August 25, 2009
As this magazine's editor, I normally assign this column to an interior designer. However, I was recently (and most unexpectedly) charged with scouting out a houseful of period furnishings to set the stage for a party that was a mere three days away. This is one "Anatomy of a Room" I'd like to do myself. The event was a Modern Estate party (see "The Gang's All Here!", page 30), celebrating modern design, set in the Philip Johnson-designed Alice Ball House, in New Canaan, built in 1953. When the task of finding striking mid-
century-modern furnishings for the residence suddenly fell to me, I enlisted some knowledgeable help. Interior designer Victoria Lyon and her colleague Susan Babcock (of Victo ria Lyon Interiors, in Greenwich) took turns accompanying me to home-furnishing showrooms and antiques stores all over Fairfield County. I also called on the expertise of architect Cristina Ross, owner of the Alice Ball House, which is now on the market through William Pitt Sotheby’s. This trio, all of whom have a discerning eye for good Modernist furniture, helped me find the sleek, elegant, and timeless pieces I sought. We were looking for the clean, geometric lines of the iconic furniture of the period, not the notorious lava lamps, amoeba tables, blond wood, and chartreuse upholstery endemic to the fifties and the sixties. We wanted not reproductions, but furniture made in the period by established designers—one of a kind, if possible—or, at the very least, high-end reproductions. We’d use contemporary pieces as accents.
Within a day it was clear: Our region is so rich in Modernist resources that my options were endless—fortunately so, because there was upholstery, carpet, tables, lamps, pil- lows, even coasters to select. The onrushing deadline threatened to derail me, even though I needed to stage only a living room, two small bed- rooms, and one bathroom of the 1,800-square-foot house.
I found that choosing to start with the upholstered pieces was somewhat calming; no sense selecting a lamp or a carpet if the upholstered furniture, which anchors a room, hasn’t been chosen.
At Mid Century Antiques, I found a 1953 sand-colored sofa and side chairs in the Knoll style. A curvaceous, muted- blue slipper chair from Irwin Feld Design made a nicely complementary piece. The Lucite tables from Cobble Court Interiors and lamps from Irwin Feld were oh-so-fifties. But the beige sisal rug that aesthetically united these pieces was contemporary; so were the zebra-patterned pillows, from Cobble Court, that enlivened the décor. So, too, was the Lucite chair, upholstered in zebraskin, dreamed up by New Canaan designer Robert Rizzo, of Cobble Court; it was a fo- cal point in the tile-floored section of the living room. Using contemporary pieces by local designers to accent the simple, clean lines of the period furnishings gave the decor a certain timelessness.
I chose to decorate the smaller rooms as lounges, rather than bedrooms. Daybeds; long Ultrasuede benches; red velvet accent chairs; and low, glossy, mahogany-stained tables maximized the smaller spaces for the guests. I wanted the rooms to feel more spacious than they are, and staging an event means thinking about the guests’ comfort and breathing room.
For artwork, I turned to my friends Roberto Dutesco and Peter Tunney, who sent dozens of pieces from which I chose. Dutesco’s photographs of the majestic horses of Sable Island, and Tunney’s paintings, added drama and whimsy to the rooms.
A custom "sea urchin" chandelier by Helen Gifford red, ribbed ceramic vase, shown with a pale cream from ROOM Furniture and Interiors was intended to garner lampshade, available at Cobble Court Interiors. attention in the tiny powder room. And the vibrant geometric design of the contemporary carpet, from Cobble Court Interiors, chosen for one of the "bedrooms," started the guests chatting about which episode of Mad Men was their favorite. Thankfully, my trusted scouting team performed like a band of brothers (or, rather, sisters), and the furnishing we found came together harmoniously. tme
August 09, 2009
Nestled in an historic former handbag factory in a pre-WW1 brick building on Pacific Street is the fabulous show room of Irwin Feld Design. Situated in the heart of Stamford's rising antique and design nexus, Feld for the second time has augmented his brilliant spot since taking possession of it sixteen months ago, bringing the space to a sizable five thousand square feet.
Here Feld creates an unusual, stimulating show room unlike any other. This magical (and fortunately profitable!) space houses a fascinating mix of mid-century modern furniture, vintage haberdashery, very special artworks and one-of-a-kind creations.
A remarkable transformation is achieved daily as the space shimmers with natural light through dramatic oversized windows during the day but then truly sparkles at night. It is a far cry from the autumn afternoon when in conversation with friend and industry peer John Hiden (owner of Hiden Galleries), Feld commented that he would like a little Fairfield County office which to work on downtime between appointments. "Can you hop in the car with me now?" asked Hiden that day. Open to opportunity, Feld went along. Soon thereafter Hiden became his landlord. Bob Wilson, Feld's intrepid mover, remembers wondering on that first day of tenancy how the neglected space could be transformed. He sees it now as having exceeded Feld's original expectations, as it has grown quickly and developed a strong following thanks to Irwin's acute eye. It is a seasoned eye, well defined yet nonjudgmental. A 1960s Formula One white lacquer and red strip coffee table/ bench from Yugoslavia seems quite at home with Feld's own proprietary designs.
His wife Marcy is the company's Marketing Director. Together they formerly ran a Manhattan - based accessories business for fourteen years. Jointly they came to realize that "…whatever it is you are accessorizing, you can make it your own."
With wisdom and panache, the show room strikingly integrates all facets of the Feld's family life: family, friends, fashion, and fun. Grounded in tradition and cultivated by their interests, the show room space simultaneously is modern and classic. Feld's style seems to draw from everything he has accomplished, pulling it all together with finesse. His intuitive sensibility is reflected in the show room's current offerings.
His IFD Power Singles Chair #1 and IFD PSC #2 are perfect examples: using hardwoods and mahogany legs, Feld updates the mid-century modern inspired chair design along with a lumbar panel for comfortable support. While developed as a pair, each model evokes distinct personality, as the feminine covered button detail of PSC #2 complements the masculine solid striped welt of PSC #1.
The pieces could be right at home with signed Dunbar 1950s Edward Wormley sideboard sporting grass cloth inserts. Respectful of history an tradition, Feld values a fine objects presence and strives to amplify its deserved worth.
"I take what I find and make something out of it!"
This might mean presenting an object in an innovative way, as with a circa 1960 Stiffel sinuous glass and brass lamp base that becomes a sexy sculptural art work when topped with a shapely custom silk shade using vintage lace and antique beads.
Often Feld sees the extraordinary lines in a very fine estate piece that might otherwise be overlooked due to perceived shabby condition. Once revitalized through upholstery, Feld shows how to a make a piece fresh and custom while glamorous and appropriate for today's use.
With proper attention and devotion, beauty can be reclaimed. Feld's discerning treatment of a pair of Regency ottoman exemplifies this, as he covered them in stunning turquoise velvet with contrasting chocolate welting and buttons, the added textural distinction by outlining the legs with golden brass sabots. Clearly items such as these are elevated to new heights.
The whole IFD package wraps up reflections of his experience. Feld's background in menswear is apparent in the nuance of a clever lampshade, suggesting the buttons on a man's cuff. The fashion trade provides strong basis for inspiration and improvisation.
Joanna Kenneth joined the IFD team just over a year ago when there was little more than a copier, a desk, and a few great pieces of furniture in the Stamford show room. Now with a global clientele complementing those from Fairfield and Westchester counties and streams from Manhattan, Irwin Feld Design is being recognized as a force within the design world.
The growing demand for mid-century modern furnishings and how to establish them within more traditional surroundings makes Feld all the more in demand. Interior designers rely on his eye for just the right pieces. Corporate clients depend on him, too. His constant attention and analytical navigation informs the show room floor plan. Working with the current inventory while sourcing new furnishings, Feld showcases exquisite wares in eye-catching ensembles.
Imbued with Feld's warm personality, the show room is refreshing and comfortable, which sets people at ease. It is part gallery, part lounge. It seems ever-evolving and always welcoming.
As visitors relax and take it all in, Feld can encourage collectors while educating them. Feld charms and entertains his clientele, all the while informing them and enlightening their own taste. Truly an exceptional resource with his breadth of experience and extraordinary eye, Feld is able to pinpoint how to finish off a room and how to set the right tone.
His juxtaposition of objects has a timeless feel, as antique pieces are given new life with a clever use of fabric or a keen ironic sense. He reminds us to enjoy style rather than take it too seriously.
One client may walk in and want him to outfit an entire house, while another may simply stop in to browse. Sometimes events unfold serendipitously, as when a gentleman recently walked in for the first time not knowing what to expect, who stepped in front of an original art work Feld had found and was glued to the spot.
"I would like to own this," said the visitor. "I just love it. If I don't get it, I'll be sad." Such visceral reactions are not uncommon. Thus begins a client-Feld relationship that most likely will result in recurring acquisitions over time, as Feld loves to source special items specifically for prized clients.
Obviously smitten with the showroom space, Feld seems completely at home there. The commute from his Manhattan residence is agreeable, and his family is enthusiastic. Often one or more of his three teenage sons joins him there on weekends, occasionally with the family dog Charlie in tow. Regularly, seventeen year old son Alec arranges rhythmic audio tracks that skillfully underscore the engaging show room vibe. "That's the color, Carlos!" explains Feld as he strides back into the newest show room area added which is being christened an ethereal blue. He walks back out carefully while reviewing the particular painting technique, suggesting slight modification. His friendly demeanor engenders good feeling as demonstrated by exchanges with tradesmen and neighbors alike.
A recent event drew a great new audience as well as celebrated current clients. Coordinating such cultivation activities with neighbors Samuel Owen Gallery (formerly Pacific Street Framing) upstairs and Hiden Galleries Annex enhances synergies amongst the artistic entities. Feld deftly marries the space with the business. "What I've learned is we can do anything we want here – it's a creative space!" announces Feld with pride. The space generates energy and seems to inspire new ways of looking at objects.
As Irwin Feld Design grows with the show room, new projects seem to present themselves as outgrowths of converging elements. On the spur of the moment Feld might start a collection, soon finding that a trend follows, as when he recently uncovered a stash of remarkable antique Australian wool and cashmere handbags, many never used. All now may have a new life, and may prompt innovative avenues.
"They're really beautiful – so let's treat them nicely!" He often follows the direction in which he is lead intuitively by a particular art work or a cunning light fixture. Instinctively he recognizes fortuitous inspiration. He knows when something is right. "If it's fantastic, I'll find a spot for it," he promises.
Just recently Feld signed a Columbia County artist, an extraordinary sculptor who creates grand metal sculpture. This will augment the emerging artists and photographers he carries as well as works he has acquired from corporate collections and artists' estates. On the IFD horizon: an extraordinary line of remarkable chandeliers. Amazing components form elaborate conceptions intricately pieced as sassy innovative prototypes. They deliver maximum impact as a combination of function and flamboyance. "Look at those curves! Just calling out for treatment…" Feld remarks, eyeing an antique Murano glass piece, as one almost can see the wheels inside his head spinning.
Another exciting IFD development available soon: a line of inspired custom wall coverings based on original artworks. Irwin Feld Design is becoming a lifestyle brand. It is a reflection of Irwin Feld's life, growth, and integration, along with his ever-forward inspiration.
Whether seeking a particular mid-century piece or simply updating a room with exceptional modern aesthetic, one should take advantage of Feld's exacting eye. It quite possibly is his greatest attribute. IFD clients auspiciously benefit. States Feld, "That's what it should be about: if you surround yourself with beauty, it makes you feel beautiful!"
July 01, 2008
June 01, 2008
March 03, 2008
THE GALLERY is now bursting with the vibrance of springtime. New finds are abloom throughout.
February 02, 2008
February 9th & 10th
Stop in and browse through our newly expanded gallery space
February 9th & 10th
& for a Wine Tasting
February 9th 2-5p.m.
Irwin Feld Design is Stamford's newest and largest gallery of mid-century modern antiques. Located in the heart of Stamford's Arts and Antiques District, in what was once the empty shell of a handbag factory, this extraordinary setting presents the ideal platform to display Irwin Feld's inspiring vision as both designer and merchandiser.
The gallery features distinctive 21st century innovations on classic 20th century modern designs in addition to a fine art gallery and The Irwin Feld Signature Collection of stylish, mid-century inspired modern furniture.
Please join us on
to sample an assortment of delectable wines and cheeses. Douglas Nevins of WineWise will be on hand to share information on these flavorful vintages.
AND while you are sampling, you can stroll through the gallery and browse THE BAR @IFD
Showcasing an amazing collection of vintage jewelry, handbags, hats, neck ties and other haberdashery items.
January 03, 2008
We are less than a month away from the premier of the IFD Designer Showhouse to be housed in our new 1000 sq. ft. gallery expansion.
MORE NEWS AT IFD
PS Series of His & Hers
chairs has recently debuted.
THE BAR @ IFD
Showcasing an amazing collection of vintage handbags, hats, neck ties and other haberdashery items - now open in the gallery.
Is nearing completion and will make accessing our latest updates even simpler.
Find Out More
Find Out More
Find Out More
Find Out More
December 01, 2007
Be the first to view our hottest new additions to the gallery EVERY Tuesday, on:
"What's New" Tuesday
Today's additions include:
* Artwork by acclaimed artist Peter Flaccus
* An extraordinary Grosfeld House sideboard
* An exceptional Edaward Fields rug circa 1970
AND, just in time for gift giving:
We are offering a startlingly debonaire collection
of "his" & "hers" vintage haberdashery items.
Enjoy the beauty of the seasons with friends & family!
Irwin Feld Design
November 12, 2007
NOW: We are in maximum overdrive, surrounding ourselves with only "the best of the best" for the upcoming season. The latest additions to the gallery include:
* Paintings by acclaimed artist Ruth Gross
* An extraordinary collection of furniture by Milo Baughman
* Industrial sculpture by Mark Wasserbach
AND: Our Power Singles ™ Signature Collection currently available exclusively in our gallery, will soon become available on our website.
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving,
Irwin Feld Design
November 01, 2007
Introducing Irwin Feld Design
Stamford's newest and largest gallery of mid century modern furnishings and decorative arts. Located in the heart of Stamford's Arts and Antiques District, Irwin Feld's elegant style is showcased throughout his 4000 square foot loft like showroom.
Commemorating the first anniversary in the loft, Irwin Feld will be introducing pieces from his Signature Collection as well as the opening of his Fine Art Gallery.
Located in what was once the empty shell of a handbag factory is now an extraordinary showroom that showcases Irwin's talents as a designer and merchandiser. Enter the loft and you are transported into an ever-changing world of beautiful and elegant model room settings. Each piece from his vast inventory has been hand picked and transformed by Irwin to complement the 21st century lifestyle.
Come see the metamorphosis and celebrate our first year while previewing the Irwin Feld Signature Collection of fine furniture as well as discounts on many select pieces in our current inventory.
Fine Art Opening
Please join us for a cocktail reception from 4pm to 8pm on Thursday, November 1 as we exhibit our latest collection of fine art featuring vintage works and contemporary artists.
In addition, we will be hosting a silent auction in which all proceeds will go to local victims of domestic violence. We appreciate your RSVP for this event.