We Reveal Inspirations From Some Of The LCDQ LEGENDS 2015 "Where Muses Dwell" Display Designers

1. Who is your muse and how did you come to that choice?

Vance Burke: My muse is Albert Hadley. I had the privilege of working at the design firm of Parish-Hadley as one of my first jobs in NYC. 

Annette English: My Muse for LEGENDS is “A World of Beauty.” When I was deciding what to choose, I kept thinking about all the beauty in the world that we as designers get to encounter and draw from. Everything we see and touch and use is inspired and created by nature and so I thought it would be fitting to create a “window”—literally—into that world of beauty. 

Ken Fulk: I have been inspired by movies my entire life. Whenever I start to think about a new project, I can usually see the "movie" of it in my head before anything else comes together. And I know when something is wrong because it feels like a different movie. 

Denise Kuriger: Naomi Leff, she was my mentor and one of the most prominent female interior designers of this age. 

Scott Mitchell: Charlie Gwathmey, whose principle-based design and whose integrity were influential to me early in my career.

Kendall Wilkinson: Debbie Harry is the ultimate iconic femalea punk goddess who manages to transcend genre and time. She is edgy yet sophisticated and combines cool sexuality with streetwise style. I have a background in music, so Blondie has always served as an influential force in my life. 


2. How do you incorporate your muse in your designs?

Vance Burke: Mr. Hadley loved graphic elements and strong lines in both architecture and in furniture. He would often do a red painted floor with a hooked zebra rug. Our updated interpretation is a bright orange sisal floor by Missoni with a black and white cowhide overlay. Also representative of Mr. Hadley is the juxtaposition of refined versus primitive. This is underscored with a palette of black and white done with graphic prints of which he was so fond of.

Annette English: All of my designs strive to capture in some way a bit of the natural colors, shapes, and movements that I think enhance nature most. There are so many things—both design-related and not—that inspire my designs, but I believe the best designs are the ones that integrate the beauty of the world into the home. 

Ken Fulk: I've always presented our finished projects to clients in a dramatic reveal. I like to design that first experience walking through their new home—choosing the perfect music, cocktails, candles, and time of day. It always feels as though I'm directing a film. 

Denise Kuriger: We have worked with vendors (Elizabeth Eakins and of course Jonas Upholstery) that were the constants in Naomi's artisan repertoire and added craftsman that I believe, if Naomi were alive today, she would be engaging their creativity.  

Scott Mitchell: Charlie's preternatural understanding of geometries is something that I admire and strive to incorporate into my own work.

Kendall Wilkinson: I read somewhere that Debbie Harry hosted a tea party for female rockers in an elegant London hotel during the early '80s.  That juxtaposition of sophistication mixed with a punk sensibility inspired our window displays at the George Smith showroom. We wanted to evoke the spirit of Blondie throughout the decades by mixing old and new elements.


3. What specifically motivates you about this particular muse?

Vance Burke: I am always reflecting on my tenure with Albert Hadley. Mr. Hadley had the most incredible way of combining the past with the present. He possessed the ability to be both modern and classic simultaneously. 

Annette English: Our (design) world is so magnificently enhanced by nature: light, color, earth, the sun, plants, water, stones, jewels, diamonds, glass, crystals, mirror, wood, textiles made of silk, linen, hemp, animal hides, wool, fur, feathers, metals, and the elements. Nature itself is a kaleidoscope of inspiration where beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

Ken Fulk: There's nothing quite as transportive as watching a great film. It's that full-sensory experience—having your breath taken away by beautiful cinematography and an incredible soundtrackthat is most impactful to me. I want every home and restaurant that we design, or party that we throw, to be experienced in that same momentous way. 

Denise Kuriger: An ability to tell a beautiful story through design. 

Scott Mitchell: An unyielding pursuit of meaning in architecture. 

Kendall Wilkinson: The project has been an inspiration for our team, especially working on a design that is entirely concept-driven. Some of the most exciting moments have been the failures and not being able to execute parts of our initial concept. Having to improvise has actually resulted in better design—similar to how a wayward live performance can be more exciting than the studio recording. It’s our small way of paying homage to this pioneering band that continues to rock.