3 Places I Go for Inspiration: An Afternoon with Robin Wilson Carrier, ASID, LEED AP

A new property must have a good measure of personality in order to compete. Too much edge can result in looking dated prematurely. It’s a careful balancing act, for new construction as well as renovations of older apartment properties.
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New York—Helping apartment developers stay ahead of what renters want can be challenging. A new property must have a good measure of personality in order to compete. Too much edge can result in looking dated prematurely. Getting it right requires a careful balancing act, for new construction as well as renovations of older apartment properties.

Robin_302Designers are inspired every day in a variety of ways, and each firm has its trusted go-to sources and suppliers. Part of the job is carving out time to stay abreast of what’s new. I asked Robin Wilson Carrier, ASID, LEED AP, principal of Robin Wilson Interior Design in San Diego, if I could shadow her for the afternoon next time she was in New York. With this in mind, she graciously planned a special trip to three design destinations that fuel her creativity.

Our first stop was ABC Carpet & Home.

In addition to this flagship store in Manhattan, ABC now also has locations in the Bronx, Hackensack, NJ, and Delray Beach, Fla. Part retail emporium, part furniture showroom, this curated home design department store is a handy source for finishing touches for model units (they even have tabletop collections) and a great place to bring developers and other clients for the 360-degree view of what’s possible. “At ABC we can do a quick walk-through to see a variety of styles and manufacturers all in one place,” explained Wilson Carrier.

What’s trending now? According to Wilson Carrier, it’s a curated look.

“In the  past we designed to a specific style (think French Country or Old World). We now mix styles to reflect a more eclectic lifestyle with items that have been collected over time and through travels,” explained Wilson Carrier. “Mid-Century Modern works nicely in apartment models as it is smaller in scale with refined upholstery details. Upholstery such as luxury vinyl that can be wiped down and velvet (it’s a 70’s thing) are back in a big way. We take these elements and combine them with distressed leather and patterned fabrics to layer texture and sheen.”

“I love fashion,” she added. “You can look at what’s happening with colors, textures and patterns. It’s frequently a precursor to what we’ll be seeing in furniture and finishes.”

Next we visited Ralph Pucci International, a treasure trove of iconic and avant-garde design.

This is the place to find a statement piece for a luxury project, connect with enduring classics like Vladimir Kagan or be among the first to see the work of a talented newcomer on his or her way up. Ralph Pucci International is at the intersection of commerce, design, fashion and art. We were greeted by Ralph, who took us on a tour of his Chelsea showroom and shared highlights of a business career steeped in creativity and collaboration.

At age 22, Pucci took over his family’s mannequin repair business. Under his leadership the company began producing mannequins and over the years Pucci has enlisted a series of high profile artists and designers to create a unique body of work that led to the first museum exhibition devoted to the “artistic innovation of mannequin design.” In 2015, The Museum of Arts and Design in New York celebrated Pucci’s ingenuity and honored the legacy of his family’s work with Ralph Pucci: The Art of the Mannequin. Today this high end mannequin, lighting and furniture showroom also has locations in Miami and Los Angeles.

“The Pucci showroom features artists who design artful furnishings,” said Wilson Carrier. “I am inspired by their clever combinations of materials and the distinct quality of each piece. I like to add touches of whimsy and the unexpected to projects that create a unique experience each time you enter a space.”

Our third and last stop was Hudson Furniture, a glamorous brand inspired by the raw beauty of nature.

Hudson Furniture was founded in 2004 by Barlas Baylar who is also the enterprise’s creative director. Baylar first made a splash with his dramatic chain chandeliers in nickel and bronze and today Hudson Furniture offers furniture, lighting and sculpture collections. Petrified wood, rosewood and teak are reinvented as modern, functional sculpture and one-of-a-kind collectibles. “We put high regard and value on these trees by turning them into pieces of enduring art instead of leaving them out to decay,” according to Baylar. “Each Hudson design is hand-sculpted in New York for a one of a kind provenance, intended to be shared by generations to come to the creation of dynamically proportioned, wood, lacquer and bronze furniture.”

Wilson Carrier said, “Even in the most modern of designs, I like to complement the cooler materials such as glass and concrete with the warmth of wood and the luster of bronze. Hudson’s pieces are dramatic and organic making an indelible impression on the living environment.”