In 2013, I was tapped for one of the most important commercial interior design assignments of my career. The venerable brand, American Standard, which two years earlier verged on financial collapse, had a new CEO, Jay Gould, a new Japanese owner, and a mission to upscale their brand for a new consumer audience. American Standard may have been a household name, but its product image had declined to modest toilets that flush. The American Standard marketing team had a tough task to revitalize its stale image. I was selected to help in the task via a design that conveyed luxury.
My goal was to express architectural luxury and redefine American Standard’s idea of America’s bathroom, to a new consumer base. I brought to them a skill set of high design and used art to underscore modern, fresh, and elegance. The client imposed few restrictions, and offered support, and artistic freedom for me to create. Technically, this was a commercial project, even though it was the design of a residential bathroom. In three short months, the project was designed and built. Lyn Horton, an artist whose work I know, was my undoubted choice. I designed the room around seeing the art. The pieces are initially viewed above the desk, but are dramatically and purposefully reflected in a large mirror. This series of art was selected, to command attention and provide a modern counterbalance. My design’s white and crisp aesthetic provided the canvas to see Lyn Horton’s work, while each further decorative touch is in support of her usage of black and white. It is my belief that the use and placement of Lyn Horton’s art pieces are at the core of the projects success, artistically, architecturally, and as a vehicle to communicate the desired luxurious value.
The interior designer, gallery, and artist worked collaboratively on the project. After the designer, Mary Douglas Drysdale and American Standard agreed on the designer’s plan and concept, the designer contacted Cross Mackenzie Gallery and artist, Lyn Horton. The designer communicated drawings and photographs to the gallery and artist. Although, the designer requested a certain size and sequence of repeats, the artist had full control of color, contrast, and motif. The designer was responsible for hanging the art and providing art direction to the photographer to capture the effect and visual relationships desired.
The designer’s long held belief is that completeness of design is the best achieved via a balance between art, architecture, and decoration. In this project, art is used to elevate architecture and express luxury. The designer brings an artist’s eye to all that she does. The bathroom displays toilet paper in engaging stacks and combinations interspersed with books and artifacts. The paint color is hand mixed and painted six times in varying tones of white. Hand crafted teapots and containers also express the designer’s desire to celebrate the heart, hand, and the ideas of fellow creatives
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.