LE BAIN: You're originally based in London and we'll be celebrating the opening of your office in New York. Are you planning to expand the influence of Dezeen here?
MARCUS FAIRS: Our audience is global and our biggest audience is in the USA, but until now we have run everything from our London office. As we look to become an international brand, New York is the obvious place to open our first overseas office because of its vibrant creative community, amazing architecture, and dynamic business landscape. We've hired some great journalists in the city and their mission is to increase our coverage of cutting-edge architecture and design in the U.S., which in turn we hope will increase our influence both in New York City and across the country.
You're also in town for the ICFF design show. Who do you think are the most interesting designers and architects in NYC today?
NYC has its own style and there are a bunch of designers and brands in the city whose influence is starting to be felt overseas. This is particularly true of lighting design, where Lindsay Edelman, Jason Miller (and his company Roll & Hill) and others have evolved a distinct aesthetic that is slightly retro and reassuring, rather than bleeding edge, but which is being widely imitated in Europe now. It’s a sort of cruise liner brasserie look with lots of brass, opaque glass balls and low lighting levels. The thing that always strikes me more than anything about New York interior design is how dark the bars and restaurants are.
What’s your favorite thing about the Standard hotels in terms of design?
I love The Standard, High Line for the sequence of very different and contrasting spaces on the ground floor, including the mind-bending Op-Art toilets, the views from the rooms, and of course, the spectacular building itself and the way it straddles the High Line. The rooms are very cleverly designed to feel glamorous and far more spacious than they are and I love the glossy black tiles in the shower room. However, the shower is the one part of the hotel that follows the NYC trend of being too dark! It gets pretty gloomy in there (laughs).
The gloves that will 'change the way we make music', with Imogen Heap
You just won a Webby award for your short tech movie about the musician Imogen Heap. It seems Dezeen is pretty good at winning all kind of publishing and journalism awards. What would be the greatest award you could think of?
We make a point of entering as many awards as we can. It’s a great way to think about what you’ve done and define why you think it’s good. Luckily the judges have agreed with us from time to time! But despite being a digital platform we really strongly believe in producing journalism (including movies) of the highest quality, and that’s what wins us awards, kudos and, perhaps most importantly, readers. So the greatest reward is often the emails and verbal compliments we get from people who love our content and generously take the time to tell us about it.
The big question of the week: what do you think of Renzo Piano’s Whitney Museum?
I first saw the nearly complete museum from the window of my room at The Standard, High Line earlier this year! We arrived at night and I assumed the large, ungainly structure looming below us was an incinerator, a power plant, or some other hunk of infrastructure. So my first impression was that it was very ugly. However, after walking around it and getting used to it, I now think it’s a pretty sensational building and very brave in the way it ignores aesthetic convention. I’m still not sure I’d call it beautiful however, and I haven’t been inside yet.