We have lift off! After years in the planning, our new collection with Century Furniture is on its way to retail stores and showrooms across the globe. I couldn’t be more excited. Every design carries a part of me, yes, but more than that, this collection holds my long-held dreams for how to put emotion and connectivity back into the DNA of the rooms we call home.
Most of my silhouettes are connected to history. From neoclassical to midcentury cool, these pieces condense a time line of inspiration. My motive for bringing the past forward, however, is to rethink the now. From every unexpected combination of form to every unlikely pairing of materials, I want to stir up our senses and reorient us to the moment at hand. Sometimes what shifts our perspective forms into a bodily nudge. The arc of our Daybreak Sofa (right), for instance, is calibrated to throw side-by-side seating a curve, pivoting our attentions ever so slightly toward one another.
Looking back on how this collection came to be, I can only describe its evolution as pure alchemy. Defined as a “magical process of transformation, creation or combination,” alchemy is exactly what I’d love for these pieces to conjure inside their destined homes. Modern living is never static. It’s a constant push-and-pull for our attention where choices are farther and wider than ever before. In one sense, it’s easier to find beautiful things. It’s harder, however, to forge meaningful and lasting environments of today’s vast array.
That’s exactly why I couldn’t approach this collection one piece at a time. I needed to make choices easier by gathering a wholly modern assortment within which anything goes. This collection’s mix is bold, yet its pieces effortlessly combine into chic, personality-driven vignettes precisely because they belong to a tightly edited whole. Isn’t that what we all want? To be uniquely ourselves, while still feeling connected to a larger story?
Individualism, modernism and tradition: yes, I believe all three can coexist beautifully. Classic or cool, the most elegant rooms are always innately soulful and reassuring. I want for this collection what I want for any space I design: the room to realize not just who we are, but who we want to be!
The secret to using gold in rooms is that it’s only “glitzy” in small doses. Swathing expanses of walls and upholstery, however, turns gold into a surprisingly confident, stealthily seductive neutral. The right shade of gold, that is… Nothing lights my fire like the blaze of this Phillip Jeffries gold leaf wallcovering (above, center) with enough earthy red undertones to cast a natural aura on rich charcoals, iron grays and coffee-brown woods. Contrasted with bright creams and milky whites, sheen like this creates a mood so enveloping we carried it onto pillows, a few fun accessories (yes, that’s a gold plated slinky), and the smooth Buttercup Gold leather of our new Iridium Chair for Century Furniture
Originally designed as a one-off for Century Furniture showroom floors, this soft new colorway now joins the lineup of available designs by Windsor Smith for Jamie Beckwith Collection. Alternating our “gris” and “blanc” washes with a new mid tone ash gray, this deftly tonal version of our “ColorBlocked!” pattern (named “Cendré”) plays a bit more coy with our illusionistic design of push-and-pull squares.
You’re known for building homes without dining rooms. How does that change how you fashion dining furniture?
That’s true! I much prefer mingling dining pieces into rooms with a variety of seating and entertaining options. And that changes how I think about every seat, table, console or bar cart. My Meadows chair, for instance, sits just a smidge lower than dining’s standard seat height, while its arms and back wing open for the slightest embrace. The difference in height is almost undetectable save you feel more at ease, more grounded, while its wings manage support while preserving a feeling of openness. The goal is a change in posture and attitude.
Sounds like a cross between a dining and lounge chair?
Exactly! Think perfectly appointed cocktail lounge, with a mix of seating and serving options. That’s the kind of scene that works for today’s more relaxed, more up-and-down style of entertaining. Elegant, yes, but nothing to lock us in place.
The back of that chair is also lower?
On purpose! I didn’t want it peeping over. Empty chair backs staring each other down from across the table can put the freeze on a room’s approach. I much prefer the drama of tall armchairs or the sweep of long benches around the room’s perimeter. Pull a dressy drinks table up to that bench, or add a bar cart (taller and more dramatic than dining’s oft-tired sideboard), and you’ve created the relaxed, yet extraordinary feel of a hotelier’s receiving room…the kind of place where you’re drawn to dine just a few chairs over from where you cozied up for drinks
Any thoughts on the table itself?
Scaled up and beautifully sculpted is my preference. A big round, or a long multi-pedestal table that stands on something artful enough to take center stage. Go as large as you can. In my own home, a dining table that comfortably seats 12 is a natural gathering spot in lieu of a kitchen island. Bench or chair, everyone has their favorite seat to come and go, or sit for hours on an ipad. More length means space to be together even while our attentions are pulled elsewhere.
How lucky are we to show off our new Enigma cabinet for Century Furniture against our Zip It! floors and walls for Jamie Beckwith Collection? Sporty, yet sophisticated, we imagined these designs fashioning the dream loft for a skateboarder-turned-internet mogul. Each interlocking notch makes art of joinery or, in our cabinet’s case, jigsaw seams that hinge open with one touch.
Colleagues and friends, you know who you are! My forever gratitude to the artisans at Century Furniture for their sense of adventure and willingness to go every extra subtle tweak. And to my other licensees—Kravet, Arteriors, and Jamie Beckwith Collection (those oors!) — how lucky were we to debut this new collection alongside your lighting, surfaces and accessories? I’m thrilled to have shared with you all this labor of love, and beyond excited to learn we’ve earned the America Society of Furniture Designers coveted Pinnacle Award as the Top Major Collection for 2017 !