April 2, 2019 | Interview by Katie Capri | Photos by Alex Kusak
For this month’s Member Q&A, we’re pleased to introduce you to Gaia Nodari, one of our neighbors at Blender Workspace. Gaia’s the co-founder of European furniture design curators, Northerners Collective. Based in New York, LA and Bergamo, Italy, the design retailer curates diverse collections woven together by timeless design, natural materials, and the finest craftsmanship.
Let’s get to know a bit about the daily life and inner-workings
of Gaia Nodari.
Can you tell us a little about what you do?
I’m the founder of Gaia Nodari Design, architectural and interior design firm. I’m also the co-founder of Northerners Collective, distributor and retailer of exclusive European furniture brands, as well as one-of-a-kind antique pieces. Often the two companies work together to offer our clients a comprehensive package of services, from [interior] design to the supply of furniture, finishes, fixtures and unique decor pieces that we carefully select and collect in Europe.
What I do every day really varies. As a lot of company founders would agree, when you start your own business the list of things you want and you have to take care of is endless. U
What part of your career inspires you the most?
I love construction sites. Going on site and seeing my designs take shape is the most inspiring and rewarding part of what I do. Being able to work closely with carpenters and millworkers is a fundamental skill and critical to understanding the nature of building and creating things. It helps to fully comprehend the creative process and to develop an awareness of the possibilities and limits of materials, tools, and craftsmanship. My father is a contractor and growing up I was always fascinated by the humble site workers that step-by-step, brick-by-brick create beauty without realizing it.
What is your favorite moment of your career so far?
Working on it!
Do you have a career role model? If so, what about them inspires your career?
Axel Vervoordt, world-renowned interior designer, and one of the most acclaimed art and antique collectors. His distinctive style of humble elegance changed my perspective towards the meaning of design and the way to be a designer. He believes that good design comes from the observation of nature and that beauty exists in the inconspicuous and overlooked details. His design is simple and modest but at the same time powerful and almost spiritual. I constantly remind myself of his philosophy, specifically this quote: “…never be decorative, to avoid it at all cost. To be decorative is to do things to please others, to create beauty for the sake of beauty.”
If you could eat lunch with anyone, living or departed, who would it be? Why?
If I could go back to the 16th century, I would like to have tea with Sen no Rikyu. I recently traveled to Japan and had the chance to learn about the Japanese tea ceremony. A traditional ritual of making tea performed like an art. Sen no Rikyu was one of the precursors of this ritual, he was able to bring it to its essential and spiritual form. Back then he was able to rebel against the excessive and redundant aesthetics of the overdecorated tea tools brought to Japan from China in the previous century. He was a full-fledged revolutionary. Still today, after 500 years, many designers refer to his aesthetic ideals of tea rooms and tea tools.
Can you describe your favorite “New York” moment?
I would say, the day I saw Corey Feldman in Washington Square Park was the first and only time I felt like I should say something to a celebrity. I usually hate to bother them so I always pretend not to recognize anyone. But you know, I was so in love with Corey when I was 10 and he was in the Goonies and Stand by Me (probably two of the best movies of all times), so I had to tell him! Girls of my generation will understand.
Tell us about your daily ritual.
I wish I had one. I wake up every day with a different mood, feeling like something different for breakfast, something different to see or to read about. Every time I tried to set up a ritual habit like healthy breakfast, working out every day or reading the news I’ve always failed. Sometimes I like to sleep in and work late at night. During the summer I wake up at 5 and I feel like running. So I’ve decided to play along⎯within reason⎯and do what pleases me the most that day.
Is there a special beverage you can’t go without each day?
Favorite genre of music?
Jazz and old rockabilly music. Depends on the mood
What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon
For a sunny warm day, riding my Brompton bike for hours and then having the biggest brunch. For a gloomy rainy day, go to the movie theater, perhaps Metrograph, for at least 2 movies in a row. Perhaps a Goonies and Stand By Me double feature?