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meet us: robert and cortney novogratz

How did you meet?
We met at a party in Charlotte NC.
Love at first sight.

You both come from families very similar to your own-big and design oriented-do you see your kids becoming a third generation?
Def. we hope it will become a family business. Since we are so hands on with our kids, and work out of our homes, the kids are definitely exposed to our fun, creative and crazy world.

With a large, active family and a growing business, how do you stay organized?
It’s organized chaos but organized. We are doers and get things done.

What’s your favorite room in your house?
The kitchen.

Where is your favorite place in the world and are there any destinations on your wish list?
Paris. We love big urban cities…would love to go to Capetown. and Tokyo.

Do you have an absolute favorite find from your world travels or local treasure hunts?
And which one do you most regret NOT purchasing?
A vintage foosball table from Italy. Few regrets as we enjoy the hunt.

What inspires you?
Our children.

Which has more influence on a project—the architecture or the people who live there?
People—every home should be a direct reflection of the people who live there. From their personalities to the way they live—a project is most influenced by its inhabitants.

Do you have a favorite architect?
Frank Gehry—we love his work because he balances art, sculpture and architecture in a way nobody else has. The second you lay eyes on a Gehry building, you know he designed it.

If you could Novogratz absolutely anyone’s home—whose would it be?
The White House. We love the history of the home and all of the amazing people who have lived there before, but we would love to make it more fun and better reflect the Obama family.

What are your favorite and least favorite colors?
Love all colors. Don’t like tones like beige.

Why did you want to work with CB2?
The people—it’s a big family too!

Do you have one low-budget decorating tip?
Paint can transform a space.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t take your success—or your failures—too seriously.

To see all of the Novogratz’s current designs for CB2, go here.


designer profile: liora manné

What are your sources of inspiration?
Everyday life, travel, colors…

What are your interests outside of design?
Yoga, meditation, reading, pottery, travel, and art.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
It may sound crazy but I love my iPhone… It meshes practicality, ease and sophistication.

Form vs. function?
They are inseparable.

What’s your personal decorating style?
Simple with color in the right places.

Where was your favorite place to live?
I love where I am right now! I have the best of both worlds with a home in the middle of NYC and a country home about 1 hour north of the city, that lets me see just trees… I have access to both culture and tranquility.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
We have a little spa area where I meditate. All the essentials are there… cappuccino machine, comfortable meditation space and a big hot tub!

What do you drive?
I take taxis.

What one item do you wish you owned?
I am not really a big consumer. I don’t lust over things, if I really want something I buy it. But generally I’m not into “stuff.”

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Traveling led me to so many beautiful craft items at bargain prices—textiles and wooden pieces from Guatemala, amazing furniture from India…

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Believe in your vision and work hard to achieve your goals. Positive thinking really works!

To see all of Liora’s current designs for CB2, go here.


designer profile: giorgio biscaro

Where was your favorite place to live?
Even if it’s not particularly exotic, since i live 20 minutes from it, Venice is the most lovely city I’ve ever been…everything moves with a strange pace there, and when it’s not too much crowded with tourists, you can really lose yourself among its little paths and think you’re in 1600.

What is your signature?
Well, I always wear strange shoes: in my opinion they reflect my passion for research. That’s why, even if people thinks I’m always wearing loafers, I always have a pair of Po-zu shoes around my feet. They’re made in natural materials, like hemp, cork, or wool (according to the season) and they have a soft mattress made of pressed coconut fibers. The sole is made from natural latex, extracted from rubber tree without cutting a single tree. They’re so natural you could even leave them in a field and see them naturally decomposing little by little! Gee, I love them.

What are your sources of inspiration?
People’s behaviours are a constant source. I mean, by watching people you can really innovate, because sometimes they can put you in contact with needs an actions really far from your typical habitat or background. I love learning by people!

What are your interests outside of design?
I like listening to jazz, cool jazz and vibraphonists more, and playing guitar. Then I like have an addiction for movies, with a special preference for some oldies but goodies like Mediterraneo, Il Postino and similar. Moreover, during my life I shooted many photos with my loyal reflex, from sport reportages to underwater sessions. I often read essays about design, and intelligent graphic novels (something drawn by Chris Ware, for example). Lastly, people, foreign cultures, understanding how men live, their traditions and habits.

I really appreciated the lecture Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University about connecting dots…check it, if you haven’t heard it before, it’s really inspiring. Well, that’s why I constantly try to increase my interest: they are my dots.

Who are your design icons?
Castiglioni for his irony, Grcic because he’s still so radical, Mari for his thoughts. The list could continue…I refer to old and new master very often, since they help me remember where design come from and which is my role as a design, a very ethical affair.

Form vs. Function?
The little payoff on my business card says “Forms, functions, behaviours”, which are the three things I have in mind when I design something. I think it’s clear, nowadays, the close connection—nearly identity—between these elements. So, there’s no battle, in good design, just harmony.

What’s your favorite possession?
Entertainment-wise, I really love my Apple TV, but professionally, instead, I love my coloured Moleskines. Since I draw and sketch, really a lot, they’re always my companion everywhere I go so I can quickly put on paper everything is going on my mind. Although I’m a big fan of new technologies, and hope we will at last convert paper magazines into digital editions, writing on paper is still too practical to abandon.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
My honeymoon: me and my wife traveled across Japan first and then we moved to French Polynesia, where we visited six different islands. We spend nearly two months, and boys, we enjoyed every single minute!

To see all of Giorgio’s current designs for CB2, go here.


designer profile: manuel saez & partners

Manuel Where was your favorite place to live?
Brooklyn. It is a true multicultural experience. It has the small friendly neighborhood feeling and quick access to Manhattan and all the good things new York can offer.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Everyday things. Sculpture, art, science shows, nature… Depends… Yesterday I found a chewed up dog stick at the park and I am going to do a sculpture with it.

What one item do you wish you owned?
Phillip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan.

Who are you design icons?
In terms of product the Eames aluminum series. As far as designers I like Phillip Stark, always criticized but he knows how to control what people feel…

Form vs. function?
Yes! The true is Balance between them, in the context the design will be used.

What’s your favorite element/possession?
A vintage long, black leather coat I bought on the street in Malaga Spain.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Good food and great company. I love to cook and entertain friends.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
White paint—with it you can hide or highlight. Anything looks good—spaces and objects.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Received: you need to exercise some restraint!!! Gave: do what you love and be patience.

To see all of Manuel Saez & Partners’ current designs for CB2, go here.

JordiWhere was your favorite place to live?
Anywhere you are close enough to where the things are happening—in NYC or Barcelona— but far enough to see it with perspective and mindfulness.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
The paper clip for its simplicity, use of material and look.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Usually the best inspirations come from contexts completely different from the one we are working on. Fortunately NYC allows you to change your context with a 3 minute bicycle ride, although inspiration never comes when you look for it!

What one item do you wish you owned?
A Hang, or handpan, an originally Swiss musical instrument incredibly difficult to get. But waiting in line to get one made in Russia very soon!

Who are you design icons?
I don’t really have fixed icons in general, but to pick from back home I would say that I have big sympathy for Mario Ruiz and Jaime Hayon, absolutely two different views on design.

Form vs. function?
I think that Form and Function should never confront each other in a ring. They have to leave in peace and act always accordingly in each context, which makes their relation always different depending on the situation.

What’s the best advice you ever received?
Always change your job whenever you stop having fun on what you do.


designer profile: jannis ellenberger

Where was your favorite place to live?
I am quite happy where we live right now. Bremen is a charming city in the north of Germany with many nice people—not too far away from the sea with lots of fresh air—and we have a river going through with a beach. So in the summer we can take a bath right in the center of the city.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
We have a double room we share as a family. It’s for living, eating, sleeping, playing with our children… and a sunny balcony attached. it serves many functions and when doors are wide open it’s one huge space.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
Hard to tell…maybe the Lego® brick. A very small and simple toy children will keep on playing with for generations I guess. Every human on the planet owns an average of 62 Lego® pieces!

What do you drive?
The Dutch bike I inherited from my father-in-law. When I need a car my C5—which I bought because Citroen® was the first company installing ‘soot particle filters’ in diesel cars.

What’s your favorite element/possession?
Hard to evaluate… maybe my books. I always have to be surrounded by books even though I have almost no time for reading. I have some very beautiful books and believe that designing books is great art! I even know what my books smell like…

What’s your personal decorating style?
Lots of free space, clear forms, and warm materials. And of course, white and empty walls to provide room for mental projections, for ideas, free thoughts and creativity.

What are your interests outside of design?
My two boys! Outoors + nature, arts, sports.

Who are you design icons?
There are many, but Ray and Charles Eames were definitely the ones who opened up my galaxy of design.

Form vs. function?
Next to many others, these are both important aspects in the design process and they have to be weighted differently for every single project.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Authenticity—just be yourself and go for it.

To see all of Jannis’s current designs for CB2, go here.

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