Monday, May 30, 2011

Designer Profile: Jamie Drake

The first word that comes to mind when looking at Jamie Drake's designs is fun. And yet, they remain serious: in his biography, Drake quotes Jean Cocteau and mentions the importance of not confusing seriousness with gravity. It's possible for rooms to be fun without being silly. One of the features that makes Drake's designs so fun is his use of color. In his rooms, Drake frequently makes use of bold and bright colors, like juicy pinks and oranges and rich blues and purples. The use of color makes the spaces feel modern, yet warm and inviting.
In the biography on his website, Jamie Drake states, "I love what I do. I love style in every form. There is nothing more exciting than incorporating bold, vibrant colors with a striking mix of genres and periods to create lively, magical spaces that inhabit memories and enrich lives." This is clearly evident from the rooms that he designs. Color is extremely prominent in Drake's rooms, and yet it never feels harsh or "in your face." He also says that "there is little that doesn't inspire me," evidenced in the variety of his designs: he has designed several residences, in addition to various commercial rooms.
Jamie Drake has been in to design from a young age: he worked at a contract design firm while still in high school. Immediately after graduating from Parson's in only three years (during which time he had an internship with the late Angelo Donghia), he founded his design firm, Drake Design Associates, in 1978. Since then, he has designed rooms for everyone from Madonna to Phyllis and Victor Graham, in addition to doing design projects on Gracie Mansion, the "ceremonial residence"of the Mayor of New York, for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Jamie Drake has also won several awards- notably, in 2003 he was inducted in to Interior Design magazine's Interior Design Hall of Fame.
You can see more photos of Jamie Drake's residential and contracted designs on his website (,where you can also see his product designs and read more about him and his accomplishments.

Molly Hudelson

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Designer Profile; Bunny Williams

Bunny Williams is a designer that definitely doesn't want her rooms to look drab: "Rooms should never be boring," she says, and her rooms are, true to her word, never boring. At the same time, however, she manages to create rooms that are interesting and pleasant to look at, but that are far from "in your face." Because Williams's rooms are "restrained yet slightly undisciplined", they feel natural, yet they're carefully planned: it's like spending hours doing your hair in order to make it look "perfectly careless." When designing a room, Williams always makes sure to balance the "big four" of objects, patterns, textures, and colors. Having too much of any one feature can dominate the room, but by using all of them, for example by combining a blue and yellow patterned chair with more subdued striped and solid chairs in the same color family, she achieves a balanced look, that goes together without feeling overly matched. Designing rooms that are visually pleasing is important to her, and in fact "beautiful rooms are Bunny's first consideration."Bunny Williams has been running her own design company, Bunny Williams Incorporated, since 1988, though she had already been in the industry for twenty-two years (she previously worked with Parish-Hadley Associates). She has a furniture collection, BeeLine Home, that features all sorts of tables (side tables, bedside tables, coffee tables), in addition to lamps, chairs, and mirrors. Bunny calls the collection "expressive and unique", and says that "pieces often work together not because they are alike but because they are different." This is evident in her design work as well, in which she places together pieces that don't necessarily "match" but that have a common element. Bunny is also the co-owner of Treillage, a garden furniture and ornament store in Manhattan, with John Rosselli. Bunny Williams wants her rooms to be interesting and pleasing, but not just at first sight: she says she "want[s] a room to be more interesting the longer you remain in it."You can see more photos of Bunny Williams's designs on her website (, where you can also read more about her and her companies.

Molly Hudelson

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Featured Designer; Vincent Wolf

If there is one key feature that dominates the work (both residential and commercial) of designer Vicente Wolf, it is light. Perhaps this is inspired by the fact that his firm, Vicente Wolf Associates, is based in a "spacious light-filled loft in New York City," so he sees this light every day. Light makes Vicente Wolf's rooms feel open and spacious.
Vicente Wolf uses a lot of white in his rooms, and does not often use patterns or bright colors. This leads to a feeling of simplicity without the spaces looking bare: in one room, the clean lines of bright white chairs nicely complement a hearty wooden table and brick floor. His designs feel relaxed, like they might belong in a beach or vacation home, yet still luxurious and upscale. It's a very American feeling, which is also visible in his other creative outlets: photography, art collection, and global travel.
Having over thirty years of design experience, Vicente Wolf is experienced and a prominent name in the design world. In addition to the United States, he has designed rooms in homes, hotels, restaurants, and more in various countries abroad, such as France, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden. Wolf has also lectured in South Africa, Japan, and Australia, and "teaches an annual course through Parsons School of Design in the Dominican Republic." In addition to designing and lecturing, he has also published books and is a "lauded retailer and celebrated business partner."
Currently, Vicente Wolf runs two companies: VW Home by Vicente Wolf, a "luxury showroom" that displays Wolf's own collections of handpicked articles from around the world, in addition to his furniture line, which is specifically designed for the showroom; and Vicente Wolf Associates, his design firm. He has an "eye for detail [that] has created a reputation for quality appreciated by his discerning client list, the creative industry as a whole, and his international partnerships with some of the world’s top luxury brands."
You can see more photos of Vicente Wolf's designs on his website (, where you can also read more about him and his companies.

Molly Hudelson

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Featured Designer: Clodagh

Clodagh is an Irish-born designer who has been living in New York for over 25 years. She has traveled to over 90 countries, designed "everything from makeup packaging to million square foot hotels", and written two books (Total Design and more recently Your Home, Your Sanctuary). Clodagh is known for having been a pioneer in the movement towards green design, having been known to use natural, nontoxic, and sustainable paints and materials, in addition to the techniques of Feng Shui, Chromotherapy, and Biophilia, even before that they were popular. Perhaps this is related to her belief that "good design can support well-being."
Clodagh's rooms have a feel that is natural and outdoorsy, yet homey. She uses touches like chairs inspired by pebbles, small plants, and lots of wood, and features natural colors like beige and brown in combination with touches of pastel colors like yellow, green, and blue. In addition to designing rooms (the Clodagh Design division), Clodagh has also designed products (the Clodagh Signature division) and has a "gallery and retail showroom" that features home furnishings and accessories from other artists and designers that Clodagh admires (the Clodagh Collection division).
Clodagh's vision statement is "To enhance life and spirit through timeless, responsible design... total design. Based on the 4C’s of design, total design aims to contemplate the space, cleanse it of unnecessary items while clarifying all goals, needs and desires thereby creating a space that is unique and timeless. Total design is about serenity and simplicity, open spaces and clean contemporary lines." She believes that"a space cannot be truly beautiful unless it functions in harmony with who we are... it's about pleasure: discovering what pleases us and creating an environment that will celebrate those qualities and sustain us."
You can see more photos of Clodagh's designs on her website (, where you can also read more about her and look at her products.

Molly Hudelson

Monday, May 9, 2011

Designer Profile: Nina Campbell

The well-known British designer Nina Campbell describes her style as "voluptuous minimalism." The "minimalistic" side of her designs is inspired by her upbringing: Campbell grew up in post-war England, and is no stranger to economic and financial troubles. Nina Campbell manages to combine that sense of minimalism, inspired by her upbringing, with a flair for visual wit.
Nina Campbell's designs often combine bright, jewel-toned colors, like reds, purples, and teals, with big, bold patterns, such as flowers and stripes. However, her rooms are far from "busy" or visually cluttered. Instead, they seem warm and inviting, and playful, yet luxurious.
In addition to designing rooms, Nina Campbell has also designed a variety of products for the home. On her website, she currently has accessories for the bathroom, office, laundry room, and bedroom; table top accessories, such as china, glassware, and cutlery; blankets; candles and other home fragrances; fabric; and wallpaper. Nina Campbell has been collaborating with Osborne and Little for her wallpaper brand for over twenty years, and as said on her website, has a continuously evolving color palette, always adding new colors while keeping some old ones, "so that new and older collections can be put together."
Campbell's designs are influenced by nature (such as flowers and plant life), and often feature bright colors, but combining these with simple, bold shapes leads to the "voluptuous minimalism" and "luxury, practicality and a sense of wit" that she is known for. She originally began "a shop selling home treasures from all over the world", but now Nina Campbell uses her website to sell all of her accessories, since she believes that "A home only becomes a home when you begin to accessorize." Check out Nina Campbell's website for more photos of her designs and products.

Molly Hudelson

Friday, May 6, 2011

Designer Profile: Barbara Barry

Barbara Barry is a designer who believes in the importance of simplicity in design. A look through her portfolio confirms this belief, as Barry's designs often feature calm, cool, pastel colors, with simple lines and dark-finished woods. In a world that is often cluttered and over-complicated, Barbara Barry's designs leave that clutter behind, and are clean, simple, and refreshing.
Rooms filled with clean lines and lots of white can often feel cold and sparse, like a snowy winter landscape. Instead, Barbara Barry's rooms just seem like a place you'd want to go to spend time in to relax, with pastel shades breaking up the white and making the spaces quite visually pleasing.
As stated on her website, Barbara Barry "grew up valuing simplicity and appreciating small details", something that's quite clear from a look at her rooms. She features a lot of small details, such as pillows with a delicate embroidered border, along with calm, cool, and refreshing colors and shapes that always feel simple and relaxing, like a place to get away from the clutter of daily life.
Barry takes much inspiration from her mother, who is an artist. On her website, she says that her mother "raised me to believe in myself, teaching me through example that style has nothing to do with money and everything to do with how you feel about yourself." She is inspired by "the things that exist freely in our daily lives: the quality of light, the colors of nature and the harmony in perfect proportion", and "want[s] to help others see beauty in all areas of their lives."
You can see more photos of Barbara Barry's designs on her website Barbara Barry, where you can also read more about her and look at her products.

Molly Hudelson