May 7, 2012

Six Emerging Designers Present at the Seaport Museum

New York School of Interior Design and Museum of the City of New York organized “New New York: Interior Design on the Cutting Edge,” at the recently reopened South Street Seaport Museum (now run by MCNY). After a tour led by architect Chris Cooper, whose firm Cooper Joseph Studio heralded the Seaport Museum’s renovation, six up-and-coming design firms discussed their residential and commercial projects, their approach to design, and how the field is evolving as a result of technology and the economy. The firms, chosen by NYSID’s Judith Gura, included: Brooke Lichtenstein and Yiannos Vrousgos of Input Creative Studio; Britton Smith; Julie Torres Moskovitz of Fabrica718; Lyndsay Caleo and Fitzhugh Karol of the Brooklyn Home Company; Stefan Steil of MR Architecture + Décor; and Marie Aiello.

Lichtenstein and Vrousgos, who attended NYSID together, worked so well together as students on the school’s 2010 DIFFA Dining by Design table that they decided to form Input Creative Studio. The duo suggested that expertise in several areas, like a modern-day Renaissance man, and fluency in technology—both for one’s own work and to understand clients’ needs—were essential to success today.

Britton Smith, who just launched his own namesake firm, and Stefan Steil of MR, bring a unique perspective to interiors: They both studied fashion before switching to interiors. Steil cut his teeth at Selldorf Architects before joining MR, and explained how he pins up endless images to get inspiration for a project and distill its essence. Today, Smith noted, anyone anywhere can buy anything anywhere. The trick, however, is how those pieces are arranged, with the best results stemming from a strong collaboration between client and designer.

Marie Aiello also stressed the importance of a deep client relationship. A former TV-movie producer, Aiello loves to tell a story, and the better she knows her client, the better she can tell their story through her design choices.

The environment plays a large role in projects by Julie Torres Moskovitz, who worked at Gluckman Mayner Architects before founding Fabrica718. She’s a champion of the recycled and the repurposed, with a roster of celebrity clients who share that passion, and is in the midst of writing a book on passive-house design due out next year.

Repurposing is also paramount for the Brooklyn Home Company’s Lyndsay Caleo and Fitzhugh Karol, who met as grad students at RISD. Nearly every one of their projects features furniture hand-crafted from wood from fallen trees. In fact, one of the BHC’s custom dressers appears in “Made in New York,” an exhibit of locally produced furniture and fashion curated by MCNY’s Donald Albrecht at SSSM through May 20.

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