While regularly working with top brands such as Baccarat, Cuban-born designer Vicente Wolf is normally only constrained by his creativity and the client brief. But he's certainly worked under the constraints of a small space; during his early years in New York, he lived in a 300-square-foot apartment in downtown Manhattan. Curbed spoke with Wolf about his pared-down style and ways anybody can maximize even the most constrained apartments.
Looking at your loft, it appears like part of making the most of your space is paring down and not trying to do too much in one room. How do you define and approach a room from the outset to make sure you're not taking on too much to start?
I love the minimalism of a space but also making sure that it's comfortable. For my home in particular, I approach the space with the idea of creating a gallery of exotic finds that one can easily move throughout without the discomfort of bumping into anything.
White is often assumed to be an easy way to create an open, spacious setting—is there more to using color to create the illusion of more space, or perhaps things to avoid that may make space look more crowded?
To create the illusion of more space, it's all about the finish. The best way to create more space with color is by using a high-gloss finish. By painting the walls and ceiling the same color in high gloss, it will allow the room to open up. Softer colors in a high-gloss finish break down the boundaries in a space. If you prefer to use darker colors, make sure to use deep rich colors with a high-gloss finish. This allows the space to expand visually.
Are there particular pieces of furniture that you find help save space without sacrificing your design vision?
Sofa beds and ottomans that convert to storage are great ways to save space without sacrificing your design vision for small spaces.
You don't like the term "minimalism" as a way to define your style. How would you define your own work?
I would define my style/work as global. My influences from traveling around the world are reflected in all of my designs.
You have a questionnaire that you give to prospective clients to gauge their tastes and help come up with inspiration for your work. What questions should people ask themselves if they're trying to design an incredible room with a minimum amount of space?
When clients are trying to design an incredible room with a minimum amount of space they should ask themselves the following: what emotions do they want the room to reflect, what style pleases them and how are they going to use the room.
You're a collector of photography, and have said that you never get rid of a piece. As someone who's a passionate collector with a big collection, what advice do you have for others who have similar collections but limited room to display them?
When buying photography, I never buy anything I don't have space for; walls don't get bigger, they become smaller in time.
Any other advice or ideas about making the most out of small spaces?
A large-scale mirror will do the trick when making the most of small spaces.
· Vicente Wolf's Design Seminar Summer 2015 [Event Brite]
· To Hell With Marie Kondo: 22 Solutions for Small-Space Living With All Your Beloved Stuff [Curbed]