Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Behind the Scenes at Kips Bay

On Monday, June 4th, an enthusiastic group of IFDA•NY chapter members and friends met at the 40th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House for a private tour led by none other than renowned designer Charles Pavarini III, an IFDA member, 2010 IFDA Circle of Excellence Award Honoree in Interior Design and 2012 Kips Bay Designer and Committee Member.

Our tour with Charles Pavarini III
Charles gave an insightful tour to the group who specifically were enthralled by some of the following trends and rooms:
  • The abundance of GREEN in all its many hues and from what Charles told us, the designers did NOT collaborate on its use
  • How the many disparate rooms seemed to flow neatly from one to another-again not always planned
  • The across the board use of lacquer and grasscloth for walls & ceilings-once again not a collaborative effort
  • Behind the Hedge by 2012 IFDA Circle of Excellence Honoree-Interior Design, Charlotte Moss, with her use in the entry of wallpaper that looked exactly like raw wood, quite a feat of trompe l'oeil
  • Alexa Hampton of Mark Hampton LLC's beautifully appointed master bedroom and her use of accessories and fabric to hide many of the idiosyncrasies of the units themselves
  • Kips Bay Show House Chairman, designer Bunny Williams along with David Kleinberg and Brain McCarthy's room dedicated to Albert Hadley, their mentor, teacher and dear friend who passed away earlier this spring
  • Chuck Fischer's "Writing Room" mural, masterfully done in soft coral shades to create a serene oasis
  • Jamie Drake, a long-time IFDA member, whose usual color exuberance was this year artfully tempered
  • The creative use of outdoor space with special plantings and furniture designed for weather assaults of all kinds
  • Charles Pavarini III's innovative use of lighting in his room, "Black, White and Red All Over"
Even with all the exquisite designs to enthrall the senses, designers were certainly faced with challenges, such as:
  • The location, which was not easy to access, especially on a wet weather day
  • Too many tiny rooms with winding corridors creating design challenges galore
  • Pools that blocked wonderful vistas and sometimes were distracting to the rooms themselves
  • Uneven ceiling heights that restricted furniture positioning
  • Limited wall space for art placement
Along with Victoria Pace of Victoria Pace PR, I caught up with some attendees and designers at the Kips Bay Closing Party hosted by Bunny Williams and FRETTE at their lovely Madison Avenue store on Monday, June 18. What I really wanted to know from those I spoke to was, "What were the highlights and challenges of the 2012 Show House?" Here's what they had to say: 
  • Lydia M. Tower, New York Showroom Manager of Farrow & Ball, commented that it took a lot more planning to visit the Show House this year, as it was not that easily accessible. The highlight for her was visiting with her Mom who used to work with Mario Buatta in the 60s and seeing it through her eyes.
  • Designer James Rixner echoed many other designers' feelings that the four-week time frame for setup was a total challenge. However, he was thrilled that his original two rooms were changed to adjoining rooms, which gave him additional exposure and design continuity. In fact, in the kitchen he added an open display unit that is now part of the kitchen design concept.
  • For DC-based Raji Radhakrishnan of Raji RM & Associates, this was her first Kips Bay Show House and her inspiration came from her love of museums and a lifelong desire to be a curator. She also commented that it was not an easy floor plan with which to work.
  • Zoya Bograd and her team from Zoya B, Francesca LaPara and Gabriel Blanco, were responsible for The Sleeping Beauty. Their challenge and delight was placing more than 400 Swarovski crystals by hand onto the mural and wall treatments that Gabriel so carefully crafted.
  • When speaking with Chuck Fischer, both Victoria and I realized that we were acquainted through our past lives. It truly is a small world. For Chuck it was great seeing many of his old clients now that he is back in the interior design world after a hiatus doing pop-up books. In his Show House room, he was also, in his own way, able to honor Albert Hadley.
All in all, it was a wonderful design experience that benefited a very worthwhile cause. Thank you ALL designers, suppliers and organizers! We at the IFDA can't wait until the 41st Edition.

- by Su Hilty, Gift & Home Ambassador at Large, VP/ IFDA Awards & Recognition

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