March 4, 2015

Michael Dawkins' Ultra-Luxurious, Multi-Level New York Showroom

Michael Dawkins' glamorous multi-level New York store is filled with furniture of his own design, as well as treasures from around the globe.

by Arlene Hirst interior designer Michael Dawkins photographer Craig Denis


Michael Dawkins brings new meaning to the phrase multi-tasking with a career that spans the realms of interior, furniture, and jewelry design, as well as retailing (he has two stores). But Dawkins, who has a staff of 200 in his jewelry workshop alone, doesn't seem fazed. "I will never rest; this is not working; this is my passion," says the Michigan-born designer whose laid back demeanor belies his intense energy.

Dawkins began his career in the world of interiors. Fascinated by working with metal, he decided to try his hand at jewelry and was instantly successful, selling his first pieces to Barneys. There followed collaborations with Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue and a shop on Madison Avenue. Then QVC approached him to do a special line. His debut collection sold out before the hour was over-and he now sells only through QVC, appearing every six weeks or so with a new collection.

Even with all this success, Dawkins had a yen to return to his first love. So in 2010, he decided to jump back into the design pool, opening a store in Miami's Design District-he has an apartment in Miami Beach-where he offered his own work mixed in with pedigreed antiques, found folk objects and contemporary art and photography. "Miami was so well received that it gave me confidence to tackle New York," says Dawkins.

Last November he opened a 10,000-square-foot multi-level shop in the heart of Manhattan's design district on East 59th Street. About one third of the pieces are his own design, which seamlessly blend with upholstery from Verellen and Meridiani as well as idiosyncratic objects ranging from antique Chinese lunch boxes to an African folding chair. Fine art and photography, including works by Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, and Robert Mapplethorpe, cover the walls.

Dawkins is also hard at work on interiors, with projects in Mexico, Turkey, and Brazil, as well as New York and Miami. It's no surprise when he says he likes to be able to design as many things as possible for clients that give him as much freedom as possible. He's more than proved he should.