March 30, 2017
Q&A with the Twyla Team Behind The Art Company's Space at DIFFA's Dining by Design
Twyla Interior Design Duo Clarissa Hulsey Bailey and Kelly LaPlante and Artist Edward Granger Share the Inspiration Behind the Installation.
by New York Spaces
NYS: What was the concept behind the design?
Clarissa Hulsey Bailey: In the past, interior designers designed their spaces around art. For the introduction of Twyla's trade program and our first DIFFA installation, we wanted to bring that practice back. Kelly and I did this by working hand-in-hand with our newest artist, Edward Granger, to use art as inspiration for creating a space. Together, we made the room itself a work of art.
NYS: Since you were using art as inspiration to create a space, how did you approach the design/concept to make it a reality?
Kelly LaPlante: Clarissa and I loved having Edward's piece as a starting point. Knowing that everything we did
needed to center around his art opened our minds to ideas that we wouldn't have thought of otherwise. We used channeled benches, which were designed to be lower than table height, and the light soft velvet that was meant to be read as a neutral to showcase the vibrant color of the art.
NYS: Tell us about the first trade program Twyla introduced at DIFFA? How does it benefit artists, designers, and architects alike?
Kelly: As interior designers, it was so exciting to be a part of the launch of Twyla's trade program. We now offer a competitive discount for architects, interior designers and developers. In addition, Twyla offers the trade dedicated account managers, access to our top curators and rendering services that give designers an idea of how the art looks in a space. There's also more to come—we are in the process of creating a platform for designers that makes art project ideation and collaboration around art with clients seamless.
The Twyla trade program also benefits artists because it exposes their work to a very engaged audience. As a company, we're focused on increasing the average living wage for artists and our hope is that this program helps to achieve that goal.
NYS: Tell us about the furniture in the space, where did you find it? The accessories? What drew you to each piece?
Clarissa: Kelly and I designed the 7'x 5' lucite tables and asked Wonderwall Studios, a studio based in Twyla's hometown of Austin, Texas to produce them. I know I'm biased, but they did an amazing job! The tables had to seat 20 people for the dinner, so we created extra deep tables that almost needed to disappear. We designed the channeled banquettes, which were made by Briley's Upholstery in Austin, in luminous velvet with a short back. Eliana Bernard's pottery, also out of Austin, was chosen because its base color was bone with limited marbling and touches of gold. It gave a handmade but sophisticated touch. StickBulb, out of New York City, also offered an elegant large-scale lighting option that is sculptural without overwhelming the art. Ultimately, we used pieces and textures that would soften the space and create a counterpoint to Edward's colorful, geometric artwork.
NYS: What is a design concept you would love to implement at the next Dining by Design?
Kelly: Edward made the whole process of creating so fun. So, we're excited that in the future we get to work with a different Twyla artist each time to create an installation that is always centered around art. That way we stay true to Twyla's mission and keep it fresh and alluring from a design perspective.
NYS: How did your partnership with Twyla for DIFFA's Dining by Design come about?
Edward Granger: I connected with Twyla through a Los Angeles-based gallerist. I was immediately drawn to Twyla's mission and dedication to putting artists first. The opportunity to work with the Twyla team on this room provided great exposure for my work to an influential community.
When the interior design team invited me to create pieces for the DIFFA booth, we worked together to conceptualize multiple iterations of the space through Skype sessions, phone calls and drawings before coming to the final design.
NYS: How would you describe your artwork?
Edward: I always say my work represents some awkwardly beautiful fantasy world. I focus on minimal, yet bold geometric patterns in RGB vs. CMYK color palettes that are largely influenced by the digital world. Mine is an experimental, multi-disciplinary practice.
NYS: What about what Twyla does with artists inspires you, as an artist?
Edward: Twyla champions artists and makes them feel comfortable through the process. Someone is always there to help and answer questions or concerns at any time for their artists. They make it effortless and I love that.
NYS: We love that Twyla's curators partner with renowned artists to create obsession-worthy limited-edition prints. Did you include any of these?
Edward: The Twyla interior design team, Kelly and Clarissa, and I chose a set of five limited-edition prints to present for DIFFA. We had a large piece titled "Mystify" that was the centerpiece of the installation. It was so detailed and the quality of Twyla's prints are so well done that people thought it was an actual painting.
NYS: What was your favorite part of the design's end result?
Edward: I really loved how crisp and clean everything was. It was so strong and bold, yet so tranquil and calming. The space was celestial—so much so that it looked like you were inside a heavenly digital world.
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