Cultured Magazine

December 2011

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Just Her Style Muriel Brandolini's unique design signature—a mix of fantasy and elegant exoticism—was celebrated with a new book and a near sell-out auction at Phillips de Pury earlier this year. Here the talented designer reflects on a very busy fall. Muriel Brandolini An image from "The World of Muriel Brandolini," from Rizzoli. "I dislike the feeling of a room being perfectly set, where is the sense of spontaniety?" —Muriel Brandolini How do you find that balance of modern and contemporary design in your work? I don't really think about balancing these aspects in my designs. When I make a selection, it is not a deeply analytical process—one could almost say that it is love at first sight! I believe that great design remains great— no matter the era, designer, culture etc. I mix pieces that I am attracted to for their shape, texture, material and color. I am constantly changing my own home, even if it's just rearranging a few pieces of furniture or objects on a table. I dislike the feeling of a room being perfectly set—where is the sense of spontaneity? You've (modestly) acknowledged your lack of formal design training as contributing to your ability to be more daring and less caught up with "the rules." Do you think artists who take on design enjoy a similar latitude in their work? I believe freedom of mind is essential when I am designing a space. I always try to surprise myself. I agree that an artist who takes on furniture design for ex- ample is able to approach it with a different eye and mindset—so their creativity can only flourish. With tastes that are constantly evolving, what have been some of your most recent inspirations? For color inspiration—Russian constructivism. I also love visiting the Dia:Beacon and seeing pieces by Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt and On Kawara, among others. You've said that both your homes and your clients' homes are designed to be lived in and enjoyed. How do you achieve that? A home should protect and reflect you. When I design for a client, it is all about them and how they can enjoy and grow in the space. I always keep in mind the practical needs, and how a family can live in the space. The home is a place where you should feel nurtured. Tell us about your Phillips de Pury auction experience. Which piece was the most difficult for you to part with? It was my first auction—and what a fantastic success it was with Phillips. Simon de Pury and his team were wonderful. I would say that it wasn't difficult to part with one piece more than another—it is simply that I liked them all so much, and acquired so much, that I never realized it! Even after placing pieces in a new home we have just built in the Hamptons—a completely modern structure designed by Raffaella Bortoluzzi—I still found that I could not put it all in the house. I am not a collector who puts things in storage; I want to live with and enjoy the work. So if I can't, at least someone else can. Some of the more contemporary pieces seemed to do quite well; did you have any expectations going in? I had no expectations. Works by contemporary designers such as Martin Szekely and Hervé van der Straeten did well—and I was also pleased with the results of the upholstered pieces I have created over the years. 102 CULTURED PORTRAIT BY FRANCOIS HALARD

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