Designing Homes as Personal Reflections: Amy Lau’s Philosophy of Interior Design

Amy Lau interior designer

Amy Lau, co-founder of Design Miami, credits her love for nature and interior home design with her Arizona birth. She earned a master’s degree in classical and decorative arts from Sotheby’s Institute of Art and worked at Thomas O’Brien’s Aero studio. Lau founded Design Miami in 2005 and has created various home items, including pillows, rugs, and textiles. She was recognized as one of the top 100 architects and designers by Architectural Digest this year.

Co-founder of Design Miami Amy Lau talks about her love of nature and home design in this great article by the return of design.

Amy Lau, an interior designer, has always had a strong connection to nature, maybe as a result of her Arizona birth. Lau credits the natural world as a whole for her inspiration, highlighting the hues and textures of the desert.

She worked at Thomas O’Brien’s Aero studio for five years after earning a master’s degree in classical and decorative arts from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art before taking a position as the director of design at the Lin-Weinberg Gallery in New York, which specialized in modern objects.

She was a founding member of the Design.05 exhibition in 2005, which subsequently changed its name to Design Miami and focused on showcasing the most well-known companies of modern and antique furniture. She received an honorary degree in 2012 for all of this from the New York School of Interior Design.

She has created numerous pillows and rugs with leather motifs for Kyle Bunting, one-of-a-kind mosaics for Heath Ceramics, colored rugs in wool and silk for Doris Leslie Blau, tie-dyed upholstery for Maya Romanoff, and a vibrant collection of printed, embroidered, and sewn modern textiles exclusively for S. Harris over the course of her prolific career.

She was recognized among the top 100 architects and designers this year by Architectural Digest as well.

We went to meet the designer so we could hear some of her amazing stories.

What does “good” interior design mean to you, Amy?

I’ve always believed it’s more crucial to “curate” a room than it is to merely decorate it. Utilizing collections that enhance each object’s unique properties is necessary to do this. It is crucial to develop distinctive, cutting-edge settings throughout the design stage that screen various styles, items, and preferences. With this technique, the client’s tastes are translated into rooms that are opulent and elegant extensions.

The goal is to create spaces with glimpses of high fashion, happy environs, and spaces that represent what people actually value. The most important quality of a luxury property is that its owners consider it to be a true “home.” In the most visually beautiful and useful way possible, it should represent them, their thoughts, and their passions.

Colors, patterns, furnishings, artwork, and accessories should fit their environment and the owners’ own preferences.

You’ve built yourself an outstanding career. I’m assuming you have a personal philosophy that you “developed”…

No doubt. I constantly want to create spaces with personality and importance, making the most of the natural grandeur of the materials and perspectives. I spend much of my time looking about me to identify the greenery, light, horizon, and other natural components that make up the initial visual ambience. Then, when I’m drawing a space, art and design come together to give each customized room life and substance via dynamic pairings of antique, vintage, and contemporary objects.

You are both an interior designer and a curator of design. You must thus keep looking forward.

Yes. I achieve this, for instance, by hiring up-and-coming artists and established luminaries from the fields of architecture and art to create one-of-a-kind pieces and installations. All with the hope that these items may one day become family treasures.

In my mind, each component of my interiors is a unique work of art that adds to the overall harmony of the room. My work requires me to learn about my clients’ tastes and interests in order to create projects that represent their preferences and interests. I also have to show them how their aesthetic may be improved.

Amy Lau interior designer's style

How do you blend beauty with usefulness?

When the arrangement of its objects is calculated for the best visual impression, a space is said to be “balanced”. Lines and the color wheel should work well together in a space. Furniture with various uses is something I am constantly looking for since I think it encourages flexibility.

For the purpose of designing a transcendent and stylishly one-of-a-kind room, it is crucial to combine furniture, fabrics, lighting, and art with diverse textures and complementing tones. Everything in the room should look as though it was put there with a reason, and that aim should be to turn the house into a magical sanctuary.

What inspires you?

mostly made up of natural components. Fantastic color palettes may be seen in the minute tonal variations between a bird’s blue and green wings or the delicate and intricate textures of a butterfly.

Since I was a little child, nature has been a teacher and a mentor who has shaped my creative thinking and aesthetic tastes. My trips, during which I try to absorb as much as I can from the numerous cultures, craftspeople, and artists I come across along the route, are a constant source of inspiration for me. I’m a big fan of scuba diving, and I love how the fish, coral reefs, and coastal towns I travel to for my pastime have unexpected color combinations.

Furthermore, cultural variety is a great place to get inspiration. Everyone has a tale to tell and a rich history of customs and artistic methods that may be researched and included into my work, from Japan to Turkey, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates.

What guidance would you provide a student who wanted to pursue this career?

to be the best version of themselves. There are many designers in the sector, especially in New York, so you must show drive and determination to stand out. It takes enthusiasm. You must constantly develop because there is a lot about interior design and its procedures to grasp. The degrees of involvement amongst designers, the choices of furniture and fabrics, and the interactions with architects and contractors are just a few examples of how diverse this sector is. Despite my years of experience in the field, I continue to learn something new every day.

In a job interview, what qualities do you look for in a candidate?

My team members always manage to come up with outstanding answers to issues that emerge on the job because they have excellent attention to detail, the capacity for creative thought, and both. They are experts in computers, very technical, and have a great eye for color, surface, and composition. Every person has the capacity for adaptability and can change their concepts or rearrange items to satisfy clients.

What do you think the future of design will look like?

The way we can show them the planned area and available solutions inside the precise architectural framework will be significantly changed by virtual reality. Customers will be able to click a button to visually see the floors, colors, and furniture of the genuine surroundings. And I think that as technology develops, the time it takes for an idea to become a reality will continue to get shorter.

What are you concentrating on right now?

I’m working on a 20,000 square foot project for a house in Dallas. On Long Island, it’s a four-room family home, and I just finished a Brooklyn apartment as well. We’re putting the finishing touches on a vacation home in the Hamptons, and I’m building two distinctive homes on Park Avenue. I’ve also been offered a house in the Bahamas, and I can’t wait to start a top-secret project in Mexico.

What is the strangest job application you’ve ever seen?

Once upon a time, there was a choreographer who routinely entertained guests in his living room and threw parties. They wanted me to turn the living room into a dance floor for 250 people. I created interiors in a deep, alluring blue with sparkling accents because I imagined gatherings with the same excitement as Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” with guests mixing and music blasting.

I also used Lauren Saunders’ embroidered cushions and a handcrafted abstract wool and silk rug from the same house. A bronze sculpture by Claire Falkenstein that hung over the sofa and captured the viewer’s attention with its copper, brass, and crystal accents was the cherry on top.

Which of your past endeavors has been your greatest, and why?

Eventually, almost every room I create turns into a favorite. But there is one project that I value beyond all others. In the fall of 2017, I created a living area dubbed “The New Nouveau” for the Salon Art + Design. The artwork was designed as a full complex in which each component was specifically sought from collectors and private galleries as a tribute to the significant figures of Art Nouveau over the previous 150 years. It included a wide range of ceramics, gemstones, metals, minerals, fabrics, and wood in addition to natural shapes and rounded constructions that were the inspiration for other renowned designers. It was clear from the juxtaposition of established masters and emerging talent that the grandiose aesthetics of Art Nouveau still have an impact on our sector today.

Have you made any future plans?

I’ll be on the road this summer, visiting friends, doing yoga, going to museums, watching documentaries, and learning as much as I can.

For further information

You can check my website or contact me on LinkedIn.

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Pictures from Amy Lau