Paris Forino, is the Australian-born, New York-based designer at the helm of Paris Forino Interior Design, a full-service boutique design firm she founded in 2012. Prior to creating her own firm, the 42-year-old Ms. Forino worked at Ruth Levine Design in Australia, and at Tihany Design and CetraRuddy—both in New York.
Paris Forino Interior Design’s portfolio is expanding, with work including the gut renovation of a 10,000-square-foot-townhouse in the West Village, a boutique wine bar and hotel lobby in Chelsea, a 60-unit condominium in Stockholm, Sweden, homes in Miami, as well as interiors at both 11 Beach Street in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood and 66 Ninth Avenue in Chelsea—both high-end new developments.
Ms. Forino is also in the process of launching collaborative lines with Waterworks, Sacco carpets, and cabinet and hardware maker Hamilton Sinkler.
We caught up with her to discuss design changes as a result of the pandemic, her modern-yet-traditional style, and more.
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Mansion Global: How have you been faring since the pandemic?
Paris Forino: We moved into a beautiful new office right before being quarantined. Then we all began working remotely. We figured out how to access our work computers from our home computers. We’ve made it work, and we’ve had big projects happen.
MG: How would you describe your design style?
PF: Clean and modern. It’s not minimal. We like to reference historical styles. For example, we recently did a kitchen with shaker-style cabinets, but in a more clean and modern way than is traditional. Each project and each client informs our style, but we like to keep that modern style with a nod to the historical.
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MG: Is there anything happening in your industry now that surprises you?
PF: People are being sort of knee jerk, and making sweeping changes, and not realizing that these things will be around for a long time. So while we may not want gyms or saunas in our buildings now, that’s not always going to be a thing.
MG: Are your clients’ requests changing?
PF: We do multi-family work in big condo buildings and private residences. For condos, there’s this new post-Covid world, where people are talking about touchless entry and work-from-home spaces and amenity lounges geared toward people who are working from home. As far as private residences, that work hasn’t slowed down. People still want stuff done.
We don’t do much hospitality, but I do wonder how on earth those designers are going to keep working.
But as far as residential goes, people want to fix up their weekend houses, and really spruce them up.
MG: Do you think styles and preferences will change drastically?
PF: Right now, I’m not seeing too much change. People sort of want the same beautiful things, but the main change is that they want elevators without touching a button, entry doors that open automatically without touching, that sort of thing.
MG: What does luxury mean to you?
PF: It’s about being comfortable, at ease, ergonomically correct. It looks beautiful, and you don’t feel constrained. You can feel comfortable, lovely and relaxed. It’s about extreme comfort.
MG: How would you describe your dream property?
PF: I’ve been thinking about that. We have a weekend house in Connecticut, and we spend a lot of time there. I would love a place in Connecticut on the river, surrounded by beautiful trees. And a gorgeous house of course. I love old homes, laid out, done beautifully—not too large, not too small. That would be my dream home.
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MG: Has your idea of a dream property changed since Covid started?
PF: Yes, it’s about investing more in a country place than a city place. Now that we know how easy it is to work from home, we know we can spend more time here.
MG: What kinds of amenities are people looking for in buildings now?
PF: We’re working on a big building in San Francisco, and they’re wondering: do we do a sauna, do we do a steam room? The gyms might be smaller, because people don’t want to be working out with a lot of people around them. I’m not sure people are going to want to be sharing small spaces anymore. Music rooms where you can bring in a teacher and practice are in demand. People want to have that work/life balance, all in their living space.
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