Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Founder and creative director of Studio Robert McKinley.
Hometown: Pleasantville, NY.
Studio location: New York, NY.
Describe what you make: I make environments for residences and hotels, along with creating furniture, lighting, and art.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: My home in Montauk.
Describe the problem your work solves: We try to make safe and comfortable places to relax, unwind, and commune with friends and family. We put a lot of thought into how to achieve this, and our main goal is to make sure that people walk into a space and immediately feel a sense of calm and can connect to their surroundings on a human level—we want to design spaces that are not just made to photograph.
Describe the project you are working on now: We just are wrapping up our latest Bungalow project in Montauk: the McKinley Bungalow Edison. It’s a 4,200-square-foot traditional New England Cedar Shake House, which is the largest Bungalow project that we’ve done to date. It was a different design approach from our previous Bungalows, which were more of a mid-century modern aesthetic. We also were able to include standout artworks from Peter Sutherland and Michael Manning. The space is also shoppable, and we partnered with some really great brands such as Reform, EQ3, Heath Ceramics, and more.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: I’m in the process of designing my own collection of furniture and lighting, and the Studio and I have a few new hospitality projects in the works later this year and into early 2022.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Music, music, music. I always create specific playlists, or “soundtracks” as I like to call them, for each project I work on. They act almost as a film soundtrack, setting the scene for every step of the process.
What you do when you’re not working: When I’m not onsite at a project or at our New York studio, I’m spending time with family and friends. I also love cooking, skiing, and surfing, and of course, traveling when I can.
Sources of creative envy: Carlo Scarpa, Daft Punk, Massimo Bottura, and Charlotte Perriand. As you can see, I find inspiration across multiple disciplines and industries.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Mobile phones. They are truly the largest distraction in our world.
Concrete or marble? Marble.
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Aliens.
Dark or light? Light.