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Cinde W. Ingram

Angelo Surmelis

angelo: HOME

AngeloAngelo
Q: When did you start designing?

A: Honestly, I think it started since I was in my crib. My parents tell me that I would spend hours in there trying to push and move things around until I felt satisfied that something had changed. Then, when I was about 5 and felt stronger, I tried to move the walls of our Chicago apartment by leaning on them. When that didn't work, I started dragging the furniture around and rearranging the rooms.

Q: What training did you receive?

A: I started out as an architect major but quickly realized that so much of design was decided by committee and that math was a huge part of the discipline. Numbers and I did not get along, so I switched over to fine art. It suited the way my brain is wired much better. I didn't study interior design. I couldn't imagine that someone would hire a stranger to help them put their home together. I figured that everyone designed their own home.

Q: What inspires you to design?

A: It doesn't sounds very original, but everything does! Design is all around us and in everything we come in contact with, so I am constantly inspired. It's difficult to turn off that part of my job sometimes.

Q: Who are the designers who have influenced you the most?

A: I've always been influenced by art, movies and fashion. The way that color, pattern and texture are used in paintings and in clothing is highly inspiring. Alexander McQueen was a genius with everything he did. As was painter, Johannes Vermeer. Their influence goes way beyond the world of fashion and art. Also, I grew up idolizing films. While the stars in them mesmerized others, I was taken by the interiors. Production designers like Jon Hutman and Dean Tavoularis have been hugely influential. They tell stories through their work and I think our homes should be more about telling our story, than just looking "pretty" or "trendy."

Q: What makes a great casual furniture design?Angelo Home

A: Like anything else in our homes, great design is so individual and personal. At the end of the day, it has to fit our lifestyle. If it can be comfortable and look great as well, then it's a win-win all the way around!

Q: What materials are most satisfying for you to create designs for?

A: Whichever one is in front of me at any given moment.

Q: Of which designs or accomplishments are you most proud?

A: I don't know that I have had that feeling yet. Everything still feels new and fresh to me. There are days (I feel) that I'm still "waiting for my career to start."

Q: When the well runs dry, how do you recharge your creative spark?

A: Walking through New York City or Paris. I'm lucky that I live in NYC, so anytime I feel overwhelmed, creatively drained or stressed, a great walk through the city almost instantly changes that!

Q: What do you know now that you wish you had known earlier in your career?

A: I wish I knew the personal power of saying, "no." I used to take every design job that came my way - even the ones I knew were the wrong fit. It was my insecurity about ever finding work again that propelled me to take on every project. I think it's a common reaction with most young designers. Even though the jobs that were an odd fit taught me a lot, I could have done without some of them. At some point, you can learn lessons with a little less drama.

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