Friday Five with Aimée Wilder

New York born and bred, designer Aimée Wilder has her parents to thank for early exposure to fashion trends and textiles – they would eventually be the basis of her career. After graduating from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2001, she began developing a body of fine art illustrations that opened the door to exciting design positions at several well-known firms, including Dwell Studio, Martha Stewart Living, and The Gap. In 2008, shoe brand Vans featured three of Aimée’s patterns on thirty different styles of shoes and accessories, exposing her bold designs and playful aesthetic to the world. In 2009, she debuted her wallpaper designs under her own name at New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Aimée has also recently added rugs, pillows, poufs, fabrics, and contract materials to her listings. Today she’s joining us for Friday Five and sharing five places she finds inspiration.

Photo courtesy of Pamono; ‘Le Bambole’ Chaise Lounge by Mario Bellini (1972)

1. Vintage Design
I love things from the past that live on into the present. Vintage textiles are a big inspiration for me, and they remind me how time moves on. I admire futuristic objects from the 1960s and early ’70s because they present such a contrast between how we envisioned the future and how design has actually progressed since then. I like the geometry in this period’s lighting and electronics, the gorgeous furnishings and home accessories, the low-slung coffee tables, sofas, chairs, and rugs. I also love vintage jewelry, especially pieces from my mother’s ’80s-inspired collection.

Photo by Steve King/Terje Arntsen

2. Natural Healing and Movement
I’m a huge proponent of natural healing, and I totally advocate using herbs, vitamins, minerals, fruits, and vegetables to help maintain a healthy body. For the past four years my own healing journey has involved working with functional medicine doctors at Parsley Health, practicing yoga, and becoming mindful through meditation. These are some of the best choices I’ve ever made. I’ve learned so much along the way, as well as through my own research, and I enjoy sharing information and remedies with others. Movement has also been a huge part of this journey – I try to fit a workout into as many days of the week as possible. I travel a lot, but I try to stay active while I’m away from home, too. I love standup paddleboarding, snowboarding, and hiking. And whatever city I visit, you can probably find me in an infrared sauna.

Photo by Aimée Wilder; Top of Piz Corvatsch, Switzerland

3. Mountaintops
I grew up in New York City, but as a child I was crazy about skiing. I raced competitively, had my first knee injury at age 14, and switched to snowboarding after college while living in Boulder, Colorado for almost five years. But always one of my favorite parts of the whole experience was riding the ski lift or cable car all the way up to the top of the mountain. I loved it so much that my mom would take me on the Roosevelt Island tram just for fun!

So I’m a bit obsessed with mountaintops. Last winter I went snowboarding in Telluride for the first time since having knee surgery a year and a half ago. Every year I go to the Alps either before or after Milan Design Week – some years before and after! In 2017, I visited Chamonix and its famous Restaurant Le Panoramique, and Le Brevent mountain, and took the Montenvers railway to Mer De Glace, France’s largest glacier, on a magical low-visibility day. I’ve also been to St. Moritz in Switzerland to see the top of Piz Corvatsch, which is 3,451 meters high and has the most incredible observation deck. This year we squeezed in two days and nights of snowboarding in Cervinia, Italy, where we took the gondola and three lifts all the way to the Rifugio Teodulo. On the border of Italy and Switzerland we took two lifts to climb more than 3,500 meters up to the foot of the Matterhorn. I’m always thinking of where to go next!

Photo by Stewart Armstrong; Aimée Wilder at Carnelian Bay Lake Tahoe, CA

4. A Camera Set to Manual
I love taking pictures and am constantly refining my photography. It takes a lot of practice to get the perfect shot, and travel is perfect for that – even better if I’m visiting a stunning location. I shoot with the highest-end full-frame mirrorless camera and lenses I can get my hands on, and it has been well worth the investment. I mostly use a Sony Alpha 7R III, and wish I had a shockproof case so I could snowboard with it. But I also love Fuji for its dynamic color range – I can’t wait to play with their medium-format digital cameras, and I’m already using a waterproof Fuji. I originally learned to shoot in my teens with an all-manual Pentax film camera, which was unfortunately stolen from my car when I was 21. This brought my early photography career to a screeching halt because I couldn’t afford to replace it. So, after years of shooting with disposable cameras or my dad’s old Canon point-and-shoot, it’s been a breath of fresh air to use the latest pro digital cameras. I’m so excited about integrating photography into my design work. I’m also about to release a new collection, Eudaimonia, and have done all the photography myself!

Photo by Aimée Wilder; The Last Party, Amsterdam Warehouse

5. Music is My Hot Hot Sex (Song by Cansei de Ser Sexy)
Music can affect mood, supply inspiration, or be a source of healing. I use high-fidelity noise-canceling headphones for their amazing sound quality and portable size, and to protect my hearing when I’m in loud environments. I’m also heavily involved in the live music scene — a lot of my friends here in New York and internationally make electronic music. Sometimes I’ll go out at midnight just to dance to the best music of the night and see a friend’s DJ set — I’ve been doing this since my twenties. This year I got to see the Lot Radio 3 Year Anniversary Party, a celebration for an independent radio station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where I live and work. I also loved seeing the legendary DJ duo Optimo, and Chai, the awesome Japanese Neo-Kawaii punk band. I finally got to see the band Beirut for the first time, at Brooklyn Steel, which was also Zach Condon’s first concert after a two-year hiatus. Most recently I enjoyed the Louisville, Kentucky rock band White Reaper at the Bowery Ballroom — so energetic and awesome.

Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.