All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Can you meet me halfway, right at the borderline...

Last month I had the chance to talk to one of my design idols, Charles de Lisle, who happens to be based in San Francisco. It was great to meet someone who had a similar career trajectory (fine art to interior design) and whose style is a wonderful mix of high and low. (I love his use of industrial lights as a chandelier in a formal dining room.)

When he took a look at some of my student work, he encouraged me to stand out, take risks, and create lush stories with each project. He looked at my work from a client's perspective, which was a first for me. Up until then I had been obsessed about how my work looked to architecture or design firm (potential employers.) He said I needed photos of work, to get out there and photograph my own home or borrow pieces and stage vignettes in other locations.

That's the next step after all these nice hand- and computer-drawn student projects.

So...I've decided to start with my friends and family. (For some reason, I know three couples that are in need of some inventive interior design help.) I've decided to start here with Emily and Chris.

Let's start with a little background information on these new clients. This young married couple lives in the Central Valley, close to both of their families, but have both spent time in Southern California. They're about to purchase a new home--a tract home--but want this place to reflect their personalities. Emily is an actress/writer/director (and teacher!) and Chris is a musician, so there's a lot of artistic personality in their household. I knew a little about the stuff they had and about the styles that each of them liked, so I took a first crack at some inspiration images that I thought described them (this was my interpretation of them, remember):

Click on the image for full-sized pic.

Because they're young and creative, I thought they would like really graphic pieces and a mix of organic materials with modern touches, like dark paint and cabinets and a few bright, colorful highlights.

But my understanding of them shifted as we continued talking and they kept sending me photos of things they liked and/or already had. Their mix of thift store finds and cinema-inspired style gave me a better idea of their tastes. Because they're young and creative, they want a place that's colorful, vibrant, and full of love.

So I revised my vision, and came up with this:

Click on the image for full-sized pic.

Of course, this is just one of the first steps of an ongoing process. They'll continue to send me images, and I'll keep sending back ideas. This is one of the reasons why I like residential design--you get to know your clients on a deeply personal level. My instructors at school always pegged me as a commercial designer, but I think it's a natural progression to go from conceptual art to residential design: both involve sensitivity and a substantial dialogue.

So what do you think, Emily and Chris? Talk to me.

(Special thanks to Caroline Myers for showing me how to use the groovy collage software!)


Jolene said...

The collage/project - looks great. :)

Emily said...

I love love love the red partridge picture you found! I like both kitchens. The dark cabinets are beautiful and are probably more do-able than the all white. Rad paper wreath! What I like about the new kitchen picture is the splash of yellow and green- super antique and 50s looking. I also like the wall paper in the dining room. It's easy to find stencils and do that ourselves. I like the quilt over the guest bed. That may be a cool place for Nana's quilts! I am positive that Chris would like the master, especially the bed frame and modern lamps. We don't like too much clutter, so the cabiny picture is a little much, but I love the mismatching chairs and pillows. Your intuition for nixing the guitar images was a good idea. Although Chris plays, he's not too into music art. (Except for this rad photograph of Keith Richards we saw our last visit to SF last time. Click my name to see the photo.) Don't really like the realistic birds or the white drawers- too frilly for me. Have I told you how much I love the hardware from Anthropologie? OOoooh man their kitchen hardware makes me drool...