At Home With a Designer, a Curator, and a Writer

Photo: Charlie Schuck

In 2009, Monica Khemsurov and Jill Singer founded a different magazine that stands out from other shelter magazines. Through Sight Unseen, they explored the very personal objects that people surround themselves with that tell a story about where they’ve been, what they like to collect, and who they are as individuals.

As they write in the introduction to their new book, How to Live with Objects: A Modern Guide to More Meaningful Interiors released November 15, “We believed, and still believe, that while layout, fixtures, and fabrics can all play a part in creating an aesthetic space, it’s the objects you surround yourself with that really give to your house its soul… These objects are the story you tell the world about your personality and your obsessions, your experiences and your memories, your desires and your intentions. The book is organized into four categories of objects: vintage, contemporary, handmade and sentimental, with a final chapter on style. Between wise collective advice and topical essays, we are also invited to explore the homes of curators, artists, traders and collectors, among other creators, all radically different from each other – and this is one supreme pleasures of this book. Here, an overview of three house collections.

Primack and Weissenberg are all over the map, both literally – with homes in Guatemala, Mexico City and New York – and figuratively, with multiple professional interests that ultimately converge around contemporary design. Primack is a former director of Design Miami and currently runs textiles and interiors studio RP Miller, while Weissenberg, a former television executive, now works in real estate development. Together, the couple founded design gallery AGO Projects, which is a short drive from their colorful Mexico City apartment, shown here.

“We created our gallery, AGO Projects, to work with contemporary designers and work for the advancement of new things. Still, we both really love old things – we were so lucky that Rudy’s grandparents had this amazing set of Soriana sofas – so there’s that moment where the two come together for us. Our vision of the future is not smooth. We are drawn to the idea that new things can also be comfortable, and that new things can feel contemporary in spirit while still having traces of real craftsmanship or artisanal techniques.

“The combination of materials in these chairs by Fabien Cappello – with the metal frame, the natural palm fiber and the ponyskin headrest – is so strange. Postmodern and Memphis-y in a way, but also tropical They’re very clearly part of Fabien’s language, and we thought, ‘We have to have them’, no matter what they were going to look like with anything else in the room. It’s part of the philosophy that is happening here – everything works together, but it doesn’t really matter to us that it works together.

“The chicken in the kitchen is a vintage piece – Mexican majolica, probably from Puebla – that we had seen at a friend’s house and admired. She moved and gave it to us. It’s probably from the 50s, and it’s just a wonderful found object. Fabien Cappello’s fruit lamp was developed for an exhibition at AGO, and there is also a bronze version. We are not necessarily guided by the “importance” of objects. We are drawn to things that make our lives more fun and elevate the way we live.

Photographs of Charlie Schuck

Born in Seoul, trained in New York as an architect and now a full-time furniture designer, Kim creates sculptures in wood and fiberglass that reinvent archetypes of Western design – like the lounge chair, the executive desk or the prayer seat – through the lens of Korean craft techniques. His home in Queens is an extension of his research, filled with studio experiences and remnants of his former life in South Korea.

“I have a huge interest in 80s or postmodern freestanding wardrobes, and as I researched them I realized there were plenty of examples that mimicked rural sheds. During the pandemic, I spent a lot of time in my backyard, and there was always a need for storage because my neighbor, who I share the yard with, does a lot of farming and gardening. At the same time, I wanted to take ownership of the backyard space a bit more. When I had some more time for a vacation, I decided to go there and built the shed.

“During the pandemic, my roommate was doing a lot of natural dyeing upstairs while I was working in my carpentry shop downstairs, and we had talked about working together… For the pendant above the kitchen table, she made a naturally dyed silk lampshade and I built a frame and wired it. We also built this fabric hanger together in the living room. She had all these fabric swatches piled up, and one day I was in the studio and had the idea to do some kind of skeleton. It was another way of bringing our work together in the space we share.

“Because I lived abroad for so long, I got to a point where I had to reinvent the idea of ​​home. The best way for me to do that is to build things to myself. When I moved in, the bedroom had an outward swinging door and no closet. It was so tight that I had to throw out my bed frame. I built a closet and a shelf and I made it kind of an entrance moment. Then I worked on the bed frame, which is made from second-grade plywood. After that, it was a matter of figuring out what gestures could accommodate my objects, like adding a knob to the bookcase to hold a mug.

Photographs of Charlie Schuck

A writer and curator, Wu rose to prominence as the founder of the influential blog I’m Revolting, which unearthed unusual and often anonymous designs. Now based in Mexico City with her husband, artist Alma Allen, and their two children, Wu is an avid champion of the local design scene, using her home – a converted community theater – as a venue to co-curate exhibitions and the to present. ever-growing collection of gifts, Mexican crafts, contemporary art and design.

“I’m attracted to things that feel like there’s a lot of experience in making them – like the person was working on something or discovering something.

“The bathroom wall was entirely designed by our carpenter. I wanted something that felt a little more traditionally Mexican, and that’s what he came up with – which, I was like, huh, okay. There’s actually a gigantic vent hidden behind it that goes up to the ceiling, because we thought, for a moment, that we could open a restaurant in space. The tile was just me going to the tile store and being this weird person who’s been there too long to expose things. It is the traditional Mexican Talavera tile.

“Everything in my house is something that comes from a friend or that I found with a friend or that I associate with the story of a friend. The small wooden chair in the atrium is signed Jardín, composed of two designers from Mexico, Roberto Michelsen and Carmen Cantu Artigas. It was a gift from them… What I like about the prototypes or the gifts is that they really embody a certain freedom. I think that some designers and artists find it hard to want to do work for themselves without having to worry too much about the audience.These things are made for one person.

Photographs of Charlie Schuck

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