DMTV Milkshake: Architect Aron Himmelfarb on Designing His Dream Building

04.12.23 | By
DMTV Milkshake: Architect Aron Himmelfarb on Designing His Dream Building

Aron Himmelfarb, founder of the design studio Auver, makes the sort of spaces people dream of experiencing, from SoCal residences overlooking San Diego Bay to a brewery and tasting room on 30 acres of prime Hudson Valley countryside – not to mention Nevele Resort, a new hotel and residential property stretching across the foothills of the Catskills.

Himmelfarb’s work expands in two directions: vertically and horizontally. A teacher’s appreciation for the work of Frank Lloyd Wright instilled within him a love for a total experience of design, from the blueprints to the window trim. “What’s funny about Wright is that it’s almost unfashionable to appreciate his work – or maybe easy to overlook in contemporary architecture, due to his popularity,” Aron says. “But as I’ve grown in my practice, I really find myself looking to his work for inspiration a lot more, maybe with a more mature eye. Currently we’re designing a house in San Diego, and we’re really looking to Wright’s Hollyhock House in Los Angeles as inspiration for – we’ve designed this house around a water-based courtyard that terminates in a great fountain in the back. The other thing I really like about Wright is this idea of total design, where you design not just the architecture but the interiors, the furnishings, the light fixtures, the fabrics, the hardware. It’s a tough challenge to be able to bring the same thought and care into each aspect of design, but I think it’s very important to be able to have your vision, and express that vision at each individual scale from the architecture down to an individual door handle.”

angled exterior view of modern house with wood exterior

Hudson Valley House \\\ Untreated white cedar ages uniquely based on the form of the house.

And in a more horizontal, or chronological, sense, Himmelfarb expresses a love for work – his own or others’ – that deepens over time. When we asked him about the best-designed object in his own office, he shared a ceramic bowl, “​​made with really iron rich clay and glazed with natural wood ash. I think that’s really special that the natural character of these materials – just in the process of how they’ve been fired – create this beautiful, colorful texture,” he says. “And it’s actually similar to how we think about using materials in our own work – it reminds me of a project we did recently, where we clad the entirety of the exterior of a house in white cedar, which starts off as a beautiful yellowish hue. As it weathers over time with the sunlight and the rain, it naturally grays and creates beautiful texture, based on how the form of the house exists and different facades. It really becomes a defining characteristic of the overall aesthetic.”

For more from Aron, tune in!

angled exterior view of modern wood house

Hudson Valley House

angled exterior view of modern brewery with metal exterior

Lasting Joy Brewery \\\ Weathering steel cladding \\\ Photo: Eric Petschek

interior view of modern brewery with wooden truss ceiling

Lasting Joy Brewery \\\ Interior of the Tasting Room \\\ Photo: Eric Petschek

Diana Ostrom, who has written for Wallpaper, Interior Design, ID, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, is also the author of Faraway Places, a newsletter about travel.

Milkshake, DMTV (Design Milk TV)’s first regular series, shakes up the traditional interview format by asking designers, creatives, educators and industry professionals to select interview questions at random from their favorite bowl or vessel. During their candid discussions, you’ll not only gain a peek into their personal homeware collections, but also valuable insights into their work, life and passions.