Christopher Kennedy selected the front door color by color-matching the iconic blue swimsuit worn by Daniel Craig in his first appearance as James Bond.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY PUBLIC 311 DESIGN
Interior designer Christopher Kennedy is no stranger to unusual client requests. After all, this frequently-published Palm Springs designer, creator of the Modernism Week Show House, shopkeeper, and philanthropist has been practicing design in the desert for nearly two decades and started his career with the firm carrying on Steve Chase’s legacy.
When Palm Springs Life learned that he had recently completed a project with one of his most unusual client design directives to date, we were eager to learn more. We asked Kennedy, the author of two design books, to tell us about the project in his own words.
CK: Picture it. Me, on the phone, with our potential Chicago-based client. Since he was introduced through a past client, I already knew that he was a partner at venerable McKinsey & Co, a firm that I studied in MBA school. So, I am already a bit nervous, to be honest.
Potential client quickly (in eloquent Scottish accent, imagine Sean Connery) launches into how he doesn’t want anything glossy or expected. He tells me that he desires a James Bond Villains lair meets a 1960s vision of the future. He asks, “Can we incorporate a modern LED moving light art installation, like I saw at a gallery show recently in NYC?” (Picture me: Sweating, saying maybe?)
Then he asks, rhetorically I am hoping, “What kind of interior would Gene Kranz have come home to after a long day?” (Me: phone in one hand, Googling Gene Kranz with the other…) Sure, my stepdad was literally a NASA rocket scientist. But I’m just a hard-working interior designer — cut me some slack, ok? And Google Gene Kranz if you need to.
CK: In addition to the already heady villains-lair-meets-vintage-vision-for-the-future design brief, my audiophile client requested a “wall of sound.” I had no idea what that was, and to be honest, and I sorta still don’t.
But, I realized that there was a rather neglected and non-purposeful hallway adjacent to the living room — and that this 1960s vacation house in Palm Springs had no formal bar! What’s a guy to do? I seized the opportunity and created a “wall of sound” featuring a trompe-l’oeil mural onto which we assembled a mix of vintage and usable speakers, some of which just happen to hold glassware and spirits. He may call this area the wall of sound…but I call it the “sound bar.”