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The Interior Design Reference & Specification Book by Mimi Love, Chris Grimley, Linda O'Shea

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Job:02-30056 Title: RP-Interior Design Reference and Specification
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Annabelle Selldorf, describe yourself and your practice.
Selldorf Architects is an architecture and interior design firm with a reputation for
projects exhibiting sensitivity and restraint. The success of our work relies on a
clear and deliberate aesthetic and a commitment to engaging the client in a collabo-
rative process that fosters specificity and a bespoke quality in the project. Our work
is characterized by elegantly proportioned spaces, integrity of structure, clarity of
distribution and function, and a deliberate rendering of light; this approach calls for
exacting detail toward nuanced design.
The portfolio of our work includes a wide range of new construction and renovations,
including high-end corporate, institutional, retail, and residential work. Selldorf
Architects has completed, among others, numerous prestigious art-related projects:
museums, galleries, and art foundations, as well as exhibition spaces and artists’
studios.
You come from a family of architects. Were they your mentors? Do you have any
other design mentors?
My father is an architect and a designer and has always had a great influence on my
work. His work can be described as classically European modern, and certainly Sell-
dorf Architects’ aesthetic is also deeply rooted in the modern tradition. That being
said, its merely a starting point; I have my own distinct strategies and instincts.
Two other people who were part of my architecture education and had a great influ-
ence on me are Raimund Abraham, my thesis professor at Pratt Institute, and Colin
Rowe, with whom I studied in Florence while pursuing my master’s degree in archi-
tecture from Syracuse University.
To whom or what do you look to for inspiration?
In the case of interior architecture and interior design, I always start by looking to
the space itself for inspiration. Each existing building has its own intrinsic quality,
which I believe is useful to work withnot necessarily by assimilating, but as a
statement of original character. For new construction projects, it is the real and the
perceived context, the quality of the environment, the client’s disposition, and the
program that create the foundation for inspiration.
In your renovation work, how do you reconcile your aesthetic agenda with the preexisting pat-
terns and ornamentation?
If the aesthetic is a given bias in terms of taste and style, then the reconciliation happens in
a strategic fashion through critical analysis of the existing individual elements that make the
context what it is. The result may be either a juxtaposition of opposing elements or an isola-
tion of individual parts, but always within a greater whole.
The Hauser & Wirth Gallery in London and the Neue Galerie in New York are unusual places
in which to display art because of the historic detailing; specifically, the wood paneling of the
walls. How do you regard the display of art in these spaces?
My attitude regarding the display of art in these spaces is self-evident in the buildings and
their layout.
Your use of color in the Palacio Canet in Mallorca, Spain, is effective and efficient. With a few
bold colors in the furnishings, you captured both a Spanish palette and a modern sensibility.
How do you approach color in your projects?
We tend to use color and texture more with fabrics and furniture than in architectural spaces,
where we generally prefer white or neutral colors. In certain circumstances, however, color
may be an appropriate response to context. In some ways, color is the most intuitive response
to space.
You have designed residential projects for both individual clients and prospective buyers, as in
the Urban Glass House project. Is your design approach different?
The design approach is the same in either case. When designing a space in the absence of an
individual client, the program is somewhat speculative and the degree of specificity is gener-
ated by Selldorf Architects rather than the client; but the approach itself remains unchanged.
In addition, of course, our designs take into consideration the experience.
Typically, we collaborate closely with an individual; but in the case of the Urban Glass House,
we collaborated with a developer and a marketing consultant in an effort to better understand
the needs of the prospective buyers.
What is your methodology for selecting a materials palette?
While we have certain likes and dislikes or a bias for certain juxtapositions of materials, we
have no set strategy, per se, for selecting a materials palette. The choices we make are a
PERSPECTIVES ON SURFACE:
ANNABELLE SELLDORF
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THE INTERIOR DESIGN REFERENCE + SPECIFICATION BOOK
Job:02-30056 Title: RP-Interior Design Reference and Specification
#175 Dtp:216 Page:206
(RAY)
200-211_30056.indd 206 3/4/13 7:48 PM

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