American Design Hot List 2016
New York, samuelamoia.com
With his studio open barely a year, Amoia’s client list is already filled with names like Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, Peter Marino, and Dover Street Market. They seek him out both for his eclectic, geometrically inclined interiors and for his inventive furniture made by combining traditional casting materials with precious stones and minerals.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
The design climate in America is very, very hot at the moment. There is an expansive landscape between art, design, and functionality that idea-makers are widely exploring. Designers are utilizing new techniques and progressive ideas while still honoring the core principles of design. We are also constantly pushing the boundaries of sustainability, and yet not sacrificing craftsmanship. I can think of six American designers right off the top of my head that inspire me and that are shaping the present day and the future of design. More importantly, there’s a major unity within the design community in the States. With the emergence of such a great range of fairs and shows — Sight Unseen OFFSITE, Design Miami, The Salon, Collective — you can really get your work out there, making the “American Dream” more possible than ever for an unknown designer to showcase their work and passion. And if it’s good, people will support you. There’s a great sense of community among designers — I’m living proof of it! I’ve had a lot of love from my contemporaries. It makes me very proud, and It’s not only inspiring but also encouraging. As the old saying goes, “All boats rise with the tide.”
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
On the interior design side, we’re very excited to open our first hotel project, Itz’-Ana Resort & Residences, in Belize. It’s an enormous ground-up project in Placencia, with both residential and commercial elements spanning over 20 acres of design. Blending British and Spanish Colonial design mixed with a 1920s beach and jungle twist, we’ve been working with over two dozen local and international artisans and craftsman to commission everything from furniture, lighting, and architectural elements — handmade tiles, woven wall panels — to artworks. There will even be a butterfly farm in the spa! We’re also designing our first ground-up residential building in Coconut Grove, Miami, called Arbor. It will have a focus on sustainability, bike sharing, and commissioned works by local artists. The project has a luxury grassroots feel to it. I’m really excited to have my name and design on such a great project.
In the studio, we’re working on a few commissions for some Dior stores and we just installed a bunch of pieces for Lauren Santo Domingo at her Moda Operandi Flagship. We’re also working on a cool architectural bath installation for a new concept hotel brand. We just showed at Design Miami, with our New York gallery, Delorenzo, and now we’re working on a new collection for the spring, hopefully of lighting.
What inspires/informs your work in general?
Any type of natural movement and natural materials, light and shadow. I think movement plays the biggest part. I like to observe action in something, and I obsess on how to work with it without changing it. And then I let the material do the work — I’m just the translator. My first piece of furniture was the side drum table, made of sand and cement. I watched the movement of the ocean foam against the coast every week from the airplane when flying to Miami, and then I just contextualized it in another way. Of course I also love the 20th century masters of design and how their work transcends all of ours still to this day — 100 years later. In my opinion, there’s no design better than those of Jean Michel Frank, Jean Dunand, Jean Royere, Pierre Chareau, and Eileen Grey. Besides their timeless work, their core design principles are still as relevant, if not more relevant than ever.