Tag Archives: contemporary interior design

The New Guard: Gideon Mendelson

a metered mix of mid-century lines and contemporary color

Gideon Mendelson Entryway
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“Interior design is an art form and a craft that, at its highest level, takes talent, skill, education and experience.”

-Gideon Mendelson of the Mendelson Group

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Over the last few years Gideon Mendelson’s name has come up in conversations with my contemporaries, but I’d never had the pleasure of meeting him.  Then back in May I heard he’d created a wonderful room at the Designer Showhouse of Westchester and I decided to investigate his work. His decade old firm the Mendelson Group (coincidentally the cut-off age for a designer’s inclusion in The New Guard) is doing very well, and I was curious to hear what he considered some of the secrets of his success.
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We met for breakfast this week and talked about his childhood as the son of an interior designer, about his belief that design is a service industry, and what he considers the 4 key skills required to succeed.  Here’s an excerpt from our chat.
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Master Class: Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz

Balancing masculine architecture & feminine decor in Venice Beach

12_EDITBenjamin Noriega-Ortiz

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Last week my long time friend Steven Wine, the genius behind the feathered fixtures at ABYU Lighting (who just happens to be Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz’s partner) sent me a message on Facebook about a home Noriega-Ortiz designed and decorated in Venice Beach, California.

The house is a mix of modern minimalist architecture and diaphanous, ethereal decoration.  When it was completed, BNO Design began shopping the story around to the mainstream shelter magazines, but the project was deemed ‘too feminine’ for publication.  I was, of course, intrigued.

I decided to contact Benjamin to chat about the home.  He invited me to coffee at his Soho atelier to talk about it.  During our meeting he generously explained his design process for the home, room by room.  It was a fascinating opportunity to learn about his work, and a great chance to publish the project here on the blog.

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Design: An Evolution Of Style

Are We Destined To Decorate By Numbers?

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When it comes to the topic of decorating there is no beginning and, certainly, there is no end.

I ask your permission to indulge myself in some observations about interior design, a topic about which I have become well versed in these past thirty-five years.  In these days of phone app floor plans, computer generated renderings, and formulated color schemes, the BIG question for me is where do we go from here?

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‘The New Guard’

Neal Beckstedt of Neal Beckstedt Studio

Lucida Office1…………………………

“My clients homes need to not only look beautiful, but function.   How to achieve that goal is critical to ascertain at the beginning of the project, and constantly kept in mind through to the installation.”

-Neal Beckstedt

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Two weeks before Christmas our Design Editor Carl Lana and I were scurrying up Madison Ave in search of some last minute holiday gifts.  We wandered down the sensational white staircase to the home furnishing shop at Calvin Klein.  After we were finished admiring the ‘devoid of decoration’ spruce (classic CK), I noticed Neal Beckstedt eyeing some porcelain.  Having seen him on design campus, I decided to introduce myself.  I’m a fan of his work, so I asked him to join the ranks of ‘The New Guard’, and he graciously accepted.

We caught up for coffee last week, and chatted about his career, his aesthetic, and his favorite vendors.

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‘The New Guard’

Timothy Brown of Timothy Brown Studio

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As a rule, I avoid trendy Manhattan restaurants at all costs.  You have to understand I moved to the city in 1983, at the height of ‘Nouvelle Cusine’.  Paying $40 for 3 ounces of poached salmon and 3 blanched snow peas at Richard Lavin’s joint on 39th Street revolted me.  So when I was asked to join a Christmas celebration dinner at one of Chelsea’s hottest brassieres, I cringed.  After some seemingly ceaseless prodding I buckled to the peer pressure and went.  In the end, the food was good, the crowd (albeit far younger, far taller, and favoring obligatory black fashion) was pretty, and the conversation among my design-ista friends was great fun.

Oddly enough, this man I’d never met, named Timothy Brown, kept surfacing in conversation, and in a consistently favorable way.  Phrases like ‘gloriously restrained’, ‘master at mixing finishes’, and ‘perfectly understated’ were the buzzwords of the evening.  So, the following morning I called his offices, and invited him to coffee.  Here’s what I learned in our charming and spirited interview.

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Holiday House 2012

Benefiting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Photo credit The New York Times

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New York’s Design Showhouses are among my favorite events to attend.  They’re an opportunity to meet both the well established and the new-to-the-scene designers, and to see spacial creativity at it’s best.  This years Holiday House opens to the public today, and I’d like to share a few of the rooms I had the pleasure of seeing at the press preview.

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