It’s hard to believe, but 25 years ago to the day–October 17, 1987–I founded my own firm, Glenn Gissler Design. Of course, publicity is important to a young designer, and my first significant break came about 16 months later when Suzanne Slesin, then a reporter at the New York Times, did a big feature on me for the paper’s Home Section. (Suzy now runs her own terrific publishing company, Pointed Leaf Press.) I knew Michael Steinberg, Suzy’s husband and owner of Furniture of the Twentieth Century, a marvelous and much-lamented Manhattan showroom that was pivotal in popularizing modern design in the 1980s. Michael introduced me to Suzy at one of his openings; she gave me her card and said, “Let me know if you have any projects.” I followed up with her and two weeks later a 1,200-word feature, A Designer Tests His Wings: Maximal Style for Minimalist Tastes, appeared like magic on February 23, 1989.
I only received one new-business call from the story. “I’m calling for Mr. Ian Schrager,” said the person on the phone. “He’s in the hotel business.” Ian had recently completed the Royalton and was working on the Paramount. I met him at the latter property where he showed me the small rooms and asked me what I would do with them. In the event, Ian had me do his beach house on Dune Road in Southampton. He had originally owned the place, which was stucco-and-slate and had 14 bedrooms, with Steve Rubell. After it was done, Ian said, “Kelly Klein is going to call you.” Which she did. I’ll tell you about designing for Calvin and Kelly Klein in my next post.