AD360 recently spoke with Melinda and Fari Pakzad, the founders of the Ebanista—a company known for its exquisite modern interpretation of classic furnishings—about what design means to them, how their designs have evolved, and what design they couldn’t live without.
AD360: What does design mean to you?
Design is a personal journey—a self-discovery of sorts. If done well, it should result in the perfect bringing together of all the things one loves. Good design should make life more beautiful. One’s home should be filled with things that inspire them and bring them joy. After all, we live with these pieces every day and they become an extension of us.
AD360: When you first began Ebanista, your style was defined as an interpretation of European classics. What drew you to this style of design and why do you think it works so well for so many people?
We are both drawn to unique and intriguing pieces—gorgeous carvings, exquisite finishes, special little details. So of course, we have always found European history, architecture, art, and furnishings particularly inspiring. Our clients—from all over the world—love what we’re doing. They often tell us how much they appreciate that we have stayed true to our roots.
AD360: Your approach to design has evolved somewhat—favoring clean lines and a more modern approach to classic design. Would you give us an example of a piece that reflects this transition?
Yes, we’ve definitely made a conscious effort to add a few more streamlined pieces to Collection Ten, with an emphasis on rich materials and construction, and of course, in keeping with the personality and nuances we are known for. We love how these more modern pieces play against the more elaborate, carved, and gilded pieces. The Brunello dining chairs are a perfect example—they have a very sexy modern silhouette and great rich walnut wood construction. We also recently launched a stunning new Zebra-wood Parsons style cocktail table that we will be showing with a grandly scaled tufted, carved, and gilded sofa.
AD360: You have said, “It’s hard to tell what is an antique and what’s not, and that’s precisely the point.” Why is this so important to you within the framework of your designs?
It’s really about how the artisan-made quality and characteristics of our Collection Ten pieces stand up to those made by artisans years ago. So many of the techniques we use today are rooted in deep tradition and have been passed down by generations of carvers, gilders, and finishers. There is a remarkable amount of pride and passion behind every single piece we deliver.
AD360: The craftsmanship of each Ebanista piece is second to none. What is so special about your process and selection that separates it from other furnishing companies?
Well, the definition of words like quality and craftsmanship are certainly ambiguous and can mean something different to every person. But to answer your question, what sets us apart is the personal nature of what we do and how we do it. Creating something handmade—one at a time—right here in Southern California. We equate it to making a fine couture gown. It’s made specifically to order, expertly tailored, highly detailed, to exacting specifications, taking weeks to create by a cadre of artisans…each adding their own special level of expertise. I guess you could say we are quite the antithesis of the mass produced, mass marketed furniture we all know today.
AD360: Ebanista has extensive collections of home furnishings—from rugs and pillows to custom upholstery and lighting. What advice can you lend about how to design and decorate one’s room from the bottom up?
That’s easy…fill it with things you love. A great rug is often a good place to start. Don’t be afraid to mix styles and temperaments and by all means…layer!
AD360: How has social media impacted Ebanista & changed how you approach design?
There’s no denying that the Internet has impacted our industry in a big way. There is such a wealth of information and imagery available to all of us 24/7. For us, it’s the visually led sites such as Pinterest and Instagram that have impacted us the most. We’ve found that end users often have boards dedicated to our pieces and we’ve witnessed how the relationship between designers and their clients has evolved into a more synergistic partnership over the recent years. Consumers are now taking action—sending their designers specifically to our showroom because of what they’ve seen and accumulated on their favorite social sites. Often times, they fall in love with the pieces before they even see them in person. We design with those people in mind…fellow design enthusiasts who share a love for beautiful things and a strong appreciation for the artistry involved.
AD360: What is one design item you couldn’t live without?
The perfect sofa! It has to be beautiful and comfortable—because what’s more important than where you sit and catch your breath at the end of the day?