Rajni Alex breathes new life into traditional forms and classic pieces with a healthy dose of color and pattern. The Bronxville designer doesn’t shy from any style or period, believing an artful blend of old and new makes for eclectic yet balanced spaces for everyday living.
What inspired this career path for you?
As a flight attendant with Singapore Airlines, I had the opportunity to travel the world and see how culture, climate, and architecture shape the design aesthetic in each and every place.
After I finished my MBA in marketing, I began looking for a job, but it was impossible to find a position in the corporate setting after 9-11. A friend of mine at the time was working with Brian J. McCarthy Inc., and suggested that I apply for the opening as a design coordinator. I had always been drawn to design, so when the opening presented itself, I seized the opportunity and never looked back. I knew immediately that I had found the right path.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
Travel and fashion inspire me daily. I am Indian, married to a Swede, and live in America. Whenever I travel, I am fascinated by everything from the textiles to objet d’art to storefronts and street signs!
Then, of course, there are sites such as Pinterest, and websites like Viyet that introduce us to many different designers and styles.
Tell us about your creative process.
Home is a place to unwind and be comfortable. First and foremost, it is important that I understand the client’s needs and goals and that I respect the architectural style of the space. As design is a collaborative effort, I come to each project with several concepts and then develop the one that best suits the client’s vision.
When designing residential interiors in particular, I pay close attention to the client’s sense of fashion. How clients dress themselves reveals a lot about their like or dislike for color, accessories, etc. Typically a client who wears mostly neutral colors will not be happy with too much color in their space, or a client who doesn’t embrace accessories like jewelry, may prefer a minimal look for their own space.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Eclectic chic with an edgy vibe.
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
Measuring tape, Goo Gone, and a handy vac.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
My former employer, Brian J. McCarthy, is a huge inspiration to me; he taught me so much during my time as a design coordinator and project manager at his company. Another design icon is Kelly Wearstler; I love how she mixes classic elegance with a little rock ‘n’ roll!!
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
I would love to design a living room for Beyoncé! The space would be a reflection of how I envision her: glamorous, vibrant, and “rock chic edgy”… the perfect combination! I would incorporate the work by the very talented artist BRADLEY THEODORE — I love the way he imbues a humorous element into his vibrant compositions. I would use Porter Toleo wallpaper that has a tribal chic pattern, and of course Zak + Fox fabric will find its way into the design scheme.
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
In the words of the timeless and iconic Mae West, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
There are so many blogs, websites, and magazines that I love and that inspire me. Some of my favorite “masters” are — AD, Traditional Home, Veranda, House Beautiful, and Elle Décor. I am a Pinterest junkie, and I LOVE La Dolce Vita (design blog) and 1st Dibs.
What do you love about Viyet?
What don’t I love about Viyet!??! Viyet makes items that are typically only accessible to the trade available to consumers as well — a win-win for everyone. As a designer, I love that I am able to source fabulous pieces that sometimes are no longer in production.