David Oldroyd, principal and owner of the San Francisco-based design firm, ODADA, practices with one philosophy in mind:
When in doubt, leave it out.
It works well as he mingles furnishings, decorative arts and views to the world outside.
“A few beautiful things can carry a space,” he says. “I like tensions between the old and the new – it might be a stone box with a 16th-century sculpture, or a plain linen chair.”
Modern or classical, the role of art in interior design is part of any early discussion with clients. “I think its integral,” he says. “The minute you hang one piece on a wall, the room comes alive.”
In his 30-year career, the BYU grad with a degree in fine arts has scoured the auction houses and collections of Europe, searching for just the right pieces for his clients’ residential or commercial space. “I go to France and Italy because of the art, to Scandinavia to experience modernism, and to Italy for the art and architecture too,” he says.
Paris and France hold special experiential appeal. “I go to France for the height of architecture and decorative art in the 17th and 18th centuries – the proportion, scale and light,” he says. “There was a vocabulary developed by each successive king that was refined in the courts of France – it evolved in very nuanced ways.”
His travels may be curtailed by the pandemic, but he’s still in pursuit of the finer works of art here and abroad. He follows his favorite auction houses and vendors online, to find out where the deals are.
The end result are soul-felt interiors that stimulate his clients. “I’ll put walls up or turn corners for a heightened sense of perception – so you don’t go to the view outside immediately,” he says. “For each one of ten steps, you get to see something different.”
Then there’s the final reveal that’s usually a jaw-dropping vista.
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