I like to say that to clients. Every day, preferably. My intention in design, for my clients, is to give them what they want. And if what they want happens to be good design, or we can make good design out of their desires, then all the better. To be in agreement is always a happy state of affairs. In most cases, I can work their wishes and needs into a global design easily, because I am always able to see the big picture. That is part of my job: to envision. And it is my gift.
So, I have some very special clients who are singers. The woman is an opera singer / singer – actress / writer; all around mega talent. The gentleman happens to sing at the Met Opera from time to time, and sings in the big opera houses all over the globe; also a super talent. Both of them have very special views on their home and last summer we did a complete renovation of their space. Now we are gradually furnishing room by room, when they happen to be in town together, at the same time. They are busy.
They have two huge Baroque style frames (props) that they picked up at the Met Opera a few years ago. The Met was tossing things and they grabbed them. These frames had been used in more than a few productions at the Met Opera over the years. My clients put a mirror into one, which will be hung in the living room. But they were not sure what to do with the other. They asked me: could they keep it and use it in the apartment? Would it be ok to have two enormous Baroque frames? WHY NOT? But where would this second frame live? Because, seriously, these things are BIG. Well, I began thinking of architectural reaction to style. For instance, consider the I M Pei glass pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris, which has and always will, elicit distinct opinions from anyone who sees it. And, the Renzo Piano addition to the Morgan Library, which is a modernist’s comment on this McKim Mead and White turn of the century building. In design, almost everything is a reaction, whether it is conscious or not. Additionally, I love putting big things in small spaces. I like to mix up volumes and have a bit of a surprise here and there. My client, the gentleman, happens to be a very good photographer and has taken some great black and white shots, framed in simple, unadorned metal frames. Things started to cook in my mind.
OK, here is where it all comes together: Put this gigantic Baroque frame on the wall in the small entrance hallway of their apartment. (Yes, sorry, there is a building intercom phone there.) Put the modern framed images inside the big frame. So, you walk into the apartment confronted by this statement of opposing style and volumes.
“WHY NOT?” just became “YES. PERFECT.”