Interview with Luigi Irauzqui, Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Style Editor | Composing Beauty
We all have creative minds, what is essential to understand is how to use it to our advantage. Just think about it… we all have thoughts, these thoughts create emotions which define our mood, and based on that we act. It’s as simple as that, and perhaps the hard work is to develop habits of thoughts that make us feel good which will positively affect the way we live and perceive life. The newest Style Editor of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, Luigi Irauzqui learned from his father:
“Thoughts lead to feelings. Feelings lead to actions. Actions lead to results.”
Luigi finds beauty everywhere, and it’s undeniably evident that his work and his continuous life accomplishments are the results of that.
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Luigi Irauzqui?
My name is Luigi Irauzqui….I’m an interior designer…image maker….lifestyle guru and luxury brand influencer….globetrotter and the style editor for Harper’s Bazaar Interiors… I produce high profile pictorials with international celebrities and interior design icons while turning “good ideas into great spaces.”
- You are based in Los Angeles, but you were raised between South America and Europe. How has this multicultural experience influenced you?
My multicultural background has definitely defined my style. My influences in design are clearly from those two extreme parts of the world. My extensive travels around the globe have greatly inspired my design choices. My mixed heritage is an important part of my design vision. When I travel I connect with so many different cultures, and I draw from that for inspiration: my surroundings and the countries I visit, leave a deep imprint on me.
I am a big fan of clean lines, but I like to play with cultural contradictions, mixing contemporary furniture with antiques with generous use of color and texture: traditional yet bold and modern. A perfect mix of the cultures I grew up in. My philosophy on interior design as in fashion is simple: never be afraid of trying new things. I love achieving a vision inspired by the simplest of things…a color…a special find in an antique store anywhere in the world…a painting or nature itself and transforming it into the ultimate grand design.
- How did you fall in love with composing beauty?
As a child, I always had a very acute appreciation for beauty. Growing up in South America I was surrounded by beautiful things: our home, the art in it, my mother’s jewelry, my father’s horses, his vintage cars, the natural beauty of the country we lived in….when I was 13 I was sent to boarding school in Switzerland. This was the defining moment I fell in love with nature and learned to appreciate the simplicity of my surroundings.
I always knew I was meant to create, to design, to compose beauty…. I didn’t quite know how but I was still sketching and rearranging the furniture at home. My love for antiques and design came early as my mother would take me on her weekly visit to her favorite interior design stores every Sunday afternoon.
- How does, in your case, having an unorthodox design training has affected you professionally?
I think that having no previous design training has really given me an advantage as I come to the table with no preconceived notions of what design should be. This gives me a blank canvas to design without boundaries and gives me the freedom to approach the design challenge in a fresh, raw manner. It also allows me to concentrate on the creative without having to think of other textbook elements that formally trained designers think about, thus pushing the boundaries and always thinking outside the box integrating personality into each individual project.
- What is that which you call design?
Design is for me the representation of personality and imagination, but culture is a significant factor that contributes to my personal design aesthetic. But design can be interpreted in so many ways. It is the approach, and creation of new things: ideas, objects, products, information. It is about imagining and creating…it’s about making ideas real and make a difference….it is a way of life. Since I’ve been in this business, design has branched out in new directions: design links creativity and innovation.
I started designing at a very early age. My parents owned a high-end shoe manufacturing business when I was a child. I recall at an early age giving input on the shoe design and traveling with them to all the trade shows in Italy and participating in the purchase of materials and manufacturing products later in my mid-teens. It was evident that even at that early age I was interested in “designing.” In my teens as the business went into the fabrication of fashion garments, my interest peeked further, and I was directly responsible together with my mother for drawing and designing the collections.
But in my late 20’s my love for design filtered into interiors as my fascination with architecture grew. Interior design for me is all about how we experience spaces. It’s a powerful essential part of our lives and it affects how we live, work and play. Designing gets my creative juices flowing and makes my imagination wander and it allows my authenticity and originality shine through.
- How do you think design impacts our society and ultimately the people you design for?
We spend a very large percentage of our lives indoors: whether it’s at home. At work, restaurants, events, etc. Our environment says a lot about us and the spaces we live in affects our emotions. When I create a space in which my clients will live or work in the case of a commercial project, I have to consider how this will affect their daily lives. My job is basically that of an environmental psychologist: how will my design affect the behavior of its inhabitants on a day to day basis. Well, thought of spaces can boost social interaction and productivity and can install a sense of unity, relaxation, and safety. When designing a space, I think of spaces that are functional and aesthetically inductive to desired emotional responses. Does the family have children, pets, do they entertain often, do they want a relaxed environment or that of a pristine art gallery.
The impact of our surroundings definitely changes the way we program our day to day lifestyles. I know my designs can create influence beyond the aesthetics, so I put a lot of thought when working with my clients: knowing them well, their routines, their interactions and how they function on a daily basis. It is only then that I can say I have designed a custom home.
- Please, describe your creative process when developing a design project.
The most important thing for me is to connect with space before creating an empty canvas to start my design process. I also need to connect to the client to make sure their needs, aesthetics and desired outcome are taken into consideration: it is only by really understanding the client that the project can be successful. With all this in mind, we are now ready to establish the mood of the project. My creative process is intuitive and educated and it is based on expectation and perception.
What has always helped me with clients is exploring clients’ inspiration through photos, idea boards, or anything they might have which allows me to introduce our ideas to theirs. This is the basis for creating something visual that engages them in the process and gets them excited about the big picture. Even though there is definitely a general order when guiding my client through a project, I like to keep things a little loose to allow creativity to thrive from both ends: it’s a truly collaborative process.
- What emotions do you feel when you create and how do those emotions physically come into existence through your designs?
My father always said to me: “Thoughts lead to feelings. Feelings lead to actions. Actions lead to results.” After high school, I went off to London to study law and international politics and my brain got used to deal with logic. I never quite understood what he meant until I started to use the right side of my brain which controls your creativity.
It is only then that I realized that to design, whether a home….a store….a sofa….a garment, I was using every emotion to create something that was uniquely mine. As a designer, I am encouraging the client to form emotional connections and associations: from the materials, colors, textures…I am trying to tap into the client’s way of thinking by using things that induce an instant emotional response. It is basic human psychology but in order to influence emotions, I need to have an understanding of my own emotions first.
I know the colors that make me peaceful, the furnishings that make me comfortable, the lighting that brings me tranquility. I use all of my emotions and associations to do the same for my clients. Ultimately those emotions manifest themselves physically in my designs. I am the first to admit that I am an emotional designer and I know that my clients connect with that. When I used to stage homes with top real estate agencies at the beginning of my career, I would often hear that the house was sold because of the buyer connected with it emotionally. As a designer, you are just glad you made a difference.
- What do mean by the word “entertain” and how does it reflect in everything you do?
Living in Southern California everything I design “I design for entertaining.” All of us creative people that came to the city of angels arrived with the notion that this the capital of entertainment and this is is where it all happens. When creating a space for entertaining, there are a few essential elements that must be taken into consideration: first and foremost the elemental energies that affect the mood such as water features, fire fits, landscaping have to be incorporated into the design to fit the surroundings.
Secondly, you have to look at the design elements that evoke and stimulate the senses such as music, florals, scents, textiles, food, and colors. Lastly, the location and space are important to create the intended mood of the party, whether it be an indoor-outdoor space, a large gathering or an intimate setting. But the most important aspect of all great design spaces is that they are meant to be enjoyed and shared with others. That is the most important part of entertaining.
Style or Way of Living
- How would you define Luigi’s Irauzqui designs, a style or way of living?
I have made my reputation not by drawing on traditional formal training but instead relying on my acute sense of aesthetics and composition, a curiosity for art, design and architecture and a talent for creating a decor that reflects my clients’ personalities. My style is eclectic, with an emphasis on comfort: livable and practical, but luxurious, intimate and inviting.
My personal design aesthetics is a way of life: every single curated element in my home has a memory and story attached to it hence making it my individual style. I always incorporate this modality into every project I do for my clients to make it individual and personalized.
- You are Harper’s Bazaar Interiors’ newest International Style Editor. What do you exactly do, besides the most important, which is having fun?
As the Style Editor for Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, I was brought in to scout around the world for exquisitely designed homes of the famous in exclusive for the magazine. Furthermore, I am responsible for creating pictorials for the magazine that feature guides to chic entertaining and home décor and the ultimate in luxury living, travel, and design.
As I have no formal training in interior design, this was an opportunity to dwell deep in this world, work with a prestigious title such as Harper’s Bazaar, learning from my peers and the world of international publishing while creating the ultimate product: seeing an idea of yours conceived and published on the glossy pages of a luxury magazine.
I have worked for many another lifestyle, travel and interior design magazines throughout my career, but working with Harper’s Bazaar Interiors tapped into my creativity like never before. They give me the freedom to create openly, and I know I can count on their full support when thinking outside of the box. My main goal was to bring life to a genre of a magazine that everyone identifies as rigid: furniture, walls, fittings…. I incorporated laughing guests, cocktail parties, children, and pets jumping into pools….a liveable and fun environment.
And speaking of fun…nothing is worth doing if you ultimately don’t get joy out of it. Whenever I travel the world with my team I always tell them first and foremost – this has to be fun otherwise it will reflect on the final product – I want them to enjoy the experience, and we like to tackle a new project with the excitement and enthusiasm of that first photoshoot.
- How do you define your personal style?
I would say I am definitely more of a classic dresser, but I really like to play with my style. I love trying new things in fashion but always putting that extra personal touch. My take on fashion is that all fashionable men own a signature item or two that becomes part of their identity. You just have to find yours….then that becomes your style.
My transition from interior designer to fashion guru and influencer really happened from the interest from fans wanting to know what I was wearing in the pictures of my pictorials from harper’s bazaar interiors. It’s then that I realized how fashion and style can be a huge influence in anyone’s lives. That is how I became a luxury style ambassador representing some of the most important fashion brands around the world.
My personal style is my way of life and vice-versa. One cannot exist without the other.
- Could you elaborate on your experience in turning “good ideas into good spaces?”
Everything starts with an idea. Without a good idea at the beginning, the whole process is not likely to succeed. Free thinking is very important as the best ideas for me often occur by accident. After taking the initiative and once a concept is decided upon it’s about curating that concept in the most effective manner whilst sticking to the guidelines such as budget, time and specifics.
Even though extensive planning in any project is always important I allow my spontaneous creativity wander as good design can come from absolutely anywhere. The best ideas come when I put the planning and research on the back of my mind, and I let my imagination inspire my creativity. The best spaces also come from the projects I have the most fun. If it’s not fun, it is bound to reflect in the finished product.
- What is your formula for success when it comes to living the life you consider is best for you? It seems that it’s precisely what you do, correct?
I love this question. The formula for success is that there is no one specific formula. Everyone is individual in their own right. It’s about bringing out the best version of yourself and maintaining authenticity, integrity, and consistency as you navigate through life. In my opinion this the formula that has never let me down.
Talent is only part of the reason people achieve success. I believe that effort and hard work are far more important than talent. Without effort, that talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. My defining moment in my career came when I learned to identify and let go of things you no longer want or didn’t serve a purpose. At the same time, I had to learn to stop caring what people thought of me and focus on what was important in life instead of….and that didn’t include money, fame or power.
- The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is “The Essence of Joyful Living.” How does joy during the process of creation affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
I can’t help but think of the meaning of the word Hedonist when I look back at my own life in retrospect as I am surrounded by pure joy in every aspect of my life. Whether it be in my personal or professional life, I need to feel the joy to feel alive. Looking back, memories and moments shared with loved ones are the ones that fill me with unfiltered joy.
To enjoy the pure essence of joyful living I had to be open to learning from the challenges life had brought me throughout my life. When I take a good look at my life all I have to do is recognize what brings me joy. Once I identified these my life changed forever.
- When you hear “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words by Abraham Hicks. What’s your take on such a statement?
My take is that it is absolutely achievable if you have the confidence and believe that you are worthy of achieving your dreams. We are all ultimately the product of how we view ourselves so with illusions aside, we can have anything we desire. If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. When you have clarity on what it is that you want from life and visualize those dreams, this can only lead you to take more action gain momentum and find the ways you can make those goals happen.
When you say “you can be, and do anything you want” you have to be indeed prepared for your want to be fulfilled. It is the only way you can appreciate the destination, but especially the journey that got you there.