Tiffany Bedrossian’s Modern Classic

Sometimes you don’t need to go looking for opportunity, it comes knocking on the door. When worlds collide, magic happens. Tiffany Bedrossian had always been interested in interiors, but was enjoying a successful career as a designer for Nordstrom after receiving a degree in apparel design. When she moved to New York to work for Ace Hotel, a modern retailer and studio that brings high-end furniture to everyday customers became her client. Enamored with their work, she took the career-change plunge for a second time and began working for Design Within Reach. She helmed the company’s 12,000-square-foot Manhasset store before recently becoming the studio lead at the SoHo location, two of the sites in a prestigious portfolio that includes 30 outposts in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. But across that diverse cultural network, a shared aesthetic prevails. And it’s thoroughly modern.

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What is modern design?
It’s simplicity of form, the absence of decoration but with an emphasis on functionality. Basically it’s form and function. It’s a beautiful piece but it serves a purpose. It’s not just there to look pretty, which is what I think is so cool. Everything we have here was designed to serve a purpose. There can be a misconception about modern that it’s cold and uninviting. We love to change that perception and show our customers how they can integrate modern into any home.

Why do European craftsmanship and modern design seem to be inseparable?
The simple yet refined materiality often found in European design, with its clean lines inspired by the midcentury modern aesthetic, is what we and our clients most admire.

Are there certain woods or other materials that are used more prevalently?
Walnut and oak are always popular finishes, teak as well, especially for outdoor collections.

What makes modern design timeless? Why does it seem that what was modern in 1920 is still modern today?
Modern design is timeless because it bucks current trends. It focuses on the need for function while not sacrificing beauty in favor of what is trending at the moment.

“Modern” is often interpreted as “austere.” How do you reconcile that in a Gold Coast mansion among rich tapestries and crown molding?
The interpretation of modern as austere has more to do with the environment a piece of furniture is placed in rather than the piece itself. Well-designed modern furniture, the kind that places value on form, function and quality, will work well in any environment.

How do you balance classic and modern? What is a modern classic?
Modern design dates back as far as the 1920s. Many of the pieces that were introduced in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s are still being sold today—some are even included in MoMA’s permanent collection. The Eames Lounge and Ottoman is a great example. Charles and Ray Eames introduced this classic in 1956 and it’s consistently one of our bestsellers.

How does DWR work with clients to make the design process customized?
The pieces in our showroom are offered in a variety of textile, leather and finish options. Our intention is to invite the conversation about the possibilities offered, like in-home consultations and 3-D renderings that really help the client visualize our pieces in their home before they buy. It’s a collaborative effort from start to finish.