An interview with NY Magazine’s Wendy Goodman
by brooklynmodern | January 4th, 2011
Brooklyn Modern often re-posts from New York Magazine’s design section, which has featured the borough’s DIY design/furniture scene in detail. Many designers owe the magazine’s design issue or weekly design coverage, for their work finding a larger audience. We were lucky to get NY Mag’s design editor Wendy Goodman to answer a few questions for us.
Wendy’s newest book was released in October 2010, The World of Gloria Vanderbilt, and her design-world coverage can be found in her weekly New York Magazine features and in the Design Hunting newsletter on nymag.com.
brooklyn modern: You are the design editor for New York Magazine, one thing I notice about your coverage is that you feature a broad range of styles, can you describe how you define “New York Design.” Or more specifically what do you see as the most influential thing now?
Wendy Goodman: I feature a broad range of styles because I am interested in the most personal points of view of how people live in the city, so any and all styles interest me as long as the execution is personal and somewhat ingenious. As New York magazine is a general interest news magazine geared specifically to New York, I look for what I feel is most creative and innovative in residential living here. Decorating and trend spotting is for shelter magazines, not that we don’t’ keep up and track that as well, it is just that the more personal a design story is, the more interesting it is-it’s never about how much money people have, but rather what their passions and initiatives are, and how they express that at home.
brooklyn modern: How did you first become interested in design? You have one book out on Tony Duquette, do you have plans for any others?
Wendy Goodman: My second book, The World of Gloria Vanderbilt, was published by Abrams October, 2010. I started my career as a fashion editor, although as a sort of renegade one, as I worked freelance for Harper’s Bazaar and the New York Times Sunday magazine at first. Then I went on to New York magazine and was the Fashion Editor there in the late ‘80’s.
It was during that time that I was taken to lunch by the fashion designer, Pauline Trigere at La Grenouille restaurant. I was mesmerized by the scale of the rooms in what had originally been a carriage house for the Plant mansion across the street (now the Cartier building) as well as the fantastic paintings on the walls. I discovered all sorts of wonderful stories that had happened over the years there through Charles Masson whose family owns the restaurant. I eventually did a story on the family, and the artist, Bernard Lamotte who lived and painted there, so that coupled with other events in my life inspired me to shift gears and devote myself to design on a broader scale in respect to how people live.
brooklyn modern: There is a very strong online community, especially in New York. How do you see the relationship between a print publication’s coverage and sites like Apartment Therapy, Brownstoner and Cool Hunting
Wendy Goodman: There are so many fantastic sites and they are all are so good! It does make it more of a challenge to get to projects first as ‘the scoop’ has always been an editorial imperative, and it still is, only now it is a double whammy: on top of print, you have to scoop the blogs and sites too!
brooklyn modern: I notice both in your newsletter, “Design Hunting,” and in the magazine you have been focusing a lot on the current DIY/artisan scene in Brooklyn? When did you first notice this new wave of young designers and style in Brooklyn? And as a follow up, how do you find these small, design-centered Brooklyn folks?
Wendy Goodman: Brooklyn has been such a hot bed of great design studios and designers for a while now. I began covering the Brooklyn Designs show from the beginning and then became a juror, which I love as meeting and discovering new designers is the best. I am out on the street, and in the subway scouting and scouting…ear to the ground, and everywhere else, is how I find my stories and moving fast when I get a lead. There isn’t anyplace I won’t go.
brooklyn modern: There are several strong influences on the Brooklyn scene, the work of mid-century designers, new technologies in sustainability and the re-use of materials, a return to handcrafted furniture, and a new ‘cult of the artisan.’ Where do you think these ideas originate, and how did Brooklyn become the DIY/artisan ground zero?
Wendy Goodman: I think Brooklyn became the artisan ground zero as the real estate allowed artists and designers to have access to great studio space in the way that SoHo and the Lower East Side did back in the ‘60’s. But all that will change as real estate prices make it prohibitive for financially challenged young emerging talent to have places to experiment and work. The scene will move to the next emerging neighborhood.”
brooklyn modern: You have covered most of the best of Brooklyn Designers, what are your favorites?
Wendy Goodman: There are so many! I love Uhuru and MADE, Grow House Grow, Eric Manigian, Flavor Paper, Eskayel… to name but a few of the plethora of great talent out there.