Designer Spotlight: An Interview with David Mann
I am a big fan of David Mann and Fritz Karch of MR Architecture + Decor. Many years ago, David and I started our businesses out in the same building, and on our floor there was an anger management office with people screaming and bashing the walls, and a furrier who left large clumps of fur all over the hallways.
Fritz started as David's trusted muse and has become more and more involved over the years, having owned an antique shop, working as a creative senior force for Martha Stewart, and co-authoring the book "Collected" by Abrams Books.
David and Fritz have worked on many notable residential and commercial projects including flagship stores for Christian Dior, Pierre Hardy, J. Mendel, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Lanvin, to name just a few.
David Mann (left) and Fritz Karch (right). Photo by Mark Seelen.
How did you get started in your field?
I cannot remember ever wanting to do anything else but architecture and design. Even as a child it was my sole interest. Since then, I have devoted my life to this profession.
Who has inspired you?
Besides Mies van der Rohe and the Bauhaus, I have been inspired by the people I work with: my design associates, artisans, dealers, consultants, engineers, fabricators, and contractors.
Photo by Simon Upton.
Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?
I am sure you have heard the answer before. My favorite projects are the ones I am working on now.
Any projects that have gone awry?
We have definitely had a few projects go awry, but I prefer to focus on more positive experiences. Having said that, I have learned many of my most valuable lessons from my own failures.
What's something very few people know about you?
I am not sure that many people know that for most of my life I have been a severe stutterer. It still comes out when I am anxious, but for the most part, I have learned to overcome this affliction.
Photo by Eric Piasecki / OTTO.
Any advice do you have for aspiring designers?
My advice to aspiring designers is that they constantly push themselves to be more curious, take more risks, and strive for perfection in every aspect of what they do. To dream big and play hard.
Favorite musician, book, and / or artist?
I am currently reading “Eileen Gray, Designer and Architect” by Cloé Pitiot & Nina Stritzler-Levine from Yale University Press and distributed for Bard Graduate Center. It was produced to accompany an amazing installation that is on exhibit until November at the BGC Gallery. (It’s hard to name an individual musician or artist because I love so many.)
Photo by Mark Roskams.
Favorite places to travel?
At the moment, in isolation due to the Coronavirus, the idea of traveling anywhere is exciting. Traveling to the grocery store is working at the moment. Over the years, I have traveled extensively and love exploring new places. In February, before the virus changed how we travel, I was in Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Merida and Mexico City, all places I loved and would highly recommend.
How did you meet John?
I met John over a decade ago when we both had offices on the same floor of a building in the garment district. He moved out of the building first and easily convinced me to move to the building where we both currently have offices. I have always been a fan of John’s textiles and use them in our projects whenever we have the opportunity to do so. His vision is focused, uplifting, and most importantly…beautiful.
Photo by Noe Dewitt / OTTO.