James Magni’s flair for dramatic, sweeping spaces has made a lasting mark on modern architecture and interior design. His penchant for clean lines, texture and scale offers a respite from the chaos and clutter of urban life.
What inspired this career path for you?
As a young boy I was immersed in art. Painting, sculpture, drawing, print-making, pottery, jewelry, etc. I went to college to study art and found my path to architecture and design. It represents large-scale sculpture to me.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
Travel for sure. I have a dual citizenship with Italy so I’m very influenced by the Italians, especially their pride of craftsmanship. I love going to exotic lands like Bali, Bora Bora, Marrakesh, Africa, etc. They expand my imagination and fuel highly creative ideas.
Tell us about your creative process.
My creative process is similar to architects. At Magni Kalman Design, we do a client “program” utilizing a 20-page client interview. We then take those words and convert them to images from our vast library of books, ranging from design, architecture, furniture, art, travel, landscapes, etc. These words and images create a road map for not only the client, but the entire team.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Curated, rigorous, dramatic, global modernism
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
Very finely made silk velvet.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
Tadao Ando is a genius.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
It would be a residence that doubles as a gallery space for a respected art collector. It would be about rigorous interiors, art, great lighting, and furniture as art. Very edited, yet dramatic and intriguing.
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
“Less is more.” — it’s a way of life in all areas for me.
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
After 35 years as a designer, I don’t spend much time looking at other designers’ work. I don’t want to be influenced by other interior or furniture designers. I read art magazines, art books, and of course travel is my biggest source of inspiration.
If you are consigning: Share a little bit about the pieces you’re consigning on Viyet, e.g., do any have unique back stories, in what kind of space do you hope they end up, etc.?
Divine Ottoman — a quirky ottoman inspired by theatre drapery. Originally done in red velvet like theatre drapery, but as it became popular, designers have specified everything from silk velvet to calf leather.
Glass House Coffee Table — one of my favorites. It’s a mirror polished stainless steel box open on both sides for one to display everything, from art books to your personal favorite accessories, while keeping the clean lines of the table visible. The reflections inside the box are dramatic.
Madison Club Chair — a masculine club chair with comfort in mind. The horizontal stitching gives a look of Italian leather detailing, reminiscent of fine Italian luggage.
Metropolitan Bar Stool — a deco-inspired bar stool with fine wood veneers and polished stainless steel appointments. Reminds me of years past, slower times, sipping martinis.
Pyramid Side Table — casting in glass and bronze is a specialty of MHC. This classic shape of a solid pyramid of glass gives a sense of permanence.