When I look through a design magazine, there's this strange habit I have:
I start at the back and work my way to the front.
I know . . . It's a little weird.
I only do this on my initial scan through a new issue. Without reading a single word, I try to identify designers and their styles based only on their project's pictures.
(Go ahead . . . call me what you will . . . I'm a design geek. No shame here.)
I'm a very visual person.
When I'm thumbing through each page, it's easy for me to not peek at any print, even when it's large, because the main reason I buy these magazines is to soak in the inspiration the images give me. The stories are just the icing on the cake.
Ultimately, this habit I have is used as an exercise that's meant to help me sharpen my vision, give me a test, and hone my skills.
We all want a touch of our own personality to exist within the projects we produce.
This urge to insert a splash of who we are into our work comes from the natural desire we all have to artistically express ourselves and leave our mark on the world.
As someone who's always striving to serve my clients with work they can love, I'm always studying how my favorite designers manage to design for their clients while retaining a hint of themselves in their work and how certain preferences by the designer can be subtle telltale signs of their hand in the mix.
And the other day, as I was leafing through a feature in Architectural Digest and was able to correctly guess who this designer was.
Even though I was proud to have nailed the right answer, I must say:
Determining this designer was not easy.
It wasn't until I was midway through the gallery that I finally figured out who it was. I actually said his name out loud with a smile.
I was certain I had him figured out! His work looked so good, because it is . . . and you know it is, too.
From the back of Architectural Digest and moving to the front, the first image I saw was this:
Hmmm . . . His name wasn't slipping off my tongue just yet.
This look is very neutral. The scale of everything is so proportional. There's a nice mix of patterns in varied scale and type, sophisticated furnishings, and a sweet little brass and wood coffee table that absolutely made the room.
A lot of designer suspects were running through my head, but I couldn't yet pinpoint whose name was written all over the work I was seeing. There are definitely some signs....noted.
But then this image flipped in front of me . . .
This space is bathed in such a rich color.
I thought, "Who's the designer that's unafraid to use color in big doses?"
Now look at how that gorgeous statement table is featured so prominently because everything else in the room is doused in one color.
But the light fixture . . . It's such a telltale sign. The minute I saw it I began to whisper the designer's name in the back of my mind.
Then came another clue . . .
More bold color, and industrial references in lighting and architecture further illustrated who the designer could be.
There are gutsy details with rivets and stainless trim, grand spaces, and a sense of strength and boldness that can only be expressed by a designer who's not afraid of anything.
I know who it is!
Riveted details, industrial nuances and lighting, over-scaled dentil mouldings.
Kitchen elements delineated with stainless trim, zig zag, or geometric patterns.
And, generally, just an overall strong, masculine presence.
I had been Analyzing & Admiring the art of Steven Gambrel
It's obvious, isn't it? I’m absolutely obsessed with this stuff.
I study it. I devour it. This is what I call FUN.
(Click each image to enlarge / view image source)
More work by Steven Gambrel...