“I am inspired by talent. I enjoy the process of designing and the exchange of ideas while working with craftsmen and artists.”
Paul Marra has been working in upscale residential design for over 25 years, first as an interior designer and currently as a showroom owner and product designer. Having a background in interior design has made him especially aware of the many practical and aesthetic demands of residential design. For over 20 years his showroom has been a resource for interior designers, architects and consumers looking for 21st Century custom-made items as well as bespoke and out-of-the-ordinary vintage items.
His lighting and furniture line was developed partially out of a need for items that would blend with many periods and styles yet function in the 21st Century. Some pieces look to the past for inspiration but with a fresh interpretation, while others are inspired by nature or a desire to use materials in an innovative way. With an emphasis on craftsmanship and detail, they are able to stand on their own or enhance other fine furnishing and antiques.
Paul Marra Design uses local artisans partly because the work requires a great deal of hands-on involvement, and also because it is important to support the tradition of American craft. It is a privilege to live and work in a unique environment which has grown from the freedom of expression and the blending of cultures. This American know-how is worth preserving.
“Creatively, I still have a lot to say and I always want to move forward. Philosophically I think life should be full of meaningful experiences. To this end I will borrow from one of the main themes of the Aesthetic Movement, which states that a beautiful environment can enhance the quality of our life.”
- What’s your go-to classic color choice?
- Cream and brown are a good starting point. Adding a third color can take it in many directions: pale blue-a bit over used lately, cognac, persimmon, red and even pink. A word of caution: I once presented a cream and brown scheme to a former client, Miss Unpleasant, and she said she didn't like it because she wasn't a gay man. The lesson, I think, is if you don't want people to think you are a gay man then don't use cream and brown.
- Is there a hotel that’s most inspired your work while traveling?
- Can't think of a specific one, but I am usually drawn to classic bordering on dreary.
- Which pieces of technology do you use to document design inspiration?
- Computer, pen, paper.
- Where do you go to spot new style?
- The term "new style" kind of scares me. I get "new" ideas from things I see every day. Also, books, magazines, what I see on line.
- Do you have a favorite restaurant (for the design and the food, of course)?
- Sadly, I don't really have one. Had a memorable experience at the courtyard of an old convent turned restaurant in Italy, surrounded by Medieval walls overlooking a valley in Tuscany.
- What’s your favorite small museum in the world?
- Don't know if I have a favorite. If pressed: Pitti Palace, Florence.
- How do you usually start your weekend?
- Coffee. Then hit the ground running working on projects at home.
- Who or what is your biggest design influence?
- Extremely difficult question. These are a few: Antonin and Noemi Raymond, CFA Voysey, Mary Colter, Gilbert Poillerat, Edwin Lutyens, Line Vautrine. Their work makes my heart beat a little faster.
- How do you keep it all together?
- Lots of notes. Wine on good/normal day. On bad days: Manhattan or Gin and Tonic-depending on the season.
- Design a garden: groomed or freestyle?
- Freestyle-out of necessity.