Featured Designer | Leslie Young of Cliff Young, Ltd.

From Soho lofts to country estates, Cliff Young’s furniture has been right at home in luxury interiors since the company was founded in 1968. Now led by Young’s daughter, the family business is known for contemporary, versatile designs with a focus on customization. Check out the showroom’s latest selection, from playful swivel chairs to seriously sleek accent tables, here.

Cliff Young is a family business. How were you inspired by your father, and how has the business changed since you took on your role in the company?
My father, Cliff Young, had a larger than life passion for design and was relentless in his mission to create the perfect piece of custom furniture for each client.  I followed him around the showroom since I was 5, and I still feel him over my shoulder in any big design or business decision I make. That is not to say that the business has remained unchanged since I took the reins, but our passion and mission has stayed the same, and that is something that we take pride in.

You’re surrounded by beauty in the Cliff Young showroom – where else do you get your inspiration?
In our business today, inspiration comes from all sorts of expected and unexpected places. Classic sources like trade shows and magazines still bring a lot, while nature and travel are also huge sources of ideas. Additionally, with all the visual stimulation that surrounds us on a daily basis, with our phones and tablets and electronic billboards and so on, a fragment of an image that you caught for a split second can spark your imagination tremendously. 

Tell us about your creative process.
It’s an elusive process, hard to capture and to define, and after all these years in the design field, I am still exploring it and trying to get a solid handle on it. It starts with vague yearnings of something new and beautiful, with shuffling and classifying your inspiration points, then lots of sketching and drawing, sometimes easy and sometimes painful development, engineering, sourcing and pricing, then prototyping and more development… Sometimes you nail one piece in a few design meetings, while other times, it takes months and years to perfect one product. 

Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Glamorous, organic, edgy, luxurious, comfortable, unexpected.

Who do you look up to in the design world?
Primarily my father, iconic designers like Milo Baughman, and a lot of veteran top 100 AD designers. I’m also in awe over a fresh bunch of Millennials who are bringing new ideas, materials, and techniques to the design table.

 If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
It is hard to pick the “ideal” space to design. Each space has its own design hot points and challenges, whether it is a mansion in the Hamptons or a tiny New York City apartment. In terms of clients, I’ve had many clients whom I loved and am still great friends with, but my ideal client is the one who is adventurous in design, enjoys the design process, and really wants the best piece for each corner of his/her home. If you’re talking celebs, I would have a blast designing with Sarah Jessica Parker – style-wise, attitude-wise, and New York-wise, it’s a perfect match.

Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
It’s not necessarily design-related but very relevant: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – is the definition of madness. This seems to apply to everything in life.

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