Designer Profile: Susan Hornbeak-Ortiz

Susan Hornbeak-Ortiz (S. H. O) creates one of the most fashion-forward lifestyle lines in the interior design industry. This world-traveled, multifaceted artist, takes free form and is not afraid to design unexpected avant-garde furniture.

What is your go-to source for inspiration?
I am always following the latest fashion runway trends, and find myself really inspired by the construction of garments and the luxurious detailing of jewelry. When I travel, I love to photograph different types of architecture, old and new, as architectural detailing is also a large source of inspiration for me. I am drawn to the glamour and chicness of the Art Deco and 70s eras. Re-interpreting vintage details of these eras is truly inspiring for me.

Tell us about your creative process. 
I am a voracious, visual carnivore (so to speak). I am addicted to Pinterest and gathering thoughts and ideas visually. I love to travel and I shoot with my camera continuously everywhere I go. My camera and sketchbook are always with me as an idea or concept can come to me at any time. Sketching calms my mind and keeps the creative process moving.

Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Bold – Clean – Modern

What’s a staple in your tool kit?
I always have my sketchbook and camera with me. iPhone 7 is my new visual sketchbook! When I travel, I take my mini Zip Polaroid printer – I can print from my Olympus camera and iPhone to work out ideas and concepts in my sketchbook.

Who do you look up to in the design world? 
Zaha Hadid (architect + designer), Joseph Dirand (interior designer), and Kelly Hoppen (interior designer) are design world rock stars in my eyes.

Is there an all-time favorite Shine by S.H.O piece that you have created, and why?
The Sandrine sofa. I am in love with the modern silhouette of this piece. It exemplifies my ideal aesthetic – modern, sculptural, asymmetrical, and comfortable!

What do you consider the biggest challenge when creating a piece?
My biggest challenge in designing upholstery pieces is making sure the modern lines still create the perfect sit – comfortable modern furniture is very important to me! The biggest challenge in case goods has really become about budget – as I tend to gravitate towards very luxurious materials – I must tame my vision with what we can launch realistically!

Can you share a few highlights of the pieces that you are consigning?

  • The Pierre Coffee Table won the ASFD 2016 Pinnacle Award for best occasional table last October. This inspired the expansion of the series into the Console Table, also on the sale.
  • The Coco Cabinet is from the Modern Vintage collection, and I haven’t been able to part with it (until now I suppose). This cabinet was a labor of love to produce and get just right. The graphic, deco-inspired detailing of wood, metal, and acrylic makes it a favorite of mine.
  • The Nuage Sofa (meaning cloud) was one of those pieces I really strived to make a modern and sexy piece that was literally like a cloud to sit in. This sofa is super comfortable!
  • The Ledger Chair and the Simone Nightstands both feature real python skin details. This is one of the ways I work high-end fashion detailing into my pieces. Compare it to a chic python handbag or python strap pump, but for the home!
  • The Ines Armoire is a new addition to our very successful Ines series. It features hand-carved diamond wood details all handmade by crafted artisans in California. Craftsmanship is at the forefront in this stunning tonal design. This is the type of cabinet that will stay in your family for generations to come and will hopefully forever stay modern and timeless.

Is there anything in the current market, a trend or a type of design, you love (or hate)?
I am loving the asymmetric lines and fractured surfaces I am seeing in design – as I believe the perfect blend of chaos and clean lines creates visually impactful pieces. Hate is a strong word – I used to hate the color Aubergine – but now I find myself strangely attracted to this color – especially with nude and polished brass – très chic. My motto… never say never!

What inspired this career path for you? 
I grew up with a mother who was an interior designer and a builder/developer as a father. I grew up on job sites and in the business. I have a fine arts degree and worked within photography and sculpture. Furniture is the perfect expression of my upbringing skillset and sculptural art background. I inspire to make all things beautiful – one design at a time.

Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?

What do you love about Viyet? 
Viyet is a great resource for finding inspiration and unique pieces when looking specifically for a project. I love that so many of the best brands are in one place, and you can also find some really great one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.

Shop the Shine by S.H.O. collection on Viyet

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