I felt like I met a celebrity when Mark Ferguson came to Dallas for the ICAA April event to talk about "The Personality of a House". He actually walked up to me and introduced himself. I was speechless at first and of course people were coming up to him to talk to him so our first meeting was brief. Then excitedly we all entered the SMU lecture hall after an hour reception at the Meadows Museum to hear Mark Ferguson from Ferguson and Shamamian talk to us about his work and his philosophy on design.
Drawing for The San Remo Apartment in New York
I was probably the only one in the room taking notes but I didn't want to miss what he had to say. First of all, Mark Ferguson is now the chair of the board for the ICAA national non-profit organization that exists to promote classical tradition in the arts, architecture and design. So not only is he a master at traditional approaches but he takes a keen interest in promoting classical design and talked of especially wanting to include and reach the young professionals out there.
The Beresford Apartment in New York
He started out talking about his education and several of his first jobs in the field of architecture and design and feeling like the juxtaposition of classical architecture and modern interiors was not a marriage he was in favor of. The relationship of focusing on geometric shapes and intersections alone was missing an element of design he was made for. After joining Parrish-Hadley in 1984, he said that it "defined the direction of his career". "Parrish-Hadley" he said "took an interest in the architectural background and the creation of a complete environment." "They made well-mannered interiors for sophisticated clients. Taking the historical and vernacular into consideration, they focused on gracious proportions, convenient flow, appropriate expressions of character, ambiance and quality" said Mark Ferguson about Parrish-Hadley.
I couldn't write fast enough!
Chagrin Falls, OH
Another influence of his was Emily Post and he described her as "a chronic house builder and decorator herself". He highly recommend the book she wrote The Personality of a House.
Palm Beach, Florida
Then he took us on an adventure inside his work and mind with slide after slide of amazing projects. I had to make sure my mouth was not hanging open because I knew I loved his work but I just fell deeper in love with the way each project across the United States stands the test of time with its well procured interiors, site planned with perfection, always taking in the views, the natural light, the lifestyle of each client. Not a beat was missed and I'm sure not a client was disappointed when finally arriving at their dream becoming a reality with the creation of Mark Ferguson's work.
Palm Beach, FL
Each project location started with research in the local historical works of that area. The landscape, views and client vision were all factors in starting the creative process. Considering materials, balance, form, and function, all of the principles of design were absorbed before moving further with the design process. It makes me wonder if that is what so many projects are missing these days, a lack of foundation and concentration on the principles of design and historical examples because so many are in such a rush to complete a project?
Well, after the gracious and fascinating look at his work and wrapping up the night, I couldn't escape without a picture and to tell him how much I admire his work and that he really is like a celebrity to me. I mentioned that I blogged about the firm in a 2 part series here and here. Never dreamed I would actually get to meet him in person. Thanks to the Institute of Architecture and Art, I get to meet and hear from the most amazing architects and experts in the field of classical design. Lyn Muse of Lyn Muse Interiors, Larry Sebastian with Sebastian Construction, Brent Hull with Hull Historical along with Larry Boerder of Larry E. Boerder Associates were the sponsors that brought about Mark Ferguson coming to Dallas. Thank you all for your contributions so a young professional like myself can plant more seeds of classicism on my passion for good design.
All works selected in this post were a few of the projects Mark Ferguson talked about in his lecture.
To view all their works click here Ferguson and Shamamian
To learn more about the Institute of Architecture and Art go here.