Common wisdom would dictate that the most important sense for a designer is that of sight. While what I experience through physical vision is obviously influential and inspiring to my work, I really believe that my sense of smell provides equally evocative images and ideas that give shape and sensuality to my creative process.
Have you ever been reminded of a particular time and place simply by the scent of your surroundings? The perfume of the past can quickly inspire you to create an interior that evokes comfort, quality and familiar beauty.
The fragrant night-blooming jasmine and citrusy orange blossoms in the air on a spring evening remind me of the Palm Springs desert. Its Spanish-influenced, mid-century atmosphere conjures up relaxed elegance and minimally stylized interiors. The whiff of vanilla, cinnamon and fresh cut flower stems take me to the softness of a summer afternoon: a warm sunlit room of linen slipcovers, antiques, and floral prints. The aromas of pipe tobacco, cedar wood and leather give me a picture of a traditional paneled library with English style club chairs, a cashmere throw blanket and a roaring fireplace.
There are many scents that are childhood incarnate. The damp paper wrappers that cover sticky Popsicles, the metallic tasting cool water rushing out of a rubber hose on a hot summer day; the earthy fragrance of fresh cut grass, all inspire me to create comfortable outdoor living spaces with cushy lounge chairs, redwood or teak picnic tables and trickling water fountains.
One might call these “Cupcake Memories” too nostalgic for today…I hope not. Sense – or “scentsibility” has always triggered a switch in my brain that allows me to imagine. I always seem to look to the past to honestly inspire the present and the future.
Michael Berman is one of the country’s most respected designers with a sophisticated signature style that artfully marries understated glamour with a fresh livability. He calls it American Trans-Modern. His signature fabric and carpet collection is distributed through Kravet showrooms nationwide.