Trailblazer’ is the word that comes to mind when we think of Stephen Mitchell, founder of luxury furniture line and showroom, DesignLush. It’s not just his affinity for the finest materials or his sharp eye for talent when it comes to his all-star team of artisans who make DL the go-to crew for bespoke luxury interiors. It’s that he’s bringing back American-made when the rest of the manufacturing industry is pushing catalogues of cheap, offshore-made ready-to-carry. “At the end of the day it is business. It has to be profitable and it has to be palatable for the public. It can’t be all avant-garde to the point that only the artist likes it. But, I’m not a design dictator, the inspiration needs to be there otherwise where is the fun?” says Mitchell. That’s precisely his genius—he’s a whirlwind of fun, creative collaboration, cutting-edge innovation and stealthy business-savvy all at once. cont’d…

The fashion design and international business grad refined his eye for curating at the Smithsonian Museum then segued to luxury goods. “I started working with specialty glass blowers, master craftsmen, artists and I noticed two things: Artists could use some direction with business and there was a void in the marketplace for custom-made artisan-driven furniture. There is no reason why you shouldn’t get exactly what you want,” Mitchell states. And then there’s timing:  Hybrid showroom/contemporary museums (think: chairs too magnificent to sit on) were becoming en vogue and then 9/11 cast a morbidly stagnant wrench in the design industry. “I cultivated a group of artists (most of which are still with me today) working on exclusives and bringing things to market…people were really eager to be part of that experience.” And so, Mitchell found his niche as the link between the artists and a growing group of fine art furniture collectors—“The kind of personalities that don’t want people knowing what they have,” he says of his high-profile clientele.

Stephen Mitchell, DesignLush

While Mitchell injects DL’s signature contemporary style to haute hotels and New York’s finest penthouses he’s also diligently working on something bigger: The revival of the American craftsman. His ModernMasters is a hand-picked dream team of artists, fabricators and designers (including our very own Mr. and master of acrylic, Aaron R. Thomas) who are paving the way for a new generation of artisans. It comes at a pivotal time considering our economy’s current volatile nature—suddenly that chair too fancy to sit on is making a social statement. It’s not just a conversation starter for your next dinner party—it’s an affirmation of our community; it’s inspired, it’s an heirloom; it’s a hand-crafted labor of love. And when it comes to decorating our homes, isn’t that the essence? Community. Inspiration. Love.

DesignLush, New York Design Center, 200 Lexington Ave., Suite 415, New York, NY, 10016, 212.532.5450, designlush.com, info@designlush.com
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