Will Wick is one of those interior designers that are more like artists than anything else — his goal is steer clear of creating an expected room and instead figure out what makes each space unique. Sometimes that means having a custom-made shearling sofa, like he has in his home, or finding that 19th century antique to take it over the edge. It’s all about combining storied elements to craft just the right space. He also brings his expertise to the online design service Decorist as a celebrity designer. We caught up with him to follow up on what’s new.
We interviewed you a few years ago, you had your antique shop, Battersea, and were really making your mark on the San Francisco design scene. What have you been up to since then, anything new in the works?
I’d like to think I’m still making my mark. I’m definitely not content resting on my laurels and despite the universal ‘noise’ that bombards us daily, inspiration is everywhere.
Our team recently looked inward and refreshed our brand design presence. The result is a fresher, more modern take and better reflects where we are as a design house today. I’m continuing my work on dynamic residential and hospitality projects, both here in San Francisco and Napa, but also increasingly more outside the West Coast in cities like Jackson Hole, New Orleans and New York. Battersea continues to be a visual chronicle and repository for all of my travel finds. I buy what speaks to me – from 18th century lighting, to French Art Deco club chairs, to saber tooth tiger skulls.
I’ve also been designing products, mostly lighting, for Restoration Hardware. As a designer, I’m drawn to the juxtaposition of rustic and modern, and the materiality and composition of this collection taps into by roots. Looking ahead, I have an exciting collaboration with Exquisite Surfaces that will debut this fall in celebration of its 20th anniversary and am delving into a new tasting room project in Yountville that will be completed in early 2018. And my wife and I are raising 4 kids who are growing in all different, creative directions. I’m busy, to say the very least.
That is a very busy load to take on! Tell us a little more about the world of collaborations – whether it’s a space or a product line, do you enjoy the process of working with another established brand?
Without reservation. Collaborations provide me with the platform not only to sync with brands I admire in the industry, but to also innovate and push boundaries within by own creative process. It’s a mutually beneficial synergy with the desired outcome to elevate each other.
We can see how working with another brand gives you fun new challenges to take on. But you mentioned that you have been refreshing your brand, how has your design point of view evolved over the years?
My design point of view is in a constant state of flux and evolution – time, travel and boundless inspiration ensure of that. Of course, there are historical anchors centered around my design ethos that define the signature Will Wick style but experimentation and finding synchronicity between the natural and the manipulated keep things ever-changing.
So let’s talk process. Once you’ve talked with the clients about what they want, how do you proceed with coming up with a design?
It really depends on the client when it comes to my process. It can be highly collaborative or I can be granted freedom to design without a lot of oversight, which is always gratifying. I’m an empathetic person by nature, but I also realize clients hire me for my expertise, which gives me the confidence to push back if I feel strongly about a design decision.
You work with Decorist as one of their celebrity interior designers – why did you decide to partner with them versus other online design services?
Decorist was started by my friend and colleague, Gretchen Hansen, and I knew her impeccable taste and work ethic going in. That alone sold me on the partnership. Decorist was the early adapter of an all-virtual platform that eradicated barriers and made good design accessible and approachable. It’s the greatest of equalizers.
What’s a design moment that has stood out to you with your work with Decorist? Any particular design question that intrigued you or a space that had an intriguing design challenge?
I did a kitchen remodel in Los Angeles with Jamie Chung and her (now husband) Brian Greenberg last year that stands out because the result was a true transformation that lent huge impact to the rest of the home. Working with Jamie and Brian was not dissimilar to working with other couples, each brings their own distinct vision and it’s all about compromise. In this case: How do you modernize a space without destroying the classical elements? We kept the 50s-era stove, refurbished it and added a modern hood. That and the diner-style booth area we created instantly became key focal points and jived with the new surrounding airy, modern aesthetic.
That sounds like a beautiful combination! Let’s have you do a quickfire round of questions.
Mohair or leather: Worn leather.
Late nights or early mornings: Early mornings equals solace, peace of mind and productivity.
If your design style were a dish it would be: Tagliata con Rucola. Old World meets New World.
Favorite color combination: The Holy Trinity: ebony, tobacco and off-white.
Favorite place (store, building, restaurant) in the world for its interior design: How about region? City? Coastal Brazil for the modern, contemporary architecture or Antwerp for the creative renovation of old buildings.
If you could only choose to save one piece in your home it would be: My shearling sofa. I just had it made for my last house. It’s so damn comfortable that it’s dangerous.
An activity or skill that you want to pick up: I recently vowed to myself that I would learn to play an instrument well enough to jam with my friends. I envy those that make it look so easy.
What are you willing to spend a lot on: Customization.
An Instagram account or site that inspires you: @theworldofinteriors. It’s a visual aggregate of some of the world’s best design work.