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Elle Decor Italia

Charlie Ferrer, the interior designer who revived Art Deco

The interior designer reveals his projects celebrating handicraft, vintage and big names. In keeping with a constant stylistic research

interview-charlie-ferrer

Interior designer Charlie Ferrer works from his New York studio on projects that skillfully combine the use of vintage elements, ad hoc manufactured products, and great pieces from 1900s design. Photo credits © JOSHUA MCHUGH

After working for years in his Los Angeles design showroom, Charlie Ferrer decides to move to the Big Apple to open his new interior design studio. Today, five years after his project has started, his style keeps on evolving yet it features already a big, stunning personality. 

The leitmotiv connecting all of his works is the skillful combination of vintage elements, ad hoc manufactured products, and great 1900s design pieces. Between a trip and a visit to flea markets to find inspiration, Charlie works on various projects in Los Angeles, New York City, Palm Beach and Long Island.

We’ve met him to know more about his work and talk about future projects and trends. 

What are your sources of inspiration?

I find inspiration in my journeys and by visiting vintage markets, restorers and artisans. I try to observe details, the various kinds of finishing, old and new materials. I love to work on interior design projects where I can create special objects that are unlikely to find anywhere else. For doing this I need to do constant research. 

Which was your first project?

A New York apartment. When I look at it, the oxymoron “warm freshness” comes to my mind. The light in this house is incredible because of its southward exposure. The flat brims with precious design pieces, among them a console and a table by Billy Cotton, a chalk lamp by Kacper Dolatowski and the Gemini grey glass table lamp by Andrew Hughes.

 

Working with vintage yet maintaining your own style, something that creates coherence between a project and the next, must not be an easy task.

It is true. I always try – at least in the majority of my projects – to stick to a 1950s Italian-French Deco style. Color is often my best accessory. I use a lot of purple and blue. Speaking of this, I recall one apartment in particular, where, in order to integrate a rug by Ivan da Silva Bruhns, I chose a more saturated color palette than usual – it was real fun. The client wanted to employ several great design pieces, among them a big, gilded Borsani mirror and a couple of chairs by Erton Cadillac with boiled wool and cashmere upholstery by Loro Piana. 

 

Which brands do you work with in your projects?

Since the majority of our clients are interested in out-of-the-ordinary projects, we tend to purchase many vintage design pieces, which we later readapt according to their demands and tastes. 

Then there are brands with whom we have been working for years, such as Forbes & Lomax for electrical switches, Gaggenau for kitchen appliances, Farrow & Ball for paint colors and handcrafted wallpapers. As regards chandeliers, we often work with London lighting brand Collier Webb. 

And what about art?

We often act as consultants for our clients, even though many of them can rely on their own art advisors. Art is very important to me: it is a powerful element that can give life and soul to a home. 

How long do your projects take to be accomplished?

Quite a lot of time. Sometimes even three of four years, like a home I worked on in Palm Beach. Here textures are soft, matt. My studio has supervised everything in the project, from the door hardware to the transparent curtains in the dining room, manufactured by artisans from Lake Como. I made purchases in shops throughout Europe for this project and worked side by side with my client to complete the art collection in the home. The ambience has grown over time, without becoming rigid. My favorite piece is in the living room: two armchairs by Ico Parisi, upholstered with blue velvet, beside a small table by André Arbus. The oak and bronze dining table by Christopher Kurtz is a modern piece, and, close by, there is a bronze floor lamp by Carlo Scarpa. 

Vintage style is back in vogue in contemporary homes. Which is the underlying trend?

There’s a steady tendency to develop projects that celebrate handicraft, know-how, the history and quality of design, distancing oneself from a luxury concept solely connected to the idea of “anything shinning”.

Moreover, design is gradually playing a growingly big part in our everyday lives. I think there is a new tendency to increase awareness and interest in this branch, even with the help of social media that are crucial to it. I hope this process will keep going, and that the latest media may become, even more than today, a reliable means to provide more suitable solutions for a growing audience. 

What do you think is lying in store for you in the future?

I am currently working on the Los Angeles home of movie director Damien Chazelle and actress Olivia Hamilton. I can’t reveal anything but I can only say that I find a lot of inspiration here. Some time ago, I had a design showroom in town and the idea of coming back to work in it for a while appeals to me a great deal. 

Photo credits © Joshua McHugh

www.ferrer.co

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by Valentina Mariani / 7 December 2017

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