One of the biggest treats while in New York was being able to stop in and visit Thomas O’Brien at Aero, his studio in Soho. He devoted an amazing amount of time to this near-stalker/blogger, giving me a tour of the shop and his design studio.
The shop is a wonderful jumble of vintage and antique pieces with O’Brien’s own designs seemlessly mixed in. He is a collector. Personally, and in the store. You can see his hand in everything.
When we sat down to visit I asked him why he thought he had been named as a designer who will “last” in my Enduring Style series. “Huh. I don’t know,” was his reply and then he went on to discuss his design process in everything from product to interiors to his book.
O’Brien wears his soul on his sleeve and his is not the manic creative energy that you might expect from someone who is executing this inspiring amount of work. He is exacting and passionate, but in a very low-key way. He talked a great deal about process and inspiration; he spoke not at all of himself nor did he ever mention the word “brand” though I am sure he is quite aware of this buzz word and its significance.
O’Brien had a copy of his new book, American Modern, there for me to flip through while we talked. It is a beautiful book featuring some favorite projects, but also homes that have not been published. As Dick Diver, O’Brien is a man with repose. His gaze is steady and his hands are still even when he speaks intently about the need to be inspired. Even though many of us are struggling he notes, “The great buildings still need to be built.”
Thomas O’Brien has new lamps for Visual Comfort that should be hitting retail locations by Spring. His new collection for Target is rolling into stores now, including some very chic bedding. He has several new pieces for Hickory Chair that will debut at Highpoint and be in stores by late Summer/early Fall.
You can pre-order his book, American Modern, here. You should. It’s terrific.
I received no compensation for this post other than the complete delight of the experience. All images courtesy of Thomas O’Brien and Aero.