Announcing the 2014 HC&G Innovation in Design Judges
Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler
Mabley Handler Interior Design
Mabley Handler Interior Design was founded in 2002 when Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler got engaged, left their city life and careers in retail home furnishings and advertising behind, and moved out to the Hamptons to begin a new life together. A project in the estate section of Southampton Village launched their firm, and since then their signature Hamptons design style has made Mabley Handler Interior Design one of the most recognizable design firms in the Hamptons.
Robert Passal Interior
Award winning interior designer, Robert Passal, firmly believes in the axiom that there’s no place like home. Beyond the primary function of providing shelter, our home is a private refuge that only a privileged few will ever enter. Our home must offer security, comfort, and luxury. Coco Chanel remarked: “You cannot truly have one without the other.”
A Robert Passal interior is never defined by any one era, style or approach. Rather, it evokes personal comfort and sophistication. Timeless, collected, composed, and curated are words often used to describe his aesthetic.
Drawing from his own experiences, travels and keen insight, Passal constantly hones his skill as a designer. When working with clients, he selects fabrics, furnishings, art and antiques that represent each person’s individuality—whether contemporary or traditional. The finished product is a comfortable, enduring, yet richly layered space that breaks from the mundane to become the extraordinary.
He began his career working for antiques dealer John Rosselli, which served as both design boot camp and graduate school. This experience was a hands-on tutorial in furniture, interior design and decorative arts. He was a senior designer at Healing Barsanti for five years before founding his own firm in 2000. Clients currently range from professional athletes to celebrities, financiers and homemakers. Projects include commissions as diverse as the restoration of a temple in New Jersey, a fashion boutique in Miami and a Tokyo pied-à-terre.
Robert has earned accolades from Architectural Digest, House & Garden, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Westchester Cottages and Gardens. Recently he was awarded Traditional Home’s “Top 20 Designers Award.” He was honored to be asked to participate in prestigious show houses including Kips Bay, the Conde Nast Dream House the Show House By The Shore. Passal donates his time to many philanthropic activities including his personal mission as advocate and supporter of Housing Works and The Coalition for the Homeless.
Christiane Lemieux revolutionized the textiles market when she launched her innovative company DwellStudio in 2000. Fusing modern design with luxurious details, DwellStudio is a fresh voice in the interiors world. Lemieux authored her first book, Undecorate, to critical acclaim in 2011.
Lemieux began her career in fashion working as a fabric assistant for Isaac Mizrahi and then as an assistant designer of women’s woven clothing, fabric design, development and merchandising for the Gap. Wooed by the world of home furnishings, Lemieux took a position as design director with Portico, a New York-based home company. While with the company, Lemieux fell in love with the permanence and craftsmanship of home design. During her tenure there, Lemieux developed furniture, home accessories, gift items, bed linens and bath products for the company.
Eager to bring something new to the popular all-white linen aesthetic, Lemieux left Portico to launch DwellStudio. She introduced geometrics and stripes as well as modern, abstract florals with her collection. Her unique sense of color and love of old-world details quickly set DwellStudio apart from other brands.
Since launching, Lemieux has expanded to a full offering of furniture, accessories, art and bedding, plus a full line of baby and kids products. Her collections have found a celebrity following, fans include Gwyneth Paltrow, Liv Tyler, Gwen Stefani and Nicole Kidman.
A native of Ottawa, Canada, Lemieux is a graduate of Queen's University in Kingston, Canada and Parsons School of Design in New York. She resides in the New York’s Soho neighborhood with her family, where she recently launched the company’s first flagship retail store at 77 Wooster Street.
Director of Interior Design
Arquitectonica International Corporation
Alison Spear is the Director of Interior Design at Arquitectonica International Corporation. Prior to this, she was a Senior Designer at Ennead Architects, formerly known as Polshek Partnership, from 1986 to 2012. Ms. Spear has been the principal of Alison Spear AIA, her architectural and design firm located in Miami, New York City, and Wappingers Falls, New York. She is a LEED accredited professional and a licensed architect in Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Ms. Spear has a wealth of experience designing residential interiors ranging from luxury condominiums to high-end single family houses including several projects in Miami Beach. Ms. Spear has received AIA Awards of Excellence and her firm was honored as Interior Design Firm of the Year. In 2004, Ms. Spear was included as one of the Top 125 Interior Designers of the year by House Beautiful Magazine.Design Award.
Matthew Patrick Smyth
Matthew Patrick Smyth Inc.
A returning IDA judge, Matthew Patrick Smyth’s firm specializes primarily in residential interior design from Connecticut to New York City and Paris and London, giving careful consideration to blend classic style with comfort. Smyth’s aesthetic illustrates a consistent focus on fine detailing and suitability, within a range of styles. Matthew Patrick Smyth Inc. utilizes high quality craftspeople to provide a finished product that reflects the client’s needs and interest. The firm’s goal is to maintain a long-term relationship with clients. Many of the firm’s clients are on their second, third and fourth projects with Matthew Patrick Smyth Inc. Smyth has branched out into product design with a carpet collection, a line of fabrics, a line of his wallcovering designs and a bed collection.