Thomas Pheasant, a celebrated interior designer who also creates furniture, focuses on residential and commercial projects throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Known for his modern vision of classical design, Pheasant has received the Andrew Martin Interior Designer of the Year Award, the John Russell Pope Award given by the Institute of Classical Architecture, and the 2016 Design Icon Award for his contributions to the design industry. He also was recognized as a Dean of American Design by Architectural Digest.
His furniture collections include the Thomas Pheasant Collection for Baker Furniture, Thomas Pheasant Collection for McGuire, and his own collection of limited edition and unique pieces, Thomas Pheasant STUDIO. The author of Simply Serene: The New Luxury for Modern Interiors (Rizzoli), Pheasant has homes in Washington, D.C., and Paris.
My personal philosophy in design is that a well-developed vocabulary is just a foundation and that design should be a constant evolution and expression of current thoughts and ideas channeled through that foundation. — Thomas Pheasant
1 Your collaborations with furniture companies such as Baker have resulted in classically beautiful pieces. How did the collaboration with Baker come about?
In 2001 Baker approached me about creating a collection focusing on a new look for classical furniture. They had seen my interior work in Architectural Digest and liked that I understood the needs of residential projects combined with the fact that I designed furniture for many of my projects. We launched my first collection in 2002 and recently launched my fifth Baker collection in 2018.
2 Do you have any tips for how to build a brand for a venture into furniture design?
I believe it is important to create a clear design vocabulary if you are interested in venturing into furniture design. This is essential if you want to create furniture that reflects your personal point of view. While my inspirations are ever changing, my process for designing interiors and furniture are exactly the same. How I evolve my design work and how I interpret the world around me is distinctively through my own filter or process.
3 Do you have any new collections debuting soon? Can you share your overall design philosophy?
After launching my most recent Thomas Pheasant Collection for Baker, I began developing new pieces for my own in-house Thomas Pheasant STUDIO Collection. My personal philosophy in design is that a well-developed vocabulary is just a foundation and that design should be a constant evolution and expression of current thoughts and ideas channeled through that foundation. I believe that as a creative person it is important to constantly seek inspiration and take yourself outside your office and keep a fresh eye on the world around you.
4 Furniture has undergone countless iterations since people began building furniture some 30,000 years ago. What do you think constitutes “good furniture” in today’s world?
Beyond the subjective aesthetic judgment on what is “beautiful,” the quality of materials and construction can really define the idea of “good furniture.” Our culture is changing rapidly, and the idea of fast delivery and “good enough for now” have become ideas that are much too frequently accepted. I do believe that there is a growing interest in quality and value for the long term. I love the idea of getting back to curating our homes with beautiful pieces that are selected over time and gradually help us express who we are now and where we have been.
5 Finally, a fantasy question: Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX, is talking about a crewed flight to Mars within the next decade or two, with an eye toward colonization. If you could design one piece of furniture for a habitat on Mars, what would it look like?
It would be the Cleo Chaise from my new Baker Collection. A sculptural cloud, the Cleo Chaise puts you in just the right position for celestial viewing or simply dreaming.