Vanessa Alexander from Alexander Design in Los Angeles is known for a Californian-cool aesthetic. Vanessa looked after the projects from concept to move in, taking on everything from restoring a 1940s loft in Venice to renovating a house originally designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. Vanessa’s clients are known for contemporary spaces filled with natural materials and for their ability to create custom pieces to make each space feel unique. They range from lawyers and agents to Hollywood’s elite to celebrity chefs and financiers. It has been published in ELLE Decor, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal as well as in Asia, Europe and South America.
Today Vanessa is coming to us for Friday Five!
1. Mountains / nature
I have a house in Mammoth, in the mountains, that I visit often when I want to feel closer to nature. The elemental colors, the fresh air and the textures of the foliage around me give me a fresh perspective and inspire me to create. When I look at the pine trees and snow-capped mountains, the incessant chatter in my head naturally dissipates and calm sets in. Even though you are elevated in the mountains, I always feel more grounded when I leave than when I arrive.
2. Plaster walls
Plaster walls can create a handcrafted craftsmanship feel to even the most sophisticated and elegant of spaces. The subtle structural nuances of plaster of paris add depth and movement that other textures cannot compete with. And when light and shadow meet plaster, this movement is further emphasized. I love the idea of bringing nature in seamlessly. The earthiness that plaster of paris brings to a room can achieve this in the most beautiful, minimalist way possible.
3. Vintage lighting / SpongeBob Tynell
Lighting is so much more than just functionality. I’m looking for lights – typically vintage – that have been developed for both lightness and darkness. Vintage lighting brings a certain character and soul to a room. Because of this, Paavo Tynell is one of my favorite lighting designers. In these elegant, sculptural forms, he uses both polished and perforated brass. Everything works together to illuminate a room in a unique way. Shadows and patterns on walls, ceilings and floors can define an interior space just like the lighting piece itself – so I try to play around with shadows as much as possible.
4. Day beds
A day bed is the ultimate versatile piece of furniture. I’m especially obsessed with those of Jean Prouve and Charlotte Perriand. Their clean lines and the negative space they provide allow any space they are in to maintain a natural, open flow. It’s both functional and sculptural. No matter where a daybed is – be it in a room full of furniture or alone in an intimate vignette – its unique shape enhances the visual balance of any space.
5. Italian / Milanese design
Vincenzo Decotiis and Dimore Studio have become two of my favorite designers from Milan and Italy, although they are very different. The strategic and abundant use of stone and earthy colors by Decotiis transports you to another time and space while also providing a contemporary feel. On the other hand, with their colorful velvets and their classic elegance, Dimore Studio’s designs offer all the sheen and opulence you can dream of. Both have absolutely unique, fresh voices that continue to inspire me.
Discover Vanessa’s work on alexanderdb.com.