Where I work: Ryan Saghian

If you haven’t heard the name Ryan saghian however, there is a good chance that will change soon. The not quite 30-year-old interior designer founded his eponymous company at the ripe age of 21, launched a couture furniture line in 2014, opened a flagship showroom in Los Angeles in 2016, has collaborated with Bijou on his own wallcovering collection in 2018., released his SoHo tableware in 2020, and most recently created a carpet collection in 2021. His sought-after aesthetic of old Hollywood glamor meets the modern millennial, him and his team of six people being occupied with high-end residential and hotel projects. In less than 10 years, Saghian has moved from his parents’ garage to his newly designed office on Robertson and 3rd, where he shares more about his work style and creative space this month. Where I work.

What is your studio / work environment?

The office is just the right amount of clutter and organization. The Ryan Saghian candle is still burning and creativity is always in the air. We love to blow up the background music. When you put a bunch of creative people in one space, the imaginative energy is palpable. There is a great flow.

modern desk with long conference table in a black and white color palette

How is your space organized / laid out?

The common space is both a conference space and a workshop. It is open and collaborative. I wanted the boardroom to feel unconventional with a white oak desk and Eames executive chairs anchored in brown oak and faux fur chair ends. The aged bronze and brass pendant ties in space and is from the Hudson Valley Gains collection.

The piece we often receive comments on is a striking black plaster art by Los Angeles artist Michael Allen.

modern design office with eclectic style

At one end of the desk, I have an iconic photo of Terry O’Neal from Faye Dunaway at the Beverly Hills Hotel the morning after receiving an Oscar. This photo is so LA. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate recessed lights and always favor pendant lights, chandeliers or ceiling lights. I made sure to add recessed mounts throughout the main space and for continuity I chose the Gaines bronze and brass recessed mounts from Hudson Valley to pair with the art light behind my desk.

modern desk with black double-sided desk and chairs with artwork by Faye Dunaway above

How long have you been in this space? Where did you work before that?

The office is located in the J. Alexander Luxury Furniture Showroom, which also represents the Ryan Saghian Collection. I have been in this space for five years. Before that, I was in my parents’ garage. We just remodeled the office in the fall of 2020.

Close up photograph of nude woman lying with legs bent

If you could change something in your workspace, what would it be?

It would be to have more natural light.

dark empty desk with two office chairs

Have you had to make any adjustments in the way you work because of the pandemic?

We made adjustments, from sitting further away from each other to team members coming in at different times so we weren’t there at the same time. Sometimes the conference room also became my office so there would be a little more space. These are little things to make everyone feel safe.

How do you see things changing in your workplace with COVID-19 which is now part of our reality?

We are all vaccinated in the office. I’m optimistic we’re slowly going back to how things were before.

Is there an office animal?

No office animal.

Do you need music in the background? If so, what are the favorites?

Yes! Just as my interiors are diverse, my music is eclectic. Everything from Casa Del Mar / Buddha Bar to today’s biggest hits.

How do you record ideas?

I am from the old school. I write it down in my notebook that I take with me.

Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now?

My phone has become my inspiration board. That’s why I always have it in my hand! Everywhere I go, if something catches my eye, I take a picture.

If someone looked at my phone, they would notice that there are very few pictures of me or my friends. Instead, you’ll find photos of unique door handles, beautiful curtains, or pictures of shops in Europe. Many shops in Europe are so well designed. One of my favorites is the Chanel store in London. I take as many pictures as I can and always reference them. You can easily search for a particular location on your iPhone and retrieve anything.

What is your typical working style?

I am more creative early in the morning. I wake up, exercise, drink my coffee, have a protein shake, and go to work. I feel full of energy.

office corner with photocopier and shelf with flexible

What does your creative process and / or your creative workflow look like? Does it change every project or do you keep it the same?

It’s always the same process. The first part of the process with a client is an in-depth interview to find out more about what they want. I also give homework to the client so that I can receive as much information as possible to create the home of their dreams. They give me images of Pinterest boards and magazines to capture from Instagram. After that I will create a floor plan. Once the layout is approved, it’s time to plan for the execution of the design.

wall shelf with layered tiles in different shapes and styles

What kind of art / design / objects were you able to scatter in the space?

There are a few shelves mixing form and function with a display of samples from my new tile line, SENSUALE Collection in collaboration with DOMVS, and a few of my favorite books.

wall shelf holding books leaning against the wall

What tool (s) do you like most to use in the design process?

Photoshop

Let’s talk about how you’re wired. Tell us about your arsenal / technological devices.

I’m on my cellphone all day. To run a project I use Photoshop and AutoCAD.

What design software do you use, if any, and for what?

I use AutoCAD, Google Sketch, Photoshop, and 3ds Max.

modern desk with oval desk and matching chairs

What’s on your desktop right now?

My desk is used strictly for work, so there is very little on it. I have my computer on it and sometimes a few books. I need to declutter my desk to clear my mind.

Hollywood Hills Project

Is there a favorite project / piece you’ve worked on?

This house in the Hollywood Hills is one of my favorites. It was designed for a wealthy bachelor. My client wanted a sexy and sophisticated space, not a steamy, stereotypical bachelor apartment. I was inspired by the Edition Hotel in West Hollywood. It’s a travertine haven with gorgeous rift oak panels on an espresso rack all the way up the wall.

Tell us about an ongoing project you are working on. What was the inspiration behind this?

We are working on our first restaurant design in Los Angeles. The inspiration is modern Marrakech with an international appeal. It is a large space with a lounge on the roof. I’m excited to finally enter the hospitality world and show people what I can do.

cutlery with splashed plate in black and white with black silverware

Do you have something in your house that you have designed / created?

I am in the process of remodeling my house with custom furniture. Everything in my house is personalized from my showroom at J Alexander. One thing about being a designer, you are never done with your own home. I also only eat Ryan Saghian dishes!

Caroline Williamson is the editorial director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in Photography from SCAD and can usually be found researching vintage items, doing New York Times crosswords in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.

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