Art and interior design are creative fields that meet more often that we think. Singulart is interviewing interior designers to discover the latest trends. Zoe Feldman shares her passion for design and art in our exclusive interview.
Can you introduce Zoe Feldman Design?
Zoe Feldman Design is a high-end interior boutique design based in Washington D.C’s historic Georgetown neighbourhood. I have been decorating interiors for more than 15 years now.
We are specialized in residential restorations and ground-up construction projects while keeping our eyes open for all kinds of different projects. We believe that good design should be attainable and accessible for all. Design does not have only precious and luxurious, just like fashion in the end.
How would you describe your interior design style?
We aim at working sustainably, by using a lot of vintage and antique furniture for each home. I like to merge the old and the new together. Our projects are mostly historical homes in Georgetown. This is where I like to modernize the interior while keeping its old character, making it less static.
Some firms have their own signature looks, but I do not think we have our own specific style. We are constantly trying to get out of our comfort zone. Primarily, we want to share a feeling. I want people to look at different projects and say “this feels like Zoe’s work”.
What inspired you to create Zoe Feldman Design 15 years ago?
A little bit of arrogance. I was working for this great interior designer firm in New York City but something was missing. I realized I did not like working for these people, and so it came from a place of desperation really. Then I had to move to Florida where I had trouble finding a good fit after working such a prestigious firm. I was not prepared to have my own business and I made all the early mistakes. In 2004, I moved to DC and it was pivotal for me. I reconnected with all the beautiful buildings and I just knew I wanted to have my own business.
What is your background in interior design?
I used to work in advertising and I hated it, so I left. And then, I believe it was my mom who hinted at interior design. I never thought of it as a career. My mom worked with a decorator, I grew up around Pop Art. Still, it had not clicked for me that this was something I could do for a living. So I began at Parsons School of Design.
Then I found my first job at the Manhattan firm Mark Hampton Inc. Back home, I had this background of Pop Art and vibrant colours. With Mark Hamptom, I discovered a more classical and traditional style. I believe that these two influences set the line for my own style today.
Which is your favourite room in your house? and why?
My house is always being renovated and redecorated. I would say that my living room is my favourite area because this is where all the entertainment happens. The room where I have my friends over and spend time with my loved ones. It is also where I have my most exciting pieces and artworks to show to share with my guests.
Then what is a perfect living room for you?
First of all, a living room should have an obscene amount of art, not only one piece, you can have a nice gallery. Then, some mid-century classical pieces and antiques that show their time. Some neutral colours to let the colour come from the artworks. I also like to play with sculptures, and use art as a kind of furniture too.
According to you, what are the current trends in interior design?
What is your favourite part about working on an interior design project?
The end is what is most exciting for me. The beginning process always takes a long time. But with the final execution, everything comes to life. Especially when the art goes on the wall. Everything begins to have a heartbeat and that is what I love the most.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I do not find my inspiration in one place. Each building has an opinion and of course, the client has an opinion, this is the foundation. From there, I get a lot of inspiration from colours, fashion and art. Lately, I got very inspired by watching the Mad Men Series.
It can be anything. Sometimes it is nature, films. It is not one moment: it is ongoing, a combination of moments. I am currently very inspired by French architects for example, I would love to work on a historical Parisian building. I love travelling. Part of being a creative is to not be one place all the time.
What was your latest art inspiration?
My grandma had a huge collection of artworks where I found a lot of my inspiration. The artist Alex Katz is still one of my favourites. He paints deconstructed figurative art, with a playful quality to it. His artworks still feel very relevant today.
What is your favourite art movement?
I will have to say the Pop and Modern Art movements. When it comes to Picasso for example, I really appreciate the abstract quality of that space, it’s a classic. With Pop Art, it has such a presence, Haring or Warhol, it is all just very cool and colourful. I want that combination of movements. I believe that the layering and the combination of different movements in art history are what makes art so beautiful. One moment just comes from another one and that is very inspiring.
What is your relationship to art?
Art is an enormous source of inspiration for me. As I mentioned, I have always been connected to art as a child. My grandfather was a collector and opened a gallery. I believe that one cannot design a house without thinking about art.
What is the role of artworks in your design projects?
It is simple, a room is not complete until the art is present. A room is not as beautiful as it could be without the artwork. The furniture is the canvas for art in the end. We usually save a lot of the room colours for the artworks.
We know that art is going to add that special final touch and light up the whole room. Interior design and art are essential to one another. It is a symbiotic relationship. Neither comes first, they need one another to find meaning. Art shows itself best in a home.
What is your biggest dream as an interior designer?
As I said, I would like to work on a historical building in Paris. My dream is also to have a boutique hotel. One that still feels residential and allows me to take more risks, where I could really follow my own ideas. I would integrate art there and rotate it and use the hotel as a gallery as well.
The problem with galleries is that you do not see how the artwork fits in a room. You cannot tell how it will impact your space. In galleries, you first understand the meaning of the artwork, but it goes beyond that in a house. When integrated into the right room, the artwork comes to life and I would like to bring that experience in a boutique hotel, one day.