THE hand in design
I have always been inspired by hands. Though hands are only a small portion of our overall personal landscape, they make up for their size with their magical ability to channel, connect and create almost anything. One of my favorite sculptures is The Cathedral by Rodin. I find it remarkably beautiful, ethereal and even spiritual.
As a devotee of natural materials in interiors, it’s no surprise that the hand plays a major role in my design work. In the industry, when we speak about the “hand” we are referring to the tactile sensation. Items with a nice hand have a pleasing touch. I tend to personify objects and materials, even thinking of certain fabrics as “pet-able.” Mohair and silk-velvet come to mind. Wildly different in texture, I find both irresistible. It’s not just the physical sensation I like, it’s how they make me feel inside. My dog Radar also enjoys natural fabrics. Here he is luxuriating on a linen sofa in our studio.
A bridge between outer and inner realms, the hand is a connector. When an item has been made by hand you can feel the pure essence of the object itself, and so can your body. It doesn’t matter if it’s a piece of furniture, a sculpture or painting; there is no substitute for that organic connection. Biophilic design, green design and neuro-aesthetics are hugely popular for a reason. We feel better, healthier, happier and more at peace in our own skin in spaces that connect us to the natural world.
Photograph by Compass Realty
Recently we were tasked with the design of an Upper East Side townhouse. My client requested a calm and cohesive vibe for her six story home. Since you can feel the energy of a home immediately upon opening the door, I put great emphasis on the Entry or Foyer. I thought about using a hand-painted wallpaper that would travel up the stairwell and become the common link throughout the space. Not wanting to commit to paper, the client decided on a hand-painted wall treatment instead. After we settled on just the right color, scale, tone and style, a talented painter used her magical hands to create an enveloping, soothing and inviting atmosphere that permeates the entire home.
I’m thrilled to share some images from our photo shoot. The rest can be seen on our website. Enjoy!
Setting the mood in the Main Entry, hand-painted walls in shades of subtle blue add layered texture and depth. The custom wool and silk rug softens a marble tile floor.
The movement in the design complements the natural stone fireplace.
Reupholstering a pair of existing slipper chairs gave them new life. The addition of a wool-clad settee makes for a comfortable landing zone.
The formal living room features a custom wool and silk rug. A skirted mohair sofa with silk velvet trim is framed between a pair of bespoke embroidered drapery panels.
A Macassar bench upholstered in hair-on-hide, mohair and suede provides an elegant perch in the living room.
Photos by Hulya Kolabas Photography