FOCUS ON DOUGLAS DURKIN DESIGN

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FOCUS ON DOUGLAS DURKIN DESIGN
DESIGN PROFILE
B Y S T E P H A N I E A L L E N & J E N N I F E R PAT R I C K
FOCUS ON DOUGLAS DURKIN DESIGN
The office of Douglas Durkin Design is tucked
between old industrial warehouses at the base of
Potrero Hill. The location, like the style of his
twenty-person firm, is a bit off main street. Douglas
Durkin has built up his discreet clientele over the
last seven years mostly by referral. His projects have
long lead times and require exacting specifications
for custom furnishings and fixtures that are built to
last a lifetime.
Much of Durkin’s design inspiration comes from
his extensive travel over the years and his interest in
history, world culture, and in particular the objects
from those cultures, from the commonplace to the
rare. He has amassed a large collection of Southeast
Asian ceramics, including ritual and utilitarian
objects, which he has assembled for their complex
textures and finishes, simple forms, and sense of
mystery.
Durkin remarks on the appeal of his collection,
“I am drawn to the voluptuous shapes and forms of
these ancient ceramics, and also to the idea that they
were utilitarian in function. I like the fact that they
were traded and revered throughout Southeast Asia,
have traveled sometimes great distances, and that
their history has shaped their appearance over time.”
Durkin has a passion for the art of interior design
and a deep knowledge and appreciation of fine art
and furnishings. His firm has been attractive to
clients with extensive art collections because his
designs show their collections to their best advantage.
Room by Douglas Durkin Design, San Francisco Decorator Showcase, 2006. Photo: Mark Darley
Subtle nuances are the hallmark of Durkin’s
interiors, which are best described as understated
and timeless. He feels that a home should be
functional and neutral, not fashionable or “fun,”
which are attributes he feels are more appropriate
for the interiors of restaurants and hotels. Crafting
or customizing furniture, fabrics, and carpet in his
designs, Durkin employs materials resourcefully and
selectively to create pieces that are suited perfectly
to their environment.
Drawing inspiration from Durkin’s personal
collection, Douglas Durkin Design creates four
vignettes with San Francisco Design Center
products, demonstrating the firm’s talent for highlighting objets d’art through texture, form, and
choice of materials.
Douglas Durkin in his office. Photo: davidduncanlivingston.com
10
SFDC
1
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE Clarence House
Velours Gascogne Color: Goyave
2
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE Clarence House
Fleuret Chevron Color: Palissandre
3
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE Clarence House
Fleuret Chevron Color: Terre Cuite
Khmer pottery holds a special place in
Durkin’s collection: the robust shapes of the
ceramic pieces are reflected in the deep
turnings of the wood furniture pieces, and
the carved and turned shapes of the furnishings relate back to the simple yet strong
forms of the ceramics. The floral fabric from
Cowtan & Tout balances the masculine forms
in a decidedly Mediterranean style.
4
COWTAN & TOUT Spencer
Color: Sesame
5
COWTAN & TOUT Larsen
Aurora Color: Mahogany
6
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE Samuel and Sons
Boucher Brush Fringe Color: Safari Bowns 724
7
COWTAN & TOUT
Rue Jacob Color: Tabac, Red
1
2
4
5
7
3
Background Floorcovering
Stark Carpet “Mamba” Color: Coffee
All Antiques & Fabric Photos: davidduncanlivingston.com
robust shapes
6
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE
Dessin Fournir
Seneca Side Table
SHEARS & WINDOW
Dennis & Leen
Louis XIII Fireside Wing Chair
SHEARS & WINDOW
Formations
Dutch Writing Table
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE
Gregorius Pineo
Moragas Bed
Mediterranean style
SFDC
11
Background
Floorcovering
Stark Carpet
“Handwoven Natural
Carpet Binding Weave”
Raffia
10
1
3
5
6
2
8
2
SHEARS & WINDOW
Rose Tarlow
Edwin Chair
1 DE SOUSA HUGHES
6
Travers Teawood Damask
2
Au Naturel Brush Fringe
Color: Sand/Natural
George Spencer Designs
3
7
Shan Color: Wheat
Rose Tarlow
4
8
Fan Edge Color: Oyster
Pierre Frey
5
COWTAN & TOUT
Cowtan & Tout
Elgin Color: Beige
DE SOUSA HUGHES
George Spencer Designs
SHEARS & WINDOW
Avenue Color: Celedon
COWTAN & TOUT
Larsen
SHEARS & WINDOW
Soma Color: Wheat/Natural
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE
Samuel and Sons
DE SOUSA HUGHES
Bullion Fringe Color: Oyster
9
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE
Clarence House
Authentic Raffia — Basket 4
10 DE SOUSA HUGHES
Travers Fontaine
12
visual lightness
SFDC
9
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE
Gregorius Pineo
Colette Table Lamp
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE
Gregorius Pineo
Abbey Console
SHEARS & WINDOW
Sutherland Stone
Elevated Trays
These pieces from Durkin’s collection —
Flemish vellum books from the 17th century
and 16th century Ming shipwreck pottery —
have a visual lightness that belies their
historical import. The materials here share a
relationship through texture and inherent
lightness. The raffia floor covering and the
grass cloth wall treatment are materials with
a natural texture, which provides an organic
base for the pronounced textures of the
fabrics. The furniture pieces are formidable
in scale and form, yet the lightness of their
finishes are unexpected and approachable,
which results in a fresh take on traditional
decor.
7
4
Background
Fabric
Manuel Canovas
“Safi”
Chamois
4
1
7
5
2
8
6
3
9
3
DONGHIA
Donghia Hudson Sofa
SHEARS & WINDOW
Formations
Iron Ball Coffee Table
Surprisingly, old objects with rustic finishes
can hold a very direct sense of the present.
The pieces from the collection that inform
this thoroughly contemporary scheme are
utilitarian in nature. Their almost primitive
texture contrasts sharply with the clean lines
of the furnishings, feeling centuries old yet
exhibiting a refined sense of the modern.
Both angular and organic shapes in the
furnishings break up the uniformity of tone
in the textural fabrics. This collection creates
a sleek, elegant arrangement of ideas that
appears paradoxically ancient and contemporary at the same time.
DE SOUSA HUGHES
Jonathan Browning
Victoire Sconce
1
DE SOUSA HUGHES
Troscan Rivera Chair
CORAGGIO
ENID FORD
Lyle and Umbach
Alexandra Andirons
6
Hudson Color: Dark Bronze
2
Clarence House
Velours Moderne Color: Brun
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE
Rogers and Goffigon
7
Montacute Color: Senegal
3
Croise Collobrieres Color: Cafe
8
Oscar Color: Tawny
4
5
OSBORNE & LITTLE
Amisi Weaves Color: Vasanti
STARK CARPET
Diamond Baratta Collection Beaton
Color: Oatmeal
KELEEN LEATHER
Pebbles Color: 02
SHEARS & WINDOW
Pierre Frey
DE SOUSA HUGHES
George Spencer Designs
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE
9
KNEEDLER I FAUCHÈRE
Rogers and Goffigon
Montacute Color: Venusta
refined sense of the modern
SFDC
13
4
1
5
2
3
6
7
8
9
Background
Floorcovering
Stark Carpet
Sirius Collection
All Antiques & Fabric Photos: davidduncanlivingston.com
SHEARS & WINDOW
Formations
Olympia Cabinet
JANUS ET CIE
LuLu Arm Chair
The interplay of antique textiles and ceramics
from North Africa and Asia informs this
vignette. Pushing these influences together
is compelling: the fabrics and tiles interpret
the shapes and rustic motifs of the Northern
Thai silk shawls, and the furnishings provide
a graphic nod to the ceramics.
1
2
3
SHEARS & WINDOW
6
Jasper Michael S. Smith
Medina Safi Mosaic Color: White,
Mali Stripe Color: Brown/Blue
Pale Blue and Brown
DE SOUSA HUGHES
7
Travers
Bamboo Color: Ebony
Paper Bark Color: Coal
SLOAN MIYASATO
Stockbridge Plaid Color: Lagoon Multi
8
SFDC
9
DE SOUSA HUGHES
Raoul Textiles
Sari Color: Mole
COWTAN & TOUT
Shan Color: Teak
14
Medina 2"x 2" Tile in Brown
John Robshaw Textiles
Larsen
interplay...rustic
ANN SACKS
DE SOUSA HUGHES
Ceylon Color: Walnut
5
DE SOUSA HUGHES
WindowChine
Twill Textiles
4
ANN SACKS

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