Friday Five with Amanda Pratt of Salon Design

Salon is a recently opened female-focused, curated contemporary design showroom, café, and gallery space in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, and at its helm is Amanda Pratt. The founder and interior architect hopes to share her love of design through the innovative space that also serves as an incubator for studio-created works in furniture, lighting, rugs, wallpaper, and textiles that lack representation. Her design aesthetic emphasizes livable elegance, while her knowledge of the technical construction of spaces helps to inform Amanda’s ability to create extraordinary environments. Collaborating with her clients to make sure she has a clear understanding of their needs and desired outcome, results in a clean, timeless interior, whose art and furniture is a reflection of the client’s personality. In this week’s Friday Five, Amanda shares a few of her favorite things and a cause she’s extremely passionate about.

Photo by Amy K. Boyd Photography

1. A Chair Worth Hanging On To (or Hanging Out In!)
Mine is a “Martingala” chair by Marco Zanuso. I found it on 1stdibs and it was in terrible shape. It still had the original marigold yellow upholstery and it smelled awful. Every time someone sat on it another layer of foam would disintegrate, making it seem as though the chair was shedding. Despite its obvious drawbacks, I was instantly drawn to its sensual lines and original design. My amazing upholsterers Craig and David lovingly restored it, and it’s become a favorite in our home – I have to negotiate with my husband and three daughters to get a turn in it!

Floral and Fauna in Black & White courtesy of Pictalab

2. Hand Painted Wallpaper
I have always loved wallpaper, but was never a fan of hand painted wallpaper. I think part of my issue stemmed from the fact that so much of it is based on chinoiserie – having lived in Hong Kong for over a decade, it felt ubiquitous to me. My perspective changed completely when I discovered the work of Brooklyn-based Callidus Guild and the Milanese artist collective Pictalab. Callidus Guild’s work is truly other worldly; Yolande is a brilliant artisan who uses materials like crushed marble dust and encaustic wax to create surfaces that are truly transformative. Pictalab’s work reinterprets more traditional motifs employing lush settings and contemporary colors. One of my favorite patterns is their Flora and Fauna in black and white. Both firms do all their work in house at their respective studios, truly elevating their hand made pieces to the realm of fine art.

Author’s Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental via Shutterstock

3. The Author’s Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
Bangkok is the first place I visited in South East Asia, and the city I would most often escape to while living in Hong Kong. My husband and I love staying along the Chao Phraya River and having an afternoon lemongrass tea at the Author’s Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental. This special spot is a tropical oasis amid the frenetic chaos of Bangkok. Once a covered garden, this glass covered jewel was the haunt of the likes of John LeCarre and Oscar Wilde. Its design is an elegant nod to the colonial past of much of South East Asia.

Photo courtesy of Miracle Feet

4. Miracle Feet
I was born with something called Club Feet. Being born handicapped is such a huge part of my identity but I rarely acknowledge it. I learned to walk with casts on my feet, I had my ankles surgically repaired when I was 13-months-old, and wore braces until I was 9 that helped straighten my feet. I was treated by a fabulous surgeon, Dr. Norris Carroll, at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario. I was incredibly lucky.

Recently I was introduced to a charity called Miracle Feet that developed a procedure to correct club feet in the developing world for $250 per child. When the Executive Director Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld couldn’t find a brace on the market that the charity could afford on their shoestring budget, the NGO tapped Stanford University’s Extreme Affordability course to find a way to make one. This commitment to cost effective innovation has allowed Miracle Feet to change the lives of so many children in the developing world who would otherwise be destined to life as outcasts. I am in awe of the passion, commitment, and ingenuity of women like Chesca and the incredible impact organizations such as Miracle Feet have.

Photo by Stephanie Alvarez Ewens

5. The Incredible Women of Salon
Salon was born out of a desire to create a curated contemporary design platform that highlights the original work of female designers and makers. There are so many talented women in the contemporary design space whose work I admire. I am so excited to provide emerging and established female designers with a unique platform to showcase their work. I have three young daughters and this project is rooted in my attempt to influence their future, as much as the current and future landscape for women in the creative trades. I am awed and humbled that so many of today’s leading female designers and makers took a chance on Salon.

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.