EYE ON ALUMNI
Jasmine Lam, M.S. Interior Design ’98
It was only after a few years spent working as a movie agent in Los Angeles that Jasmine Lam (M.S. Interior Design ’98) realized her true calling lay in interior design.
“After being an agent and representing other people who had artistic talents, I wanted to do something that used my skills and talents,” she says.
She talked it over with her father, an architect, who was skeptical. “‘I’ve never even seen you draw,’” she recalls him saying.
Still, Lam knew she had a good visual memory for space, color and texture.
“I grew up with a father who’s very passionate about architecture. We spent every vacation and weekends looking at homes and buildings. I always knew I had an eye for it.”
Lam now owns an interior design firm in the West Village, where she specializes in high-end residential design. Though she has experience in commercial and retail spaces, she loves working on the details that make up a residential design project.
“A lot of custom details go into residential design—furnishings, decorative hardware, accessories, art work. In my projects I am involved in every single thing that exists in a home. I design custom linens for almost all of my projects, and the majority of furniture we use is custom-designed.”
Lam lived most of her life in Southern California, then moved to New York to attend Pratt, having chosen the school in large part because of its campus environment.
Once at Pratt, she took advantage of the Institute’s interdisciplinary offerings, taking furniture design and color courses in the Department of Industrial Design, and spending a semester in France through the School of Architecture program.
To this day, Lam credits the semester abroad for teaching her how crucial travel is for an interior designer. “I do a lot of travel where I’m looking at design, and that stems from the semester I did in France. We looked at so many buildings that I never would have seen had I been just a tourist.”
After graduation, Lam joined the firm Gensler New York, where she worked on, among other things, the Gucci flagship store on Fifth Avenue, the American Express Travel and Aveda prototype stores, and the Sao Paulo office of Goldman Sachs.
After four years, Lam struck out on her own, and has now owned her firm for about 10 years. She also served as an adjunct professor in the Undergraduate Interior Design department for a semester.
Currently, Lam is working on a 10,000-square-foot home and 2,000-square foot pool house in Bridgehampton, Long Island, as well as an apartment on Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side, a Soho loft, and a triplex in the West Village. She and the two designers who work for her have about a dozen projects lined up for the year, mostly in the New York area.
She hopes to do more work abroad, especially in China, and has begun work on an Art Deco residential development project in Shanghai where the three model units total 30,000 square feet. She is also developing a private label home décor line which will be launched in 2012 in China, and will be sold through the e-commerce sites MSN China and yobrand.com.
“I’ve been told I’m good at creating luxurious spaces and creating comfort in a very elegant way. The one year course I took in color has given me the tools to develop finished palettes for all my professional projects,” she says.
Photo: Courtesy of Jasmine Lam