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Industry Happenings, Business of Design

Holistic Excellence in Design: Maury Riad in Conversation with Charles Renfro


Above, an image of the ICA building in Boston

Renowned architect, Charles Renfro, of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) recently joined Fuigo CEO, Maury Riad, for a conversation on achieving holistic excellence in the design process.  As two individuals who professions are deeply tied to celebrating the art of design, they discuss the interplay of exterior and interior design.  Joined by elite interior designer, Michael Lewis, their conversation explores the the intrinsic linking of interior and exterior design art forms and the power of collaboration in achieving holistic design excellence.


INTErior and Exterior: Theatricality and the met cloister's heavenly bodies exhibit

Renfro revisits the theatrics of space in design, and highlights the power of the linking of interior design with the architectural structure of a space, in his discussion of the Heavenly Bodies exhibit at the The Met Cloisters.  An at once serene and moving exhibit by the Costume Institute, designed by DS+R, Heavenly Bodies features fashions such as papal robes from the Sistine Chapel.  Here, theatricality and holism of design (interior display tied to exterior and structural elements)  is employed by recognizing the existing architectural features of the space itself, namely The Cloisters' dramatic columns featuring costumed caryatids.  Renfro and the design team behind the exhibit chose to mirror the positioning of these architectural elements throughout the display, merging the existing architecture with their exhibition design.  As a result of this staging, the show's somewhat spartan elements become larger, more theatrical, and completely fill The Cloisters.  Again, replicating the drama of the structure heightens the viewers awareness of physical bodies in space, both the positioning of the mannequin display forms and how viewers move through the exhibit.  Here, the simplicity of the interior design, so closely tied to the building's structure, creates a theatrical and memorable experience.


On the interplay of the interior and exterior in the design process, Renfro believes that at the core of any object design, whether that object is as small as a drinking glass or as large as building, the interior must be considered in the creation of the structure itself.  The interior and exterior of an object are intrinsically linked and should be thought of as merged unit.  Renfro believes that this is only bolstered by collaborations between interior design artists and architects, like a recent Hampton’s-based project in which DS+R worked closely with renowned interior designer, Michael Lewis, to create an impressive, artistic and unique residence.  In discussion of this project, Lewis echoed Renfro’s sentiment, noting that the interior details of this project, from the design of the chairs to the doorknobs, were created and placed with attention to the building’s exterior design elements and surrounding environment.  This sort of collaboration between interior and exterior artisans, as Michael Lewis describes it, allows the interior to, in a sense, grow outward, creating the strongest forms of collaboration.  

See more of Renfro and Riad's conversation #AchievingHolisticExcellence

Learn more about Diller Scofidio + Renfro here


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