Friday Five with Jamie Bush

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Jamie Bush heads up Los Angeles-based Jamie Bush & Co., an interior design firm that he founded in 2002. The New York born designer comes from a family rich with designers, photographers, and artists, which led to his educational adventures in New Orleans and Italy to study architecture and design. Following his Masters in Architecture from Tulane University, Bush set his sights on venturing west to practice architecture. Since then, his fervent eye has been behind a host of fresh, modern spaces that have landed in the pages of Architectural Digest, Interior Design, Casa Vogue, Dwell, and the Los Angeles Times. His five picks for this week’s Friday Five give you some insight into his creative mind. Take a look.

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1. Person
My Great Aunt Beth (Levine). She was one of my very favorite people on the planet because of her incredible style, her down to earth ‘no nonsense’ approach to hard work and most of all her wonderful sense of humor and fun. Not until I was older and in architecture school did I realize what a powerhouse of 20th Century fashion design she was.

Like her playful modernist contemporaries such as Ray and Charles Eames, she playfully redefined what a shoe is and what a shoe could be. An origami shoe made of the NY Times; a sandal made out of Astroturf; Lucite cowboy boots; the list is endless. Under my Great Uncle’s name, Herbert Levine Shoes, from the 1940s to the 1970s they were THE precursor of high style cutting edge fashion shoes that are so ubiquitous today.

I still look to her daring designs as they taught me to dream big.

2. Place
Fire Island – when I was growing up my family had a tiny beach house in Davis Park, Fire Island and ever since it’s been the place that most represents freedom for me. All the little cottages were true seasonal beach houses, un-winterized, up on stilts, made of raw woods and a little paint. All thrown together with left over furniture and perfectly imperfect. There were no cars, one little store and a restaurant/bar where everyone goes, we were always barefoot on the boardwalk and each house had a little wagon to haul your things from the ferry. Our house had no electricity, only gas lamps and a fire place. Generations of families would vacation there and as kids we could run free until dark, and then some.

It’s still very much like it was when I was growing up and my family is lucky enough to still have a wonderful place there. I yearn to go and unplug, swim and sleep, see old friends and feel like a kid again.

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3. Things
Stefan Bishop tables – Stefan Bishop is an artist who I’ve recently been able to work with on a few things and he’s creating some extraordinary pieces. They are each assembled out of complex repeated forms which create a series of ‘patterned platforms’, but because they all brilliantly stem from exploiting the inherent natural characteristics of the material of which they are made from, namely wood… as they say these tables ‘transcend the form’. SO GOOD!!!

4. Place
Varanasi (Benares), India – The most intense and wonderful place that I’ve ever experienced is by far the city of Varanasi, India. It’s cited on the Ganges River and is by Hindu standards the most holy place in all of India. As one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, it’s a chaotic mix of crumbing grand palaces, roaming animals, religious pilgrims, chanting shamans and intense colors all mixed together with a smoke filled sky from the burning bodies of the dead.

The Home Sports Bar  \\\ Snark / Art Resources, NY / Steinberg, Saul (1914-1999) © ARS, NY

The Home Sports Bar
\\\ Snark / Art Resources, NY / Steinberg, Saul (1914-1999) © ARS, NY

5. Person
Saul Steinberg has in my mind always been one of the most underrated artists of the 20th century. He was actually considered an illustrator and not really ‘an artist’ in the proper sense, working for newspapers and as a regular contributor to magazines like the New Yorker. But his charming take on modern life at the middle of the 20th century has had a lasting impression on me and on countless others as well. His wit, humor, talent and brilliant point of view still continues to amaze me. PLEASE check him out 🙂