As an interior designer, Angelo Donghia was the first in so many aspects of interior design. His professional history is vivid and emblematic, and unlike anyone before him, he built his business in a manner unheard of for an interior designer.
His work principles were of the utmost. He was in so many ways the first to see himself, and therefore conduct himself, in a professional manner. He established a stringent code of conduct for his firm – which each employee was required to uphold. He knew the importance of organization, responsibility, commitment and dedication necessary to satisfy his clients. In this way, he was able to earn their respect and trust in a way that many designers have never achieved.
He was the first successful businessman in this field to establish different companies and divisions, which produced textiles, wall coverings, furniture, his lasting namesake, sheets, glassware, towels, etc.
He was the first (and probably the only) to have created a design empire under one roof starting at Burge-Donghia and then later at Donghia Associates. One that was centered around all the categories; residential, corporate, and hospitality. His roster of clients was like no other. From such high-profile individuals as Ralph Lauren, Barbara Walters, Diana Ross, Halston alongside Omni International Hotels, SS Norway and so many more, Angelo Donghia was elevated to celebrity status himself. Even to be included in the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame and featured in numerous publications. Like his personal style, his designs were sleek, sophisticated and simply done.
You can understand so much more by reading his bio which appears on the Donghia website.
His legacy is the multi-principled flagship New York showroom. Today under the leadership of Creative Director Chuck Chewning, the Donghia brand has been revamped with the emphasis on the essence of what Angelo himself espoused as his personal design philosophy. A number of original designs from the 1980’s have been re-introduced and are as fresh and exciting as they were when first presented. Chuck Chewning gave CJ Dellatore and myself a personal tour of the updated New York Showroom on the eve of Spring Market at the D&D Building and to our surprise, Chewning has recaptured the essence of the brand and has brought back Angelo Donghia’s joie de vivre through of the vignettes which offer a glamorous and reminiscent look back.
Some of the new pieces (which were never part of the line but private commissions) stand proud alongside other classics from the varied Donghia eras, to include some great designs by John Hutton and of course from the current design team. Each piece captivates and offers the freedom of personalization and creative stamp that designers may avail themselves of when purchasing a Donghia product. Most of which is manufactured right here in the America. Bravo!
Angelo’s Mirror, originally designed for his own townhouse.
Kent Sofa, an original Angelo Donghia design
The product line now looks complete. The legacy had been fulfilled and lives and breathes. Chuck Chewning, in his mission, has held true to the mastery and the influence that the original showroom manifested in a different time when a designer’s showroom was a dynamic source for such a celebrated creative vision. My goodness, I remember the original Donghia showroom and was happy to see this newest version.
Origami Console, a new 2013 addition to the Origami Collection
Art Deco inspired Trammel Console, Spring 2013
This is one showroom/resource to be excited about and to revisit if you have not been in for a while. I promise it will please and excite you.
I would like to close with another insightful interview with Angelo Donghia and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel. I learn something each time I view it. I hope you will as well.
All photography courtesy of Donghia
Written by Carl Lana