10 Questions With… David Mann
by Ian Volner | Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Interior Design caught up with David Mann of MR Architecture + Decor at last week’s Suite New York benefit for breast cancer research where he displayed one of the evening’s more extravagant one-off chair designs. We pulled him from the crowd to give him the 10-question treatment.
ID: Name your dream commission.
DM: I would say a single-family home in a remote site with very few restrictions. A client with an open-ended budget, no particular programmatic needs, no particular aesthetic desires — and no marital issues.
ID: Sounds dreamy, if implausible. What’s your favorite project that you’ve actually done?
DM: Whatever we’re involved with at the moment is my favorite. We’ve got several residential projects: a loft in Soho and a townhouse on the Upper East Side, and a couple pre-war apartment renovations. And each one is very unique.
ID: Clever. That way, your current client is always your favorite. What other “favorite” clients are you working with right now?
DM:Only one other I can name is J. Mendell, on his home, his apartment. We’ve been working on his stores for a year.
ID: What designers do you most admire?
DM: My partner, Fritz Kirsch. The usual—Mies van der Rohe, Rothko. I love Herzog and de Meuron, I love to follow what they’re up to. I actually read magazines—the grey stuff between the photographs. I’m a magazine addict.
ID: So you get your inspiration from…
DM: Magazines! But also, of course, nature and travel and literature and movies and theater. And from friends. Form everywhere.
ID: In your extensive perusal of professional literature, have you noticed any emerging design trends?
DM: More awareness of social responsibility, economy, efficiency. As we retrench as a culture, there’s a lot of positive to that in a lot of ways.
ID: What have been some of the biggest hurdles in your design career?
DM: Myself. My own limits as a person. I always think I can do it better. I’m always thinking, “It could have been! It could have been!” One client I’ve done space for three times, and I’d love to do that again. Each time I felt like I was better at what I was doing, and maybe the client was more savvy…
ID: What do you do to relax?
DM: I relax on planes. That’s the most relaxing. You get a little time.
ID: Where do you like to travel and what can’t you leave home without?
DM: I like to travel almost everywhere. I’d love to travel more. I’ve done some but nowhere near enough… I’m a total iPhone addict.
ID: What advice do you have for young designers?
DM: I would say just work as hard as you can, and be true to yourself. I know it’s trite, but I really believe that.
Images by Patrick McMullen, courtesy of Suite New York.