Gary Gibson & The Art of Casual Elegance
Growing up in SoCal gave me a lasting love of nature, texture, the outdoors. I think that is why interiors tend to be casual, functional and somewhat elegant. – Gary Gibson
As a child, Gary Gibson collected rocks, pieces of wood and always enjoyed hunting for hidden treasures. Gibson’s showroom is a playground for appreciators of miscellaneous collections, one of a kind vintage finds, original artwork and furniture. Forgotten tools, antiques and even rocks have been repurposed, adding history and personality to the space. Modern tables, along with comfortable upholstered chairs Gibson Studio designed, can also be found there. Gary was kind enough to give me a tour of his store and show me his favorite collectibles discovered locally or while traveling.
After looking around, it’s easy to see the artist’s influence which evolved into a 25-year career as an interior designer. Taking a moment from his current commercial and residential projects, Gary spoke to me about his career as a successful Los Angeles designer.
Renee Massaro: Do you feel being a native Angelino affects your design perspective?
Gary Gibson: Absolutely! Growing up in SoCal gave me a lasting love of nature, texture, the outdoors. I think that is why interiors tend to be casual, functional and elegant.
RM: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
RM: Does feedback from being a retailer and designer keep your style fresh?
GG: I am inspired by the people that come in and I get to interact with, so yes!
RM: How do you begin the design process when you have a project?
GG: It’s pretty esoteric. I like to go off and kind of create it in my mind first, with the client’s needs involved, and then start collecting information to get a point presentation.
RM: Do most clients hire you for your distinct style?
GG: I would say yest but also, along with our work with color, texture and scale and my design team I have. It’s a team effort.
RM: An eclectic, upcycled trend is happening now. Do you feel you were at the forefront of this concept?
GG: No. I have always been eclectic in my design and have had my own distinct aesthetic.
RM: What materials are the most important to you in your work?
GG: Paint, textile, wood and metal.
RM: What sets Los Angeles design apart from the rest of the country?
GG: Weather. Because we live outdoors, there is more year round exposure to exterior. We think out of the box more.
RM: Are there any architects or designers who influence your work?
GG: I relate more to artist like Rothko, Michelangelo, Philippe Chareau, Picasso and Deibenkorn but I am a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright.
RM: What era in design is your favorite?
GG: 30′s to 40′s.
RM: Has the economy effected how you design?
GG: Yes, in the fact that consumers have more exposure to a broader spectrum of product.
RM: What is your favorite piece in the store?
GG: My globe pencil sharpener.
RM: How often do you design furniture? How would you describe it?
GG: All the time for our design projects and for Gibson Studios. We try to produce all the time for our design projects. We get the luxury to create pieces specific for a particular project, and for Gibson Studio about twice a year.
RM: What was one of your favorite design projects?
GG: A project in Holmby Hills, it has been an ongoing project for many years! Love the client, and the house. The client allows us the freedom and trust to design for them, and retain the integrity of the 1930’s house.
RM: Do have other exciting projects in the works?
GG: Vail, Tahoe, several in LA, Greenwich, NY, Rhode island, several in LA from Hancock park, Pasadena, Brentwood.
RM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
GG: I am fortunate to do what I have always loved doing, so I really don’t see retirement in my near future. I would like to continue expanding on the Gibson Studio furniture brand, along with our design projects, but my true love is collecting for the Gibson store.