Monday, March 26, 2018

Congratulations, Tim and Suzanne — Celebrating Thirty-One Vivid and Successful Years of the Brilliant and Award-Winning Design Firm, Tucker & Marks

This month marks exactly thirty-one years since Tim Marks and interior designer, Suzanne Tucker, incorporated their acclaimed design firm, which now has more than thirty design staff in its downtown San Francisco headquarters, and projects around the globe.

Tim and Suzanne are beloved leaders of the San Francisco design world. They direct a highly successful company producing the best interior décor, along with fabric collections, linens collections, and elegant products and books.

Suzanne is the principal designer at Tucker & Marks. Timothy Marks is the Managing Principal and CFO, and he handles the business side of the company, Suzanne handles the design side. It’s a perfect and highly successful partnership. 

For over three decades, Tim and Suzanne have generously lead a range of lively community involvement, from design education fund-raisers to education seminars.

I admire their inspired initiation of design events, as well as their founding of the Northern California chapter of the Institute for Classical Architecture. I admire Suzanne’s continued leadership, with Arianne Trimuchat, of the San Francisco Fall Antiques and Art Show.

This week, I’ve gathered a portfolio of my favorite interiors by Tucker & Marks, and insights from Suzanne about design today, enduring and classical design, and what makes her tick (for thirty-one years). There’s a preview of the beautiful new textiles collections. Come with me to enjoy the interiors and ideas. Here’s wishing many more years of Tucker & Marks. 

San Francisco interior designer Suzanne Tucker has been acclaimed for the exceptional style and intelligence of her work since she and her husband, Tim, launched their internationally acclaimed firm, Tucker & Marks, over three decades ago. Tucker is an iconic member of the international design community.

The Northern California Chapter of the Institute Of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) recently honored Suzanne for three decades of devotion to the design world, her philanthropy and her leadership.

Suzanne founded the ICAA Northern California Julia Morgan Awards. She launched a prestigious design lecture series at the annual San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques Show. For over a decade, Tucker has sponsored design and architecture student scholarships for the group.

“Design education is my obsession because students coming out of school don’t have the classical training that is a crucial foundation for any design discipline, with architecture and interior design chief among them,” said Suzanne. 

Suzanne is in demand for her timeless style, and her in-depth knowledge and understanding of architecture and the decorative arts. She worked closely with the legendary Michael Taylor in the early eighties, and she is often referenced as his protégée.

“My work has remained grounded in classic design. Perhaps it was the strong mentoring I had from Michael Taylor, but scale and proportion will always be paramount to style,” said Tucker. “Good design transcends trends. Color and style are subjective, but today educated collectors buy very good art, seek out the best furniture whether new or antique, and are in search of timeless design.” 

Escape to Montecito

Suzanne Tucker and Tim Marks divide their busy life between a bay-view Mediterranean-style house in Sausalito, their downtown San Francisco office (with a design staff of thirty) and a charming cottage hidden on a quiet hillside in Montecito.

Tucker grew up immersed in Santa Barbara and among Montecito’s fruit groves, historic mansions and lavish estates.

In 1992, she and Tim acquired a former farm storage barn that had been remodeled into a weekend cottage, with a pool and sheltered garden and terrace.

As Tucker and Marks established their design firm in San Francisco, the bungalow became their family gathering place, chic but relaxed.

“The house is incredibly simple, humble really but it is all we need to be very happy,” said Tucker. It's an open-plan layout – just a living room/dining area opening onto the kitchen, and with only two bedrooms, a master and guest. 

Tucker, admired for superbly detailed rooms with lavish custom curtains, decorative painted walls, and handsomely proportioned sofas, is also an expert at creating comfortable simplicity. 

In the Montecito living room, custom upholstered chairs with white cotton denim slipcovers and a matching ottoman were given a shot of color with indigo Shibori pillows, and a vintage batik textile throw. Tucker’s collection of heirloom blue and white Chinese porcelain urns add complexity to the mix. 

In addition, Tucker directs the highly successful Suzanne Tucker Home collection and recently introduced a stunning new collection of fine decorative textiles. She launched her fabric designs with a glittering party in Paris. She used many of her textiles in the Montecito retreat.

“I based many of the designs on historical documents and rare antique textiles, as well as historical gardens, art, and ” said Tucker. “The concept is a rich range of silk and cotton damasks, linens, velvets, and simple cottons that can be very versatile in today’s interiors.”

Future Suzanne Tucker Home collections will include wallpaper, tabletop, lighting and furniture. 

The Future of Design

“The design world is thrilling now on so many levels whether one is a novice or a pro, a do-it-yourself designer, or the multi-homeowner, downtown or country,” noted Suzanne. “It can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time with zillions of options to which we all have access.”

Suzanne and her firm have created an in-depth resource list of exceptionally talented artisans.

“Via the Internet, artists, textile designers, and craftsmen and creators from around the world are accessible and able to be contacted and supported. These are both very new arts and crafts, and as well arts that must be passed on to future generations, so that they cannot disappear, “ she said. “I believe in supporting craftsmanship and employing these artisans whenever possible. I love to see the eye and the hand of the artist. Ever the dreamer and always the romantic am I.”

The future of design includes both the most advanced tech—and the richness of the most ancient arts, said Suzanne.

“For interiors that are personal and rewarding,” she added. “I love to see the liveliness of modern design, the inspiration of paintings and sculpture, and beautiful woods, elegant materials, fine crafts and arts. This is an exciting time for design. We can enjoy the best of contemporary ideas, and warm our souls with ideas and skills of many eras.”

Here’s to many more years for Tucker & Marks. 

Suzanne Tucker Home: Textiles and Embroidered Bed Collections 

For April 2018, there are five new signature patterns for Suzanne Tucker Home. Each design is a detailed, multi-layered print with sophisticated color on soft cotton or linen grounds, with the name, Printemps. 

The collection includes:

PARADIS - Paradis is a finely rendered depiction of exotic birds and fruits – including a signature Suzanne Tucker Home pomegranate. Printed on a 100% linen ground with a vintage color palette and slightly distressed background, Paradis has an abundance of character and luscious personality.

INDIENNE - Inspired by the formal landscaping surrounding the Taj Mahal as well as the Indian technique of hand block printing, Indienne is a large scale print, featuring potted topiaries in a lush garden populated by strutting peacocks and lush blooms. Sketched in a loose watercolor technique and finished with a border on one side, Indienne is bold, timeless and ever so chic.

FANTASIE - Fantasie depicts an enchanted forest populated with swirling vines, mesmerizing blossoms and charming, quirky creatures. An intricately detailed whimsy in three entirely different colorways to suit a wide variety of decorating vocabularies, Fantasie beguiles our imaginations.

LUCRECE - Lucrece features a perfectly laid out assortment of buds and blooms, so lush you can practically pick up their scents. Imagine lilacs, peonies, lilies and passion flowers, wonderfully rendered in a sophisticated tonal color palette and printed on 100% linen ground. 

CRIQUET - Imaginative with inspired entomology, Criquet features only the sweetest critters recreated from Suzanne’s personal textile collections. Stylish yet primitive, in a two-tone print on a distressed linen ground, the finished look was inspired by the vintage techniques of batik and wax resists.

Suzanne Tucker Home Collection for Julia B. 

This collaboration evolved from a loyal and longstanding relationship to a creative partnership.

For this first collection, there are elements from signature Suzanne Tucker Home textiles, as well as fragments from antique documents and linens, to create five timeless designs. All Julia B. embroidery and appliqué is crafted entirely by hand, following the centuries old French legacy of craftsmanship that has been passed down for generations. The bedding uses 100% cotton & 100% linen fabrics which have been sourced from the Europe. 

Papyrus: With a touch of Art Deco and a nod to Egyptomania, THE stylized papyrus leaf pattern is both chic and timeless 

Tangiers: The patterns of Morocco, Spain and Portugal inspired this elegant and bold design we named ‘Tangiers’ – the exotic gateway between Africa and Europe. 

Treillage: A modern take on the classic trellis pattern combines skillful embroidery and appliqué, resulting in a versatile design that works within a wide variety of design vocabularies, from contemporary to traditional. 

For more information: 

Tucker & Marks

Institute of Classical Architecture, Northern California: PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS:

Edward Addeo
Matthew Millman
Michal Venera
Roger Davies

Monday, March 12, 2018

Where to Stay Now: Aman Tokyo — Dazzling and Discreet

The New Ultra-Refined Aman Tokyo hotel is one of my favorite hotels in the world.

High in the sky, peaceful, refined and incredibly private, the Aman Tokyo offers tranquility, elegance and a new experience of Japanese urban design.

And the next weeks will be an ideal time to visit Tokyo.

March 24 this year is expected to be the height of full-bloom for cherry blossom trees. Golden Week travel will begin on Saturday, April 28, with activities through Sunday, May 6.

It’s a very festive time in Japan. Aman Tokyo, with its calm décor and endless views, is an ideal escape and retreat. I’m devoted.

Chic serenity: The new Aman Tokyo is a tranquil haven high above the city.

I’ve been staying in the heart of Aman resorts for many years—and have been fortunate to experience Aman hotels in India and Bali, Cambodia, Laos, as well as Venice and many other locations in Asia. One of my all-time favorites is Amangiri in Utah. A 35-suite resort, it is set in a mini Grand Canyon and surrounded by wind-shaped escarpments.

Aman is anti-glitz. In particular, I love the low-key style and the very personal, subtle service offered. It’s relaxed luxury, always very private, which I value highly.

Now Aman, noted for its exotic Ranthambore tiger camp, beach resorts, jungle outposts, remote Jaipur setting, and Balinese exoticism, has a new and delightful presence in cities. Aman Tokyo, in the most intense and exciting of all cities, is a thrilling new setting.

In a city noted for classical and dramatic architecture, the new Aman Tokyo hotel offers extraordinary contemporary Japanese design and mesmerizing views. 

The centerpiece of the lobby, soaring sixty feet high, is a majestic architectural feature resembling the interior of a Japanese paper lantern. Created with layers of textured Washi paper and stretched over the Shoji frame, it filters diffused sunlight to illuminate the lobby.

Located in the historical financial district of Otemachi in central Tokyo, the Aman Tokyo soars high above the city in the top six floors of the 38-floor Otemachi Tower.

Double-height windows on each floor afford panoramic vistas of the Imperial Palace Gardens and across the cityscape as far as snow-topped Mount Fuji and Tokyo Bay.

The interiors are designed by the great and talented Australian architect Kerry Hill in a chic and understated palette of pale grey stone and light Hinoki wood and pine.

It’s the first Aman hotel to be located in a city (most are luxury resorts in remote locations) and it’s superbly welcoming. It’s just three blocks from frenetic Tokyo Station. After being greeted at reception on the first floor, guests speed to the hotel’s tranquil domain and their sky-high suite.

The interior architecture and décor of the hotel are authentically Japanese, with a restful and soothing feeling, thanks to an almost monochromatic color scheme of tones of grey.

It has been created as an elevated sanctuary, with great subtlety and minute attention to detail.

Incorporating elements of the local architecture is a hallmark of each Aman, and the Aman Tokyo blends traditional Japanese design with contemporary simplicity and an abundance of daylight.

Classic Japanese materials such as Camphor wood, Washi handmade paper and stone are fused with modern technology. Subtle fabrics and textures create a subtle interplay of shadow and light that are fundamental to the ambience.

There are just eighty-four rooms and suites, so the hotel has a very private, residential feeling. In the spacious suites, sofas and comfortable chairs in pale ash wood have low silhouettes that don’t distract from the panoramic views.

From a long raised banquette adjacent to the windows, guests may watch cloud formations, a dramatic sunset, and moonlight. The pine floor is softened by tatami mats.

Cocooned in this soothing, silent atmosphere, a guest may rest, reflect, and order tea and Japanese cakes, or a special rare sake.

The Lounge is a convivial venue for a drink or snack throughout the day and into the night. The Restaurant, popular with locals, offers a gastronomic fine dining menu based on Mediterranean cuisine, and includes a selection of Japanese and Asian inspired dishes.

The hotel also houses an impressive glass-fronted walk-in wine cellar. Working with international winemakers as well as one of Japan’s most revered sake masters, the cellar is stocked with over 1,200 wines and sakes. 

The spa, said to be the most comprehensive hotel spa in Tokyo, takes an integrated approach to wellness and relaxation in a serene, Zen-like setting. There’s a heated swimming pool with expansive views of the city. The 30-meter pool is flanked by double daybeds, ideal for passing a few hours with a book or taking a reviving snooze.

And the pleasures of Tokyo shopping and culture are just outside the front door. This Aman is close to legendary Tokyo museums, along with architecture to study. And with a swift taxi ride, there are new neighborhoods to explore…and favorites like fashion-fan Harajuku, Aoyama and Omotesando. I always find art galleries, small cafes, quirky bookshops, and accessories boutiques that are trend-setting and original there.

Aman recently announced plans for small, chic hotels in London, New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Singapore. The Aman Tokyo is a superb debut of the concept.

Aman Tokyo is Aman’s first urban concept hotel, is situated adjacent to the Otemachi Forest. Offering bird’s eye views of the Imperial Palace Gardens and surrounding Tokyo landmarks, the hotel features a serene Aman Spa and a peaceful inner garden. Surrounded by engawa, a wooden feature dividing the inside and out, the soaring lobby rises nearly 30 meters. 

Aman Tokyo
The Otemachi Tower
1-5-6 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0004, Japan 
Tel: (81) 3 5224 3333 
Fax: (81) 3 5224 3355 

Images courtesy Aman Resorts, used here with permission.