I met Bernt Heiberg and Bill Cummings of Heiberg Cummings Design at an event they hosted for one of their projects in December. I quickly felt their warmth and style, both from the design partners themselves, and from their interior design work. They describe their aesthetic concept in their recently published book, White Light. It's about "koselig", which "literally translated means cozy in Norway, the word is used to describe everything from a room’s hospitable warmth to the pleasant feeling one gets in running into an old friend." Koselig, is how Bill described their Chelsea apt. in a magazine article that was featured in their book - and it's how I would describe meeting them and seeing their work. This is their third book,
Their interiors are comfortable, and easy
The partnership began in 1990 in Oslo doing interiors in Europe and the US. They moved the center of their business to the NYC's West Village, but retain an office in Norway. The duo blend Bernt's Scandinavian minimalism with Bill's artistic and business background with an appreciation for traditional American design. This has come together into a modern design business with clients and residences from Manhattan, the Hamptons, throughout the Northeast, corporate projects to country homes in Norway.
The core of their philosophy and technique is Conceptual Design. Each project starts with a framework, a concept that is driven by the client and their close relationships. They want to understand what a client is looking for, how they live and how to best reflect their family and traditions. The core concept evolves and it then prevails in each space of the home providing the framework for the physical design which follows.
Each project differs in personality, but the foundation is consistent, warm neutral and natural colors and textiles, continuity throughout the project, which comes from the concept. Warm and quiet, yet a recurring description is 'tension', and it varies from project to project. The tension is a surprise, it may be accent colors, art, the antiques and accessories - and this is where each project suitably reflects its owners.
Naima Boger, a designer with the firm sought me out for artwork for a LETT, by Heiberg Cummings project in Rye, NY. LETT, Norwegian for 'Light" was introduced last year to provide another way for Heiberg Cummings to provide their design services and aesthetic to more clients. The LETT team is hired to provide interior design services on a room by room basis. They provide a beautiful boxed presentation containing customized floor plans, drawings, and tear sheets of recommended items. The client receives a shopping list to execute and manage themselves. The design firm will come in to style and accessorize when the client is ready and the furnishings are complete.
Naima worked on the Westchester project and assisted her client in sourcing artwork and accessories. When she saw Andrea Bonfils' Underwater Mixed Media artworks, she knew immediately they would provide the living room with the balance and the contrast to complete the room and compliment the photographs on the opposite wall, by Katie White Photography.
Ophelia, another Bonfils' piece is in the adjacent foyer.
Xanda McCagg's abstract Tete-a-Tete brought tension, color and contrast to the dining room. The strong modern painting is a counterpoint to the traditional furnishings, and the color balances the sofa, pillows and window coverings.
LETT is a timely and exciting new direction for Heiberg Cummings Design. It is a concept that will make their services accessible to many more people and introduce a new direction in interior design. The firm has an international reputation for the quiet, refined and personalized aesthetic they have created. They have a flair for details that reflect the homeowner, whether it's artworks, accessories or incorporating family items that are lived-in and worn. The spaces they design are contemporary - yet they're classic and comfortable, a style that creates liveable spaces that at the same time are elegant and koselig!