Last week, we had the pleasure of designing a table for the 125th Anniversary Gala for the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House at Cipriani’s 42nd Street Ballroom. Every spring, forty interior designers, artists and floral designers from around the country are invited to design tables for the annual black tie charity event. This year’s theme was “The Future Starts Now” in honor of their 125th anniversary. Recognized as one of New York’s premier non profit organizations, the settlement house provides an extensive array of human services including social, educational, legal, health, housing, mental health, nutritional and fitness to improve the lives of 15,000 people in need each ranging from 3-103. The event raised close to $900,000 and we could not think of a more worthy cause to which we could donate our time, creativity, and resources. Thank you to Virginia Pittman, Honorary Design Chair Christopher Spitzmiller, and Design Chairs Alberto Villalobos and Lindsey Coral Harper for including us in the event.
When the opportunity arose to host an event in Paris during Deco Off and Maison et Objet, I thought what could be better than to have a celebration of creativity surrounded by the most talented people I know? In searching for a theme for the evening, I decided to take a cue from two of the most fascinating figures in design…Elsie de Wolfe and Tony Duquette. Gay Gassman of Architectural Digest captured the magic of the evening in the lovely article below…
The table setting for Cathy Austin’s Elsie de Wolfe and Tony Duquette-themed dinner party in Paris. Photo: Kelly Marshall
Design has taken over Paris this week with the 10th anniversary of Paris Deco Off and the opening of global trade fair Maison + Objet. Besides the massive fair, this means more than 100 fabric and furniture showroom open houses, countless pop-ups and special events, and streets festooned with oversize lampshades swinging from the buildings in the City of Light. It also means every night is jam-packed with cocktails and dinners hosted by the big industry showrooms, but there are also smaller private events. One of the most intriguing invitations of the season was the beautifully designed one for “An Unforgettable Romp in Paris: An Evening Inspired by Elsie de Wolfe and Tony Duquette,” hosted last night by Charlotte, North Carolina–based interior designer Cathy Austin of Catherine M. Austin Interior Design at the Paris home of AD 100 designer Frank de Biasi and designer Gene Meyer.
This week SOCO Gallery presented its first exhibition of 2019 with Austin Eddy’s vibrant abstract works. The joyful compilations reflect fantastical moments from his travels where he was working in various studios around the world and interpreted through his colorful imagination. I have included a few favorites here, but pictures do not do these justice. The juxtaposition of colors, composition of forms, and layering are much better seen in person!
I am delighted to share this lovely article that appeared in Architectural Digest this past week about my passion for working with artists and connecting them with clients. Using original art and educating clients is a cornerstone of my design aesthetic. I am so grateful I found a profession that allows me to combine all of my desired careers (artist, art history professor, curator, and designer) into one! Thank you to Katy Olson for sharing our story and to all the artists and galleries I have had the privilege to work with over the years!
Austin works with artist Charlie Havanich, pictured here, who is represented by Hidell Brooks Gallery. “I adore Charlie and I just acquired one of his works,” Austin tells AD PRO. “The image in the picture is a commission for one of my clients that bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Jackie.” / Photography: Charle Hanavich
Cathy Austin began her career not in design, but in art, working at Sotheby’s across departments including European Porcelain, American Paintings, and American Furniture. “I assisted the experts cataloguing the works for the auctions, handling archives, client contracts, condition reports, and arranging presale exhibitions. I began as an intern and archivist and also worked as an administrator,” recalls Austin. When she transitioned into interiors, Austin kept connected to the art scene, attending shows like Maison et Objet and TEFAF—but also in a more tangible way, sourcing local Southern talent for her interior-design projects.
I happened upon an interview this weekend on National Public Radio with Nathaniel Khan, the director of the acclaimed documentary, “The Price of Everything” that appears November 12th on HBO. Garnering accolades from every film festival imagined, the documentary breaks down the boundaries in the art world between artists, collectors, auction houses, galleries, art critics, and more. As a self professed art addict and Sotheby’s alumnae, I cannot wait to see this look behind the curtain. When I introduce works of art to clients, I always address what makes it special and why it is valuable. I am excited to hear their answers to the same questions on a much grander scale.
It is always a treat to see one’s own work in print. We were thrilled to see the latest issue of Charlotte Home Design & Decor featuring us in one of my favorite columns where they showcase a different designer each month. Read below for our favorite finds s scouted from around the world…
I am counting down the days until my next visit to NYC to see the much anticipated opening of The Color Factory. This collaborative interactive exhibit debuted in San Francisco in August 2017. Originally just a one month long exhibit, the hype surrounding the celebration of color and creativity lasted for another eight sold-out months.
Opening August 20th, the new exhibition with a palette inspired by New York City is coming to ShoHo’s Hudson Square neighborhood. Covering 20,000 square feet, The Color Factory will feature brand-new participatory installations of colors collected around the city— hues that invite curiosity, discovery and play.
In addition to our interior design projects, we also enjoy working on event designs for special clients. A favorite annual event has become the Visionary Women luncheon presented by The Mint Museum, Queens University of Charlotte and Wells Fargo Private Bank. The purpose of the luncheon is to bring together the visionary women who have shaped the City of Charlotte as well as to honor the Charlotte BuisnessWoman of the Year and Charlotte’s Woman of the Year while providing an inspiring program of forward thinking women breaking boundaries today. Click here to see other special events we have worked on in our portfolio including a a Patrons’ Party honoring Charlotte Moss and Decorative Arts Symposiums featuring Miles Redd and Mary McDonald.
Charlotte has always had a deep affinity for Oscar de la Renta. Not only do his designs resonate with the Southern lifestyle filled with special occasions, but they are also appealing with their exquisite craftsmanship and detailing, palette of delightful colors, and lovely patterns ranging from florals to exotic motifs.
I think original art is one of the MOST important design elements in an interior. It reveals the personality of the inhabitant, elevates the other surrounding items, and adds a magical dimension to any room. Working on the art for the Southeastern Showhouse was a dream come true. Two of my favorite artists, Brad Thomas and Alexis Walter created works specifically for my spaces and my favorite Charlotte galleries, The New Gallery of Modern Art, Hidell Brooks Gallery, and SOCO Gallery allowed me to curate my own dream installation from the artists they represent, many of whom have become friends. The majority of works are by Southern contemporary artists with a nod to my NYC days represented by Stephanie Hirsch and Scott Duce seen below. By playing with scale, unifying colors, and juxtaposing different mediums, I tried to create harmonious compositions throughout the spaces.