In one “office,” African masks hang like family photos overlooking a desk. In another, fashion photos decorate a wall as if clipped from a magazine just this morning. In still another office, a blueprint holds a place on the wall and a scale model of Lower Manhattan rules the desk. And in the last office, greenery takes the spotlight.
These spaces and their intriguing details are part of a new installation at DWR’s flagship Studio at East 57th and Third Avenue in New York City. The installation comprises four offices, each styled with an intrinsically New York profession in mind (photographer, fashion editor, architect or ecodesigner) and legendary New Yorkers in those professions for inspiration.
“The idea was to add a layer of personality,” stylist Marcus Hay says, “and ease into the spaces to make customers feel more at home or to transport them into a real space so they could imagine themselves creating something similar in their own home.”
Reactions from visitors to the Studio have been enthusiastic, says Barry Snowbarger, Studio proprietor. “They love it even more when we tell them some of the ideas behind each room. They usually pick one of the four and say something like, ‘Yeah, I could live here!’ ”
“The four completely different rooms are such an inspirational way to illustrate just how you choose to mix in pieces of your own that tell your story,” Snowbarger says.
Hay, as Studio Marcus Hay, has been a longtime collaborator with DWR, especially in styling photo shoots for use in catalogs and on dwr.com. He says the concept for the personality offices has been brewing for several years and finally could be realized this spring.
As things were coming together recently, Hay kept three people in mind as beginning points of inspriation: the late Diana Vreeland, renowned fashion writer and editor; the late architect Philip Johnson; and photographer Peter Beard.
“New York over the years has attracted some amazing personalities that are full and rich with vigor and life,” Hay says. “And fashion, architecture and photography are all professions that have been associated with life in New York – professions that would require office or studio spaces.”
The fourth office, he says, was envisioned generally as that of a ecodesigner, without a name in mind.
“The ecodesigner is a wild card,” he says, “but is a nod to Brooklyn where there are so many emerging talents in that industry.”
Hay was drawn to Vreeland, who died in 1989, as “iconically New York” and a natural choice.
“Her spirit is still revered and marveled at years after her passing,” he says.
Beard, the photographer, provided a chance to embrace the world. “His circle of muses and subjects are linked to the city,” he says. “The appeal there though was to bring in a global feel as a point of difference. Peter Beard’s work, as many might know, is linked to the photography he did in Africa.”
And Johnson, Hay says, is an obvious choice for New York.
“He designed so many iconic buildings in the city. And his Glass House in Connecticut also mirrors the design of the actual apartment space in the Studio.” Johnson died in 2005.
The foundation of the offices weas assembled with DWR furniture and accessories configured in collaboration with the DWR visual team, and then layered with curious items appropriate to the professions.
“I scoured the city and beyond,” Hay says, “for further meaningful objects and art that would enchant the space, spending a lot of time at flea markets and thrift stores, researching and purchasing on eBay and Etsy.”
“The rooms really sparkled and came to life,” he says, “once we tore down the paper for the final reveal.”