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Inside the 2009 Architectural Digest Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys

September 21, 2009

I’m sad to see the AD Greenroom go but excited to share these photos with you! Here are two views of the Moroccan escape we created just steps from the stage, with more photos to come soon…

*Click images to view full size.

Entry to the AD Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys 2009 | Photo credit: Craig Mathew/Mathew Imaging

Entry to the AD Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys 2009 | Photo credit: Craig Mathew/Mathew Imaging

Inside the AD Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys 2009 | Photo credit: Craig Mathew/Mathew Imaging

Inside the AD Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys 2009 | Photo credit: Craig Mathew/Mathew Imaging

It’s all coming together

September 15, 2009
Here’s a peek at the final sketch, inspiration board and floorplan—it’s all coming together out in LA right now in preparation for the big night this Sunday, September 20th.
*Click images to view full size.
AD Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys - 2009 Final Sketch

AD Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys - 2009 Sketch

AD Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys - 2009 Inspiration Board

AD Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys - 2009 Inspiration Board

AD Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys - 2009 Floorplan

AD Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys - 2009 Floorplan

The heat is on!

September 1, 2009

So the heat is on…only 2 weeks to go until we have to have our greenroom ready for its close-up and my office is all hands to the pump.

We have had exciting news this week that our magnificent rug, Mamounia, that I custom-designed with The Rug Company exclusively for the AD Greenroom, has just been cut from the loom in Tibet and is now off for its final stage of being washed. This process will give the rug its luster. Once the silk is washed, it takes on a spectacular sheen that makes the rug appear luminous, exhibiting the qualities as to why we chose silk as our desired material.

My wood carver also just finished the intricate mousharabia screen work that will be inlayed into the mirror panels and the front of our bar. Now they go to the finisher, where he will distress them to give them an aged look and hand color the wood to make it appear many centuries old. All our fabrics have arrived from Schumacher now, ranging from raw silks to linens to finely embroidered Suzanis. Because of the strict laws with the Los Angeles Fire Department, all the fabrics must be flame-proofed before we start upholstering with them and creating our splendid backstage tent.

My own new fabric—“Marrakesh,” featured in the October issue of Architectural Digest—has just arrived after being custom-colored for the tent walls in rich olives, navy blues and burnt Turkish reds. I love the color so much, I am going to add it to my line once the Emmys are over. And after much thought, I have decided to paint the paneling that frames the tent walls in a beautiful custom-mixed Turkish red rather than my original idea to stain it in a medium walnut tone. I feel the paint color will give more to the overall presence of the room.

We have picked fabulous exotic tables from 1stdibs vendors J. F. Chen. These Syrian and Turkish tables are inlaid with rare mother of pearl, camel bone, ebony and tortoise shell. All are antiques (all are more than 100 years old), made when such materials were commonplace luxury items at the time. These tables will sparkle like jewels in my decorative scheme.

Matt, my architect, and I went to meet the amazing set builders from Scenic Express and had the most wonderful experience. These guys are full-fledged professionals and understood my vision perfectly. They will be building the tented greenroom and as such are a vital element to this whole process. It was such a pleasure to meet them and they completely put my mind to rest. These guys have built some of the most amazing sets in tinseltown and have worked hand-in-hand with Architectural Digest for years now on the greenrooms. They tell me they love the chance to work with the AD 100 designers in creating fresh and exciting spaces for these events. I was really pleased when they loved my vision for this year.

Another very important meeting took place in my office today with the lighting director. This year is very tricky because of my extra-high ceiling (double the height of any previous greenroom) and the quantity of fabric involved. It is vital that the lighting be ambient and highlight the special feature areas while allowing perfect viewing for the screens that will air the telecast live inside the room. Our Moorish sconces and chandelier will provide character lighting to the space, but drama will be achieved via hidden lights located within the folds of the fabric in the ceiling and some soft flush lighting located in the floor to flush a glow up upon the mirrored panels mounted on the walls. He assures me that it will be magical, but still I’m going to be there to oversee the magic just to put my mind to rest. After all, perfect lighting for this Hollywood crowd is vital!

Another fabulous problem was solved this week when our friends from Edelman Leather agreed to us using their magnificent naturally tanned eco-friendly leather floor tiles. These beautiful 4” x 4” tiles all have natural pigmentation that makes each one individual and will give the overall floor a special character of its own. Although not easy to install on a stage set, we have overcome this problem by planning to pre-lay them on boards that will be assembled and glued together on-site. I am very excited to see this! I have always wanted to use a leather floor, so this is a special pleasure for me. Edelman Leather is one of my favorite leather suppliers and their commitment to being ecologically correct is marvelous. They have a spectacular array of exotic skins and pressed leathers with a fine American history behind them. We are truly honored to have them as a part of this event.

To crown this most busy of days we have received the hand-carved “Cher” sofas, so called because I originally made them for the legendary star’s home in the Hollywood hills. The design of these magnificent pieces is based on maharaja thrones, and each one has been painted in deep red and ebony with gold-leaf details rubbed and aged to a perfect patina. Tomorrow they will go to my upholsterer, Constance Posse, to be covered in Tulah silk from Schumacher, a finely woven raw silk in natural tones.

Our final task this week is to contact the caterers as I want to theme the food to match the interiors. Delicious tasty Moroccan style nibbles presented on an array of hand-painted dishes and platters from Casablanca that I am having imported specially for the event. I want our room this year to tantalize all the senses, thus transporting our special guests to the ultimate Architectural Digest oasis!

A Plan for the Greenroom

July 30, 2009

The Emmy nominations have now been declared. In order to match the caliber of talent being honored this year, we are in full swing to make ready the most exciting greenroom ever! My team, the Architectural Digest team and all the backstage Emmy crew and producers met last week to view the space, which is located directly off stage right. We have the benefit of a marvelously high ceiling, which will allow me to take full advantage of the drama of my tented room, making it at least 18 feet high. I presented the drawings and floor plans to the group and everyone seemed excited about the Moorish look that we are going for—now we have to set about making it happen.

Ad concept RUG for Green Room 12X14To create more allure and a greater sense of privacy this year, we are creating a second smaller tent as the entrance. When the celebrities arrive backstage, they will be lured into this wonderful, small, tented opening that will then dramatically give way to the larger tented room inside. As I type, the rug to cover our floor is being hand woven in Tibet by The Rug Company. It is a special design that I have created for the AD Greenroom and we have called it “Mamounia,” after the famous Art Deco hotel bearing the same name in Marrakesh. It features a burnt red tracery relief in pure silk thread on a background of fine virgin wool in a natural buff weft.

I have been scouring the pages of and have found some truly special pieces of antique Syrian, Turkish and Moroccan furniture. Among these, I found tea tables featuring rare woods such as ebony and macassar with finely inlaid mother of pearl and tortoise shell. With a luxurious Ekornes Classic leather sofa and ottomans plus comfortable banquette seating taken from a design I did for Cher’s bedroom, we will have seating for over 20 guests.

  Morrocan 3 Morrocan 2 Morrocan 1  


I have designed custom mirrored panels using traditional Mosharabi screens, adding architectural weight to the space. The sparkle of the antiqued mirror panels place inside them will heighten the drama of the area. I am also creating a bar area this year with carved Moroccan bar stools, so the ladies in their long designer gowns can perch there happily, watch one of the monitors that will be playing the show and not crumple their dresses before going on stage.

Schumacher SuzaniI have chosen a color palette of rich Turkish reds, olive greens and Mediterranean blues, all found in the wonderful fabric collections from Schumacher. Our textures include raw silks, nubby linens, woven Suzanis and beautiful striped chintz cottons. These exotic textiles will all be grounded using Sahara beige linen, one of Schumacher’s signature collections.

Lighting is always key, but on this occasion it is even more important than ever. We need the tented room to not only be subtle and sexy, but also bright enough so that the stars are able to check themselves before entering the stage and controlled enough so the TV monitors playing the show will provide the sharpest image. We are tackling this problem by filling the tent with ambient lighting from an antique pierced brass chandelier, hung in the center of the ceiling. This chandelier will be juxtaposed by Turkish wall lanterns that will be hung on iron hooks at the four corners of the “tent.” The ceiling will then be flushed with light from hidden tracks buried in the tent panels and faux candles will adorn the tables, placed in hurricanes of different Eastern forms.

Our AD greenroom is getting ready for its close up, Mr. DeMille!

*For more information on the products referred to here, please visit the Materials page.


July 2, 2009

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I have been chosen to design this year’s Architectural Digest Greenroom at the Primetime Emmys® and to follow in the footsteps of the great AD 100 talent that has gone before me.

I have decided to add a little exotic flair to the design this year and to spice it up with a Moroccan flavor. The space has to be both practical for celebrities to lounge in and enjoy before they take to the stage and very stylish to represent the allure of Architectural Digest and this year’s wonderful partners.

To exemplify the international style of AD, I’m going to create a tented room fit for a Sultan (and Hollywood’s A-listers of course!). The ceiling will be tented in pleated Moorish-inspired striped fabrics that will appear to return down the walls, completing the tented look. A border of Turkish fabric will wrap around the perimeter of the room to give the appearance of a tiled wainscoting and thus frame the space. Long, lounging banquette sofas will fit into the (tented) niches to provide comfortable viewing areas to watch the show, while an Aladdin’s cave of lanterns will hang from the center of the tent casting playful shadows around the room from their exotic pierced brass metal work. An assortment of Turkish, Syrian, Moroccan and Indian inlaid tea tables will sit in front and around the seating areas (from the marvelous array available on ), mingling with low, comfortable leather ottomans and furniture by Ekornes.

The corners of the tented room will be highlighted by pierced mashrabiya screens inserted with sparkling antique mercury mirror; the floor will be crowned magnificently in the center with a Tibetan silk rug that I am designing exclusively for the AD Greenroom with The Rug Company. This rug will ground our whole color scheme, which is to include burnt reds, ivory, espresso brown, golden umber and Tuscan olive green. Various antique and vintage pieces will be mixed into this scheme, made available to us from the magnificent Los Angeles antique stores that can be found on the website—the ultimate online shopping experience! Large flatscreen televisions will be placed around the room and hung like art to enable the perfect viewing of the show, while a beautifully carved circular table centered in the middle of the room will offer our guests a bevy of delicious hors d’oeuvres and refreshments.

This magnificent setting will be a complete experience, as exciting to Architectural Digest Greenroom guests as winning an award at the Emmys itself!