Monday, October 1, 2018

Exclusive Design Report: RH Opens a Dramatic New Design Gallery and Rooftop Restaurant in New York

In the heart of the super-cool Meatpacking District — with architecture by California-based Jim Gillam of the architectural firm Backen, Gillam & Kroeger — RH opens a dynamic new space that includes a dramatic rooftop restaurant and bar, interior design consulting, a new art offering, galleries of chandeliers and lighting, along with spectacular accessories and antiques. You won’t want to leave.

The 90,000-Square-Foot, Six Level Retail Experience Features a Rooftop Restaurant by Brendan Sodikoff and, “New York Night” a Dramatic Art Installation by Alison Berger

In a project that took a decade, and six years of design and planning and permits and complex construction, the gallery is true to the location. It’s a building within a brick wall shell, a dramatic re-invention.

Originally owned by John Jacob Astor in the late 19th century, this historic landmark building has been re-imagined with a modern steel-and-glass structure rising five floors through the meticulously preserved original brick façade, with cast-iron I-beams evoking the neighborhood’s industrial past.

RH New York, The Gallery in the Historic Meatpacking District is located at 9 Ninth Avenue (at corner of Little West 12th St) and can be reached at 212.217.2210.

The Rooftop Restaurant, Wine Vault and Barista Bar were created by celebrated restaurateur and founding president of RH Hospitality, Brendan Sodikoff.

Hours of operation (for both the gallery and Rooftop Restaurant) are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and Sunday 11am to 7pm.

The 90,000-square-foot building/ interior integrates all of RH’s businesses with entire floors dedicated to RH Interiors, Modern, Outdoor, Baby & Child, TEEN and Interior Design – and marks the brand’s continued foray into hospitality with a Rooftop Restaurant and Wine Terrace as well as a Barista Bar by celebrated restaurateur and Founding President of RH Hospitality, Brendan Sodikoff.

Design Services
For the first time, RH is imbedding an Interior Design Firm into its retail experience. As you step onto the second floor, you will see RH Interior Design offices, as well as five private client presentation rooms with discreet VIP entrances and state-of-the-art technology.

About RH
RH describes itself as a curator of design, taste and style in the luxury lifestyle market. The company offers a wide range of design at many price points. In particular, in the last five years RH had gathered a world-class coterie of designers and specialists in lighting (Jonathan Browning, for example) and designers for outdoor furniture, rugs, chandeliers, linens, and a broad range of furniture and accessories.

The company offers furniture, art, fabric, rug, accessories, lighting and many other collections through its retail galleries, Source Books, and online at,,,, and

Founded in 1979, RH operates a total of 85 retail Galleries consisting of eighteen Design Galleries, 44 legacy Galleries, two RH Modern Galleries and six RH Baby & Child Galleries throughout the United States and Canada, and fifteen Waterworks showrooms throughout the United States and in the U.K.

Upcoming is a new multi-faceted gallery, restaurant, and collections site in Yountville, which will open in October in the heart of the Napa Valley and a two-minute walk from The French Laundry.

The new Yountville gallery/multi-faceted compound was designed by the great architect, Jim Gilliam, who also designed and imagined RH Meatpacking. It’s discreet and fits perfect into its country town setting, and yet is designed and decorated with daring and bravado.

A year-round, sky-lit garden escape, the Rooftop Restaurant offers Sodikoff’s seasonal menu in a space layered with crystal chandeliers, Asiatic jasmine, and dozens of pleached London plane trees. Seamlessly extending from indoors to out, the restaurant opens onto a beautifully landscaped Park & Wine Terrace, framing iconic views of downtown Manhattan, One World Trade Center and the Hudson River. Influenced by the great classical gardens of Europe yet contemporary in spirit, this one-of-a-kind destination features a series of intimate garden rooms with overhead canopies, sculptural evergreens and the sound of trickling fountains.

To reach the upper levels, visitors can also ascend a grand double staircase illuminated by a spectacular art installation, New York Night, by Alison Berger. Composed of 120 hand-blown crystal teardrop pendants majestically cascading 90 feet through the six-story staircase, the piece evokes a downpour at nightfall, engaging the viewer in an ever-changing pattern of expansion and compression. Set against a backdrop of lavish polished charcoal Venetian plaster, which amplifies the light's amber glow, the composition renders mirrored pools of light and captures the city’s landscape in reflection.

New Art, Bold New Ideas
General Public, a first-of-its-kind art curation and publishing company was founded by award-winning actress and artist, Portia de Rossi.

The company creates exacting 3-D reproductions of original works by a select group of emerging and established artists across the globe.

Gary Friedman, RH Chairman and CEO commented, “We are advocates of Portia’s quest to transform the art world, and proud to partner with her and the General Public team to make great art accessible.”

General Public's SynographTM is a 3-D print that captures texture and brushwork in such detail that it is nearly indistinguishable from the original. Like a photograph, this unique marriage of art and technology enables the artist to create multiple reproductions of an original, thereby making it available to the general public, as opposed to just one collector.

General Public features paintings from artists Koen Lybaert (Antwerp), Kali Sanders (Los Angeles), Seb Sweatman (Johannesburg) and Paul van Rij (Amsterdam).

Prices start at $641.

The collection is prominently featured throughout the Spring 2018 RH Interiors and RH Modern Source Books – including a dedicated insert with artisan profiles – and can also be seen at, and at select RH galleries across the U.S. and Canada. 

RH New York marks Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman’s ongoing collaboration with design architect James Gillam of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger. Over many years, Gillam and his colleagues have been recognized as one of Architectural Digest’s Top 100 architect and design firms in the world


Images courtesy RH.

For more information or to request a catalog:

Monday, September 24, 2018

New Talent to Know: East Bay Designer Mead Quin

New Interior Direction: Composed, Pure, Serene, Tranquil — Mead Quin Explores the Purity of White...with Just a Slight Dash of Color

When Mead Quin established her namesake interior design firm in Emeryville 2013, she had already enjoyed several years of experience working with top designers Martha Angus and Grant Gibson. She had earlier spent a decade studying fine art.

Now, following two highly successful appearances in the prestigious San Francisco Decorator Showcase, Quin has an impressive portfolio of clients that includes tech entrepreneurs and leading innovators. Her projects span Oakland, San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Berkeley.

Mead Quin is making her mark with her beautiful and distinctive calm and tranquil décor, and the precise deployment of pure neutral tones and understated design.

Always Understated

“My goal is to design spaces that are cohesive, elegant and functional,” says Quin, who is also a firm believer in the adage ‘less is more.’ “I want my clients to invest in quality and longevity rather than quick and easy. It’s not enough for something to be beautiful… it needs to have substance, be well made, have meaning, retain value and function over time.”

While every detail of the planning and installation phases is meticulously composed and thoughtfully considered, Quin’s lighthearted approach results in enjoyable experiences and lasting relationships.

Versatile—Mead Quin has designed both an all-white living room and a flirty, witty petite bathroom for the annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase:

Quin who holds a degree in fine art, credits much of her success in the industry to her time as a designer with Martha Angus Inc. Working directly with Martha, she learned the fundamentals of the trade from 2008 to 2012. Mead diligently studied her mentor and found she working on high-profile projects throughout the Bay Area.

Prior to her work with Angus, Mead worked for Grant K. Gibson in an administrative role.

“While Martha taught me technical skills, Grant taught me how to keep it all in perspective and maintain a lighthearted approach to the process,” said Mead, “and that is something I take with me every day to each job.”

Design is Mead’s second career, but a creative one that is a natural progression from her original endeavor. She graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1999 with a Bachelor’s degree in fine art and spent the first five years of her professional career as a portrait artist. While pursuing an MFA at the Academy of Art in San Francisco in the early 2000’s, Mead had a chance encounter with the world of interior design and considered the possibility of shifting her career path. “The idea of creating beauty that would be lived in enticed me,” says Mead.

In 2013, Mead decided it was time to strike out on her own. Mead Quin Design, with headquarters in Emeryville, is a boutique firm with a closely-knit team.

“I planned to apply my skills as an artist using a two-dimensional medium into three-dimensional spaces,” she said. “When I first observe a space, I am looking at it as a painter, evaluating light and dark, line quality, composition, scale, balance.

Art is a key element in her designs.

“Art adds beauty, and it also contributes soul, meaning, and depth to a space,” said Quin. “ My favorite clients are those that care about the art… where it comes from, who created it and why, what it says about them as a collector. Art has potential to add an entire dimension to the space that could not exist otherwise. 

Inspiration for the pure lines of her interiors comes partly from her belief that a serene interior is also a timeless choice, she admires the English minimalist architect John Pawson and his elegant, pared-down interiors.

“I appreciate Pawson’s ability to distill his designs to what is essential and to edit excess,” said Quin. “I love the classical modernity and beauty of his work and study it regularly. He inspires me to edit, to only include what is essential, to pay attention to proportion, line, light, function and purpose.”

Her use of color is, like Pawson’s, refined and thoughtful.

“I learned so much about creating colorful, punchy palettes while designing with Martha Angus,
 said Quin. “I can happily create these for clients. My personal taste, however, is more restrained, subtle and quiet. I love the softer side of color…playing with ways to incorporate it in gentle manners where one shade blends into the next in a soft ombré artistic effect.

The refinement and talent for editing developed swiftly.

“My eye is drawn to simple design in architecture, interiors and objects,” said Quin. “It’s about using beautiful materials and about getting down to the most basic, important and significant aspects, highlighting those and letting go of the rest. It is not for everyone. For many, more is more… and that is a beautiful, daring, opulent way of creating interiors. For me, however, I like what is essential… it helps me get to the heart of the matter, the base line value.”

Quin believes in spaces that are cohesive and beautiful, but also purposeful and functional.

“White is my favorite starting place, perhaps from my days as an artist where I always started with a blank, white canvas,” she noted. “White is inherently soothing, it represents simplicity, provides mental clarity and requires precision. It is also a perfect backdrop for art. It doesn’t compete. The right shade of white compliments everything. You never tire of it.” 


Texture, tone, subtle shifts in palette and precision with line and scale are some of the ways Mead Quin makes white work. A few thoughts:

1.  Include soft colors that emulate shadows (soft blue, grey, taupe) to bring depth and richness to a primarily white room.

2.  I also love layering materials that are similar in tone but different in texture. We recently made pillows in a beautiful, light silvery-grey fabric by Loro Piana for a white linen sofa. A subtle shift from one to the next but just enough to add depth, character and luxuriance.

3.  Part of what makes our white spaces unique is the warmth and softness evoked through the subtle shifts in tone, natural materials, soft lines. We never want our spaces to feel stark or cold!

Photography courtesy Mead Quin Design.


Monday, August 27, 2018

San Francisco Opera: Celebrating the Very Exciting Fall Season

Friday September 7 is the grand opening gala.

San Francisco Opera presents six operas in this fall season, with the curtain finally coming down on December 9.

San Francisco Opera 96th Season opens Friday, September 7, with the double bill of Pietro Mascagni’s
Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.

I’m excited about the entire season at the War Memorial Opera House stage, including a new and very stylish staging of Giacomo Puccini’s
Tosca and the West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life.

And I can’t wait to see
Roberto Devereux, Gaetano Donizetti’s lyric drama of Tudor-era England,(September 8–27). Stylish costumes, great artists, elegant sets. The cast is led by soprano Sondra Radvanovsky as Elisabetta (Elizabeth, Queen of England), one of the most elegant and superbly polished and passionate singers to appear at San Francisco Opera. A favorite of mine.

Sondra Radvanovsky as Elisabetta in Donizetti's "Roberto Devereux."
Photo: Michael Cooper/Canadian Opera Company

Leonardo Capalbo and Sondra Radvanovsky in  Donizetti's "Roberto Devereux."
Photo: Michael Cooper/Canadian Opera Company

Highlights of the season also include Plácido Domingo in Concert on October 21 (sold out) and a roster of returning artists, debuting soloists and conductors.

The double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, (September 7–30), last seen on the War Memorial Opera House stage 15 years ago, returns in Argentine tenor José Cura’s staging that sets the action for both operas in Buenos Aires’ La Boca district, known for its tango performances. Each of the Italian works features an international cast with mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk, tenor Roberto Aronica and baritone Dimitri Platanias starring in Cavalleria Rusticana and soprano Lianna Haroutounian, tenor Marco Berti, baritone David Pershall and Platanias in Pagliacci.

Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana"
Photo: Jacques Croisier/Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège

Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci."
Photo: Jacques Croisier/Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège

I’m looking forward to a new production of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca (October 3–30) by director Shawna Lucey and production designer Robert Innes Hopkins. The composer’s melodrama about love and corruption stars Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio as Tosca with tenor Brian Jagde as Cavaradossi and baritone Scott Hendricks as Baron Scarpia. In his first engagement with the Company, British conductor Leo Hussain leads the San Francisco Opera and Chorus. Puccini’s masterwork has been central to San Francisco Opera’s history as it was featured during the Company’s first season in 1923 at the Civic Auditorium.

Puccini's "Tosca," Act III set model
Photo: Scott Wall/San Francisco Opera

Puccini's "Tosca," Act I set model
Photo: Scott Wall/San Francisco Opera

Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio, who is a brand ambassador for Bulgari, will be making her San Francisco Opera and role debuts as Tosca. The shoot took place at the Bulgari Domus on via Condotti in Rome and she is wearing Bulgari heritage jewels from the 1930s and 1950s.
Photo: Fiorenzo Niccoli, San Francisco Opera

Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio, who is a brand ambassador for Bulgari, will be making her San Francisco Opera and role debuts as Tosca. The shoot took place at the Bulgari Domus on via Condotti in Rome and she is wearing Bulgari heritage jewels from the 1930s and 1950s.
Photo: Fiorenzo Niccoli, San Francisco Opera

Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio, who is a brand ambassador for Bulgari, will be making her San Francisco Opera and role debuts as Tosca. The shoot took place at the Bulgari Domus on via Condotti in Rome and she is wearing Bulgari heritage jewels from the 1930s and 1950s.
Photo: Fiorenzo Niccoli, San Francisco Opera

Legendary artist Plácido Domingo returns to the War Memorial Opera House stage on Sunday, October 21 for a special concert that also features Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez, Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz and Spanish conductor Jordi Bernàcer leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. Tickets for this one-night-only event are sold out. 

Plácido Domingo
Photo: Kaori Suzuki

Richard Strauss’ romantic Arabella (October 16–November 3) returns to the repertory led by acclaimed German conductor Marc Albrecht in his premiere American operatic engagement. Soprano Ellie Dehn and baritone Brian Mulligan take on the roles of Arabella and Mandryka for the first time in a cast that also features soprano Heidi Stober, tenor Daniel Johansson in his Company debut and soprano Hye Jung Lee.

Strauss' "Arabella."
Photo: Michael Cooper

Strauss' "Arabella."
Photo: Michael Cooper

Strauss' "Arabella."
Photo: Michael Cooper

The 2018 Fall Season concludes with the West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life (November 17–December 9). Based, in part, on Frank Capra’s beloved 1946 film and the story The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern, this new work by the Bay Area composer of Dead Man Walking and Moby-Dick and set to a libretto by Gene Scheer will be staged during the holiday season in nine performances. 

Jake Heggie's "It's a Wonderful Life."
Photo: Karen Almond/Houston Grand Opera

Jake Heggie's "It's a Wonderful Life."
Photo: Karen Almond/Houston Grand Opera

Jake Heggie's "It's a Wonderful Life."
Photo: Karen Almond/Houston Grand Opera

Jake Heggie's "It's a Wonderful Life."
Photo: Karen Almond/Houston Grand Opera

What's Hot This Season

This Fall 2018 season is an exceptional one—with a new season of international conductors, and world-class artists. I love the mix of lyric opera, tragedy, romance, drama, history, intense emotion, wit and artistry.

I spoke exclusively to Jon Finck, longtime Director of Communications and Public Affairs, to get his insights and the inside scoop, for THE STYLE SALONISTE readers.

DDS: Top artists of major interest and their roles in the new season?
JF: Since all of the guest artists in the San Francisco Opera season are personally selected by the management, all of these singers bring enormous vocal and stage talent that has been applauded throughout the world. 

That said, the debuting artists to be on the watch for include the extraordinary Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias prominently featured in the opening double-bill of Cav/Pag. Mr Platanias has made a huge and positive impression on London audiences at Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and is one of the baritones to keep an eye on. Chief among the debuting singers is Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio who joins the Company for her first Tosca. A winner of the 2002 Operalia Competition, Ms. Giannattasio is an extraordinary singer well regarded at La Scala, Naples, Rome, London, Madrid and at the New York Metropolitan. Known for her ever-changing look and hair styles, she is affectionately referred to by Plácido Domingo as “Lady Gaga” of the opera world and is a brand ambassador for Bulgari and the haute couture Milan fashion house of Antonio Riva. And in time for the holidays, don’t miss the Bay Area premiere of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life and the debut of acclaimed South African soprano Golda Schultz as Clara the angel.

DDS: Highlights of the season?
JF: What is so compelling about the new season under General Director Matthew Shilvock is the range of operatic works to be presented from classic favorites to new works to operas that have been absent from the War Memorial Opera House stage for many years. A personal highlight is Arabella by German composer Richard Strauss, a work of great beauty and lyrical grace set in romantic Vienna.

DDS: What may be the biggest blockbuster of the season?
JF: Hard to choose since this season’s repertory hasn’t been onstage in a while, but don’t miss the Company’s brand new production of Puccini’s drama Tosca, the Bay Area premiere of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Both have dramatic staging.

DDS: The Plácido Domingo concert in October is sold out! Months ago!
JF: Yes, tickets sold fast. Legendary Spanish singer Plácido Domingo returns to the War Memorial Opera House for a sold-out matinee concert on Sunday, October 21. Joining Mr. Domingo will be Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez, Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz and Spanish conductor Jordi Bernàcer leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in a program of opera arias, duets and orchestral works.

He is especially beloved in San Francisco for many reasons—but one in particular. In the title role of Verdi’s Moor, Otello, when Mr. Domingo saved the opening night in September 1983 filling in for an ailing tenor colleague. What made the “save” so famous was that he flew across the country the day of the performance arriving at the Opera House at 9.30 pm that night. The audience was waiting, seated. And with no rehearsal, Mr. Domingo jumped into costume and make-up, performed at the late hour of 10.00 pm. The applause was prolonged, dramatic, and heartfelt.

DDS: For those who want drama?
JF: It doesn’t get any more dramatic than the opening one-act operas Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, the very essence of the verismo style of opera. If this opera sounds, looks and feels like the real thing it’s because it is. Similar to Tosca and next summer’s Carmen, these operas are all about love, jealousy, betrayal, murder and revenge all sung to some of the most famous and recognizable opera music ever composed.

DDS: The new conductors? 
JF: The 2018–19 San Francisco Opera season will present eight conductors on the podium, one for each of the eight operas. Two of these conductors, Riccardo Frizza (Roberto Devereux) and Patrick Summers (It’s a Wonderful Life), are veteran maestros with San Francisco Opera and have long-established ties with the company. The other six are all making their debuts beginning with Italian conductor Daniele Callegari who will lead the double-bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci. Callegari is much in demand at the world’s leading opera houses and concert halls and has an extensive catalogue of recordings showcasing his brilliant talent. On the podium guiding the Company’s new presentation of Puccini’s Tosca will be notable British conductor Leo Hussain followed by the United States debut of critically acclaimed German conductor Marc Albrecht for a new to San Francisco production of Arabella by Richard Strauss. 

San Francisco War Memorial Opera House.
Photo: Joel Puliatti


All photography courtesy San Francisco Opera.
Matthew Shilvock, General Director