Seed Design’s Principals Discuss Couture and Interiors
By Kelly Hushin
Partners and principals of Seed Design, Gonzalo Bustamante and Vincent Celano, live in one of the world’s fashion capitals – New York City. Every day their surroundings are an inspiration for the projects they create for high-brow clients like MGM and Fontainebleau Resorts. When the two of them founded Seed Design in 2005, they each brought with them experience from some of the hospitality industry’s most well-known firms (The Rockwell Group, Jeffrey Beers). With Seed’s recent Las Vegas project, Christian Audigier, The Nightclub, Celano and Bustamante had the challenge to create a concept that would bring the famous fashion designer’s popular imagery – seen most often in his Ed Hardy lines – to partygoers on the Strip while simultaneously maintaining the firm’s own brand aesthetic. The result is an interior that highlights Audigier’s recognizable tattoo imagery with art-in-motion accents like a giant pair of jellyfish tanks.
While this project had a direct relationship to the fashion world, both Bustamante and Celano agree that the idea of couture holds an inseparable connection to the world of interiors.
How did you each begin your design careers?
VC: I created architecturally inspired paintings for school plays as a kid and then went to an art and design high school for architecture. Growing up in New York City was a huge influence – I was inspired by the city’s great buildings.
GB: I wanted to be an architect when I was five years old, living with my family in Chile. My career started at a retail development firm designing and master-planning retail and commercial properties.
How did the two of you meet?
GB: Although we both studied Architecture at Pratt, we met later on at a bachelor party. In retrospect, this explains a lot about us.
VC: It was at Stringfellows Cabaret, and then we met then again at Rockwell Group where we worked together on various projects. Gonzalo and I are like the Yin and the Yang, but that makes us more effective business partners. We bring our individual perspectives to the common goal of growing Seed Design.
What role does fashion play in each of your lives? Your careers?
VC: We look at every project uniquely: if fashion is a reference we pursue it, but I think all art forms relate to one another. For instance, many fashion designers have architectural or sculptural elements represented in their collections.
GB: If I hadn’t studied architecture, I would have pursued either fashion or photography. To this day both impart significant influence on me as a designer and I often look to them for inspiration and reference. Architecture and fashion share similar tangible ideals of enclosure, shelter and style.
Who are some of your favorite designers? Why?
GB: I am drawn to the thought process and overall aesthetic of Japanese designers such as Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, and Junya Watanabe. For instance, the sculptural qualities of a pleated Issey Miyake dress can create the inspiration for a “folded metal” entry concept we are currently developing for a nightclub entry.
VC: I like Armani for the strong, simple and clean lines, while Versace throws in something more whimsical with bursts of color.
How do fashion and interiors relate?
VC: Interior design and fashion both create a shelter or frame for the people or “body” within, which leads to an experience that is created by the designer. The color, texture, shape and scale of clothing all have a lot of ways to translate into interiors.
GB: The details in clothing often serve as inspiration for me. For instance, the multiple layers in a dress can represent layers of fenestration or opposites, like the inside and outside of a building.
How did the Christian Audiger, The Nightclub come to be? Where did the vision come from?
GB: We started out by researching the early tattoo culture and its origins in Asia to give us some additional references for the design of the space. Aside from the tattoo artwork on the walls, every surface had to represent Christian Audigier’s brand.
VC: Yes, from the crocodile embossed leather banquettes to the skull-and-rose encrusted mirrors and the crimson red velvet tufted walls – all of the signature design elements came together to create a rock-and-roll, fashion-inspired space.
What other sorts of art forms do you look to for inspiration?
GB: I source a lot of inspiration from the lighting used in music videos. I also enjoy sculpture, photography, and stage design.
VC: I like film because it often speaks to a specific time period. Shapes and patterns can also be abstracted in interesting ways for use in interiors.
What’s a typical day like in the world of Seed Design?
VC: We’re always working through projects that are in various phases – some are in concept while others are in construction, which keeps each day unique and exciting.
GB: It’s pretty much what you would expect, a dash of crazy energy and caffeine drinks at every desk, with our system of controlled-chaos.
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