"An Alexander Calder next to a 16th-century mirror? A set of Damien Hirst kaleidoscope prints above at 1930s commode? All in a day's work for Richard Mishaan, the Colombian-born designer known for exuberant interiors that mix eras and objects with vengeance and impunity. This month, the Monacelli Press releases 'Artfully Modern: Interiors by Richard Mishaan,' a dynamic look at some of his best projects of the past five years.
Fittingly enough, it was a visit to the Paris living room of Yves Saint Laurent that became a formative moment for Mishaan early in his career. 'Rare chairs by Pierre Chareau. A tabouret by Pierre Legrain. Art by Leger, Matisse, de Chirico, Modigliani, Klee, and Les Lalannes...African pieces, Orientalist overtones, and crucifixes!' The experience only served to underscore what the young designer was beginning to understand: 'there are no rules, you don't need permission to blend periods, and quality pieces always work together.' It's an instinct that Mishaan has proven correct time and again by encouraging a contemporary context for his clients' often-priceless collections.
Throughout the book are many showstopping moments, from a powder room covered in startling Fornasetti wallpaper to the 500-year-old ceiling of the designer's second home in Cartagena, Colombia. A Biedermeier daybed piled high with pillows creates a neoclassical moment in a SoHo loft; a graceful foyer featuring hand-embroidered chinoiserie patterns imbues the Presidential Suite of the St. Regis New York with opulence.
'Dining rooms are teh one space in the house were we always want drama,' Mishaan writes, and thus the Yves Klein-inspired shade of saturated blue that Mishaan chose for the inaugural Holiday House Hamptons. This is design as a high-wire act."