CovetED Magazine presents you with an interview with Amy Lau, a contemporary interior designer and co-founder of the Design Miami fair. Embracing art and design as one, Amy Lau became recognized for her signature artful living style that evokes finesse and transmits pure magic. Stay tuned!
“I would say Amy Lau as a professional is very spirited, creative, honorable about the materials and the pieces that are being used. Let’s say she knows her, knows her history, the history of design and interior design lively, and never takes no as an answer. Persistent, persistent.” – Amy Lau
Considered to be one of the most renowned designers worldwide, the New York-based interior designer reveled to CovetED Magazine some exclusive details (and secrets) about her professional career as an interior designer.
Her passion for design, art and craftsmanship is something that has been always present in her life from a young age. What for many people is a long-lasting quest for a professional purpose and passion, for the designer this process was something natural. “I’ve always loved anything that had to do with objects and pieces, I loved the stories that they tell, the history, and the craftsmanship”. Right after graduating from college, Amy worked for a distinguished import-export store called Antigua de Mexico where she had the chance to connect with several master artisans in developing beautiful pieces, but also to create the interior design for the retail sets to exhibit the products. It was a chapter that tough her a lot of skills not only in terms of artistry and craftsmanship but in interior design as well.
East End Avenue Residence
However, it was when she was working as a gallery design director for Lynne Weinberg, that the interior designer saw the opportunity to go on her own and create her own design practice in 2001. At that time she already had several curatorial works for different international shows, and people started to search for her advice after they saw her work. “I had so much inquiry about what I was working on, and people would ask me if I could do their places, so I decided to open it up in 2001”. Since its first day, Amy Lau’s design studio has been famously recognized for creating unique high-end interiors known for their warmth, expressiveness and impeccable attention to detail, a reputation that stands until today.
Park Avenue Triplex
Her high-end aesthetic embraces both art and design, where each personalized space is enlivened with dynamic mixes of vintage and contemporary pieces and site-specific commissions. The inspirations can be different in any project but it all starts the same way. “I start to build things up almost like a puzzle. So I have a little piece here and a little piece there, and as I get to know them more and more, I create this environment for them but on a high level”.
According to the interior designer, the secret to creating a truly different and unique design is to have a passionate client who wants to create history and has a secret passion for art. “They give me the inspiration for things, but I’m able to translate it to high-level interiors”. The client and designer relationship becomes so special that the project ends up channeling all of their likes and needs, but with a design that is a little outside the box. “You want to challenge them, you want to encourage that to push the button a little bit further. Not too much, but just enough to see if they’ll take this kind of risk in creating this and certain pieces”, explained Amy. That is the true secret to the ultimate artful living experience.
Bridgehampton Beach House
Amy’s portfolio of luxurious residential interiors includes an array of artistic and sophisticated homes throughout the world, so when it comes to choosing the one that marked her professional path there is a lot to think about. ”There is a lot in my mind that are memorable, but this is the first apartment that I’ve been able to design for myself, which it’s not done (laughs) and which every single piece was all torn apart”.
Located near the iconic Carnegie Hall, Amy’s apartment is the most special project that she has done so far. The apartment was built in 1908/1910, so the New York-based interior designer searched for inspiration from different styles around the world of that time, such as the steel style as well as the secessionist style. From the flooring, which is in the Chevron and with the inlay made with walnut wood, to the lighting that’s from all of the secessionist lightings with a lot of glass, every single thing was carefully tough until the last detail.
Water Mill Residence
The firm’s work has been featured in several top design publications such as Architectural Digest, Elle Decor and House Beautiful, and has earned many of the most prized awards in design, including the House Beautiful Next-Wave Award, Architectural Digest/AD 100 Award, ELLE Decor A-List and the Luxe Interiors + Design Gold List. However, from all of these special moments, there was one more special than the rest.
“What really marked my career was when I received my honorary doctorate from the New York School of Interior Design. I was really taken that the educational institution recognized my work, and honored it, and I thought that was extremely special. So for me, that was one of the top highlights”. – Amy Lau
Architectural Digest Design Studio
Besides her timeless interiors and bespoke product creation, the interior designer has also published a monograph in 2011 called Expressive Modern: The Interiors of Amy Lau. A book that highlighted bits of history that influences her work, through quotes from different artists or interior designers. Many aspiring interior designers ask themselves how they can create such a successful studio as Amy Lau Design, and the interior designer told us her secret. “Mentorship is everything. I’ve had one, two, three major mentors in my life that have helped me get to the place where I am now, and there’s nothing like it”.
Now the apprentice became the mentor, and she revealed that one of the most challenging aspects that she had to face is the fact that young people no longer seek a long learning process like in the old days. Now, most young professionals want to work in a place for a year or a year and a half and then jump to another place seeking a new experience, which turns the mentoring process a little bit more difficult.
“It’s very hard on interior designers because we give so much to these employees to train them the right way and it takes so much time, and just when they’re finished being trained, they’re ready to jump to the next. It’s mentorships where you can exchange ideas, and talk them over with someone that knows much more than you do. It does take time and you’re going to have to put in the hours, and you are going to have to work very hard because this is not an easy job. It’s a very challenging one, but it is a beautiful one.” – Amy Lau
West Chelsea Loft
Currently, Amy is working on several projects across the United States, in New York and Connecticut as well. As for the next steps, the interior designer revealed that there is a new book coming soon, as well as a new space, almost like an atelier/gallery, where people can actually see some of her work as well as do creative brainstorming sessions. For every environment, for every client, Amy’s highest mission and greatest achievement will always be to create livable, meaningful homes filled with harmony, artistic integrity, beauty and inspiration.
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