It's safe to say that Alexandra Loew is an expert in her field. Apart from founding and leading her own Los Angeles-based design firm (which provides complete architectural, interior and product design services), she's also been known to pass on her expertise to fledgling designers at Otis College, where she taught the history of interiors among other related subjects.
Her work has been recognized widely and featured in publications such as Lucky Magazine, InStyle, and California Home+Design, just to name a few. With such an impressive career, it's no mystery why we were thrilled to interview the rising star.
Drawing from her training and her real-time experience, Loew emphasizes that one of the most important aspects of design is the collaboration that takes place between her own vision and the client's tastes. And with this commitment to creating unique spaces tailored to their individual needs, Loew's tips can offer all of us some inspiration for own design projects.
Read through our interview below to learn more about her approach, and be sure to check out the slideshow of her work.
The Huffington Post: Which trends are you tired of seeing?
Alexandra Loew: I make a concerted effort to focus on beauty and tune out noise. In keeping with this spirit, I should decline to comment on this question. But of course, I can’t help myself… So I’ll say, I’d love to see less bereft minimalism and more beautiful mess!
HP: Do you have any signature element you like to incorporate in every project?
AL: My favorite interiors are the ones that become an extension of their inhabitant’s quirks and passions. I aim to get to know my clients and make their homes feel personal and idiosyncratic. To this end, I help them initiate or build unexpected but well-informed collections. That, and a sense that the space should be regulated by some kind of architectural system, is the thru line.
HP: Which design decisions make the biggest impact in a space?
AL: Staying focused on a singular vision.
HP: What’s a common mistake that the average homeowner makes in or to their home?
AL: Bad finishes. Better to use humble materials with a dash of ingenuity, than to do something aspirational. The late great Andre Putman was a master at this.
HP: What house inspired you to be a designer?
AL: Palais Bulles, rescued and furnished by Pierre Cardin and designed by Antti Lovag. John Soane’s own home, in London. Wittgenstein House, the home that the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein designed for his sister… to name a few.
HP: Are your friends or family scared to have you over to their homes?
AL: Gosh, I should hope not! My dad and I have been known to clash over design (or lack thereof). But he’s an analyst and I’m a formalist. It’s all good.
MORE Q&A BELOW
'On a Cloud Shelf by Wendell Castle sits a collection of rare Amphora pottery from Jason Jacques' eponymous gallery. Produced 100 years apart, they both explore fantasy and plasticity. The room is clad in Donghia's "gallery walls" linen. A picture rail system makes for easy rotations of the art collection.'
'The copper plumbing pipes and black chain link, sourced in the jewelry district, create a humble-but-bespoke picture hanging system that navigates the room's primary architecture while adding the allusion of sex and cloistered luxury to what was once a dark and neglected entry. The walls are covered in a paper-backed silk burlap from India.'
'The 1920s Khorassan carpet with signature boteh shapes anchors the room. A vast collection of art and fixtures, pulled together with great passion and a discerning eye by the homeowner, lines the book shelves and surrounds the working fireplace.'
'This kitchen has touches of stream-lined moderne and 1920's pottery and carpets in keeping with the historical context of this pre-War, Deco-style building on Manhattan's Upper East Side.'
'This client's collection of black pottery -- by early French modernists like Accolay, and various artists at the Valauris commune--embody the project's rustic-yet-refined motif. A nineteenth century factory building converted into a loft, where timbered beams & studded steel collars intersect a treasure of finds from the Paris flea markets, eBay, the curbs of downtown New York, and some of the city's best dealers.'
'Layers of color, pattern and texture make this "man cave" a pleasurable space to pour a drink and listen to some vinyl.'
'This is an office for the CEO of a capital management firm in NYC. The color scheme matches the firm's corporate identity and logo; the classic, high Modernist furniture (Corb, Mies, Morgue) was specified to reflect the considered, un-flashy style of the CEO and the icons of Modern architecture in the surrounding Park Avenue area.'
'The cruciform legs on the Morgue conference table specifically relates to the columns of the Seagram's tower across the street; and the iterative nature of the "studies" by artist Ruth Laskey speaks to the careful, quantitative investing approach of the firm's various funds.'
HP: Can you describe the relationship between design and scholarship?
AL: I’ve taught history of interiors and history of design in the past, and I think there’s an element of scholarship in every design project, especially for remodels. This knowledge also allows me to help clients develop strategies for building their own design collections.
HP: How do architecture and interior design interact?
AL: I like to strike a healthy balance between the two. I find that interior design projects are more successful when they have a strong architecture scaffolding to hang onto.
HP: What's the most common misconception about designers?
AL: That they spend their time shopping.
HP: What's the one furniture item/accessory/etc., that no one should have in their home?
AL: I’m not a fan of most scented products for the home.
HP: What’s the greatest design lesson your mentor ever taught you?
AL: To think through drawing.
HP: Why should people care about design?
AL: I’ve relinquished “shoulds.” If you don’t care about design, I won’t try to convert you. We can still be friends.
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