I Prefer Earthy vs Slick And Handmade vs Machine-Made

In Talks With Glenn Gissler, President, Glenn Gissler Design 

Alumnus of Boston Architectural College and Rhode Island School of Design, one of New York’s top interior designers, Glenn has earned the reputation of executing residential design work with clients such as fashion designer Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, hotelier Ian Schrager and other leaders in the financial and entertainment worlds.

Do you agree with the notion that understanding and learning about craftsmanship is one of the best bits about being an interior designer.

For me each of our projects is designed and developed individually to suit the locale and the clients, that said, I love to integrate textiles, artefacts, objects and artwork from diverse cultures, and time periods. These elements help to give a more global context and place of our work in the world and the continuum of history.

One of the best parts about interior design is the interface with other people, the clients, the design team, and the makers. I prefer earthy versus slick and handmade versus machine-made.

Let us know about any of your projects in which you have incorporated traditional or local crafts as the mainstay.

I have a weekend house outside NYC where I have a part-time worker – originally from Ecuador – who helps me with all things in the landscape – he builds stone walls, stone walks, plants trees, relocates plant materials helping me develop and maintain our years of collaboration.  On the interior of the 180 year old house, I respect the original construction techniques and carpentry, and look to restore, or reinforce the simple intelligence of the work.

How do new ideas emerge for you and what is the process for developing them into finished pieces?

I have been in business for 35 years and have designed countless custom area rugs, and light fixtures, as well as cabinets and upholstered furniture – each and every time I look to collaborate with the supplier/maker.

With renovations and new construction I like to work directly with the carpenters, tile setters, stone masons, and landscape people to include them in the design execution of the project. I look for everyone to have some investment in the outcome and take pride in what we accomplish together.

How important was sustainability as a design criteria as you worked on this project? 

Sustainability is a broad term, for me at the heart of sustainability is being thoughtful about materials and to create enduring interiors. I have a number of projects that are decades old that while getting periodically ‘refreshed’, the furnishings, finishes, furniture lighting, etc. remain in place transcending trends.

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