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    Photo Andre Herrero

    As a principal of Charlap Hyman & Herrero, Adam Charlap Hyman has steered the firm toward an ever-widening variety of design pursuits, from residential projects to opera sets to art galleries. With a degree in Furniture Design and Art History from RISD and a professional background in major home furnishings companies, Adam has helped implement a holistic, yet succinct vision for the firm. Adam ranks among Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” in their art and style category.

    1. How did you begin designing interiors ?

    I studied furniture design in college but became interested at that time in creating an entire space, not just a single piece within it, and researched historical interiors outside of class. When I graduated, I went to work for a furniture company but moonlit as an interior designer doing small odd-jobs. When I reconnected with Andre, whom I had known in college, we were working together on a townhouse – he as an architect and I as an interior designer. That project gave us the idea to start a firm.

    2. Has there been a defining moment in your career ?

    One of the most defining moments in my career was the opening night of Tristan und Isolde at the Santa Fe Opera, for which we had designed the sets. Seeing the world we had created ignited by the singers in that beautiful open-air theatre against the backdrop of the desert was pretty wild. There was lighting in the distance and the whole thing was like a dream.

    3. What is your favorite type of client/project ?

    I love working on an architecturally significant house – be it Modernist or Victorian – it’s incredibly exciting for me to figure out what makes a house tick, and how to bring it back to life – to give it refreshed energy. It’s like a puzzle.

    4. What do you think is the deciding factor in a successful interior design project ?

    Maybe the most deciding factor in my projects is the strength of the trust between the client and me. Without trust in the shared vision and trust that the risks we are taking will work out, it is very hard for an interior to come together well.

    5. What is the most challenging aspect of your work ?

    The most challenging aspect of my work is also a very rewarding one – working with so many different types of people to realize a joint vision. Between my own team, all the craftsmen and other professions involved in getting a project done, I have to cultivate many productive relationships and learn to, in a sense, “speak” many different “languages”. It is a beautiful thing but it can be hard at times, of course.

    6. How would you describe your creative process and its influences ? How do you get inspired ?

    Our creative process begins with reference imagery. We comb our library of reference material, which we have organized digitally, to create vast folders illustrating hundreds of ideas and suggesting hundreds of potentials. After narrowing this down to around 200, we share them with the client and further narrow them, creating a mood board, together. It is a creatively fulfilling process for both of us because they are able to get their point of view in at the beginning, and we get to know them better via this shared visual language of references.

    7. What advice would you give beginner designers ?

    One of the most important things for a new designer to resolve is their technique of representing their ideas to their clients, in a compelling and clear way, be it with computer rendering or sketching or watercolor or collage. If you can’t show someone what you want to do for them they can’t pick it. I have tried a lot of different methods for this and it’s always evolving, as I learn what works better for me and my clients.

    8. What would be the ideal place to design for you?

    I would love to have a nice old-school office on Park or Madison in midtown that felt like a law firm.

    9. Could you describe a typical day of your work?

    I walk to work and review with the office manager during the commute. When I get in, I submit to my calendar – every minute is spoken for as the designers in the office book time with me to review their projects and have organized client meetings in advance. Of course, things can move around, but it’s pretty precise and I try to stick to the calendar. I might have a meeting to source furniture for 1 hour, then a client meeting on zoom for 1 hour, then two thirty-minute reviews with designers, then lunch while in zoom with one of our designers in LA who would just then be getting to work, then a client meeting on site, then several phone calls….. that kind of thing. I love my office and getting to work with the talented, smart designers there.

    10. How do you choose the specific materials you work with?

    We have a materials library that we refer to often, but we get ideas to work with new materials all the time. It’s always an experimental process to integrate a new material into a project but it can be so rewarding.

    11. What artists/creatives have influenced you?

    I am most inspired by designers and architects that created total worlds – Jean Michel Frank, Mongiardino, Gae Aulenti – people that made very tight, complete visions.

    12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate?

    I love the work of Jacques Grange, Francois Josef Graf, Green River Project and Sam
    Chermayeff, and many others.

    13. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be?

    Drawing on history with intention, humor and creativity, my work is highly bespoke and personal.

    14. Do you have any books/programs/podcasts to recommend to our readers?

    I have just received a copy of Hannah Martin’s new book on the designer and artist Nikola L and it is amazing – I couldn’t recommend it more.

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