Q&A: Furniture and Interior Designer Adam Charlap Hyman

(Adam Hyman [above left] and a vignette from the designer's New York apartment. Photos: Courtesy of Adam Charlap Hyman and André Hererro)
Name: Adam Charlap Hyman
Occupation: Furniture, textile, and interior designer
Resides in: New York, New York
Known for: A mystic-meets-dandy-meets academic aesthetic with a whiff of Baudelaire in the mix. In his words: jolie laide, which translates to pretty-ugly.

1. Antique or Modern?
Antique. Modern when it's looking a little worn and has patina.

2. City or country?
Both. And houses on the shore are especially fun, though too many people do theirs very generically.

3. Which colors do you use most?

Gray, black, red, and gold.

4. Favorite materials or textures?
Trompe-l'oeil! I love renderings of drapery in metal, marble painted on wood, wood grain textured velvet.

(A glass bench designed by Hyman. Photo: Courtesy of Adam Charlap Hyman)5. What is your favorite interior design-related word?
Horror vacui: I am both afraid and attracted to its potential.

6. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in?
A lot of art on the walls comes from my childhood home and belonged to my parents or their parents.

7. Does a room need a view?
I have an open mind about what constitutes a good view.

8. Favorite designers or architects?
Emilio Terry, Lorenzo Mongiardino, Jean Michel Frank, Henry Davis Sleeper, Madeleine Castaing, Pierre Chareau.

9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
World of Interiors and T. As for blogs: Ivan Terestchenko's [eponymous blog], Mondoblogo (great for decrepit modernism), Keehnan Konyha's journal, and my own blog, For Pilar, which helps me to organize everything I want to remember.

(The designer's New York apartment. Photos: André Hererro)10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
Humor and narrative.

11. What is a forbidden word in your house?
Chic, zen, Smart Car, Red Sox.

12. Design rule you love to break?
That decorative cabbages are tacky. I always want them everywhere.

13. What is your favorite room in the house?
Libraries/ studies. I love designing bookshelves and seeing how people settle in through the accumulation of stuff on their desks, etc.

14. What is your most treasured possession?
A round painting of an eye by my mother, Pilar Almon, in a gilt sunburst frame.

(A painting by the designer's mother. Photo: Courtesy of Adam Charlap Hyman)15. What do you wish you could do without?
When I work, I need to have hard copies of every image related to what I'm doing: reference, things I'm buying, things I need to remember. I wish I could do without these files and files and mountains and mountains [of paperwork] and just work on my phone.

16. How does West Coast design differ from East Coast design? Does it?
It seems like it does a lot—I would love to work on a project in California. One day...

17. What is your favorite thing about the East Coast—design-related or
The diversity of vernaculars.

18. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be?
Helena Rubinstein's: she had fantastic collections and her apartments went through so many fun iterations.

19. On what movie set would you like to live?
Depending on the day: La belle et le bête or Mon Oncle.

(Follies of Groussay (above left) and Seba Snake textile designs. Photos: Courtesy of Adam Charlap Hyman)19. On what movie set would you like to live?
Depending on the day: La belle et le bête or Mon Oncle.

20. To which country would you move for the design? 
For contemporary design I like the USA, but I would move to Italy for all the old stuff and live in a travertine and glass Neo-Rationalist villa somewhere in the North.

21. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be?
Hopefully it would be as one of the bergères upholstered in Alice B. Toklas's needlepoint of Picasso's design.
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