No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.
- Ingmar Bergman

January 23, 2015

Dana Triano Designs

As They Are Now? -- Catching up with some of my wedding clients

Welcome to 2015!

What I love about filming weddings is getting to meet so many interesting men and women and to learn about their beliefs, passions and talents.  I love listening to my couples tell the story of how they were brought together and the journey that led to their wedding day.

The wedding day begins the new chapter in their lives.  Their story now shifts to the road they've been traveling since their wedding.  As a storyteller, I decided it would be interesting follow up on where they are now and what they are doing which is now being told in my new blog column titled "As They Are Now."

My first story centers on Dana Triano.  I filmed Dana and Rick's wedding in 2006.  It took place in New York City at St. Francis Xavier's and then moved to the Tribeca Rooftop.  Since that time, Dana and Rick have celebrated 8 years of marriage, relocated to California (NYC was home) and Dana has moved forward in creating her own business called "Dana Triano Designs".

I connected with Dana to learn more about what she's been up to over these last 8 years and here's what I learned:

You have been married for 8 years.  What moment(s) resonate with you from your wedding day?

We were married young and one of the first weddings that we attended together was our own!  The church where we were married was the same church that my parents said their vows 33 years earlier, and where my grandfather was an altar boy.  That was very special to us!  We also still get compliments on the reception at Tribeca Rooftop: the food, the drinks, the band (NY City Swing).
I wish we could do it all over again as guests.

Dana on her wedding day. @Karen Cunningham

What are some of the lessons that marriage has taught you?

Relationships get more meaningful with time.  Your partner can be a balance to you and be a counterpoint.  You realize that no one is perfect but it gets easier to play to each other's strengths.

How do you balance your business with your personal life?

I'm a workaholic so balance between business and personal life has always been difficult for me.  I'm very lucky to have an understanding partner.

When did you catch the design bug?

My junior year in college when I studied abroad in Rome.  I traveled throughout Europe and finally saw what was previously only in history and art textbooks.  Art and architecture grandly came to life before me.  Textiles and traditions unfolded.

Who has inspired you in the design world and why?

At work.
Charles Rene Macintosh, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright.  I love the idea of a holistic design concept.  Their designs involved continuity between the exterior and interior spaces; whether with ornament, principles, themes or actual furniture and objects.  They also thought about the relationships of design and nature.

When did you decide to move from working for others to working for yourself?

About one month into my first design job.  I lost the creative control of the complete design process that had so inspired me as a student.

Why did you embark on this adventure?

The timing was right personally and professionally.

Was this a smooth transition for you?  Any trepidation?

Very smooth.  I tend to be a glass-half full kind of optimist so for me it's all exciting and full of opportunity.

Can you describe your design aesthetic?

One of the best parts of this process has been taking the time to step back to define my own style.  My aesthetic is grounded in classical design theories.  I don't pay much attention to trends that are in one year and out the next.  Design can be timeless if executed properly.

For me, "the line's the thing" - the silhouettes and the curves.  The volumes and the resulting negative space.  I love natural materials -- wood, metal and stone -- for their purity and impurity.  My design leans towards the organic shapes and natural elements.  I have always loved Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movements for their design principles that praise natural materials and emphasis holistic designs and quality craftsmanship.

However, unlike some classic period styles, I dislike too much visual clutter and fussy ornament.  Impersonal objects and junk crowd our modern homes.  Something in me seeks to "simplify, simplify, simplify".  I'm not a minimal modern designer.  I just think that beautiful things need to breath and have the space to be appreciated.  It's not just about filling up a room.  There should be a history to the objects and the owners.

What part of the design process do you enjoy most?

Final installation.  The buzz of many teams pulling everything together and seeing the vision come to life.

Describe a Dana Triano client.

Well-traveled, creative, stylish, positive, open-minded and interested in sustainability.

Talk about some of the challenges faced when working with a design client.

I found that indecision creates bottlenecks in the process and leads to dis-unified designs.

How involved do your clients want to be in your design process?

At the end of the day, the home is the clients' so their opinions are essential to the process.

What are some of the factors that help in forming not only an inspiring creative process but a healthy client relationship?

Honesty on both sides.  It saves time and misspent energy.

Talk about compromise in your work.  If a client chooses a design element that does not fit into your overall design, how do you handle?

Discuss it with them.  If they are as passionate about their needs as I am about my design, there is a solution.  You can always photograph the room from a different angle!

What brought you to California?

The sunshine!  I constantly traveled here for work and it became harder and harder to deny the power of light and space.  One day, while I was driving the PCH to LAX from Santa Barbara and the sun was shining on the mountains and the ocean glistening, I realized I didn't want to leave.  I don't know if I took the time to look up at the sky when I was living in NYC.  In LA, you can step back and see the mountain line hugging the sky every gorgeous day.

Is there a difference between the California design aesthetic and the NYC aesthetic?  

Yes.  One day I was discussing the difference between East and West Coast with a rug vendor.  Antique rugs have two sides depending on the way the light catches the pile of the fibers -- a light side and a dark side.  He told me that in CA one tends to lay the rug on the light side and in NY, one tends to lay the rug on the dark side.  It has held true in my experience!

I also found that New York City is more polished and tends to be more formal.  You can use darker colors and rich materials like velvets or silk.  Because the sun is incredibly powerful here, fabrics and colors fade quickly.  There is more of an indoor-outdoor quality to living here.  Everything is focused around the sun and daylight whereas in New York City, the focus is on the evening energy and the skyline lights.

Where is Dana Triano Designs five years from now?

On the cover of a design magazine!

To learn more about Dana Triano Designs check out her website.....

or follow her on Instagram and Facebook at:  @DanaTrianoDesigns