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Lela Rose

Published on 03 Aug 2021

Lela Rose - Orior gets an insight into the fashion designers breathtaking Tribeca home as she explains the interior details that were implemented to reflect her passion for creative entertaining.

Q. What architects, interior or product designers do you admire, and why?

When we did our apartment on White street, one of the things I kept talking to [my architects] about was this table and how I loved how they used different materials with nothing separating them. That’s how we came up with the idea delineating rooms by use of material, not actual walls or the way you interacted with the space.

Patricia Urquiola because I love how she does so many different things but always with a little bit of femininity. Her designs are beautiful, whimsical and fabulous. And Pierre Paulin. He was a visionary with those modular sofas - it was really different for the time, and I’ve always loved them.


Q. Why did you choose The Andre chair? What about it appealed to you?

The brass legs immediately reminded me of my grandfather. He really loved design, he loved furniture, he loved food. I think he is who really inspired my mother, who really inspired me. This reminded me of pieces he’d had in their house, that my mom had taken on and that I now have. Of course I love that whole black and white material that looks a little like a Kuba cloth. It’s not a Kuba, it’s more modern, but feels like it has some different design sensibilities. I was doing my front room in black and white with flashes of red, so it really worked. And then it turns out it is the most comfortable chair that you really want to sit in. When design and function meet it’s always a great thing.

Q. Was there a runner-up?

The Artic armoire piece that looks like you could turn it into a bar. It’s just beautiful, and I love anything that can be a bar. Anything to inspire you to make your cocktails that much prettier, I love.

Q. What city or cities has influenced and/or inspired you the most? What specifically is it about these cities that so influences or inspires you?

Dallas, number one, has always been an inspiration, and it’s where I grew up.

I’m always inspired by what Dallas is doing. There bridges by Santiago Calatrava and a Rem Koolhaas-designed theatre. My mother has always been into modern architecture; 30 years ago she used an architect named Antoine Predock to build my parent’s house in Dallas, where she still lives.

And Stanley Marcus, of Neiman Marcus, was a patron of the arts and a lover of design. When I was growing up they had a thing called Fortnight, and it was as if you could go visit whatever country they were celebrating. If it was Sweden, they’d have Swedish royalty fly in, Swedish music, the best Swedish food, the fashion, the home décor. It was as if you landed in this luxury pot of whatever country they were highlighting.

Have you ever been to those art islands in Japan? Oh my goodness. They were designed by Tadao Ando, could he be any more amazing? He is this self-trained architect whose buildings, whose sense of using all 5 senses, it is so astounding. I don’t think I’ll ever get over seeing those art islands. The combination of the art with the architecture and the use of symmetry and light and sense and sight and smell. I was blown away.

New York has always been so inspirational for me, too. I’ve lived here for many years, and almost all of them in TriBeCa. There’s the energy and the creativity, but also this is a place where there are devotees to love of a very specific things. I’ve always loved that there’s a spice store, with an owner devoted to spices, but not just any spices, incredible things you don’t see anywhere else. It’s not a whole lot of products, it’s very singular.

Q. Do you live with any family heirlooms?

My mom has had these wing chairs, they’re more traditional in feel than anything I’d expect to want, but the reason I still love them is the artistry and handwork that’s gone into them over the years. She’d take them down to the muslin and she’d have an artist come over and draw on the chair, and do different artworks. Pencil or ink or what have you. She was thinking of getting rid of them but wanted to keep them. I’ve recovered them and I’m about to recover them again in something I’ll design that is site specific for the chair but all about using the hand.

I’m also a huge believer in buying quality and keeping it. My sofa is an Edward Wormley for Dunbar that I think I bought at Gansevoort Gallery ages ago. I love the sofa, I’ve recovered it many times and had it re-stuffed.


Q. It took 35 hours from start to finish to make your Andre chair, often by someone who has been with the company since its early days. What things/activities in your life do you dedicate this type of time to?

If I’m going to do something, I devote as much time as it takes to do it. Whenever I’m doing a dinner party I’ll start a week ahead and think all through the details. I spend hours embroidering people’s names onto napkins, whether with thread or pearl details.

I also make this Swedish meat pie for new year’s eve every year called Lihamurekepiiras

and I probably spend two days decorating it. I come up with a theme, I draw it all out. Whenever there is a detail, I don’t care how long it will take, I will do it until it is done.

Q. How would you describe The Andre's “attitude and personality?”

It’s bold, whimsical but yet super inviting. It just fosters people being in a space that I love to entertain in, and keep them there.


Q. All Orior pieces have names, but if you could choose a name/rename your Orior piece, what would you name it and why?

I’d give it the name Potter. I’ll tell you why -- that was the last name of my grandfather, who the moment I looked at this chair, it reminded me of him. It’s my mom’s last name and my daughter’s middle name. I’ve always loved bringing familial history back into whatever I’m doing, and this would be a way for me to do that.


Q. If you were to be reincarnated as a piece of furniture or home décor item, what would it be, and why?

I think ultimately, it would be a much-loved dinner table, because my favorite way of gathering people together is over a meal. I think that’s one of the things I love the most in life -- gathering people together and creating community over a meal.

Text by Rima Suqi
Photography by Jonathan Hokklo