Richard Mishaan is an internationally renowned architect and designer. Based in New York City, he runs Richard Mishaan Design, a consulting firm specializing in personalized interior design and architecture. From 1997 to 2008, he also operated Homer, a popular interior design shop in uptown New York, which has now been relocated and reopened in Greenwich Village after the Whitney Museum needed his original space. Among Mishaan’s many accomplishments is being named as an Architectural Digest Top 100 designer. Probably his most acclaimed work is his redesign of the presidential suite in the historic five-diamond St. Regis Hotel. However, to truly appreciate Mishaan’s design work, you’ve got to dig deeper!
Richard Mishaan is most famous for his unique way of blending an eclectic array of furnishings and decor from different periods and styles in a way that somehow makes them seem like the perfect marriage. He can find a way to make an antique Old World china closet harmonize beautifully with a painting of a modern sculpture. While juxtaposing different periods and styles may be in vogue now by several top designers, this was certainly not the case when Mishaan started doing it more than thirty years ago. Without even trying to, he pioneered this whimsical style as it has certainly rubbed off on a legion of younger designers coming up through the ranks.
Richard Mishaan is unique in another fascinating way as well. Most exceptional designers who reach the pinnacle of reputation in the design world end up designing only in the most lavishly expensive structures. This is not true with Mishaan. While he is often hired by the rich and famous, such as the legendary John McEnroe, Mishaan is equally committed to showcasing how glamorous design can be applied to even the smallest urban apartment and on a modest budget. To this end, many of the pieces he designs and sells in Homer, his design shop, cost less than $100. This is probably one of the reasons his designs connect with so many different types of people.
While no two Mishaan design masterpieces are the same, there are some recurring themes that you’ll immediately get to know by thumbing through either of his books, “Artfully Modern: Interiors by Richard Mishaan” published in 2014, and “Modern Luxury” published in 2009. First, you will note eye-popping color everywhere in Mishaan designs! Born in Columbia, Richard Mishaan was exposed to vivid color applied to structures, both exterior and interior, at a very young age, and fell in love with it right from the start. He has carried this love for bright and beautiful color into his designs all over the world. Monochromatic rooms are transformed by Mishaan’s color into a world that that will lift your mood and spirit.
Synthesizing bold patterns and textures is another Mishaan hallmark you can’t miss! There are zig zags, stripes of various widths, concentric circles, and other geometric patterns. He arranges them in such a way as to excite the imagination without overstimulating the psyche. Vivid pieces of artwork become incorporated into these designs in such a way that the patterns and textures often serve as the background rather than the focal point, as most interior designers use them. Mishaan also places within this mixture whimsical pieces from around the globe that accentuate the person’s unique personality and style.
Richard Mishaan’s work has been showcased in numerous publications including Architectural Digest, Interior Design, Veranda, InStyle, Elle Decor, Traditional Home, Hamptons Magazine, and the New York Times. His own homes often serve as a showcase for his work. These include a 16th-century residence in his hometown of Cartagena Columbia, an UNESCO World Heritage site, his art filled New York apartment, and his weekend home in the Hamptons, a patchwork of bright colors, stripes, and plaids! You get a sense of who Mishaan is by exploring the many personalities of his own homes and personal getaways.
One of Richard Mishaan’s specialties is designing, or redesigning, hotel rooms and other hotel spaces. Besides the St. Regis Hotel in New York, he has been hired to design rooms at the Shelborne Hotel in South Beach Florida, the Marriot AC also in South Beach, the Hotel Tcherassi in Cartagena Colombia, and many other hotels. This hotel design work has spilled over into his design work for residences as patrons of these hotels often love the rooms so much, and feel so at home in them, they recruit Mishaan to design private bedrooms to match the hotel rooms they stayed in.
Mishaan is proud of his Colombian heritage and the influence it has had on his eye for design. He is equally proud of his extensive world wide travel with his family. In the same way a chef hones his craft by sampling a diversity of world cuisine while traveling the world, Mishaan hones his craft by feasting his eyes on the unique designs he discovers in his worldwide travels. He then melds together all these influences into a cohesive design that is unique to him alone. His designs are leaving a lasting impression.
Another Mishaan calling card is placing elements of glamour, even in the most utilitarian places. Hallways, entrance ways, and even closets get a noticeable does of glamour from this design master. As you look through his books, and in the photography spreads of his designs in the various magazines and newspapers, it can be instructive to try to spot how he incorporated glamour into each room. Only in this way can you start to truly get inside the creative mind of this design genius.
Beyond travel, Mishaan also gets a lot of his design inspiration from art. In one interview, when he was asked what inspired him, he said he tried to attend every art exhibit he can. In a way, Mishaan composes his design in the same way a painter may incorporate different elements from different places into the same painting. In another interview, Mishaan said he strives to “find a way for disparate objects to coexist beautifully.” In this way, the inside of a room becomes Richard Mishaan’s canvas and we can all become more enriched by viewing his work in person or through the many photographs of his designs.