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Special Feature - Interview With Designer Amy Lau
The stellar highlight of this year's Kips Bay Decorator Show House was the exuberant showroom designed by Amy Lau. The sparkling penthouse had a mod 60's vibe that created an instantaneous attraction for all those lucky enough to experience the room. The burst of tropical colors and Amy's refreshing merge of art and modernist home décor, resulted in a show stopping venue.
Amy's aesthetic captures a new generation of design; a mid-century foundation uniquely coupled with influences of nature, streamlined proportions and a playful flair. Her design philosophy is to capture the individual's personality and way of life, ensuring each piece in the room has purpose and style.
As a natural extension from her flourishing interior design business, Amy has created the Four Seasons collection, products inspired by mid-century design; the Lilyon Mirror, Celestial Chandelier, Cocktail Stools, and Raindrops Teak Cigarette Tables. Look for Amy's upcoming Fall designs that will include new upholstery and lighting lines in addition to her Autumn interpretation of the Four Seasons collection!
Thank you Amy, for sharing your inspiration with blinkdecor readers.
Q & A:
BD: You could have gone in many different directions designing your Kips Bay show room. Assuming you started with a blank canvas, did you have the "The Rites of Spring lounge" vision milling in your head waiting for the right venue, or did you have several other design ideas?
AMY: Actually, not at all. After having toured Kips Bay I was inspired by the penthouse's adjoining terrace; I decided to really hone in on the juxtaposition between the interior space and the pure nature of the mezzanine. I wanted the spaces to be interchangeable and bleed into one another. Joseph Albers' 'Homage to the Square' was the concentric influence for my color palette- cobalt, citron and turquoise where the dramatic ambience of Big Sur was the pulse behind the room's edgy, coast-like illusion. From there, I began abstracting natural elements. I approached my favorite designers and together, we were able to capture this concept of couture organicism. The room really came to life- it was truly refreshing.
BD: Nature seems to be a prevalent source of inspiration in your work. Referring to your Kips Bay room, you commented that, "the idea behind the room is the colors, textures and ambiance of Big Sur, Ca…a breezy vibe…" Is there a certain natural element, landscape, or part of the country that most influences your work and best reflects your over-all style?
AMY: Having grown up in Arizona and spending ample time in both Taos and Santa Fe I have developed a respect for the desert and moreover, beauty in minimalism. You can skim the surface and interpret a space based on what it lacks, or you can appreciate the honest subtleties that are imaginative and profound; this is what I try to implement in my designs. Georgia O'Keefe and Palo Soleri have been remarkable influences because I feel that they too have a sense of endless imagery.
BD: As co-founder of the prestigious Design Miami Fair that coincides with Art Basel, the collaboration of art and design must have a strong presence in your interior installations. Do you have a favorite contemporary artist or designer that inspires you?
AMY: Dustin Yellin blows me away. At a glance his designs appear rather simple but as you study his work you realize just how dynamic and enigmatic they are. I feel that his idiosyncratic approach to representing nature elegantly merges 'design' as found in nature with 'art' as found in contemporary culture. This is an approach I strongly relate to and one which few can pull off successfully. His technique is an intricate process. He applies ink to a thin layer of resin, repeating this method until there is a three-dimensional quality. His work evokes passion and controversy and I was proud to showcase it in Kips Bay.
BD: You've built a reputation for being on the pulse of hip design for this generation. How do you go about personalizing a room or home for your clients? What would be your message to our audience to help them get in touch with their own personal style?
AMY: I advise my clients to start small and merely find a jumping-off point; I encourage them to look within their comfort zone and find something, anything, that they find stimulating and familiar. Whether it is a texture, color, artist or a significant memento, I help them evoke how it is they imagine their space to feel and ultimately, how they'd like it to appear. From there we begin an on-going dialogue, which facilitates the exploration of their curiosity.
BD: Do you have a favorite room in your own home, or a favorite room to decorate?
AMY: My favorite room in my home is my bedroom. It reminds me just how easy it is to enhance your daily life. For example, I took ordinary off-white curtains and adorned them by simply adding strips of vibrantly-colored, Belgium-modern crewel work; the colors cascade down the material, giving my room an uplifting semblance. I love looking into my Lily-Pond mirror, pulled straight from my Four Seasons collection, and seeing the reflection of a Dana Schutz original painting alongside my assortment of German op ceramics dating back to the sixties. Really personalizing your bedroom creates this essential composition that becomes your escape and highlights your character.
BD: We are so thrilled that you've developed your own line of home furnishings! Was this creative process as challenging and rewarding as designing home interiors? Can you reveal what we can expect as far as future products from your collection?
AMY: I would say it's even more rewarding because at the end of the day, you answer to yourself. Creating your own collection exempts you from pressure and guidelines. You think more clearly. It hasn't been easy curating my own product line but at the same time, I've never felt so creative.
The upcoming Four Seasons line will showcase my fall collection, inspired by autumn colors, depicting that time of year. I will also be introducing new upholstery and lighting lines. It should be very exciting.
BD: Do you have a "blinkfavorite" from our site to share with our readers?
AMY: Yes, several. I do a lot of work with Judy Ross- she is a good friend and an excellent designer. I was excited to see Blinkdecor is showcasing her textiles! Months of physical labor go into each individual project, since the majority of her work is done by hand. She keeps the Arts and Crafts spirit alive. I also admired the Scandinavian tableware and baby wallpaper- I have seen these Raredevice papers before and think they are adorable.
BD: Lastly, maybe you'd like to divulge your favorite hotel seeing as you travel so frequently?
AMY: My favorite hotel is the Post Ranch Inn located in Big Sur, California. I'll typically stay in a tree house overlooking the coast-line; it is my idea of the ultimate escape. It is rustically luxurious with a very modest, natural feel. It's simply gorgeous.