Authentic Design: Creating New York Interiors with Warmth and Character

New York City has a rich history of interior design. In the context of this sprawling concrete jungle, residents living in brownstones and apartment towers alike have long sought warmth and light. Looking back, interior design has come a long way since its inception in New York over a century ago, and now designers are reimagining what it means to practice today.

It wasn’t until the early 1900s that Americans first started using ‘interior decorator’ for describing the profession. It was actually a New Yorker, Elsie deWolfe, who was the first known interior decorator commissioned for interior design. She would go on to publish the profession’s book, The House in Good Taste, back in 1913. Fast forward a hundred years later, and the Big Apple continues to be a global trendsetter for interior design.

At PROJECT AZ, we continue this legacy, creating homes that celebrate subtle, elegant design while looking to the future. Exploring contrast, these interiors are full of small discoveries rooted in a love for finding unique art and products that haven’t been mass-produced or overused. We’re also supporting new talents and young brands with high-quality pieces that add to a client’s home; each project is a story of how light can shape space through color, reflection, and texture.

Finding warmth in New York combines a material understanding and a knack for bringing the right art, materials, and furnishings together. As the process unfolds, interiors become tailored to clients and their interests. In turn, our aesthetic approach is grounded in a desire to create a calm and welcoming home.

By addressing all aspects of a design, PROJECT AZ has a portfolio of well-rounded interiors. Every room consists of the same layers: flooring, walls and ceiling, upholstered and non-upholstered furniture, accessories and wall art, accent fabrics, and lighting. We utilize these elements and explore their possibilities to create interiors that are inviting, elegant, and full of character.

We celebrate great collaborations with our clients, like the NoMad apartment in Manhattan. Here, an international couple wanted to show off a curated art collection in a setting that felt more like a home than a white-box gallery. The result is a neutral palette that offers room for the jet setters to sit and breathe, and moments for the eye to rest between close looks at the art collection arranged to accentuate surfaces and patina.

The NoMad apartment is also emblematic of a larger approach to interiors in New York – one that is grounded in light, views, and a sense of calm. With the advent of the 20th century, functionality emerged as a major component of interiors. Between large home appliances like stoves and televisions, designers needed to create rooms around new practical demands. New York apartments and homes increasingly became spaces to unwind and relax amid the technological advances and changes happening across the city and the world.

While styles have changed over the last century, we approach each project with a clear understanding of how residential design has evolved into modern life. If interior design is both a science and art focusing on enhancing an interior space, our work is made to establish pragmatic and inspiring spaces of our time.

We spend the majority of our lives indoors, and as such, our interiors should be comfortable and inviting spaces that bring us joy. At PROJECT AZ, we look to user behaviors and desires to create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces. Understanding comfort, these elements we design range from the cool touch of a countertop to a room’s color, texture, and aesthetics. 

As design styles have become tailored around lifestyle needs and requirements, New York continues to evolve. As a city with an eye to the future, it’s the perfect place to rethink the boundaries of interior design. There are now many new materials, diverse furniture styles, and a range of design movements that clients and designers can draw inspiration from.

Of the many cities that can offer us a backdrop to our work as designers, PROJECT AZ proudly continues to reimagine how we live from New York, the city where interior design first began. Looking to the profession’s core, we are building upon a tradition of organizing space to balance function and aesthetics, warmth and character. 

About PROJECT AZ

PROJECT AZ is a residential design studio dedicated to crafting modern and functional spaces. As the lead designer, Ahmad’s approach is mostly focused on learning about his clients’ lifestyles and applying modern solutions to creating spaces for them. The studio started in New York City in 2017, a product of a passion for design and 10 years of extensive learning through a career that took place in multiple architectural and design firms in Beirut and Washington D.C.