10 Questions With… Jamie Drake
by Ian Volner | Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | 1 Comment
Interior designer and Hall of Famer Jamie Drake was at Manhattan furniture emporium Suite New York for the opening night of the Pink Swan Project—a charitable auction of signature Arne Jacobsen chairs re-imagined by contemporary designers. Drake’s contribution was a minimal, black-clad little number, with a rakish spray of feathers slung over one shoulder. Interior Design cornered him for a bit of shoptalk.
ID: What would be your all-time, ideal project?
A hotel conversion of the Kremlin. A lot of rooms. Russians love a big statement and a lot of luxury. Or to turn the Taj Mahal into a bed and breakfast.
ID: How close have you gotten to actually getting to do that kind of project?
Certainly having the opportunity to re-imagine the renovation, restoration, and redecoration of Gracie Mansion, the official mayoral residence of New York City’s highest elected official. It was incredible to do something I had never done before, and to preserve something iconic.
ID: Who are the people you admire the most or who have most influenced your work?
Angelo Donghia, Renzo Mongiardino, and Mies van der Rohe.
ID: What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from a variety of sources including magazines, newspapers, media of all sorts, fashion—and walking down the streets of whatever city I happen to be in, day or night.
ID: What are your current projects?
Two spectacular Tribeca lofts, a wonderful Hamptons home, and a second-phase build-out of a radiation oncology clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
ID: What major design trends have you recently noticed?
Glazing! And by that I mean everything from glass techniques and formulations we’ve never seen before, to fabrics woven or coded with iridescence and sheen.
ID: What has been the biggest obstacle in any given project or, even, in your career?
Convincing recalcitrant clients that they hired somebody with a vision for a reason, and to let me complete that vision. The client—the impetus for every project—is also often the obstacle.
ID: How do you relax?
I actually relax every night by going out to dinner, having a crisp and cold martini and laughing with friends.
ID: Where do you like to travel?
I love Morocco, Paris, the south of France, India and Los Angeles. I love even more the places I’ve yet to visit.
ID: Any advice for young designers?
Don’t torture yourself searching for the things that have never been done before—just make sure that what you do has its own unique personality and interest.