Grand Vie Fall/Winter 2017 - East

18 How would you describe the aesthetic of your artwork? MA: All of our pieces are handcrafted, and I find inspiration everywhere, especially from nature and the crafting process itself. Making pieces of nature by hand reflects humanity – and gives pause. It tells a story through beauty and symbolism. I believe our pieces evoke emotion, and there is something behind them that sparks a thought, dream or discussion. This, in turn, makes our brand authentic, beautiful and meaningful. Where are some of the favorite places you have traveled, and how have your travels influenced your work? MA: I had the opportunity at a young age to study fine art and art history in Florence, Italy, which remains a favorite place that has influenced both me and my work. A life-changing trip to India 28 years ago exposed me to the beauty of the country and to craft-based design. It was on that first trip to New Delhi that I decided to set up a home and workshop in India. What does it mean to have your artwork/products sold in such a renowned store as Neiman Marcus? MA: It is truly an honor to see my work featured in Neiman Marcus. Shortly after I started my company, one of the first designs was picked up by Neiman Marcus. I am proud of my relationship with the luxury retailer over the years; the collections I design exclusively for Neiman Marcus are some of my favorites. Would you describe your latest collections? MA: We’re excited to announce two new tabletop and gift collections for fall 2017. The Calla Lily collection was inspired by the beauty of the calla lily flower, which is symbolic of purity and innocence. There is something so alluring about the billowy flowers and arching stems, which feel contemporary yet still utterly romantic. In contrast, the Twist collection feels more clean and modern. It is a craft-based collection with hand-twisted steel and polished surfaces. There is a calming and classical symmetry to the design, a fluidity and movement to the twists that I love. Why is quality important to you and your work? MA: I feel that there is a soulfulness and a “vibration” inherent in handmade objects that reflect our own humanity. Craftsmanship is a luxury in today’s world as technology and mass production become our daily diet. My work is “perfectly imperfect,” with no two pieces ever exactly the same. Any tips for selecting the right Michael Aram pieces for a home? MA: Creating a home is very personal. I feel everyone should live with things they love — objects that are inspiring or meaningful to you. A home is a reflection of who you are, and should always feel as unique and beautiful as you are. What does it mean to meet your customers? MA: I’m very fortunate to be able to meet customers at stores, since I truly enjoy the interactions. There are many customers who have become my friends over the years after our meeting at signing events. I love the chance to meet and share laughs and stories with those who come to my signings, and I love to hear about favorite collections or why a particular piece is being chosen for a special gift. What is one of the most elaborate custom requests you’ve fulfilled for a customer? MA: I was commissioned to create a monumental sculpture to be given to Pope Francis in 2016. It was an incredible honor and felt like a historic and humbling moment. What has inspired you recently? MA: Picking up pebbles and broken shells and bits of coral on the beach with my kids has been very inspiring, as I feel I see things anew through their enthused and fresh eyes. Currently your work ranges from dining and entertaining to decorative objects, to furniture, and jewelry. What’s the next category for Michael Aram? MA: I’m very excited to announce our first collection of textiles, which adds a layer of dimension and softness to our other collections. With the holidays just around the corner, which Michael Aram pieces do you think are perfect for gifting? MA: One of my favorite things to do is to make a homemade dessert or other dish and gift it in one of my casserole dishes. I love creating pieces that are designed to bring comfort and warmth to a space. What does it mean to you to be honored with the Career Achievement in Design Award from Fashion Group International of Dallas? MA: It’s truly a great honor to be receiving this award from Fashion Group International of Dallas. I’ve always considered my designs to be within the realm of home fashion, so it’s very exciting to have my collections recognized in this way. ■ An interview with Michael Aram Hot Art