The lobby of the John-Richard High Point Showroom this April showcased furniture and lighting designs as well as art by Mark McDowell. The visual effect was that of a luxurious penthouse curated by the most culturally refined collector. The combination of warm woods, textural finishes and stunning art motifs on glass, gave a cohesive chicness to the setting
These new introductions had a subtle Asian feel and there are other global influences like the Moroccan patterns on the door fronts of the Almeria Sideboard. The design aesthetic was like an art gallery with complimentary, coveted pieces that are not overly matched. There was a common theme of artistic geometry as seen in the embellishments and rich, sensuous finishes.
Concrete is no longer associated with the grey tones of the city. The material now has a warmer, more organic feel when used in furniture, lighting, mirrors and accessories. These shapes are rounder, more reminiscent of nature than urban environments. There are references to river rocks, sculpture and artistic motifs.
In a recent article posted on Houzz, ‘Interior Design Trends Expected to Take Hold in 2018’, concrete accents are gaining in popularity. Designer Yanic Simard agrees, “the humble material and its comforting cool tones mixed with light linen and pearl grays add a relaxed air to any space.”
Ishka Designs, a Brooklyn-based interior design firm, has a diverse portfolio of work that includes five level brownstones, vacation properties in the Caribbean, residences in France and beach-front estates. The principals, Anishka Clarke and Niya Bascom, define their design aesthetic as ‘clean, modern, eclectic and simplistically beautiful.’
Niya Bascom’s background in film set design and a sojourn at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden contributed to his extraordinary visual creativity. He is also an accomplished photographer whose work has been featured in galleries, embassies and museums. Anishka Clarke worked a decade in finance, both in Jamaica, and on Wall Street, but in early 2006 she left to pursue her real passion, interior design. A Brooklyn resident, but Jamaican at heart, Anishka received an Impact award from the largest Caribbean news publication, Caribbean Life for her contributions to the Caribbean American community. Anishka is an Interior Design honors graduate (Summa Cum Laude) of the Fashion Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from Stern Business School, New York University. Both talented designers have a nature-inspired and minimalistic aesthetic that puts the spotlight on uniquely crafted furniture, accent pieces and art.
Ishka Designs has been featured in numerous publications including New York Spaces, Anthology and New York Magazine as well as on the NBC television series, ‘Open House’. We recently met up with the designers to ask them about what inspires them and their design philosophy.
Each piece of furniture, art or accessory seems significant within your overall design. Do you choose all forms so they can live on their own as well as within the setting?
An interesting question. Whether intentional or not, there are certain pieces that are chosen for their uniqueness or as you put it, their ability to live on their own. It is, however, important that the remaining pieces complement those unique pieces and the overall environment. Our goal is always for overall harmony.
Do you tend to choose art before or after the design of the room?
We don’t have a particular way of doing things when it comes to art. Sometimes the art is the actual inspiration for the space and other times, we find pieces during the process that fit right into the solution like a puzzle. Oftentimes though, art is sourced after the project is installed and we tend to leave the design solution open ended enough to allow for art to be added.
What is the most important connection between the interior and the landscape?
The size and placement of windows and doors play a literal part in connecting the interior to a landscape. Beyond that, however, the choice of material finishes in the home can also aid in bringing the outdoors in. Natural materials and textures that are minimally manipulated, i.e., bamboo and unfinished woods, can feel more in tune with nature. Interestingly, there are ways to keep the vibe modern vs. rustic by keeping forms clean, simple and unified. Other important ways of connecting spaces to the outdoors is with the use of color.
Constantin Brâncuși was a Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer who made his career in France. Widely considered to be one of the foremost pioneers of modernism, and one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century, Brâncuși is often referred to as the patriarch of modern sculpture.
As a child in Romania he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. His formal education first took him to Bucharest, then to Munich and then to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His artwork emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art. Brâncuși was also known for paying an unusual amount of attention to the bases on which his sculptures were displayed, believing that the pedestal was part of the sculpture itself.
The Brâncuși sculptural aesthetic has influenced many designers. These lighting pieces by Mark McDowell and accessories by Margaret Fisher show how the artist is still a source of inspiration.
GRAY is the color of intellect, knowledge and wisdom. It is perceived as classic, refined, dignified, and conservative. Gray is a perfect neutral that lives between the extremes of black and white.
Like diamonds set in platinum or white lace over gray satin, these tones are both fresh and classic in fashion, jewelry and home décor. Gray, silver and white are elegant neutrals that enhance exceptional design. In Vogue Magazine, New Jersey-based interior designer Beth Diana Smith states that ‘Gray’ will continue to reign in 2017. “We will see different tones of gray, a lot of gray and white, and gray in deeper colors, it’s the sort of color that complements a full spectrum of shades…”
These latest designs from John-Richard, in furniture, lighting, mirrors and accessories, show that these sophisticated new neutrals are right on trend.
The High Point Market Style Spotters are design industry trendsetters who highlight the top new styles of each Market. As they tour High Point’s showrooms, the Style Spotters select their favorite pieces and share their discoveries on social media. Each design expert has their own unique perspective as they all hail from different regions of the United States and in the case of Canadian-born Laura Bielecki, Dubai.
“The Style Spotters program, launched during the October 2011 Market, features home fashion pace setters that showcase their favorite products and top trends from High Point Market exhibitors via Pinterest, the at-Market Style Spotters LIVE! event, a biannual Style Report and various media interviews. These home fashion gurus are the authoritative trend voice of High Point Market, tasked with finding the hottest must-have items each Market and then translating their picks into today’s top trends,” enthuses Ashley Grigg, Communications Manager for the High Point Market Authority.
Michelle Jennings Wiebe, Style Spotter Emeritus, chose two John-Richard pieces as her pre-market ‘Must Haves’: the Toledo Cabinet designed by Mark McDowell and the Agate Mirror. The cabinet is art deco inspired with etched panels made more luminous with a gold wash. The mirror features a striking blue, black and white agate design which is reverse hand painted under glass. Michelle is the founder and principal designer for Studio M, a top Florida firm based in Tampa, Florida, which specializes in luxury residential new construction with projects in several states.
We were thrilled to introduce five style spotters to the showroom, the first of whom was Malene B, a vibrant, Brooklyn-based designer of bespoke carpets, fine art wall coverings and artisan tiles. On the night before she visited John-Richard, the designer had won the Elevate award for best in floor coverings! Malene certainly has an eye for texture and pattern and was drawn to the craftsmanship of the Andes Cabinet. Each pair of angled tiles are in contrasting veneers of white and amara ebony and set into a figured, smoked eucalyptus cabinet.
Laura Umansky is the principal designer at Laura U Interior Design, a firm known for its bold aesthetic and polished, livable interiors. Prior to launching Laura U Design, Laura studied art and architecture and gained professional experience designing destination interiors. Laura immediately had her eye on the beautifully scaled Anzu Cabinet, designed by Mark McDowell for John-Richard. The show-stopper of this piece is the large agate hardware that has a glamorous edge of gold leaf.
Laura Bielecki is a professional Interior Designer in Dubai, UAE, currently at GAJ (Godwin Austen Johnson). She has completed top Interior Design projects all around the world for some of the most affluent families in various countries including the following cities: Montreal, New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Dubai, Mumbai, Doha Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Calgary, and Edmonton. Her modern, sleek and elegant aesthetic is evident in her style spotted piece, the Dante Credenza. In beluga white and raised on a brushed stainless steel stand, the doors of this piece are faced with tiza gesso with recessed, spun stainless steel handles. This exquisite piece can be seen in the featured photo at the beginning of this post.
Erika Ward is the founder and principal designer of Erika Ward Interiors based in Atlanta, GA. Her work has been featured in numerous local and national publications and she has been awarded by the Atlanta Tribune for having one of the top design firms for two consecutive years. Erika was attracted to two pieces: the Celestite Blooms and the Budding Crystal Floor Lamp. Both these pieces reference nature in a luminous and luxurious way.
Esteemed Interior Designer Scot Meacham Wood, originally from Mississippi, is now settled in the historic San Francisco Design District. His firm’s, Scot Meacham Wood Design, signature style is a true reflection of its clients’ personal aesthetics, while highlighting European and Southern sensibilities, sartorial influences, and bold prints. Scot chose a piece that would be a perfect accent in any of his interiors, our Ottoman with Branch Styled Base.
We are so thrilled to have had the opportunity to spend time with these talented interior designers whose passion for design is only matched by their enthusiasm, energy and charm!