THE WEBSTER INTERVIEWS INTERIOR DESIGNER ATHENA CALDERONE

interior designer athena calderone

THE WEBSTER INTERVIEWS INTERIOR DESIGNER ATHENA CALDERONE

Kate Moss photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, Vogue 2013Kate Moss photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, Vogue 2013





A WORD WITH:

 

ATHENA CALDERONE

 

WHAT: Interior Designer

WHERE: New York

 

To celebrate the launch of her latest book Live Beautiful, we spoke to interior designer and author Athena Calderone on the elements that make a space special. From the power of paint to a punch of personality, discover Athena’s thoughts and process for design.

 

Photography by Nicole Franzen

TW:

Where do you spend the most time in your home?

AC:

I am most often in the kitchen as it is my studio, workshop, place of creation, and where I gather most often with the people I love. I have also manned to marry both aesthetics and function in the design of the space which I find incredibly important. You should never rob a functional space of decorative objects — I believe your kitchen should be an extension of the rest of your home and have personality!

Dior Dioriviera Capsule Fall 2019Dior Dioriviera Capsule Fall 2019

 

Photography by Nicole Franzen

TW:

What do you notice first when you enter a space?

AC:

When I enter a space I am usually drawn to the composition and alchemy of furniture and objects. I love how form, scale, and composition can cause your eye to bounce around the room, gently landing on and discovering new things at varying heights. To me, that is what defines a successful space — playful allure and curiosity. And always some sort of tension or contrast.

 

“To me, that is what defines a successful space — playful allure and curiosity.”

 

Untitled (Picasso) by Maurizio CattelanUntitled (Picasso) by Maurizio Cattelan

 

Moodboard for Laure Hériard Dubreuil’s home.

Chanel Spring/Summer 2020Chanel Spring/Summer 2020

 

Moodboard for Athena’s Brooklyn home

TW:

What do you consider first when designing/redesigning a space?

AC:

I love to allow one piece, whether that be a sofa, piece of art, the patina of a vintage find, or a material, lead the way. I like to allow each piece to inform the next — to me these are the building blocks of design. I find that allowing design to unfold piece by piece, material by material is when the magic of design can take you by surprise. A perfect example of this is if you have a soft material like velvet that also has a bulbous shape, you might want to pair it with an angular piece in a harder material — this was my process in initially choosing my 1970’s Mario Bellini sofa and uniting it with a two tiered marble coee table from Apparatus Studio in my living room.

Design really is so personal—it has to begin with you! In my opinion, there are no hard-and-fast rules. Each of us has a guttural instinct when we see something that we’re attracted to. Anything that truly makes your heart sing should find its rightful place in your home, whether you’re a designer or not. Pay attention to what your eye lingers on when shopping or traveling—those objects become personal, intimate, and a reflection of who you are.

Jean Paul Gautier Spring 2000 CoutureJean Paul Gautier Spring 2000 Couture

 

Jean Paul Gautier Spring 2000 Couture




TW:

What are simple steps to take to uplift and transform a space?

 

AC:

I am always taken aback by the power of paint. It can transform a small space, making it feel larger if you use a dark bold color, or it can envelop a space if you paint a ceiling and wall the same color -- offering a cocoon-like feeling. You can 1000% alter old kitchen cabinets with primer and a fresh coat of paint. There are even many lime wash mineral paints on the market now which can add a tactile texture to a room. With paint alone, you as a designer can draw the eye to what you deem important using a bold or dark color. The possibilities are endless.

“I find that allowing design to unfold piece by piece, material by material is when the magic of design can take you by surprise.”




TW:

Do you find a correlation between the personality and intimacy of interior design and external influences?

 

AC:

I think everything informs the individuality and intimacy in our homes. All that we see and experience permeates and is stored someplace within our psyche. Everything we see and feel whether that be a texture we experience when we travel, an emotion we feel inside a sacred place, or the trees budding on a walk on a spring day — I believe it all gets stored inside little drawers in our minds and we just never know when an idea will surface because one of those drawers has suddenly flung open. The way in which we are currently using our homes with Covid 19 has caused us to vastly adapt our at home experiences. For many of us it is forcing us to get crafty and creative in ways we might have usually reserved for outside the home.

Jean Paul Gautier Spring 2000 CoutureJean Paul Gautier Spring 2000 Couture

 

Photography by Nicole Franzen

Photography by Nicole Franzen

TW:

What is your dream project?

AC:

I would very much love to design a hotel and restaurant one day. And create a small decorative object collection.

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