June 1, 2014

Chessy Rayner: 1993 Hall of Fame Inductee


Photo courtesy of www.townandcountrymag.com (Condé Nast Archive/Corbis).

A thriving partnership as interior designers was not exactly what friends Chessy Rayner and Mica Ertegun had in mind when another friend asked for help in decorating her apartment. But that was indeed the genesis of MAC II, the New York-based firm that designed residences worldwide for members of their social set. But Rayner and Ertegun did not limit their work to the residential category; a healthy listing of banks, shops, model apartments and offices round out the professional resume. Clients included the Trade Development Bank in Geneva, Banco Safra in both Brazil and Luxembourg, The Republic National Bank, Astoria Studios, Warner Communications and New York’s renowned Carlyle Hotel. The MAC II principals were open to any challenge. Rayner, acting as spokesman at the time, said it best with her terse statement: “If you want to hire us, we’re willing.”

MAC II consistently favored a particular aesthetic whose interpretations served the designers well. To paraphrase Rayner’s description, the MAC II approach centered on simple fabrics, big, gutsy furniture plus a few good pieces. “We like to mix things up,” she said. “Our rooms don’t have a period look, and not everything has to be a million bucks. What the rooms typically do portray,” she continued, “is a simpler, cooler way of looking. They’re not too frilly or busy.” While in no way embracing a minimalist credo, Rayner valued careful editing. “The less you have, the better good things look.”

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