Thursday, September 27, 2007

Media Talk - Domino Magazine's Dara Caponigro

Today was the second and final day of Design Boston at the Boston Design Center. The final keynote speaker today was Dara Caponigro, Style Director of Domino Magazine.

Updated Classics - Honoring Great Design of the Moment, Without Being a Victim to Trend

Join her for an engaging look at the current state of design and an inspiring discussion of how referencing classic styles of the past and their timeless influence can encourage fresh and creative ideas and embolden your own design decisions.
Dara began her career as the assistant to the director at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum doing photo research for museum publications. Though she originally intended on pursuing a career as a veterinarian (she even spent a year at the Bronx Zoo handling exotic snakes, lizards and birds), Dara’s keen eye for the arts eventually led her to House Beautiful where she worked for 14 years learning how to produce a magazine. After leaving her decorating director post at House Beautiful, Dara became the design and decoration director at Elle Décor for many years. In addition to her career in publishing, Dara has owned and operated an antiques business, importing furniture from France. She has also decorated many houses, several of which have been published.

After a long delay due to computer problems, Dara gamely started her talk to a room full of professional designers without benefit of visual images - not an easy thing to do!

After her talk, we were treated to a fabulous cocktail party at the Baker, Knapp & Tubbs showroom - pear martinis and hors d'ouvres were delicious and plentiful. Just what the hungry and thirsty designer needs at the end of two days of seminars and lectures.

During the cocktail party, Dara was kind enough to take some time out to sit down with me to talk about design, her views on what makes a great room and her excitement about Domino's Decorating Contest. Here are a few items from her main talk and some bits from our personal conversation.

Dara shared with us photos of her families' country home in New York. Her personal style is more modern than the architecture of the house - inherited from her in-laws - so when she moved in, she tried to create very contemporary interiors. But, she ultimately realized that while she loved them - they just didn't work with the bones of the space. She equated this to a women with less than perfect legs wearing a mini dress. The woman may be attractive enough - and the dress really cute. But, they just don't work together. So, she ultimately re-did the interiors and found that she loves some of the rooms even though they are still "not her". The marriage of space and interiors and architecture should drive the style, to some extent.Photo by Paul Costello / June 2006

When talking about her personal style, she referred to it as "Organic Modern". I asked what this meant to her and she mentioned that it might be the use of a George Nakashima piece in a modern, clean interior. As an admitted traditionalist, the term "organic modern" seemed really fresh and inviting.
George Nakashima Conoid Bench

She mentioned that one of the editorial criteria of rooms featured in Domino is that they always chose rooms to photograph that look like they belong to real people.
I love this room with its pink walls and accessories, mod black chair and white table, with a traditional Windsor chair sitting in the background.

And this black/white bedroom below with the careful/careless canopy just casually thrown up on the wall and striking bed covering are perfection!

Photo by Simon Upton / July/August 2006

At the end of her talk, Dara left us with four tips on how to avoid looking "too trendy":
1) Don't have rooms where there is nothing personal
2) Don't do rooms where everything in them is expensive and showy
3) Avoid rooms where everything is from the same season - rooms should have a sense of history
4) There should always be something in a space that throws the decor off just a bit

One of the things about Domino, is that they cover a wide variety of styles - from OTT glamour to the makes-no-sense eclectic. A little something for everyone. Readers may not always like, or understand, the selections, but they think about them. Just read the commentary on Jackie Blue Home.

Dara - thanks for speaking with me, it was great to meet you! And to Amy Peck (Dir. of PR for Domino) - it was fab meeting you too! I hope you enjoyed your evening in Boston and those fabulous crystal coasters you purchased!

LATE BREAKING NEWS - Amy emailed today with the announcement they have just inked a deal with Simon & Schuster for the first-ever book. "The Domino Book of Decorating will feature the magazine's signature blend of beauty and comfort, glamour and practicality, and offer inspiration and advice for decorating every room of the home. Filled with floor plans, before-and-after shots, and a wealth of lush photography, it will include all of the magazine's popular elements: unexpected expert decorating tips, eclectic style juxtapositions, shrewd shopping strategies, and ideas drawn from sources as far apart as Louis XIV and Le Corbusier." Coming in 2008!


The Peak of Chic said...

Lucky you! I completely agree with Dara's points- and unfortunately a lot of people don't always follow them and end up with showy or cold homes. So excited about the book!

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

oooh! I can't wait to see the book!

Home Interior said...

For me the most important and almost indispensable is pieces of furniture, it makes any space a room to live in.
waiting for the book.

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