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As part of our exploration of art and design, we sat down with Cem Evirgen, the founder of Monomid, a NYC-based design studio.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Cem Evirgen and I founded Monomid, which is a design studio based in New York City. We offer a variety of services that range from interior design services, staging, and a furniture store.
Before we go further, can you tell us about your beautiful project in the East Village?
The entire apartment building was owned by an Italian family and each floor was gifted to a family member who had their own perspective and vision regarding design. During the design process for this project, I wanted to include the design essence of the owner and at the same time merge the East Village neighborhood aesthetic which is reflected in the artworks and accessories I selected. The idea was to keep a clean and minimal look throughout the apartment.
How did you select artworks for this space?
I selected artworks with subtle colors to give some warmth. Since most of the furniture uses conservative color palette including gray, black, and beige, the selected artworks give a touch of color to balance the overall design of the space.
Great. Tell us how you got into this business.
Nine years ago, after graduating from Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul, I came to NYC and worked as an interior designer. My first job was as an intern at a known staging company. I was initially not familiar with staging but after six years of hard work, I took a leap to start my own business in May 2020 right after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Was it intimidating to start your own company during the pandemic?
The pandemic motivated me to launch the company and gave me that extra push to do something I felt passionate about. One thing to consider is that during the lockdown, people were spending a lot of time at home and they started investing in their own space. This gave me the opportunity to search for new business during the hard times.
What do you love about your job?
As a kid, I used to love changing the furniture layout of my parent's house and constantly moving the direction of the sofa, lamps, tables and decor. I like to experiment with different layouts and offer fresh design solutions for different spaces subject to the client's needs.
What is the difference between working on interior design vs. staging?
When you are working with an interior design project, you need to incorporate the client’s interest and lifestyle. However, when you are staging a home, you can’t incorporate a style that is too specific and unique because the space needs to appeal to different buyers. You need to showcase the space in a way that potential buyers can imagine they can live there, but at the same time incorporate the neighborhood’s vibe and aesthetic.
What is your advice for designing a home?
If you are designing your home without professional help, don’t rush. Select items one by one but keep an overall idea about your home. Take your time, live with the items for a while and think about what you need next. We live in a fast paced environment and tend to rush everything but designing takes time and patience.
What are your thoughts on trendy furniture?
While trends will always come and go, you should prioritize meaningful items that celebrate self-expression. That being said, if you want any trendy items, I would recommend getting smaller items which can easily be replaced if needed. My advice is to invest in timeless pieces that you would be able to keep for years.
What is your next goal?
My next step is developing a furniture line for Monomid. This will be a very exciting project to share with everyone in the coming future.
What is your vision for your company?
The Monomid all-star team is made up of the most stylishly creative minds in the design business. The work we do is a culmination of the client-focused studio team and partners who share our passion for design. The team understands that art is a tireless pursuit of the extraordinary and goes above and beyond for each other. As a company, we are committed to innovation and collaboration, and our priority is to deliver projects efficiently, within budget, and consistently meet customer expectations.
Photo credit to Nicholas Venezi.