Design Q&A with Oliver M. Furth

Design Q&A with Oliver M. Furth

Abby Stone
May 8, 2014
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A native Angeleno and fourth generation Californian, Oliver M. Furth is a fixture in the city's design and cultural communities. Trained in New York and Los Angeles, Furth also studied art history and architecture and worked for Christie's Auction House in their 20th Century Decorative Arts department before opening his own firm in 2005. As Elle Décor Magazine noted, this combination of background and experience grounds Furth "in classical traditions, though he approaches them with aristo irreverence and West Coast optimism.”

In addition to his design practice, Furth consults for The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA,) and is the Chair of their Decorative Arts and Design Council. Furth’s design projects and philanthropic work for the design community have received accolades from numerous sources, including The Wall Street Journal, House & Garden, House Beautiful, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, and C Magazine. Recently, he's been named to Elle Decor's A-List, as one of ‘Five Young Designers to Watch’; Traditional Home called Furth one of the ‘20 top young designers in the country’; The Hollywood Reporter included him in their 2012 list of “Hollywood’s Most Influential Interior Designers”; and, last year, The Pacific Design Center honored Furth with their 2013 Star on the Rise Award.
His window for this year's Legends of La Cienega event will be on display at Waterworks from May 7-9.

What inspired you to choose the novel/book you have selected for this year’s LCDQ Legends of La Cienega event?
In Search of Lost Time is one of the most important books of our time, and one of the most beautiful. I was inspired by one quote in particular: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." I think it has real relevance even now, 100 years later. I decided to use that as the basis for my window installation. Here's a rendering:

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What novel to movie adaptation got the production design/set design right?
Alfonso Cuaron did a wonderful job of updating GREAT EXPECTATIONS. He was obsessed with green at the time, and that color ran all through the film. I also loved Francisco Clemente’s beautiful paintings and illustrations.

Designers love to feature fashion, art and design books in their finished rooms. What are some of the best hardcover novels to display?
A book is a journey unto itself. Never a bad book to display!

Everyone loves a great deal. Tell us a quick story about the best bargain you’ve ever found at a vintage store or flea market.
Though I’m a professional snob, I'm always looking for beauty in unexpected places! Keep your eyes open and you’ll find rocks and pebbles and branches to display amongst flea market finds and million-dollar treasures.

Excluding fresh flowers in abundance, what is your favorite styling trick?Nothing is more effective at changing a room than a fresh coat of paint. Blue and orange are the same price as beige. Take a risk! You can always paint over it.

Sometimes even the clients with the biggest budgets fall in love with an affordable item from a popular catalog or online store - what is one of your best affordable finds?
We have a table in our entry that I bought from West Elm. It has a beautiful sculptural quality and a great sense of proportion. I had it refinished in a wonderful crackle lacquer and it looks fantastic!

For more on Oliver, click here.

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