It’s easier than ever to create unique, personalized spaces, says this master of modern design.
Michael, you’re known for designing clean-lined modern furniture. Describe your aesthetic.
“Classic modern style” is my guiding aesthetic. Now more than ever, modern furniture design intersects with fashion, art, architecture and technology. I draw upon a mix of these influences, combined with a refinement of scale and proportion, and a minimalist approach to decoration.
Some think Modernism means freedom from rules. Not so! What are your core design principles?
Elegance, clean lines, architectural forms, and innovative mixes of materials and design elements. Ultimately, we’re guided by our customers. We’re dedicated to providing fresh, inspiring designs that satisfy and delight.
How is this customer focus expressed in your furniture collections?
With Vanguard, we’ve been focusing on the concept of customization and building furnishings that help consumers create unique, personalized spaces. Our program options let interior designers select their own combination of materials and finishes to create looks specifically for their clients.
People can be intimidated by the prospect of furnishing a home. What’s your advice?
Save lots of images of rooms you love. Pinterest is an incredible resource for design inspiration. After you’ve collected everything that catches your eye, come back to your ideas and edit them to include only the best. Then it’s time to review your true favorites with an experienced interior designer who can help interpret your dream and make it a reality in your home.
Before moving to New York to attend Juilliard, you grew up in Louisville. Did your boyhood home shape your sense of style?
It did. My parents were very stylish, and our home was filled with design inspiration—beautifully furnished with modern classic furniture and art from masters like Saarinen, Platner, Eames and Joe Columbo.
Do you have a favorite piece from your current Vanguard collections?
It’s probably no surprise my favorites are the funkiest and edgiest pieces. I love the Raleigh table, which has an elaborate mix of materials and yet is also rich with functionality. In some ways, it’s more like a sculpture than a piece of furniture.
Your pieces have proven staying power. Do you think of furniture that way when you design it—that it may serve a family for generations?
Because my aesthetic draws on timeless influences, I’d like to think my designs will stand the test of time. I’ve never looked to be trendy. Instead, I believe good design is always in style.