If your haven't read our Meet Our Members column yet, please stop by each month to learn about our talented community here in the New York chapter. Today, let's chat with David Santiago, who we are proud to call our Vice President of Membership and Vice President-elect.
What inspires you day in and day out?
The adventure of something new always inspires my creativity. The people that I work with and collaborate with in both design and music. My surroundings play a key role in my inspiration Whether it's in the metropolitan area where I live or travel to places like Italy, they infuse inspiration into my work. Also the theater plays a great role in my imagination and inspiration. I always go to music and opera to be enlightened.
Lastly, I reflect from time to time on the interior designers who have influenced me throughout the years, including Mark Hampton, Billy Baldwin, Dorothy Draper, Mario Buatta and Raymond Waites to name a few.
What do you do?
I have the fortunate blessing of living a life of duality. I am an interior designer and opera singer.
I have a full-service interior design business. I also do consulting for smaller projects for clients that are not in need my full services, which include general contracting and project management. I have trademark -- my Strictly Santi brand -- and have expanded on my talents. I am furniture designer, focusing on case goods and upholstery. I have also ventured into the world of fabrics and wallpaper with collection launching later this year.
I am also a collaborator on many facets of design, particularly set design, which has been featured in Opera News magazine by photographer Dario Acosta.
As an opera singer, I perform with regional opera companies in concert or full production. The fact that I have my own business allows me the freedom to navigate my work throughout the year and plan accordingly for auditions and roles.
As a trade advocate, I am the President of the New York Chapter of the Interior Design Society and Vice President of Membership and Vice President-elect of the New York Chapter of the International Furnishings & Design Association (IFDA).
Why are you great at it?
I am great at communicating with people and sharing my zest for life. With interior design I have a unique ability to take the traditional and Infuse it with the unexpected, ultimately creating a beautiful, curated space. I have a talent for mixing patterns and playing with colors. My clients go on a journey with me.
And with music, I share my passion for opera with my audiences; I give my heart and my all. I guess that's how I pretty much live my life; I'm great at wearing my heart on my sleeve.
Why did you join IFDA?
I joined IFDA because of the influence of Richard Segal. He was one of the first in the industry to open his arms and take me in and mentor me. IFDA became a go-to organization for me to meet design colleagues and Industry leaders and to expand my education and Community. I've also had the privilege to be on a platform to mentor and give back to our community with the student outreach program IFDA provides for students.
How can we learn more about your business?
I am a lover of marine biology and wanted to study marine mammals. After that didn't work out, I studied theater at HB Studio which ultimately led me to my passion -- music. I am a graduate of Mannes College of Music