Labour of Lovell
Integrating art, architecture, furniture and textiles, and evaluating how each and every object works within a space, the work of one Chicago design studio is worthy of neo-classicist Sir John Soane
Swiss architect Olivio Ferrari, an alumnus of Germany's world-famous Bauhaus school, believed creation, craft and beauty are paramount to the design profession. And it's a philosophy that clearly resonated with his one-time student at America's prestigious Virginia Tech, Suzanne Lovell, who established her eponymous design studio in 1985.
A degree in architecture and a passion for fine art where the foundations of Chicago-based Suzanne Lovell Inc., which comprises a 20-strong team, and has been listed in Architectural Digest's top-100 interior designers and architects. For more than 30 years, the company has built up an impressive portfolio of luxury residential projects, from superyachts to sprawling penthouses, Manhattan pied-à-terres and whimsical California beach houses.
Using a client's personal taste as a launch pad, each project is undertaken via what Lovell calls the "Three-Dimensional Experience" - an all-round approach encompassing architecture, interior design and fine art, with an understanding that this trio are integral to the process. It's an approach that echoes the practices of Ferrari and his contemporaries Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto and Gio Ponti. These giants of design were creative polymaths, often experimenting with art, furniture design, textiles, ceramics and glassware.
Craft is undeniably at the heart of Lovell's hugely successful business. By collaborating with an array of niche design talent from her extensive network, including handweaver Sam Kasten, sculptor Ingrid Donat and custom yacht furnituremaker Frank Pollaro, she ensures each finished project is a unique masterpiece.
Art also takes a central role, with antiques and auction-sourcing an integral part of the process. "sir John Soane inspired the creating of what he referred to as the 'poetry of architecture', where art can happen," Lovell explains of her inspiration. "His words are telling: 'Think and feel as a poet, combine and embellish as a painter and execute as a sculptor'. I believe this is what we do every day at Suzanne Lovell Inc."