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Publication Date: 2014-04-02

Inspiration

In Pursuit of Design Alchemy

My approach to my design has been influenced by an extensive list of artists, architects and design colleagues, however, I have come to understand that I have a distinct point of view and way of designing.

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I have spent a good portion of my life learning about art, design, history, cultures both near and far, and seeking sublime and transformative experiences, and some 30 years practicing interior design in New York City.

I have always aspired to achieve the best and highest level of design by whatever means my clients or I had – somehow the aspirations always managed to exceed the resources so I have always had to be clever. Historically I have described this as ‘rubbing two sticks together’, as to metaphorically create a spark and hopefully spontaneous combustion! In thinking further about this, I realized that what I was really doing was more alchemical in nature; working tirelessly to create designs where the whole was exponentially greater than the sum of the parts.

While the budgets that I work with have increased, my aspirations for projects still exceed the resources! I realize now that this disparity between aspiration and budgets is really just part of my design process. I seek inspiration in all of the nooks and crannies of my real and imaginary lives: people, places, things, experiences, color, light, music, images, literature, movies, history – and in my work I look to create delight and well, magic using the tools at hand.

Often people ask “What is your favorite style?” or “What style are your design projects?”. In spite of the extensive design vocabulary I have developed, and the many nuances I understand about the history of design, I am befuddled to offer a lucid or useful answer to what are simple and pretty basic questions.

I have come to realize that my design work is more about a process of seeking essential elements for comfort and delight that includes objects, artwork, furniture and textiles that is both half-full and half-empty; where the individual elements can be seen and understood on their own, but they are also in a dialogue with each other, utilizing elements from many eras, varying quality, and a lack of pretense in pursuit of design alchemy.

Alchemy can be a lifelong study, so I will I paraphrase some of the possible meanings here:

alchemy (al-kuh-mee); noun

1. The pseudo-scientific predecessor of chemistry practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance concerned with discovering methods for transmuting base metals into gold,with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life

2. As a speculative philosophy and in many variations, alchemy has been pursued through the ages starting in Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Persia, India, Japan, Korea, and China, in Classical Greece and Rome, in the Muslim civilizations and then in Europe up to the 19th century.

3. A seemingly magical power or process of transmuting.

The thesaurus offers a number of compelling alternatives including: magic, witchcraft, wizardry, and sorcery.

Alchemy is an ancient path of spiritual purification and transformation, the expansion of consciousness and the development of insight;alchemy is steeped in mysticism and mystery.

I am a interior designer based in New York City who uses the tools my trade – architecture as a tool to create and define and articulate space, furniture, materials, forms, carpets and other textiles, to create comfort and delight, and lighting as a means of utility and ambiance. For me the result is not a specific style but the culmination of thoughtful responses to a multitude of design questions and problems.

Like most anything one is passionate about, design provides an opportunity for a lifelong pursuit of combining elements in distinct and personal ways in pursuit of design alchemy. I look forward to sharing some of the things I have, and will discover along the way.

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