Continuing the tradition of beautiful design wedded to everyday utility established by his legendary grandfather, Sherle Wagner, EVAN GEOFFROY guides the family company, Sherle Wagner International, into exciting new aesthetic territory. Fairweather contributor Katherine Vogel sat down with Geofroy for a peek behind the scenes at the always surprising luxury fixtures company.
What are Sherle Wagner International’s main influences?
Architecture. The design, the shape, and the history of architecture give us all an understanding of where we have come from, where we are going, and where we should be headed.
Does a signature Sherle Wagner product come to mind?
The dolphin basin set was the original Sherle Wagner fitting—dating back to 1945. This set embodies the history, elegance and hand craftsmanship that define the brand. But my grandfather Sherle Wagner’s personal passion was for the geometric, forward thinking designs of the 1960s and ’70s. The Arco basin set was introduced to the line very recently, and as a contemporary departure from the deco styles my grandfather loved so much, I think this set embodies both the legacy and the future.
What unique processes does Sherle Wagner employ in the manufacturing stages?
Our pieces are made by hand from start to finish by a skilled team of artisans in Fall River, Massachusetts. We use processes that most manufacturing companies believe to be too time-consuming. We embrace these processes and cherish the outcome.
What trends are you noting lately?
I think there is a renewed appreciation for the classical. We seem to have moved beyond the minimalist trend. Our clients seem particularly attuned to living with objects of interest, not that everything need be over the top, but certainly featured items should come with intrigue.
Where do you see tastes headed?
I strongly feel that fashion and design represent a deference to originality that transcends trend. Particularly in one’s own home, stylistic decisions have to last the test of time and show individuality and expression.
What advice can you give for someone undertaking a renovation project?
I think that renovating is a journey, not a destination. Of course we all want to see the final product, but if you approach renovation from the standpoint that your ideas will change and evolve, the process itself becomes more enjoyable. I also recommend making a short list of what you cannot live without and work around that. You are better of knowing where you will not compromise than ending up lukewarm on everything.
How often do you think one should replace fixtures or redecorate?
In practicality, most people renovate when they must. But given a choice—wait until you are inspired!
Do clients shop differently for a vacation home than for a full-time or primary residence?
I think for their full-time home, a client will cater to their particular personal style but with functionality in mind. A client shopping for fixtures for a vacation home tends to be looking for a space designed for an escape from everyday life, a more laid-back atmosphere with the overall feel of the home while staying true to their style.
How do you see your style? How would you describe your own tastes?
I am inspired by architecture, the clean structural lines and the geometric shapes seen all over the world, this molds my style to have an elegance and simplicity.
How would you describe your home’s aesthetic?
I have just recently moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and as the old saying goes, “The son of the shoemaker has no shoes.” I have not yet begun renovations. With my Tribeca loft, I kept with the mid-century modern aesthetic based on my grandfather’s design from the early 1960s. In the bathroom, I chose white onyx slabs that have a translucent glow. I felt as though they absorbed and reflected the fixtures. I designed the space with details that I truly loved and I will do the same in my new home.
What are some fond memories you have of growing up around Sherle Wagner?
Growing up around Sherle Wagner, I learned about passion. My grandfather was famous for saying “That is the best, now how can we make it better.” He instilled in me the philosophy that passion is the key to success—both in business and in life.