ETIENNE COFFINIER & ED KU

Why use a designer?
To change how you live. It sounds simple but we view our job as changing the way that our clients live their lives. We view our clients as partners and we will put you to work.

Why shop the trade?
The world has changed a lot in terms of design and what people can find themselves. Truthfully, there is a lot of stuff out there that you can buy at retail that is really attractive and functional. Most of what is available at retail though is made for a wide audience. What we try and bring to our clients is something that has been designed just for them and their specific needs. That’s hard to find in a store.

What is your most valued design tip?
Maybe this is our advice to ourselves but it’s “Listen, listen, listen.” Then ask someone more questions and listen again. We really want to understand how a client lives. Everyone has their own specific needs and it’s our job to try to understand those needs and then design to help fulfill those needs. A client who needs a place to read quietly and have a refuge is very different from a client who wants a place to read but also wants to be able to survey what is around him at the same time. Understanding those different needs help you design in a way tailored to that individual. It can be difficult because people aren’t always used to dreaming and thinking of what is actually possible much less articulating those thoughts.

What makes your style unique?
We like things to make sense. Our aesthetic tends to be rather clean without being austere—based upon classical lines and principles. Hopefully, the appreciation of our spaces grows the more you live in the, and feel the harmony of lines, materials, and spaces. The sense of luxury comes from a mix of textures and tensions with little that is extraneous. Of course, the most important thing for us is that each space reflects the client and how they will use the space because we are not, in the end, designing for ourselves.

Who is your design icon and why?
Etienne became an architect after seeing images of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. The harmony and wonder of that space with is combination of nature and what man brings to the nature are still inspiring.