LUX Autumn 2018

LUXLIFE MAGAZINE | 17 Autumn 2018 what is being verbalised. You just intuit what the client is presenting as they start the process of navigating you through their life experiences.” Often, during the course of a conversation, the client will share with Laurie a photo or an object of special meaning. “Sometimes, one single object starts the search for the pieces that support its light, and from that connection comes the idea for a room or an entire home.” In Laurie’s perspective, her firm can provide as much value to its clients when brought in to do a single room as when afforded the opportunity to take a leading role in the design of a home. “With every change a client undertakes, they are indicating a willingness to reinvent themselves as well as the settings in which they live. When you consider it, a home can be a poem or novel, and our experience with our clients can take the form of an editor or a ghostwriter. There is not a single path toward expression, just as there is no single flavour that creates joy.” Starting out in the 1980s, with three main areas of expertise: architectural review, interior design and art consulting, Laurie Ghielmetti immediately set itself apart through its owner’s own deeply-rooted love of fine art. This passion and knowledge evolved into a network of artists and dealers whose vision and creative spirit helped to shape the art collections of many of her own clients, as well as the design professionals who make up the client base of such industry leaders as Kneedler Fauchere. Laurie and her colleague of twenty years, Kelley Matusiak, partner with the showrooms in both San Francisco and Los Angeles to source and curate an ongoing art program available to both the public and the design industry. This collaboration has helped establish a compelling connection with fine art that can then be viewed in the galleries of a fine furniture showroom. “Few things are more satisfying than providing an introduction to a piece of art that inspires an intellectual and emotional connection,” says Laurie. “When one finds the right piece, the sense of connection is a tangible thing. Even when the placement of the piece may wreak havoc with the plan already in place, it is more important to respond to the change in direction than to enforce the original vision. Art changes the way people feel. It opens them up. And in a sense, it empowers them.” “I am well aware of the pragmatism often needed when sourcing an array of varied and wonderful art for someone’s home,” she says. “It is that magical discussion between art and furniture where there is an understanding of the value of both. A room is instantly enhanced by a beautiful placement of the right piece of art. A personality is rightfully exposed for all to form their own conversations. “Art by itself provides an expression and a feeling and when surrounded by extraordinary pieces of furniture, it is given a greater significance that allows for a whole story on behalf of the viewer.” One thing Laurie has learned is that the right art piece may stay with a client through numerous moves. “One client found a piece that spoke to her early in her career as a female entrepreneur. That piece was placed behind her desk, as its presence made her feel stronger and more capable. Years later, the client no longer owns that business. However, she still owns that piece of art, and still relates to its message daily, in her own home.” Laurie’s clientele often invite her back into their homes to help them express the progression of their changes in attitude, in a sense, to “fine tune” their environment to suit the direction that their own life paths have led them. “It is not the job of the designer to create a museum, dedicated to the reflection of the designer’s direction,” she says. “The designer needs to help translate the client’s own needs and dreams into a space that invites change. Lives are not static; the places in which we live those lives cannot be static, either.” “It is too easy to categorize the stage of a client’s life and mistakenly attribute needs and desires that are in no way a reflection of how he or she sees their own being. Someone setting up a single person household after a long marriage is not necessarily viewing his or her new situation as short-term decision or a compromise. Instead, this home may be representing a dream of independence and self-knowledge. There are so many ways that people define ‘home’, and so many people who may inhabit it with them, sometimes full time and sometimes as beloved visitors and guests. One cannot assume that the bedroom count has anything to do with how a home’s owner sees the home’s potential - will it be filled with grandchildren for a month every summer? Or is it a retreat for one soul? Or a way for two people to find a way back to their essential relationship at the end of a long day?” Laurie’s status as a lifelong student was asserted in the late 90’s when her firm was asked to help design a 48,000 square foot clubhouse for a golf club. Having never done so many public rooms with such a varied clientele in mind, she had to create an overarching strategy for the mission and purpose of the club, then its practical functions, and finally, the opportunities to introduce its members to an aesthetic that could first create a strong sense of connection and ultimately one of inspiration. Over the years, Laurie Ghielmetti was called upon to revisit the installation, to add and make changes and in every way reflect a private club moving from its infancy to a more mature and more personal setting, a reflection of the outlook and character of its members. Today, Laurie and her firm embrace the changes brought to the industry through social media and digital channels. An active presence in Facebook and Instagram, the only aspect of the digital experience that Laurie eschews is the practice of solely sourcing furniture and art online. “I know that a picture can express a thousand words, but what about the feelings inherent in those words?” she asks. “I want to respond to the courage behind a piece of art, or enjoy the flow of a fabric in my hands. I want to share that experience with my clients, and witness their awakening to a world of beauty that is so powerful in its raw form. There is nothing more satisfying than to see a client come into an appreciation of his or her own powers of discernment. Their participation in the process, and not just the enjoyment of the end result, changes their relationship with their environment immensely.” What is next for the firm and its owner? The embracing of change, and all of the opportunities change offers: “I remain inspired by my clients’ stories, and hope always to bring to the conversation a refined eye and the desire to help my clients curate their experiences through architecture, furnishings and art.” Contact: Kelley Matusiak Company: Laurie Ghielmetti, 4670 Willow Road. Ste 200, Pleasanton, California, 94588, USA Telephone: 001 415 536 7850 Web Address: