Some Q&A with one of the top interior designers in South Florida Louis Shuster of Shuster Design. Shuster Design Associates collaborates with the client, architect and developer to reflect a harmonious blend. Shuster Design Associates’ installations are recognized on countless covers of the country’s most respected periodicals. Led by world-class designer, Louis Shuster, the firm has a vision and philosophy that consistently reflects his ‘less is more’ attitude. The company is based in the Wilton Manors area of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and their offices have extensive research materials and samples.
Q: What kind of research do you do in order to bring a project to completion?
A: The research is incredible in the beginning. Sometimes when I feel it’s out of my realm I will call in a lighting expert in. Clients are more then willing to pay for that. You have to understand we do extraordinarily high end work. Very expensive light fixtures and systems are installed and so we want to be right from the get go.
Q: How do you collaborate with the rest of the design team?
A: Everything in my firm is a group effort. There are twelve of us, 5 of whom are designers. We collaborate on every job we do. I initially meet and interview the client. From then on, it becomes a group effort. Some of my team search for fabrics, some research the lighting but we all come together at the end and before the presentation we all get on the same page.
Q: What are some of the manufacturers you use and how do you choose them?
A: I’m very source oriented. Once I find a source that preforms for me, I will use them again and again. I insist on service. I always tell my design team, good design is fifty percent design, fifty percent service. You can give the client the best installation in the world, but if you don’t service them before, during and after the installation it just won’t go right and will leave a sour taste in their mouth. So the first thing I always do is hire vendors I know will perform, come in at the right price and service the client after the sale.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration from for your lighting designs?
A: I think a lot of the inspiration we get is just from living in South Florida. It may sound corny, but we are viewing magnificent sunsets. Most of the photos we take of our jobs are at dusk because of the great lighting. We like to keep our lighting design cohesive with the furniture and overall layout of each room. The lighting design is important and “key” to a great installation.
Q: With so much experience behind you, how do you see the lighting market in the future?
A: I think it’s changing rapidly. I think materials have come full circle… things that were never used on light fixtures. Crystal is back… bent wood… stone… things that were normally not used in lighting fixtures throughout a home. I like the fact that they are using brass again. I like that stainless steel and metal is not the only thing to be considered for finishes on fixtures now. They are bringing back dull bronzes, finishes that are exotic. I think that is the trend. I think a lot of things are retro at this point. Everything has come around full circle and I like the mix. I think it’s great.
Q: What is the most important thing to consider when choosing a lighting fixture?
A: There are several factors when considering a light fixture. We consider budget first and then to make sure the look is correct for the space. We like to make sure the finish and materials used on the fixture compliment and add to the overall design and space we are creating. Another factor is the actual light it is producing. It must be adequate for the space and purpose.
SHUSTER DESIGN ASSOCIATES, INC
1401 NE 26th Street
Wilton Manors, FL 33305 USA
Shuster Design Associates is a full service interior design company providing consultations and designs for designers, custom home building or remodeling, residential and commercial construction, home decoration, office planning, landscaping, kitchen and bath, home technology services, interior and exterior floor coverings, marble, stone and tile, accessories, contract furnishings, home theater and cabinetry integrated security systems, custom woodworking and metalworking, and the acquisition of art and antiques.