GG) This is an interesting question. In fact I studied architecture purposely knowing that I wanted to practice interior design.
In my initial forays into the opportunities to study interior design available to me in Wisconsin 30 years ago I found that I wanted more theory and history of big ideas. Additionally I didn’t really recognize the boundaries between architecture an interior design – for me they are really integral to good and enduring design.
With that said, I start every project documenting and analyzing the existing architecture to see what the space is capable of doing. Sometimes by moving a door or removing a wall or creating greater intimacy by closing in a space can truly transform the functional and aesthetic experience of a space.
GG) I believe that people’s environments are a reflection of the occupants. I have been to so many people’s homes and apartments and each one tells a story about the owners – their personal history, their values, their circumstances, and the degree of order or chaos in their lives. This is important information to include in the development of the design that is specific to them. Often there are things about their environment that they have never really thought about so it then becomes a process of collaboration and education and dialogue to help them to create a project that takes them to a place that they could never get to on their own, but still feels like home.
Interior design at its best is really a form of portraiture of the owners. I personally don’t think that it should be purely a reflection of the designer – then it is just about merchandise and sales. I ask all of my clients where they would like to be in their lives in five years. The answer to this question is in many ways more important to me than what do they wish their Living Room looked like last year.
I have this fantasy that if five different interior designers created the same project for the same clients that the clients themselves would be legible to one degree or another in each project. Sadly however, I don’t think that in reality this would be the case…
GG) I appreciate the acknowledgment.
I like to create environments that I think of as ‘half full and half empty’. In working towards this goal everything that gets put in contributes to the quiet dialogue that takes place between the objects in the room. I have found that I like objects and art from many eras and places, but in order to create an environment that is appropriate for our time, the objects and art need to be able to breathe. When this balance is achieved the rooms have a calm and elegance that is both reassuring and pleasant.
GG) We have shared countless art experiences in New York City, in various cities and towns in America and overseas, including many Venice Biennales. It has been a joy to have someone to share these experiences with. We also have a shared passion for printed matter which has manifest itself into a collection of art books that numbers in the thousands. My wife has not been involved in commerce in the art world for 20 years so her interests are more aesthetic and intellectual than market value. We have had lots of dialogue about art, and her suggestions have been valuable when assisting my clients with developing their collections.
GG) It has certainly been a learning experience to navigate the world of bright colored plastic in my own home, while still seeking to find a balance with the calm that I strive for in my clients’ homes. And then, once I think I have it figured out, it changes again!
I shouldn’t be surprised, or so I am told, that my daughter has very strong opinions about all things aesthetic at nine years old. She is one of my most challenging ‘clients’! Maybe one day she will take over my business!
Glenn may be contacted at:
Glenn Gissler Design
40 West 29th Street, Suite 404, New York, NY 10001