Ron Radziner on the Home as a Modern Sanctuary
Ron Radziner, FAIA, sees the home as a modern sanctuary.
Ron Radziner is the design principal of Marmol Radziner, a design-build partnership formed in 1989 with Leo Marmol, FAIA. The sheer volume of titles and awards that can be dropped in the same breath as their firm’s name is as stunning as their portfolio — itself a study in limitlessness. Their projects have ranged widely from the design of celebrity homes to the San Francisco offices of TBWA/Chiat/Day, to restoration of some of the most notable homes by California Modernists and even a two-story prefabricated house in the Las Vegas desert with a pyramidal ‘skyspace’ by light artist James Turrell.
Add to their practice a landscape design department, a furniture line, a jewelry line and the creation of their own wood and metal shops to create, oversee and ensure the highest level of quality in all aspects of their builds and one gets a clear understanding of how potently they defy any single-discipline categorization. They have been called everything from innovators to revolutionaries to “modernist savants”. But even with this range, Radziner says, “Homes are what we do most, and what I enjoy most. It’s an intimacy that’s fulfilling. When an individual or a family comes to you to build a home, it’s a physical expression of their life, and there’s something important about that. There’s something fulfilling about being able to create that.”
Marmol Radziner has designed homes for Tom Ford, art collector Eugenio López, and fashion photographer Steven Meisel; boutiques for Chan Luu, Oliver Peoples, and James Perse; and workspaces for Sony Pictures Studios and TBWA\Chiat\Day. The firm is also known for its award-winning historic restorations such as Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House in Palm Springs and Kronish House in Beverly Hills.
Marmol Radziner Interiors, Experimental Ranch
Photography by Joe Fletcher
What role does contemporary/modern design play in the scope of your interior design work?
Marmol Radziner’s interior design projects are often a continuation of our architecture projects, so contemporary/modern design is integral to our interior design work. While we certainly incorporate other design styles, in part based on our client’s desires, we gravitate toward the modern for reasons of proportion and materiality. Furniture is so important in shaping the experience and scale of a house, so much so that we began designing our own furniture in the early 2000s. The first custom pieces we designed were based on the proportions and materiality of my first house, the Glencoe residence. It provided the context—the modern context—for the design of the furniture.
When you look at current modern design, what gets you excited and why?
Modern design, past and present, has transcended from being a style to a way of living. This is exciting as it relates to the environment. Just as people want to be eating cleaner and healthier food, people want to consume more honest design.
Most designers that use the brands that Modern Resale primarily works with are also very interested in vintage design. When does something from the past become interesting again?
All it takes for something from the past to become interesting again is for the object to relate harmoniously to the proportions and materiality around it.
What is it about a piece of current design that makes you think it is still going to be good in 20 years?
Integrity. We chose to build our first furniture pieces from solid wood. There is a strength and beauty in the directness of using the solid materials, demonstrating exactly how they are crafted. The design is straight from the source, without manipulation. The furniture is like our buildings—cleanly detailed and built.
What furniture designer that is currently producing work inspires you the most? OR What is your favorite contemporary brand?
India Mahdavi and Piero Lissoni—both architects and designers.
Any other comments you have on high-end, modern and/or contemporary design in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles’ complex natural landscape and experimental clientele creates great opportunities for high-end, modern design. We’re especially interested in the home as a modern sanctuary amid this sometimes chaotic, but beautiful city.
Marmol Radziner Interiors, Summitridge
Photography by Roger Davies
Marmol Radziner Interiors, The Emerson
Photography by Christian Horan