Leather, Landscapes and Luxury are just a few of the elements that make Peter Marino one of the most sought after architects in the industry.
FC What you think about the relationship between art and fashion, and how do both influence your work?
PM Fashion designers and architects frequently look to artists for inspiration. In my work, in particular my retail projects, the combination of art and architecture is meant to make the experience a lot better.
FC Was there an architect or artist from the past who has influenced your work?
PM I was more influenced by the cultural environment in New York in the ’60s and ’70s. The Factory, the Pop movement. One of the things I learned during that time was to make what you like, do what you like, collect what you like, even if it goes against the accepted establishment ideas of what you are supposed to like. And that’s very pop.
FC How do you approach your new work?
PM Before taking on a client, we start with an extensive dialogue. Branding is incredibly important, as is the brand’s history. I study the brand extensively and keep up with the seasonal shifts by attending the shows every season and keeping a very close eye on the product, which always informs the physical environment we create to house it.
FC What is your personal style and how did you come to it?
PM I’ve been saved by my leather gear on a few pretty brutal motorcycle accidents. I just gradually adopted black leather as my uniform because I got tired of having to change out of my gear riding my motorcycle to the office every day. I think my personal style represents speed, strength and masculinity. My working style is a modern architecture that uses materials which make people feel good.
It’s an approach that goes beyond traditional design into brand creation and expansion. I use texture, scale, light and materials to create a dialogue between interior and exterior.
I combine architecture with fashion and fine arts. I involve artists in the very beginning, I create the architecture and work with the designers. The involvement of furniture and architecture and art is my way of defining the times in which we live. It’s a tradition from the Renaissance. That’s one of my firm’s strengths, and it’s what sets us apart from other companies.
FC If you could have been anything other than an architect, what would it be?
PM An artist. Or a landscape gardener. Or a tennis pro.
FC Who would you consider your muses professionally? Personally?
PM I don’t consider any of these people muses, but I’m blown away by the artistry of so many of the designers whose stores I design — Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, Raf Simons now at Dior, Marc Jacobs during his time at Vuitton, and I am glad to see fashion being reco- gnized for the art form that it is. Personally, few people have better style than Marisa Berenson, Daphne Guinness, Annette de la Renta and Kathy Rayner.
FC You designed Chanel’s Boston flagship — in her words “Fashion is architecture.” Do you enjoy the projects that involve fashion brands?
PM I’ve had the good fortune of working with most of my fashion clients for several years. They appreciate beauty, the arts, and the best quality in their products and in everything they do, much like me. I think it is this similar sensibility, and their trust in me and in my work, that has allowed us to collaborate successfully, and it’s what makes working so enjoyable.