Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Adam D. Tihany and Matteo Vercelloni ("ADTAMV") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

ADTAMV : My professional life began in Italy. When I arrived in Milano, I had very little knowledge of design and architecture, and at that point had barely traveled outside of my home country of Israel. In Milan, a lifelong passion was ignited and my studies and experiences there shaped my philosophy on design- and life, for that matter. I’m an Italian designer, which is really how I was able to start my career in New York. At the time there was a high demand for European style, especially in shops, bars and nightclubs. From Israel to Italy to New York, I became an American with an Italian design sensibility – and that much has never changed. - Adam D. Tihany

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

ADTAMV : My passion is rooted in hospitality and my craft is design. There is no one aspect that is preferred over another. The best projects always begin with good clients, with a working relationship built on mutual respect, trust and excitement for the project. I enjoy working on projects where we can be part of the conceptual team and are given the freedom to design and control the entire experience - from the interior architecture down to the smallest details such as art, sound, smell, tableware, uniforms and graphics. With the recent launch of Tihany Product Design, I’ve gone back to my Milanese roots and am working with leading manufacturers to bring consumer products to market. While working with leading chefs and hoteliers around the world, we developed a strong knowledge of the ‘needs and wants’ of this industry, which we are now pairing with our strong design style and refined aesthetics to design new furniture, lighting, textiles, tableware and alike. - Adam D. Tihany

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

ADTAMV : A good designer finds a solution to a challenge. A great designer does it in a way that goes beyond expectations. They surprise, delight and create something that will live on in the memory of all who experience it. - Adam D. Tihany

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

ADTAMV : Thinking about design can be hard, but not thinking about design can be a disaster. Design is everywhere and accessible to everyone, and the more we consume, the most sophisticated we become. Design is not only an expectation, but a point of judgement. It is how we present our ourselves, communicate and shape our world. - Adam D. Tihany

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

ADTAMV : Having worked on projects on land and at sea, I’d love to design the world’s most luxurious airport lounges, connecting land to air. An amazing winery, a fantastic library and a cozy cinema are also on my wish list. - Adam D. Tihany

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

ADTAMV : One of the most valuable truths I learned early on is the importance of telling a good story. A dynamic narrative is what transforms a beautiful space into an experience that is engaging, meaningful and – most importantly- memorable. - Adam D. Tihany

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

ADTAMV : There are many who have inspired me and continue to do so at every stage of my career. Luis Barragan for his architecture of color, Gio Ponti for his imagination and style, Hertzog & DeMuron for their endless originality and Renzo Mongiardino for his craftsmanship. - Adam D. Tihany

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

ADTAMV : If I had to start over again I will probably will try to become a jazz musician (Controbasso) - Adam D. Tihany

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

ADTAMV : There have been many invaluable lessons along the way, and I’m happily still learning. The greatest takeaway over the years has been how to listen. This doesn’t always mean accepting what is at face value, either- it’s the ability to understand what is truly being said. Success is never a guarantee, but the start to every successful venture begins with the ability to listen. - Adam D. Tihany

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

ADTAMV : We’re excited to see the opening of the Tihany redesigned restaurant at the top of the famous Space Needle in Seattle as well as the new Mandarin Oriental Bosphorous in Istanbul. At sea, Seabourn Venture, the first of the ultra-luxury brand’s expedition ships is scheduled to launch in 2021 and the new Cunard ship for which I’m serving as Creative Director is slated to debut in 2022. - Adam D. Tihany

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

ADTAMV : Avoid anonymity. If a project doesn’t have a story behind it from the beginning, I create one. We go to great lengths to develop spaces that are more than just a beautiful place. Whether on a ship or at an intimate hotel bar, hospitality is fundamentally about people, and I create bespoke, living environments that are designed to cater to and inspire every person who enters. - Adam D. Tihany

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

ADTAMV : I founded Tihany Design in 1978. After over 40 years, I appointed my first partner earlier this year. Alessia Genova has been my longtime collaborator and Studio Director and now is Managing Partner. Alessia and I share the same philosophies and goals for the studio. Our working relationship is intuitive, very collaborative and focused on the future. Together we guide and support the younger generation of designers and look to the next 40 years of collaboration, authentic creativity and attention to detail. - Adam D. Tihany


CoDe Italian Design Museum

CoDe Italian Design Museum by Adam D. Tihany and Matteo Vercelloni

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