What do shagreen, Palm Beach, precious jewels, geometry and Lillian August have in common? These are just a few of my favorite finds, themes and people at what’s shaping up to be My Favorite Market. Caveat: I am a designer and shopper by trade and I’ve attended the High Point Furniture Market many times. I speak with some authority. High Point is killing it!
Make way for glam. The prevailing organic and reclaimed trends of the last few markets are giving way to glamour and a little bit of luxe. Where thirsty driftwood once ruled, faux shagreen and lush painted finishes are making happy inroads. In lots of colors too – from minty greens and greiges to more dramatic jewel-tones. Imagine an emerald cocktail tray table set on a gold geometric base. Or bookcase nooks painted in ruby red. Or a very traditional equestrian statue shellacked in sapphire blue.
I love lattice. Coupled with the bold colors, it’s a throwback, of course, to Palm Beach circa 1960s through the early 1980s. Delightful time travel. But it all feels new for today. Lattice may be part of a larger trend tied to geometry – rugs and textiles are all about repetitive pattern and color play.
Design is personal. It was pure pleasure to work with designer John Black on the Compendium presentation at Vanguard. Another Market delight has been connecting with Lillian August. I have admired her from afar and had a chance to meet with this style leader, entrepreneur and design icon in person at her beautiful showroom. Is anyone better with color than Ms. August?
There are still three more days until Market ends on Thursday. But the jury is not out. Spring 2013 is My Favorite Market.
I never go backwards. Maybe I just don’t have that gear. As many of you know, I began my career as a photo stylist and that was a bit of a short hop-skip-and-jump to the world of showroom design. So, when I was offered an opportunity to design the High Point Market showroom space for John Black’s new uncollected collection Compendium for Vanguard furniture, I paused. For a heartbeat. And then I said YES!
I love John Black’s aesthetic. I knew the experience would be wonderful and totally NEW. John and the Vanguard team gave us great ideas and inspiration and wonderful creative leeway. Piece by piece, fabric by fabric, the Lisa Sherry Interieurs team painstakingly specified every finish and fabric in the space. Space planning was fun. And challenging. We created visual pops and surprises throughout the space to please the eye AND make it fun and easy to shop. Every accessory was specified – and often created – with exacting care. Compendium is John Black’s brainchild, of course. He was involved every step of the way. All the way around – John’s team, my team, the Vanguard team – it was a wonderful collaboration.
Now, all that remains is for everyone to come see Compendium at Vanguard. Vanguard’s Andy Bray has graciously permitted me to offer a sneak peek of the space. It’s a Lisa Sherry Interieurs Market exclusive. My snapshots are indeed just snapshots, so please come see it in person. I’d love to know what you think….
One of my favorite furniture designers is a name most people don’t know. That’s why I’m very excited to out John Black (www.jblackdesign.com) in the latest installment of Conversations with Friends. In my view, John is the consummate furniture designer. He is the man behind the curtain (or should I say drawing board?) on some of the most beautiful and iconic furniture designs of the last thirty years, engaging with names like Baker, Henredon, Councill, Artistica and Vanguard. John is also a student of design. A John Black chair, for example, connects to the ancient Greeks. Something to think about. If you’re at the High Point Market this week, John’s Compendium collection with Vanguard is a must-see. The LSI team had the pleasure of partnering with John Black and Vanguard on the showroom design. Such a fun creative tour de force!
For now, I invite you to be a fly on the wall for my conversation with John Black. It starts now….
LISA: You are a furniture designer. I think there may be little confusion about what that is. After all, today there are so may interior designers, stylist, actors, models – you name it – with furniture collections. Can you help clarify this?
JOHN: The name says is it all. I studied furniture design in school and have focused designing furniture my entire career. Furniture has such a long and diverse history, from all corners of the world, through thousands of years and it just captured my attention. Companies hire me to design for them, based on my point of view. And through that focus, I am able to take each product through the entire design and production process. At the end of the day no matter whose name is connected to a collection, it’s about connecting with an audience through a point of view.
LISA: What are you working on now? Be specific. Look at your drafting table. What do you see?
JOHN: Playing around with the form of a 17th century Italian table for an upcoming collection. It’s the part of the process I truly love, seeing the “modern” in something centuries old. And how in the 21st century, we still have this connection with the past, such as sharing meals around a table.
LISA: Speaking of drafting tables. Is that an anachronism? Where does creation take place – pencil or mouse in hand?
JOHN: Creation takes place between the ears. More often than not, I visualize pieces in my mind’s eye. Drawing is just my method of communication. I prefer a pencil; for me, it’s more intimate, accurate and much more efficient than a mouse.
LISA: What is your favorite single piece of furniture in your home – whether designed by you or someone else?
JOHN: A pair of No. 48 chairs designed in the late forties by Finn Juhl. They have this wonderful sculptural quality, made with a level of craftsmanship scarcely seen these days. And proof a delicate chair can be very comfortable.
LISA: You describe yourself as a modernist and classicist. Fascinating – I’m all about opposites! But tell me more about what this means. Or are you just crazy?
JOHN: I don’t consider them opposites. Practically every furniture form we live with today was invented in the 18th century, if not before. The difference is the styling. My modernist side loves simplicity, no matter the age. My classicist side embraces historical principles of scale and proportion. They feed and feed off each other.
LISA: I know you studied furniture design at the famous Kendall College. Can you give me a snapshot of what that was like? Even a list of adjectives is good.
JOHN: At that time, KSD was solely an art school experience, with classes in color theory, life drawing, art history and the like. It opened my eyes to a world of art beyond furniture. Although not a model student, it did plants seeds. But most importantly, it’s where I met my wife and partner, Joyce. There isn’t enough space to describe what that has meant to me.
LISA: Is there a style of furniture or a period that you would like to see GO AWAY? Poof. Wiped off the face of history.
JOHN: Not so much a specific style or period; I think all have something to offer, if you look close enough. What I find disappointing is when the soul of a period or style is bastardized beyond recognition, through the effort to be “different.” Most are just lazy interpretations and unfortunately, not a single style or period has been left unsullied.
LISA: This is a mind bender. What would John Black at 21 say to the John Black of today?
JOHN: Have no fear.
LISA: And, vice versa. What kernels of wisdom would John Black circa 2013 give your upstart self of 21?
JOHN: Pay attention, smartass.
LISA: It’s my signature fantasy question. Always last. You are imbued with limited-time magical powers. You can transport yourself to any time and any place for one hour. Where will I find you?
JOHN: Wow. A toss up between circa 500 BCE to witness the birth of the Klismos OR early November, 1961, at the Cavern Club, in Liverpool, for another birth of sorts.
To learn more: http://www.jblackdesign.com/
The International Furniture Market in High Point, North Carolina, starts a week from today. I expect great things, especially from Texture, one of my very favorite showrooms. It’s right next to Verellen (nice neighborhood!) at 517 South Hamilton Street. Texture is the brainchild of Patrick and Mareita. Patrick is an Irishman with (I-kid-you-not) a twinkle in his eye and a lilt in his voice; you can’t help but love him. And that’s what Mareita discovered too, his wife and partner. Mareita was a successful designer and shopkeeper until she met Patrick. Together they conceived Texture and have never looked back.
I snuck in the Texture showroom late yesterday with a clandestine camera to snag some preview shots of what’s for sale, there are one-of-a-kind true jewels that my friends are discovering in Bali between markets. Look for me at Texture when the Market opens next week. I’ll be the girl with the truck…
Tell them we sent you!
Remember the Great Recession? Buzz kill, I know. Well, while it may not yet be a dim, distant memory, I think interior design is absolutely in recovery. When the economy went topsy-turvy, super-well-edited, sparse rooms with very neutral color palettes were comforting and beckoning. Safe. The crazier the outside world became, the more we craved interior order and simplicity. Well, let’s leave that to the scholars and psychoanalysts!
I love what I’m seeing now in the new world of interiors. And, I’m excited to be a part of it. Sometimes MORE is MORE. The eclectic mix is back with new energy and vitality … with layers and layers of appeal. Textile-wise it’s all about texture, pattern and color. All together. Style barriers are breaking down too. There’s new freedom to mix things up, so long as the end result pleases the eye. Oh, and these great over-the-top looks are not (necessarily) about spendthrift budgets. It’s more about style, creativity, the right eye and desire. Some of my favorite snapshots follow.
If you’re a regular reader or a Facebook or Pinterest follower you know I’ve got a new personal work-in-progress. My new Dream House. My design passions tend to run to neutrals, but I am absolutely feeling the pull of the new post-recession, anti-recession eclectic mix. Stay tuned for more.
I’m all in for reinventing my menus straight out of Gwyneth Paltrow’s inspiring cookbook, It’s All Good. The recipes look delish, super easy and superbly healthful. In fact, I’m thinking about making Gwyneth’s Grilled Eggplant Chili with Ginger and Cilantro tonight. Yum. (It’s on page 166.) In the spirit of “you are what you eat” and following Gwyneth’s menu, wonder if I’ll wake up Saturday morning blonde, 5’10″ and sitting across the breakfast table from Chris Martin. Something to consider…!
No, it’s not a late April Fool’s Day prank. Ordinarily, I’m the biggest cheerleader for Team Neutral, but this spring I’m crushing on lilac. Or do you say lavender? It’s a wonderful, versatile hue. Consider the spectrum: from icy blue tinged with gray to bright and bold violet. Today’s lilacs pair beautifully with other colors — from understated grays, taupes and black all the way to solar yellow and cobalt. Some of my favorite lilac picks are show here. Hummmm … looks like lilac is the newest neutral!
Let’s shake up Easter brunch this year. While I love a traditional (and spicy) Bloody Mary, this year I’m mixing up pitchers of something new: the oh-so delish sangria recipe below. It’s from one of my favorite food blogs, spoon fork bacon. While they have never led me astray, how can I serve guests something I’ve not personally sampled and endorsed?? So cheers to you. Let the bubbly weekend commence!
NYC-based Victor-Raul Garcia’s art speaks for itself: it’s passionate, tactile, dramatic, vivid. (And I could go on; I love his work.) But, when I snagged Victor-Raul for a one-on-one recently, I found that as a person he’s as interesting as his work. That’s how it should be. So without further ado, I’m happy to share my latest Conversations with Friends. Meet abstract contemporary painter Victor-Raul Garcia ….
LISA: On your website you describe your work as autodidactic. To be honest, I had to look it up. But armed with my Webster’s definition, I’m still interested to know more about what this means to you?
VICTOR: Autodidactic is basically ‘self-taught.’ Everything you see projected on my canvases is a result of years trial and error and sweat and tears. I never set foot in a class to learn how to paint. Instead I have relied on experience, relentless aspiration and the all-encompassing necessity to paint.
LISA: Tell me how you find what’s extraordinary in the ordinary. How do you discern?
VICTOR: Everything is extraordinary in its own way. If we just stop and take the time to observe, listen, feel, taste and smell things, we will discover how incredible ‘simple’ things can be. A lot of my work is influenced by microscopic images of some of the most ‘ordinary’ things. Beauty is not only skin deep but way below the surface as well! This quote sums it all up for me: “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music” (Friedrich Nietzsche)
LISA: How about a lighter question! Look in your closet. Is there a signature color palette in your personal wardrobe?
VICTOR: That’s easy!!!! 50 shades of black!!!!
LISA: You left Peru as a child. What do you miss?
VICTOR: I miss going to the Miraflores market with my grandmother, hunting for sea monkeys in the ocean (then realizing they can’t survive in water in a plastic bag), Sunday feasts with family which included chicha, papa á la huánquaina, ceviche, papa sorpresa, and turrón de doña pepa, and most importantly, I miss the innocence of it all…….
LISA: Residential or commercial commissions, what’s your preference?
VICTOR: I wouldn’t say I have a preference but I do enjoy the 1-on-1 interaction aspect of residential projects where u get instant gratification from clients’ eyes and words once the art is unveiled.
LISA: Tell me about your last self-directed undertaking. That is, for YOU, not for a client.
VICTOR: B&W photography of the countryside upstate. I’m working on a photography portfolio next.
LISA: Your grandmother must be a special person. You are going to gift her with a work of art. What is it?
VICTOR: The piece is entitled Gotham. It is my interpretation of the Incan ruins of Macchu Picchu with a modernist/brutalist take. She used to tell me stories of how the Incas communicated with extra terrestrials and built the city as a landing strip. I loved to hear those fascinating ‘fun facts’ about my people as a child! But mind you, she also told me that Peruvians are big chested because of the high elevation there and that we mated with the aliens as well. Lol!
LISA: Color. You are an adventurer. Are you smitten with any palettes right now?
VICTOR: Fire red and bittersweet chocolate.
LISA: What’s hanging on the wall of your living room?
VICTOR: A signed Gilbert & George print, a Reservoir Dogs poster, B&W Japanese paper art and a few of my own art works…..
LISA: It’s my signature fantasy question. You’ve been given a magic paintbrush – which is, of course, the artist’s version of a magic wand. You can transport yourself to any time and any place for one hour. Where will I find you?
VICTOR: Picture it, Macchu Picchu 1533….. I’m an Incan lookout riding my llama and just like Paul Revere would do centuries later, I gallop , trumpet and cry: “The Spaniards are coming! The Spaniards are coming!” lol
Some of my earliest creative exploratories as a child came at Easter time. I loved to color eggs (and I still do). I remember all the egg coloring accoutrements of my childhood: the pungent vinegar, primary color tablets, hot water, crayons, decals and, of course, the pristine eggs themselves – hardboiled, expressionless and daring me to be creative. Easter is about a week away. Young, old, or in between, it’s time to…
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