How did you develop your minimalist design aesthetic?
I wouldn’t call what I do "minimalist." I like very few objects, but each object has to carry its weight -- it’s not about superfluous stuff in the room. It was that way from the beginning. If anything, it has become much more of a mixture, because of my travel and having a shop, VW Home. I’m going around the world buying things, so I’m always seeing things that I love. That has been an influence. I think of the old adage “less is more" and the fact that you see things clearer and find spaces more calming if there is less in them.
Where do you travel to find inspiration?
To me, I don’t care where I’m going as long as I can get on the plane. I love Burma and Miramar. I love countries in the Middle East. I think if you train your eye to look, you can find wonderful things everywhere. I think that it happens more for people when they travel, because they become much more aware of their surroundings. The name of one of my books is "Learning to See" -- how do you look at things, and really consciously, not just letting it go over your head.
What do you love most about living in New York City?
I think that it’s the best of both worlds. You can hate it, but there’s no place else I’d rather be. From a lot of travel, I think it’s the most global city in the world. For a small island, it is so compact with creativity, with brains, with the good and the bad.
But you need to get out of here, you go nuts if you don’t. I think you need to clear the palate at least once a year. Because if not, I think you start to believe that certain things are reality. New York is a city with a large case of entitlement and demands and expectations, so you need to get your feet back down on the ground. Clear the head. It helps me to put things into perspective, what really is important in people’s lives.
Do you collect anything?
I have VW Home, so I get the fun in buying things and the fun in selling them. At home, I collect very few things. I collect photography, so I have hundreds, literally, of photographs from 1910 all the way to contemporary. I collect Buddhist horns that are used during religious ceremonies. I collect Buddha fragments, they’re all from the waist down. I have 15 or 20 of them that I’ve been buying for the last 15 years. And I love plants, orchids. They never die, they just keep growing.
What should everyone have in their home?
Wonderful sheets. I think a beautiful, comfortable bed is the best gift you can give yourself. It’s totally private, it has to do with taking care of yourself. Different sheets feel differently. If they are sateen, there’s a cool quality for the summer; and if they’re linen, there’s a different feel.
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