If we could describe Maxine Snider
‘s approach to design into one word, it would be “meticulous.” Snider has an encyclopedic knowledge of design and architectural history that informs her interiors and her line of hand-crafted furnishings. Yet, her work has a clean, balanced feel that comes from her innate ability to bring a modernist influence to every project. We caught up with the designer (who is, not surprisingly, formally trained as an artist) to learn more about her influences, approach to decor, and the secret to creating a more modern feel in any interior. Read on to get her unique perspectives, then shop her exclusive collection at Viyet.
Viyet: How does your background in art influence the way you approach furniture design?Because I work and think as an artist instead of a merchant, good design is always the goal. I’m unfazed by trends, and much more interested in making work that will endure and have meaning over time.
Viyet: What drew you to modernism?
I was inspired by the courageous designers in the 1920’s – 1940’s who broke from the highly decorative furniture of that era. Their clean, pared down designs, which we now take for granted, were groundbreaking at the time and set the stage for the great modern designs that followed. I like to think of my work as a respectful participant of that trajectory, with the hope that I am worthy of that brave and talented club.
Viyet: What is your favorite period of design and why?
No period is a favorite because I respond to the details and elements of so many periods, countries, and cultures. I’m drawn to the craft and modesty of the Shakers, the simplicity of Japanese designs, and the perfect grace and proportions of Scandinavian design. Each has a beauty and force that informs my work.
Viyet: What is your favorite piece in your collection and why?
I’m very fond of the New Hampshire Settee and the Bauhaus Console. Although they are so different in form, they come from the same sensibility—lean, clean, and luxurious.
Viyet: We love the beautiful finishes and materials that you use in your pieces. Can you tell us more about your design process and how do you choose these finishes and materials?
Thank you for your kind words! As I work through a design, it has an essence that leads me, and I follow, guiding it to completion. When I designed the Varenne Writing Table, it was clear that it should be in a rarefied wood species, with a high finish, precise drawers and polished hardware. Conversely, the Lund Table called for an informal species, bleached plain, and stripped of trim.
Viyet: What’s the best way to unify modern pieces into one’s current decor?
Often, what makes a space or room feel modern is not so much WHAT is in it, but how MUCH is in it. A room done entirely in antiques can feel modern with simple plaster walls, and a bare minimum of furniture. The spareness is what is modern. So I would encourage someone who is hoping to integrate modern pieces with what they now have, or wishing to bring a modern look to their home to EDIT, EDIT, EDIT. Think simple—simple fabrics, lots of space, white walls with a striking piece of art. Not every corner or wall needs furniture. And not every floor needs carpet. It’s WHAT YOU LEAVE OUT that makes the difference.
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About the Designer
With her career as a trained painter, Maxine Snider founded her own graphics and interiors studio in 1989, after she directed the design departments of many distinguished architecture firms, including Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the World Trade Center. Her clients include Mark Wahlberg, Oscar de la Hoya, and Orlando Diaz-Azcuy. She has also created pieces for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Trump Taj Mahal.