a painting that sets up the colors palette. What is your first source of inspiration?

Could be a table, or a vase, a photograph… I just designed a house where the color palette came form the bark on the redwood trees outside the front door. That being said, its easier to match the carpet to the trees at the start, then to try and find a rug to work out in the end., but that’s experience and lessons learned through trial & error, and why you hire a decorator in the first place.

How do you achieve a good scale?  Scale is a really interesting and difficult topic.

I need to work out scale in my head seeing the items in person… I’m not to good at realizing a floor plan on paper. The internet has made this difficult. All those items on white backgrounds look to be exactly the same size ~ I don’t trust them. You need to see, then assemble in person to get it on the right track.


What do you enjoy most in your work?

When mistakes turn into something new.

What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Eat.

Who are your favorite artists?

Christo, Tom Sachs, John Chamberlin.


Your favorite books?

The Potters Challenge by Bernard Leach, Franny & Zoey by J.D. Salinger, In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki

What does success mean to you?

Having the opportunity to work with people I admire, hearing form clients that they trust my thoughts on a project.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

In life or in work? Both require good light, soft light that makes everything a bit more poetic.


photos: Charles de Lisle


24
Mai

Interview with David Jameson

categories Architecture, Designer, Interviews    

Burning Tree Residence

It’s my pleasure to welcome the American architect David Jameson to Design Elements today. Enjoy the interview. I sure did!

House on Hoopers Island

What was the moment when you knew you would be an architect?

Recall always wanting to be an architect – always involved in building things.


Is there something that connects all your projects?

In-between space.  In a sense, the outdoor rooms between moments of the buildings.

Black White Residence

Looking back at your first project what design knowledge do you wish you had back then?

More discipline.


What have been the rewards of practicing architecture?

The ability to affect others mind, eye, and soul through spatial experience.

Graticule House

What do you love to do when you are not designing?

Be with my wife and kids doing anything they want.


Who are your favorite artists?

Donald Judd and Richard Serra.

Residence in Hoopers Island

Your favorite books?

Books about change enactors – like Abraham Lincoln.


What does success mean to you?

Satisfaction in that the work has meaning, and both peers and my family can experience what I do.

NaCi Residence

What’s your advice to upcoming architects?

Develop an ability to critique and edit your own work. As Rem Koolhas stated – architects are always the last to see the apple fall.


My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Those that support an architectural idea that drives each project.

photos: David Jameson Architect Inc

23
Apr

Tom Ford on Happiness

categories Designer, quotes    

I am happier at my ranch in the middle of nowhere watching a bug carry leaves across the grass, listening to silence, riding my horse, and being in open space. So I have some sort of security that if I lost everything in my life, I would be very happy with the simple things because they are the ones that are important…. I learned that happiness for all of us is a switch that you flick in your brain. It doesn’t have anything to do with getting a new house, a new car, a new girlfriend, or a new pair of shoes. Our culture is very much about that; we are never happy with what we have today. We always think that we need something else to be happy… When I am on my deathbed, I don’t think I will be thinking about a nice pair of shoes I had or my beautiful house. I am going to be thinking about an evening I spent with somebody when I was twenty where I felt that I was just absolutely connected to them.”

Tom Ford for The Talks

photo: SGP Italia srl/WireImag

6
Apr

Interview with Trip Haenisch

categories Designer, Interviews    

I am a huge fan of Los Angeles interior designer Trip Haenisch. His work is like no one else’s, sophisticated, eclectic, and comfortable. The interview with Trip is my Easter present for you… Happy Easter weekend!

How would you describe your own style?

I would describe it as fun, curated and most importantly comfortable.

What inspired you to get into design?

I have always had a love of beautiful things. I started an accessories shop and my cliental grew to include designers from all over the world, and from there history was made.


Looking back at your first project what decorating knowledge do you wish you had back then designing the interiors?

I had done a lot of freelance work for various people as well as friends and family so I some experience already, but my first real business project was for Cheryl Tiegs. It was an exciting venture and I’ll never forget it. I was able to work with some great people and it was exhilarating to be able to put my design ideas into play.

Is there a designer that has influenced you?

The French Designer Jacques Grange. He has a unique sense of style, effortlessly combining chic elegance with casual comfort.

Some designers believe that the first piece for any room is the rug or a painting that sets up the colors palette. What is your first source of inspiration?

My first source of inspiration comes from the client. I find out what their personality is like and what kind of lifestyles they lead.


How do you achieve a good scale?  Scale is a really interesting and difficult topic.

Scale is critical in any space and it’s really something that comes with experience. You can make a small room feel large or a large room intimate and cozy depending on size.

What’s your one best piece of advice on lighting?

Light your art. There’s nothing better than highlighting great artwork. Using wall washers also helps create interesting contrast and even prevents eye fatigue.

What do you love to do when you are not designing?

There’s no clear line between an outside life and my work. Designers often create long lasting relationships with their clients and ultimately become friends so I have a very full social life. But in my personal time I’ll find myself cooking for my son and friends, reading, meditating and doing yoga – I love to exercise both mind and body.

Who are your favorite artists?

John Baldessari, John Currin and Barbara Kruger. I love these artists because they use diverse mediums and there is such an abstract beauty to their work… seemingly simple but so complex.

Your favorite books?

Right now I’m reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and House of Merth, by Edith Wharton.

What does success mean to you?

Success mean a lot of things to me, most importantly to love and be loved. I’m successful when I’m happy and can influence others in a positive way.

My signature Design Elements question – what are the most important design elements?

My strongest design elements come in the form of soft furnishings combined with interesting collected pieces. I love casual and comfortable pieces, it always feels ‘right’.

photos: Simon Upton for Elle Decor, Trip Haenisch and Associates

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