April 24, 2015

Q&A with Robert Passal on his DOAD Booth

Robert Passal answers our questions on his design for Arteriors at Housing Works' Design on a Dime event.

by New York Spaces

Robert Passal Interior Design & Archicture for Arteriors.

NYS: How many times have you participated in Design on a Dime?

Robert Passal: I am very honored that this will mark my sixth year as a participant in the Design on a Dime event to benefit Housing Works.

NYS: What do you think makes this event so important?

RP: I think it's essential for everyone to use the resources they have available to them to give back, no matter the size of the contribution. For me, Design on a Dime provides a perfect opportunity to channel my experience into supporting such a worthy organization as Housing Works.

NYS: What have been some of your past themes?

A close-up of Robert Passal's Vignette.

RP: Every year we try to go bigger, and outdo our previous installations. In the past we have created a giant "Giving Tree" and employed models for a "Beach Bash".

NYS: How did your partnership with Arteriors for Design on a Dime come about?

RP: Over the years I have built a close working relationship with the Arteriors family. They have such exceptional product that there is hardly a Robert Passal Interior design that doesn't feature their pieces. Initially, I approached them about supplying all of the lighting for our booth, and as we got to talking about the event and the cause it supports, they wanted to be more involved, and generously offered to be our exclusive sponser.

NYS: Are there products in the booth exclusively from Arteriors? If so, what are some of your favorite pieces in the booth?

RP: All of the furniture, lighting, and decorative accessories in our booth are from Arteriors exclusively. We did supplement with a few pieces of art, as well as books. But other than that, it is all Arteriors.

NYS: Is there a particular piece/pieces that inspired your booth?

Robert Passal for Arteriors.

RP: I would say the Gidget Lamp was an immediate stand out as we were developing the overall concept for the space. A giant punctuation mark lamp seemed like the perfect fit for a Pop Art interior.

NYS: What is the theme of your booth and how did you come up with this idea?

RP: A recent visit to the MoMA reminded me of how inspirational the Pop Art Movement was, and I was specifically struck by the "Interior Series" by Roy Lichtenstein. He appropriated images of interiors from the phone book and then created prints that treated the various surfaces with his trademark techniques. From there, I decided to approach the entire installation as a Pop Up Shop, allowing me to to showcase the Arteriors product in a manner radically different than what you would expect to see in one of their permant showrooms.

NYS: What about Roy Lichtenstein catches your attention?

Robert Passal for Arteriors.

RP: Roy Lichtenstein's graphic sense of color, and understanding of the bold impact seemingly contrasting patterns have on the viewer seemed to me the perfect backdrop to highlight the Arteriors product.

NYS: What is the interactive feature your booth provided?

RP: The goal was to create an entirely immersive experience, so that visitors could feel what it would be like to step into a Lichtenstein painting. The entire vignette basically functions as an overscaled "selfie booth".

NYS: What kind of wall treatments did you employ?

RP: I worked with a dear colleage, Tracy Hiner of Black Crow Studios, to develop a custom wall mural that would bring to life a Pop Art interior. Each wall employs a different technique of Lichtenstein's: Ben-Day Dots, diagonal stripes, and even a trompe l'oeile window complete with a full-height yellow drapery panel!

NYS: Can you tell us about what you did on the floor?

RP: I used mirrored plexi panels on the floor to further enhance the immersive experience by visually continuing the graphic wall patterns onto the floor.

Robert Passal for Arteriors.

NYS: Was it difficult keeping to a primary color scheme?

RP: We often try to create specific perameters in the office to challenge us to break out of our confort zones. I find that when you start with a clear concept, it is relatively easy to stick with it. Every aesthetic decision is filtered through the question of "Is this enhancing or detracting from the core vision?"

NYS: What was one of the most challenging aspects of designing your booth?

RP: Building the ceiling! From the beginning, I knew I wanted to enclose the space to create an imtimate, moody atmosphere. Simultaneously, it would provide another surface to wallpaper. Logistically, it became a bit more complicated than I initially anticipated. But as often happens, the best solution became apparent in the eleventh hour and I'm very pleased with the final result.

NYS: What is the one item you would like to take home from your own booth?

RP: I am most likely to stake my claim on the Heather Centerpiece. I like that it is clean, simple, and timeless.

NYS: Is there another booth that blew you away? Why so?

Robert Passal for Arteriors.

RP: Wow that is tough, as we are in the company of so many talented designers this year! I thought Ron Marvin's aesthetic was incredibly sharp, Nick Olsen's color palatte was truly spectacular, and I loved seeing the chic new fabric collections from both Anthony George and Tamara Stephenson on display.

NYS: Will we find you at Design on a Dime again next year?

RP: I try to participate every other year in order to allow other designers the chance to be a part of this wonderfully rewarding event, but who knows? I was fortunate to be able to collaborate with some unbelievablely great people which made this year was such a joy, maybe you will see me back here in 2016!

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