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Inside the Designer Alyssa Kapito's First Book

— Courtesy of Alyssa Kapito

There’s something intoxicating about looking at pictures of beautiful interiors. You can imagine yourself having coffee in the perfectly tiled kitchen or reading The New Yorker on the ivory bouclé chaise. For those who love to fall head-first into longing, Rizzoli’s newest monograph, Alyssa Kapito: Interiors, is for you. Kapito, a New York-based interior designer, is renowned for her ability to infuse spaces with a sense of quiet luxury. The book, out today, explores her philosophy and how she seamlessly melds art and design through the lens of ten sophisticated home projects from the last decade.

— Courtesy of Alyssa Kapito

“When I was a little girl, I thought I wanted to be an artist,” Kapito reminisces, speaking over the phone ahead of the book’s release. “I was very good at drawing and painting. As a child, nobody exposes you to the world of interior design all that much.” Her childhood passion led her to undergraduate and graduate degrees in art history and internships at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. In the introduction to Interiors, she reflects on the impact Leonardo da Vinci’s Treatise on Painting has on her approach: “Leonardo’s discourse resonated deeply with me,” explains Kapito. “Never before had the intricacies of painting been so scrutinized, and never before had an artist so clearly outlined the importance of technique to the success of a work.” The summer after earning her master’s degree in Renaissance Art at Columbia, Kapito went to work for legendary designer Bunny Williams. “Years later, when I found myself drawn to interiors, I felt that the essence of my feelings about design was really no different from what Leonardo had felt about painting.” Kapito tells me.

When viewing a Kapito room, it’s not immediately apparent how Leonardo’s meticulous Treatise may have informed such an effortlessly elegant space. Soft textures play with warm, glossy wood; a dramatic mid-century mirror reflects perfectly off-white curtains. But to hear Kapito explain her process reveals just how calculated “effortless” is. ”Entering a space for the first time is the most powerful part of the process for me,” she says.. “Usually, the first thing that hits me is the scale. Are the ceilings high? Low? How do you correct or enhance that? The space itself tells me what I want immediately.”

— Courtesy of Alyssa Kapito
— Courtesy of Alyssa Kapito

The book’s design is just as thoughtful as the spaces inside it. Bound in sand-colored linen, the large, uncoated pages allow the viewer to completely immerse themselves in the photographs by Joshua McHugh and Stephen Kent Johnson. Every room — whether it’s the serene sitting room in New York’s West Village featured on the book’s cover or the covetable bathroom with unobstructed views of Central Park — shines with Kapito’s sense of refined simplicity.

When asked about the similarities between creating the volume and designing a space, Kapito tells me, “Picking the paper, thinking about the way it looks were obviously extremely aligned with what I do regularly. The aesthetics of how I run my firm are the aesthetics of how I run my life, whether I’m doing a book or anything. But the process of writing a book is totally different,” she clarifies with a laugh. “Writing the book really ripped my soul out. That process was excruciating for me.”

— Courtesy of Alyssa Kapito

Above all, Interiors is a testament to Kapito’s unique ability to create spaces that are not only aspirational but exquisitely livable. “What I do is somewhat of a living art,” Kapito considers. “It’s a client’s home; they have to live there, and that’s a critical aspect of what I do. So I’m very interested in how they live and what they respond to. Those little quirks about people are really what make interiors beautiful.”

Source: W Magazine

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