Dale Cohen, principal of dale cohen designstudio, was chosen to participate in this year’s Hampton Designer Showhouse, sponsored by Traditional Home Magazine, because she has built a reputation for precise, elegant, and livable design work in Manhattan. The challenge of the showhouse, essentially a blank canvas with an imaginary client, was not beyond her. The room she was given is the Terrace Level Lounge; she chose a program to embrace a burgeoning art collection, and devise areas of repose to enjoy the work.
Cohen’s early training as a painter and photographer clearly are clearly a great asset in this particular room. The seating areas are a series of compressed compositions with shapes and forms of chairs, coffee tables, and pillows that evoke the early modernist paintings of Jean Arp. The color palette, if said aloud, is the prototypical Hamptons beach house cheery; though Cohen’s take is altogether different. With a sea blue as her base, she treats the envelope of the space with tinted whites and grays, and just as you are comfortable with this resolve she infuses the space with drops of chartreuse. The optic shock of an electric green is a sign of strength in Cohen’s tool box. The result is a perfect balance of whimsy and sophistication.
Cohen’s method is to analyze the room as an architectural proposition. A Yale Architectural School graduate, she is able to cast a few intelligent moves to make the room a stage rather than a hallway. She divided the stairway into two events, one behind a scrim and the other revealed. This gave the sitting area a theatrical backdrop as well as choreographing a Hollywood-style entrance for the visitor walking down the stairs. In fact Cohen uses a series of fabric backdrops throughout the space to denote different spatial conditions. Cohen’s next big move was enrolling the work of artist and furniture maker John Houshmand. Cohen thrives on creative collaboration and designing the Monumental Lantern that with Houshmand, that Cohen boldly placed in one entire corner of the room. Few designers would welcome a giant rough sawn luminaire but Cohen’s early apprenticeship with Richard Serra is evident in this wonderful juxtaposition of scale. Cohen’s reputation as a brave designer has been established with the inclusion of Houshmand’s piece.
Whimsy, bravery, and compositional sophistication will not be evident or sufficient without Cohen’s razor sharp rigor. Cohen’s attention to detail is what makes one want to sit in the Fritz Hansen chair, under the reading light, with cashmere throw at its side. Cohen’s embrace of the luxury of detail is what makes for valuable moments in the design world and what sets Cohen’s work apart.
About Dale B. Cohen:
dale cohen designstudio is a full service interior renovation, design and decoration firm that specializes in residences for families, empty-nesters and bachelors. Cohen writes a design and lifestyle blog, BACHELOR by dale, and is co-chair of the AIA NY Interiors Committee.
For design services and consultations, you can reach Cohen at HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”email@example.com or by calling 212.374.9087.