Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Architectural designer and head of studio design for Modern Age.
Hometown: Bardstown, Kentucky.
Studio location: Brooklyn.
Describe what you make: Simply put, I bring brand identities to life at every physical touchpoint. I approach the customer journey from a spatial, sculptural viewpoint and design immersive experiences that resound with purposeful beauty.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: In 2017, I launched Dinner with Designers, an intimate event series that offered the design community a dedicated space for thought-provoking conversation and inspiration. It broke down some of the barriers between designers and the reality of their success journey, and it encouraged mentorship. It was a place for peers to connect, network, and converse within the whimsical magic of the Dinner Party. We hosted more than 20 dinners across two years with designers, such as Archie Lee Coats from Play Lab Inc, landscape architect Martha Schwartz, and architect and writer Keller Easterling.
Describe the problem your work solves: Changing people’s perspectives about what can be beautiful—not simply operational—is one of the most compelling aspects of my work. I see space from a sculptural stance. I believe in taking risks, feel-good originality, and moving away from expectation when it comes to infusing texture, form, materials, and color into an environment. There’s so much to gain from pushing functionality into a realm of convention-breaking. Creating an exceptional experience without exclusivity is the ultimate aspiration.
Describe the project you are working on now: As Head of Studio Design for Modern Age, an aging wellness brand that launched on April 25, I designed the brand’s flagship studio in the Flatiron District of New York. Upon stepping through the Modern Age studio doors, we wanted guests to immediately experience a sense of comfort, care, and transparency. Every design element is deeply considered, resulting in a holistic and sensorial experience—there are fresh floral arrangements with medicinal scents, joyful colors that evoke a sense of relaxation, and warm blankets offered during treatments to provide maximum comfort. The space is infused with painterly textures, soft gradients of light, and a complex palette of thoughtfully selected materials.
My work with Modern Age extends beyond just the design of the studio and because Modern Age is a new brand and company, the project doesn’t end when the flagship studio doors open. We are constantly iterating on the concept, evolving, and perfecting our customers’ experience.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: I’m really excited about our ongoing collaborations with Bala! At Ringo Studio, we thrive on deep-set exploration of a brand’s identity and physically bringing it to life across multiple markets, scales, and forms. In 2021, we designed seven stores (spanning five major U.S. cities) for Studs, a jewelry and piercing brand. This year, we opened Bala’s first retail store, and we’re working on their new HQ in Los Angeles. I’m particularly excited about an upcoming project launching with the brand next month—you won’t want to miss it! It allowed us to dip our toes into the world of experiential set design.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Fresh flowers, art made by my peers, and trays of inspiring material samples that keep me in a creative zone. More often than not, there’s also been a plate of the Oatmeal Gooey Cookies from Funny Face Bakery within arm’s reach—a habit I picked up while we were designing their Soho store!
What you do when you’re not working: I love to travel when I can—it fuels my creativity. I’m also learning how to DJ…
Sources of creative envy: Georgia O’Keeffe. When I visited her ranch in New Mexico, I realized the extent to which she incorporated art into her entire being. She curated every aspect of her life from her clothing to the objects that surrounded her home and the food she grew in her garden. She had a vision for identity.
The distraction you want to eliminate: I would like to utilize Instagram more intentionally because it can easily become a distraction. The platform is essential for my work—I’m constantly discovering new brands and using it as a networking tool. I am often DMing the CEOs and brands that I work with on Instagram. It’s also important for me to follow how other users engage with the spaces I design. What selfies do they post? How are customers engaging with the space through social media?
Concrete or marble? Marble. I love the painterly colors and markings.
High-rise or townhouse? Pre-Covid I was townhouse. Post-Covid I am high-rise.
Remember or forget? Always forgetting, unless it was a visual experience.
Aliens or ghosts? Aliens.
Dark or light? Light and colorful.
(Photography by Anna Morgowicz)