Tuesday, 7 January 2014

IN CONVERSATION WITH NAM DANG-MITCHELL

 

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Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

I am currently enamoured with the work of Calgary-based interior designer, Nam Dang-Mitchell. She is a master of layering in every way possible: style eras, textures, the glamorous with the casual and the classic with the whimsical. She has also excelled at the art of creating a neutral palette that is luxurious and not boring. Infusing artifacts, architectural details and fine pieces into the space is a common thread in her designs, they are a definite 'wow factor', but do not appear off limits - they are tactile and every bit intertwined into the space as the floral arrangement next to them. Her thoughtfully assembled spaces are not only beautiful, they are also entirely liveable; a mother of two herself, Nam's spaces maintain an air of sophistication whilst being totally family–friendly. Although, I love the anecdote on her blog where she lovingly chastises her french bulldog for destroying her sofa (…three times) while debating the practicality of reupholstering it in an ecru toned mohair (ecru being her recent obsession at the time); she eludes to going for it with her favourite quote: "Those who sacrifice beauty for practicality get what they deserve."

 

And that is the beauty of a blog, you get a feel for one's sense of humour, lifestyle, loves and inspiration. Nam's stunningly minimal blog is all about just that, inspiration. Each post boasts a mélange of images, quotes, thoughts and video for what is currently inspiring her. Art, fashion and music is often injected amongst furnishings and completed spaces. It is a definite must-read to add to your blog roll – this woman's taste is impeccable. You may have also seen Mrs. Dang-Mitchell's work in the pages of Style at Home or House & Home magazine (where she was included in their 25th anniversary issue as a top designer to watch), she has also been all over the blogosphere (I am not the only admirer of her work, clearly!) .

 

I can't wait to get Nam's input on design, please read on to join the conversation…

 

Iván Meade - What is your design philosophy?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell - I'm not really a 'form follows function' kind of girl. Function is easy.  What's harder is to create a room that makes you feel something. That's where I start; what is the mood, the emotion I want to convey in this room?

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade - What is your favourite design find? Where did you get it and why is it important to you?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell - Oddly, for someone who loves beautiful things, I'm not particularly attached to anything material. I obsess over something only because it is the perfect item to complete a scene or a room. Sometimes it's something valuable and pedigreed, other times it's something from Ikea.  The satisfaction of putting it into place is the same for me.

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade - What are you excited about right now in the world of design?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell - I'm excited about rooms that are more curated than decorated. About combining objects, furnishings and art from different periods and genres that together, express something new.

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade - What designers of past and present do you admire most?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell - I'm really such a Francophile; Jean Michel Frank, Jacques Grange and today Jean Louis Deniot are my heroes. Their work embodies classicism and refinement, but also contains an element of subversion and audacity, and this is what makes it so chic.

 

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade ­ I notice that you are well-travelled. Is this a primary source of inspiration for you? What has been your favourite destination and why?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell - It's hard to beat the south of France. When you're there, it's like all your senses come alive. Biking to an open air market, cooking with the freshest produce, eating alfresco, it doesn't get better than that! You understand why meals and holidays are so sacred to the French. I loved it because we were all so present and connected, there was no internet or video games. I don't know if this makes me a better designer, maybe a better person.

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade ­ Art and Design will always be intertwined, and I believe creatives often feel passionate about more than one art form. You feature a number of music videos and fashion images on your blog. If you weren't the fabulous interior designer that you are (or even in addition to), would you ever consider a foray into fashion or music?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell -I love fashion and music too much to turn them into work. And really, no one should have to hear me sing!

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade ­ On the same vein, here at the studio we all always have current 'Jams' and it's interesting to see what each person is loving right now in the music industry. Do you have an inspirational playlist for while you are working? Or a current favourite artist/song?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell - With music, it's all about the new for me. I'm not nostalgic at all.  Currently like everyone, I am blown away by Lorde. How does one have such a honed artistic perspective at that age? Her take on suburban ennui is beautiful. Loving Buzzcut Season and Tennis Court.

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade - What would be your dream project?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell - Honestly, just being able to do this as a living is a dream. But... I am itching to do a well-priced townhouse/condo project. I want to show that style has nothing to do with having a lot of money.

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade ­ I love that you use contrast and layers in all it's forms, including the addition of unexpected/opposite elements. It creates interest in a magnificent way. What is your process to tell when one of these bold moments is going to make or break the final result?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell - I wish I knew! You have a vision of how things will come together, and frankly sometimes they don't come together, they fall flat. You have to have the courage to reassess and try something else until it clicks. But in design, as in life, you must take some risks in order to have an impact.

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade - What is the best advice you have received (design-related or otherwise)?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell - Always buy good bread.

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade - I love this quote of yours: "In an age of Real Housewives and Kardashians, perhaps we need to rethink our ideas about luxury. Give me less, but give me quality and restraint." What is your definition of luxury?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell - Luxury to me is being comfortable in your own skin. It's knowing who you are and expressing it thoughtfully in everything that you do. The way you dress, the way you decorate your home, the way you fry an egg and present it, the way you carry yourself, the way you love someone.

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade - What's next for you?

 

Nam Dang-Mitchell - Like most designers, I'd love to do a book. Ultimately that depends on the quality of work I do, so for now I'm just focused on making some killer homes.

 

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Interiors by Nam Dang-Mitchell

 

Iván Meade - Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work, what would you like your legacy to be?


Nam Dang-Mitchell - Legacy? Goodness, I'm only just beginning to find my voice!

 

I invite you to visit the stunning interior and inspiration  portfolio of Nam Dang-Mitchell at:

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1 comment:

Francine Gardner said...

Wonderful interview.I like Michelle's unfussy style and we share the same appreciation of the french master designers she refers too, as the love for the south of France.