Meet the Designer: Danielle Cornwell for the Small Space Big Style Showhouse


Danielle Cornwell of Kanner Architects took on the unique challenge of designing resource library and visitor lounge for CH+D’s Small Space Big Style showhouse.

Set in the penthouse adjacent to the showhouse, the space was to serve as a lounge for the showhouse’s hundreds of visitors and a resource library highlighting all of the products used in the designers’ spaces. To do so, she had reimagine the living, dining and bedrooms, as well as the outdoor spaces, to create a place to both relax and learn.

The firm you work for, Kanner Architects, designed the Hollywood Condos  back in 2007. How did that fact influence or affect how you worked in the space?

Our principal, Stephen Kanner, passed away several years ago. He was not only my mentor, but a friend. I thought he would have wanted us to participate, especially since the Hollywood Condos was one of his favorite projects. One of my main goals was to create a space that would support and complement the existing architecture.

What was your inspiration? How do you envision the space being used?

A friend of mine recently introduced me to the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, a basic belief that something doesn’t have to be excessively decorated in order to make an impact. For instance, something as subtle as a shadow cast along a wall is as beautiful as something more literal.

Because so many people will be in and out of your space, it couldn’t be cluttered up with too much furniture. How did you make an impact while using minimal pieces?

I’ve learned in the past that one good clear idea was better then several small ideas so I decided to take advantage of the unit’s16-foot-high ceilings
 and commissioned paper artist, Emily White, to create a site-specific sculpture that would exploit this large volume.

I also wanted to avoid using a conventional seating arrangement and felt that creating a gallery/lounge instead of a traditional living room was more in keeping with the spirit of the architecture, as well as how the space would be used—as a lounge and resource library for the guests, adjoining the main showhouse.


What is your favorite element of your design?

I would say the outdoor courtyard and paper sculpture by Emily White.

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