On A Clear Day I Can ICFF

Back Row: Carl Dellatore, Glenn Gissler, Front Row: Barry Goralnick, Laura Bohn, Etienne Coffinier, Ed Ku. Photo by Megan Swann for Editor-at-Large

Last week I was on a panel at ICFF, sponsored by the New York Metro Chapter of ASID moderated by Carl Dellatore, author of Interior Design Master Class, one of the year’s best-selling design books. The book is a collection of essays by 100 top American Designers, in which we each wrote about a topic that was meaningful to us. Five of the contributors had a lively discussion about the role of fashion and trends in the world of interior of design.

Inteiro Design Master Class. Architect, New York

Clockwise from upper left: Laura Bohn, Etienne Coffinier, Carl Dellatore, and Barry Goralnick

The question posed by Carl was, “When does one adapt to latest trend or fashion, and when is it best to adhere to a more classic approach?”  Below are some excepted thoughts from the panel:

Barry GoralnickGoralnick Architecture & Design:

Most of our group felt that the answer lies in the middle. One always hears that certain styles are being revived.  There was an Art Deco revival, Biedermeir was all the rage, there is an ongoing trend toward Mid-century Modern, and this year it’s all about the 1980’s.  But just like fashion, styles evolve.  One can use vintage pieces as accents, and to add a layer of texture and meaning, but nothing is ever revived in an exact way.  Things are filtered through a knowing eye of the present.  Proportions change, and scale changes.  In fashion, if you put on your old sport jacket from the 80’s, you’ll look like you just walked out of Goodwill.  It may require re-tailoring, or you can  just have a new one made with a larger lapels or slightly wider shoulders. The simplest solution is to find it at a good designer like Tom Ford.

In design, we all have to evolve. Over the years, I have saved a number of design magazines when they feature a certain house or a room that I love.  But when I look at them, they feel a bit stodgy or dated.  There are a few exceptions, like the great Albert Hadley, of course.  But if we only replicate them, they would look off.

All the designers on our panel are eclectic in their design. That’s a way to weave in some fashionable or trendy elements and still create a room that feels timeless that you will enjoy for years. But we all agreed that being eclectic and ‘effortlessly casual’ takes a lot of hard work and a well-trained eye.  That is why it is best to work with a good designer.

Barry Goralnick John Lithgow Eclectic Design New Yor Interior Design Architecture

Living Room from Interior Design Master Class by Barry Goralnick

Carl Dellatore, Author & Editor  of Interior Design Master Class and Digital Content Strategist:

As we advance through the second decade of the 21st century, one thing has become evident to me through my communications with designers: Nesting is the trend.

Non-stop Google searches, instant messaging, social media, email, and texts: Our frenetic lives in the Information Age leave us all feeling the need for sanctuary and calm in our homes. We need an escape, and as the pace continues to accelerate, so too will our wish to be buffered from it.

Comfort; serenity; retreat; recharge: these are the buzzwords.

Barry Goralnick, Goralnick Architecture & Design Rizzoli Dellatore New York

Author Carl Dellatore and Interior Design Master Class from Rizzoli books

Ed Ku and Etienne Coffinier Coffinier and Ku Design:

Tip:  If you think something is trendy but still love it, use it on something that isn’t a primary design item or something that can be easily changed like decorative objects, pillows or paint color.

Tip #2:  Creating a design mix from different times and influences instead of designing to a theme will help keep you from falling victim to trends.

Observation #1:  Everyone can fall victim to trends because they’re new and shiny and exciting, but we designers should always strive to create something that will last and not look dated.

Observation #2:  As a panel, we were pretty consistent in trying not to follow or be overly influenced by trends, whether in fashion or other creative areas.

Observation #3:  While trying not to be overly influenced by trends, we all have to continue to find new inspirations and to grow as designers or we will be stuck in a creative rut.

Opinion #1:  The best design is timeless.

Opinion #2:  We all are going to design something that become dated or out of fashion.

Barry Goralnick John Lithgow Eclectic Design New Yor Interior Design Architecture

Living Room by Coffinier and Ku from Interior Design Master Class

Glenn GisslerGlenn Gissler Design and President of ASID New York Metro

It is my view that trends are often inventions of manufacturers and journalists. Recognizing that offerings in the marketplace can influence what designers and consumers select, one should avoid novelty and ‘trends’ to make selections that are true and enduring.

Barry Goralnick John Lithgow Eclectic Design New Yor Interior Design Architecture Glenn Gissler Interior Design

Glenn Gissler’s beautiful and eclectic dining room from Interior Design Master Class.

Laura BohnLaura Bohn Design

As a background color, everything looks good against gray.  Color, no color, white – all look good against gray.

Be willing to try new materials.  I’m a Home Depot shopper.  I always find interesting things there.  Even if I don’t plan to specify from the store, it is a great place to see what kind of new materials and products are available.

Barry Goralnick John Lithgow Eclectic Design New Yor Interior Design Architecture Laura Bohn

Laura Bohn’s kitchen project. She is known for mixing unexpected materials.


From left: Glenn Gissler, Barry Goralnick, Laura Bohn, Etienne Coffinier, Ed Ku, and Carl Dellatore

The invitation:

Last week I toured the ICFF in New York and thought I’d share a few of my favorite finds in Part 2, so stay tuned. . .

All photos from the event are Megan Swann for Editor-at-Large

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