When top interior designer Lauren Lozano Ziol and successful graphic designer Michelle Jolas decided to join forces four years ago to launch their Chicago-based lifestyle brand SKIN, the aim was to take interior design to a whole new level. ‘We like pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone to do new and different things. Every project we take on is timeless, classic and chic, with an edge,’ says Lauren, whose old- world aesthetic, knowledge of art history and auction house background neatly complements Michelle’s graphic sensibility, photographic eye and love of vintage finds. The name SKIN was initially a play on wallpaper but the duo quickly realised that it has many more meaningful connotations too, from digging below the surface to get to know and understand a client’s personality, to the in-depth layering of colours, paints and style references that they apply to each project they complete.
Interior design schemes are often characterised by their bold use of wallpaper and palettes, as well as a considered mix of vintage, antique and modern furniture
Now the pair are bringing their avant-garde approach the interiors lovers across the Atlantic, opening an office in London later this year. SKIN’s bespoke interior design schemes are often characterised by their bold use of wallpaper and palettes, as well as a compelling, considered mix of vintage, antique and modern furniture, sourced from all over the globe. ‘We would easily combine a Louis XIV table with mid-century Milo Baughman chairs,’ confirms Michelle, citing go-to brands such as Pierre Frey, Dedar and House of Hackney, whose products often appear in their spaces. ‘We have a passion for provocative combinations and the use of the unexpected.’ SKIN also has its own custom-made furniture line, designed by Lauren and inspired by French Art Deco and Paris flea market pieces from the 1920s and 1940s.
Self-labelled Francophiles, it’s perhaps no surprise that travel plays such an important part in their globally influenced design aesthetic, with Lauren and Michelle both scouting estate sales, furniture markets and shopping districts around the world in search of unique pieces to include in their projects. As part of this international approach, they welcome clients to join them on their design journeys by offering one-on-one or small group shopping trips to London, Paris, New York and San Francisco. The pair have also recently founded the Trinity Luxury Group with entrepreneur Jeff Goto, which has an ambitious mission of restoring old European chateaux and turning them into art-minded hotels. The idea is that they’ll become havens for creative talent, offering cultural experiences and provoking new ideas and creativity, while guests are also able to fully escape and unwind.
At its heart, SKIN’s philosophy stems from the belief that a beautiful home environment has the power to alter a person’s mood and general wellbeing – something that is set to be showcased in their forthcoming book, which looks at past projects and how interiors can have a transformative impact on someone’s life. Educating clients on design, art and furniture, while taking into account their needs and vision, ensures that each of SKIN’s spaces is as unique and diverse as the home owners themselves. As Lauren concludes: ‘People want to be in a space that makes them feel good – that’s why we create interiors that inspire confidence, passion and creativity.’