Infusion Design

Nanez5a copy        My designs stem less from a favorite look or style than from an overarching philosophy, a commitment to embracing the broad range of possibilities presented by a world of materials old and new, of objects both found and manufactured.

I call this approach “infusion design,” by which I mean capturing the ideas of the Old World without forgetting about the present, stirring melting pots of cultures and allowing opposites to coexist, pulling together objects from around the world, each piece with its own story to tell, to create a richly layered, textured, unified whole. This frequently involves making a large statement by way of a regional specific—an armoire from Indonesia, a decorative screen from Morocco—that can serve as the focal point of the design. From there I home in on the details that complement, contrast with, and otherwise “finish” the design.

Here in Santa Fe, the popular aesthetic known as Santa Fe Style has been variously overdone, watered down, misrepresented, and shamelessly hyped. Nevertheless, the historical and cultural influences that spawned this style remain strong and vibrant, and its timelessness, natural warmth, and adaptability provide an appealing backdrop for my own interpretations, which eschew the clichés while retaining the essence. The architectural elements of the region—round beams, adobe walls, natural wood finishes—create a versatile aesthetic that can embrace an infinite variety of designs, while the nomadic nature of Americans generally, who move freely about the country bringing their favorite decor items with them, makes for limitless opportunities to infuse my designs with intriguing juxtapositions and unexpected placements.

The idea of infusion comes into play in other ways as well. When designing a contemporary look, for example, I like to sneak contrasting elements in through the back door, such as creating a great table out of reclaimed wood to temper the severity of glass and metal. With a traditional design, I might add geometric, contemporary pieces as an element of surprise. I usually try to avoid using too many manufactured goods, but if I do use them, I like to include a found object for contrast. Conversely, if I’m using a lot of antiques, adding something new can freshen the overall look. I’ll often create new pieces carved from wood to echo ancient idioms, bringing the old and new together in yet another way.