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October 2, 2012

City Modern—Dwell and New York Magazine's collaborative week-long collection of talks, studio and home tours showcasing New York architecture and design—began Monday evening with the opening of Design Through the Ages. Four interior designers: Nate Berkus, Francis D'Haene, Thom Filicia, and Ghislaine Vinas each explore a distinct era of time. The designers hand-picked pieces from showrooms at the New York Design Center, who also hosts the exhibition.

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Dwell and New York Magazine City Modern Design Through the Ages
Designer Ghislaine Vinas with her 1960s inspired selections. Graphic wallpaper by Flavor Paper. How does one balance so many bright colors when they’re decorating a room? “I always say this: getting a white base—and I mean a really white base, not cream or beige—is really important for contemporary interiors,” Vinas says. “In this case we have a really graphic black and white and it’s like painting really. You have to balance out the colors. It’s all about composition and getting the colors right.”
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“If you look at the 60s it’s all about a really graphic black and white and these pops of color,” Vinas says.
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“I'm really inspired by the 60s and always have been,” Vinas says. “It's something I really gravitate toward. It's a hide and go seek game at 200 Lex [the New York Design Center]. You just go find your pieces that are calling your name.”
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The 70s, curated by designer Nate Berkus. Berkus pulled together vintage pieces from 1st Dibs, wallpaper from Flavor Paper, and his own collection of accessories available at Target.
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Neilson Barnard
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The organic form of a philodendron leaf and its shadows play off of the geometric shapes and patterns of Berkus’s selections.
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“There is something so memorable about 70’s inspired design,” Berkus says. He balances the “metallic sheens and edginess” of an aluminum side table with a crisp, graphic carpet and the softness of fur.
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Designer Francis D’Haene took on the challenge of the “ME! ME! ME!” decade of the 80s. “It’s a difficult decade because you can’t find a lot of 80s pieces,” D’Haene says. “I absolutely took a fun approach.”
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Dwell and New York Magazine City Modern Design Through the Ages
Fake money was crammed into drawers and filled a large vessel sitting under a neon “Money Orders” sign. “My three-year-old and six-year-old assisted me in photocopying their toy money, cutting it up, and crumbling it,” D’Haene explains. “It was a Sunday project. It was a lot of fun.”
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D’Haene sits amongst his collection of objects mirroring the “decade of decadence.” “To me, the lesson to be learned is that you should be more humble,” D’Haene says. Nevertheless, his assortment of brash designs and neon sculptures are vibrant and delightful.
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Close up of a “contemporary glass sculpture,” filled with candy in D’Haene’s 80s-themed office arrangement.
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American-made interiors and designs showcase the look of the present assembled by designer Thom Filicia.
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Neilson Barnard
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Filicia brought together pieces from his own collection for Safaviah with selections from the New York Design Center. “What I love about design in this moment is that it bridges all time periods and styles effortlessly,” Filicia says
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Elements of nature, organic forms, and clean colors are illustrated in Filicia’s comfortable living room setting.
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The opening night crowd at “Design Through the Ages.” Furnishings provided by Stephanie Odegard Collection, HighTower, 1stdibs, Weinberg Modern, Smith and Watson, Brueton, Giorgetti, Global Views, Arteriors Home, Dennis Miller Associates, Thom Filicia Home Collection for Safavieh, and accessories by Nate Berkus at Target. “Design Through the Ages” is on view October 2-5 from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the New York Design Center, 200 Lexington Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY, and is free to the public.
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“What better way to show that the heritage of great design comes with us through the ages?” Dwell president Michela O'Connor Abrams asked the packed room. “When we really focus on great design, we know how to make it appropriate for this century and how to pull the pieces and the elements together.”

Design Through the Ages is on view October 2-5 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the New York Design Center, 200 Lexington Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY and is free to the public.

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