Delta Wright

Interiors That Look and Feel Good

DOCENT Briefing No.4 | Living with Art

Delta Wright

Hello and Welcome to DOCENT - your guide to design intelligence, creative solutions and earthly beauty.

Today’s DOCENT Briefing is about how I incorporate ART to create unique and soulful homes. The art world can be a mystifying and an overwhelming place, yet nothing I know elevates a room like a well-placed work of art. The hunt for art that speaks to your soul is worth the time. Guiding clients through this process is a great joy for me and I am happy to share a few insights here.

My 20-year design career has taught me that the sooner the art discussion happens the better the result. One of the first things I ask new clients is to describe their most valuable objects. Listening and empathy are important design skills and asking exploratory questions takes the discussion deeper. I learn much about my client’s values, passions and dreams through their cherished processions. I want to tell their unique story, not adhere to a signature style. My process involves developing a “design story” that captures their personality and anchors the vision.

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Residences by Delta Wright Interior Design


CASE STUDY

Working with a creative family with two young kids in the Pacific Palisades, we determined “art gallery meets children’s museum” best captured their desired vibe. The client was an emerging art collector with an affinity for bold, original and colorful works. I brought in Maryna Hrushetska, an art advisor with a knack for discovering fresh talent, to simplify the search. My guiding principle for incorporating art is all about juxtaposition. Contrast creates visual interest - in the right dose. (It takes practice!)

I always consider the subject matter or conceptual message when placing art. In this case, the client wanted an “outer space” mood in the master bedroom. I selected a hand-painted foil wallcovering by Calico in a custom mural called "Andromeda" for the room and paired it with a pink Campagna Brother’s settee. For a dramatic focal point above the bed, Maryna suggested Lita Albuquerque’s Stellar Axis series, her epic land art installation that consisted of 99 blue spheres installed at the South Pole to correspond with celestial patterns. My client loved the concept and selected a massive 120” x 90” photo called “Constellation 1”.

Andromeda” by Calico | From Lita Albuquerque’s "Stellar Axis" series


To address the kids’ love of shapes and primary colors without sacrificing style, we hung a series of Cherine Fahd’s “Homage to Rectangle” series in a light-filled hallway. These witty and experimental photographs, which feature a peek of body parts, have entertained both kids and adults alike.

From Cherine Fahd’s " Homage to Rectangle"  series

From Cherine Fahd’s "Homage to Rectangle" series


On a more philosophical note, we installed this brilliant neon/mirror piece by text-based artist Alexandra Grant in the corner of the living room to encourage daily self-reflection. 

Alexandra Grant neon and mirror installation in Palisades home by Delta Wright Interior Design


Putting art at the center of the design narrative allowed everyone involved to think beyond 3D space and dive into mood and story. Thanks to my adventuresome clients and a rich team of creatives and artists, I was able to create a home with the sophistication of an art gallery without losing childlike wonder.

Each space I design has its own human agenda that needs to be respected. Home is about creating an intimate space, a space that considers the feelings and values of the people who live there. Creating spaces that enhance human wellbeing means understanding the intangibles. I approach the placement of art intuitively, considering the emotional and visual “weight” an artwork communicates. All art carries a voice, a presence that needs to be considered in relation to furnishings. It should live in harmony with the decorative and functional elements of the home, but also have space to speak effusively.

I hope you enjoyed this DOCENT Briefing on LIVING WITH ART, a topic I can talk about for days. Enjoying art is a deeply personal experience and I am amazed how much there is to discover and learn. 

Until Next time -

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DOCENT Briefing No.3 | The Shape of Things

Delta Wright

Hello and Welcome to DOCENT - your guide to design intelligence, creative solutions and earthly beauty. 

Today’s DOCENT Briefing takes a look at the importance of SHAPE as it relates to contemporary furnishings. I take great interest in considering not only the basic form of each piece with its context and composition in a room, but even more - the underlying ways that SHAPE serves the function and beauty of a thoughtfully curated interior.  Let’s investigate further...

Today’s homes often embrace open layouts and generous spaces. In many homes, the soaring spaces require the arrangement of the furnishings to create “rooms within rooms” in order to achieve an intimate scale for relaxing and interacting with family and friends. Spaces must function comfortably when entertaining larger groups yet feel right-sized for daily living.

FURNISHINGS AS ARCHITECTURE

Furnishings whose designs embody their own architecture have a way of  “holding space” within a space. The Highline Sofa from Linteloo recently caught my attention. Its front facade appears as a minimal leather wrapped structure that houses the over-scaled cushions. Together the two opposing components form an elegant sofa that holds its own space in the room and provides a pleasing place to cozy-up.

The pioneering multidisciplinary designer, Gere Kavanaugh designed her club chair using a painted wood grid to secure the cushions and to create a perforated structure around its visitor. This enclosure creates a sense of boundary while remaining open to an airy space. In Piet Eek’s version, he uses a modernist block form to provide sit and support but wraps the entire shape in mirror polished stainless steel to reflect its surroundings - giving this chair the appearance of disappearance.

I love this curved example by Nina Seirafi. I would use it for a dining chair giving each guest their own nook to enjoy a meal together. I might even mix it with the Toptun Chair that holds space with its ample upholstered frame and open sides. While the forms may at first appear a little rigid, the condition of the cushions is independent of the frame allowing for maximum desired comfort. After all, comfort is key.

NON-CONFORMISTS

I love unusually shaped furnishings that don’t adhere to tradition. I see them as carving and sculpting large spaces with their lines. Angles and curves can do this with subtle grace or in a bold move. Here I used the "On The Rocks" sofa for an open family room. It's modular and re-arrangeable - a fun way to change things up when the mood strikes.

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THE EXAGGERATED DETAIL

Composed shapes that play on classic details can add intrigue. The Howard Sofa by Egg Collective takes a traditional 1950’s sofa form - to me reminiscent of Ed Wormly - and exaggerates wrapping the arm to express the upholstered frame. This layering effect draws attention to the arm's design in a fresh new way. I find it very satisfying to bring focus to a detail that might otherwise be overlooked.

FURNISHING AS SCULPTURE

Just as we live with art on our walls, sculptural furnishings bring levity and dynamism to our surroundings. Whether it’s a Campana Brothers pink powder-puff sette, a Verner Panton rocker or a contemporary molded plastic Roly-Poly stool, there is great pleasure to be found in choosing the perfect Art Chair - or sofa, or table…!  When it comes to these playful shape-shifters - the sky is the limit. Who doesn’t take pleasure to invest in Art Furnishings that channel the unexpected?

Since childhood, my sensitivity to these innate characteristics even finds me personifying furnishings and objects to explore how they might live together in a home. At this time in life, I find it especially exciting to be a designer among designers. We're utilizing the tradition of craft AND also the convenience and imagination of technology to create and produce thoughtful furnishings whose importance expands far beyond function to bring artful beauty and expression into our lives. JOY!

If you enjoyed this DOCENT Briefing and would like further information or resources, send me a note! I’d love to hear from you.

Until Next time -

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DOCENT Briefing No.2 | Design Influences

Delta Wright

Hello and welcome to DOCENT - your guide to design intelligence, creative solutions and earthly beauty.

Today’s DOCENT Briefing highlights the Top 5 Design influences that have shaped my work as an interior designer, design curator, public speaker and life long design devotee. One can’t run a design firm without a clear POV, so here is a look at mine.

MATERIALS AND FORM  | HERZOG & DE MEURON

If I told you the minimalist clarity of artist Donald Judd’s works inspire me, you would immediately understand my love for Herzog & de Meuron architecture. HdM’s approach to architecture mirrors my own approach to spatial design - refined elements of modernism exist while playfully pushing the boundaries of surface and materiality. Their projects almost always embody a simple complexity. It’s hard to pick a favorite HdM project, but the innovative use of rammed earth, the purist form and bold composition make their Ricola Kräuterzentrum a stand out for me. I’m including the gold clad entrance at their Barcelona Forum as another favorite detail.

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COMPOSITION AND EXPERIENCE | PHILIPPE STARCK

My favorite first lived experience of Philippe Starck was walking into the lobby of the Miami Beach, Delano Hotel in the mid-90s. I was living in NYC and attending Pratt at the time so had spent time at the Paramount and the Royalton. This lobby was full of human hustle, yet the theatrical handling of the interior design created a wave of excitement inside me. I felt hypnotized by the playful use of opposing scales and the insertion of unexpected elements. I didn’t want to leave the magical space and can still close my eyes and transport myself there. This is the experience I long to create for my clients - a sanctuary for the soul. Philippe Starck taught me the poetics of space. I fully embrace his utopian ideals that aim straight for the heart and highlight the essential.

Delano Hotel Lobby, Miami Beach

Delano Hotel Lobby, Miami Beach

Repetition and Scale

Repetition and Scale

ORDER AND BOLD SIMPLICITY | LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE

In the late 30’s when this visionary German architect landed in my home state of Illinois to teach architecture, my destiny was changed years before I was born. Mies is the grandfather of modernism, a new architectural style he forged with extreme clarity and a deep belief in the power of simplicity. My aesthetic and ethos is built on his vision of minimal architecture that creates free-flowing open spaces. His “skin and bones” approach to architecture guides my creative process and helps me balance the emotional needs of interior design with the technicality of architecture. When in doubt in a middle of a project, I recite Mies –“less is more” and “God is in the details”.

Farnsworth House. Plano, Illinois

Farnsworth House. Plano, Illinois

Lakeshore Drive Apartments

Lakeshore Drive Apartments

EXPERIMENTAL, COLORFUL AND BOLD | PATRICIA URQUIOLA

Lest you think I am all minimalism and no play, I submit my love for the creative fusion that is Patricia Urquiola. What most appeals to me in Patricia’s work is her dedication to rethinking and reimagining tradition and materials. I see her as a design innovator, inventor and storyteller. Her mastery of several related subjects – from architecture to textiles to color theory – allow her to work in an interdisciplinary way. The result is a magical combination of play and pragmatism and poetics and function. She doesn’t reject the past, she brings it into the present in a fresh way. I am fascinated by her creative process and always feel refreshed when coming across her work.

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QUIET ELEGANCE AND NUANCED BEAUTY  | ANNABELLE SELLDORF

And lastly, my appreciation for Annabelle Selldorf who remains faithful to crisp lines and clean proportions of early modernism but also adds a feminine elegance to the canon. Her “gentle modernism” feels like a maturation of the architecture style and one that is well suited for this particular moment. I admire her commitment to architecture deeply rooted in humanism, which soothes my soul. Not surprisingly, her firm is a favorite of galleries and cultural institutions who seek out her elegant and refined spaces to elevate works of art. And that just might be the subject of my next DOCENT briefing – the power of well curated art to bring a space to life.

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Putting together this list of my Top 5 design influences, I realized they all studied architecture and were committed to the principles of modernism. I suppose this summarizes my approach to interior design nicely. I see interiors in conversation with their exterior environments. One naturally feeds off the other. Balancing the needs of both keeps my right and left-brain happy.

If you enjoyed this DOCENT Briefing, send me a note or feel free to pass it along to a fellow design enthusiast.

 Until next time,

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