Five Questions: Anthony Baratta, Design Legend
Five Questions: Anthony Baratta
John and I have long been passionate about the incredible design duo of Diamond Baratta, and we cherished the many, many magazine write-ups on their spectacular design projects over the years that often featured completely custom furnishings, rugs, and textile to glorious effect. The Diamond Baratta firm is no more, and, sadly, William Diamond is no longer with us either.
Happily, the wonderfully kind and engaging Tony Baratta has been cranking along on his own, and the results—from licensed products to bespoke interiors and a retail shop in the Hamptons—are as whimsical and wonderful as you might hope.
We were thrilled when Tony agreed to sit down with us for a few Madcap Cottage queries.
1. MADCAP COTTAGE: What does the Anthony Baratta brand stand for?
ANTHONY BARATTA: The Anthony Baratta brand is all about classic American luxury with soul. Always colorful. Always a clear narrative. Always a sense of humor or touch of whimsy. The brand is a direct reflection of myself and my interests… I enjoy beautiful things that have their own stories to tell.
2. MCC: Tell us about your favorite design project and why?
AB: Two recent projects come to mind. One is a winter home in Deer Valley, Utah for its color palette and our use of American antiques. The project started with a very literal ski lodge theme in mind, and then we took it to the next level of design. It’s pretty spectacular! The other is a summer home in Southampton, New York. I was able to design every aspect from the ground up, including the architecture, furniture, textiles, and rugs. Each project is owned by long-term clients who I’ve designed multiple homes for. They support me 100%, and they let me be at my creative best by putting no limitations on me. I love working with clients who appreciate my design and understand my process.
3. MCC: We are crazy about your color-packed Westhampton Beach, New York shop. How did it come about, and what’s the vision?
AB: What I started as a hobby has become a design laboratory for myself and my talented team. We want the shops to be both a source of inspiration and a place to find those special pieces that make a home personal and unique. We also want the place to be a full-service decorating shop, and we always enjoy the challenge of creating new spaces or revamping existing ones.
4. MCC: You have a furniture line with Thomasville, rugs with Capel, bedding with Wildcat Territory… What’s next?
AB: We want to be able to offer our customers a curated collection under one roof, so we’re currently working with several partners on some new collections to bridge the gaps. Our goal is to continue to explore ways to bring the classic Anthony Baratta look across all of the home furnishings categories. We’re even extending out into the world of designing apparel. You’ll have to stay tuned and see for yourself.
5. MCC: What’s the next frontier in interior design?
AB: The world is changing rapidly, and the way people live is changing even faster. Homes are becoming much less formal as focuses shift with priorities of modern-day living. My observation is that as we’ve become more health-, family-, and environmentally-driven people are living completely different lifestyles than we were 20 or 30 years ago. Two people living in a huge 15,000+-square-foot, over-scaled property, with formal living spaces the size of the average American home, is just not necessary anymore. It’s out of whack. People are rethinking what’s essential for living comfortably. Our responsibility as designers is to realize this change of tides, rein it back in and adapt to the new way of living. Creating a world for simplifying lifestyles. #HealthIsTheNewWealth
6. MCC: And, OK, this is the sixth question, sorry, but how do you see the social media having changed the interior design landscape.
AB: First of all, I’m obsessed with all of the visuals available at my fingertips. I love seeing how people live and what inspires them. It’s fascinating to me that it all happened so quickly that it’s nearly impossible to track how influential it’s become. I get constant inspiration across all platforms. On the flipside, I find there to be a lot of Insta-gratification. Which is all well and good but, you have to understand it’s fantasy. The imagery can never replace real-world knowledge and experience. It’s not easy to make that fantasy you see come to life. It’s nice to look at but people see these static images and try to replicate them precisely. Not taking into consideration that they’re often removing or replacing things that they have a real connection to. Items with sentiment and history. Literally stripping away layers of their home’s character. The essence of what gives their space soul. #AllThatGlittersIsNotGold