Pamela Shamshiri rocked the design world as one of the four founding partners of Commune, eventually leaving to found Studio Shamshiri, alongside her brother Ramin, in 2016. Since founding, Studio Shamshiri has tackled projects around the globe, ranging from legacy homes to boutique hotels, with a strong, narrative-driven sensibility that seamlessly merges their love of the past with their profound understanding of the needs of modern life. They’ve designed everything from celebrity houses (for clients including Anne Hathaway) to the 67-room Maison de la Luz hotel, located in a historic 1908 building in New Orleans. The Hollywood Reporter sat down with Pamela to discuss the studio’s recently released and highly recommended monograph, Shamshiri: Interiors (Rizzoli).
What prompted you to do a book at this time?
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Shamshiri: Interiors is a celebration of the first wave of work we’ve completed as a studio since our founding in 2016. It felt important to mark the end of this chapter of our work — to celebrate it, and to welcome the next wave of projects already well underway!
Why these nine projects?
Everyone who worked on the book with our studio — Michael Reynolds, our art director; Eric Hoffman, our creative director; and Stephen Kent Johnson, our photographer — felt that these projects best represented the wide range of work we do in the studio. From restoration and renovation of important historical residences in L.A., to ground-ups, to gently reimagining existing design for new chapters of our clients’ lives, these felt like the projects that best animated our studio’s ethos and its holistic, narrative-driven approach to space.
What are you working on now?
The studio has a number of residential projects, on both the East and West Coasts as well as in London and Tel Aviv, that are in various stages.
What’s your favorite place to shop for decor in L.A.?
We work with so many incredible resources! They include Sumner, Blackman Cruz, The Window, JF Chen, Lost + Found and Tortoise General Store. Online, we’ve discovered and fallen in love with ABASK, which connects people with artisans across the globe and their incredible, hand-crafted pieces.
I know you love Italy. Do you have a favorite place (that you don’t mind sharing) that people shouldn’t miss?
Rome is a city that is always inspiring to me. It’s a metropolis where the past and the present harmoniously co-exist, the perfect marriage of old and new. One of my favorite places there is Hotel Locarno. I love that all the rooms are different, a mix of beautiful historic and modern spaces. Depending on which room you’re booked into, every stay reveals a new experience. It’s one of those hotels that feels like it’s truly of its environs, like the Chateau Marmont of Rome!
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
I have been fortunate to have received so many extraordinary presents over the years that it makes it difficult to choose. But recently, some clients gifted me Gabriela Hearst’s Nina Bag. It’s gorgeous, the equivalent of an architectural folly imagined as a beautiful handbag. And, after we finished her New York store, Irene Neuwirth gifted me her famous tassel earrings in a rich turquoise.
Where do you go in L.A. when you need to get a quick hit of inspiration?
I’m most inspired when I’m with my two boys. They’re movie buffs; their love for cinema is truly unique and the bond that they experience through this shared enthusiasm is really special to witness. I love when they pick a feature and we go together to see it at The Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. It’s an incredible auditorium with a fascinating history — and my sons’ post-screening reviews are the highlight of the experience.
What advice would you give to someone working with an interior designer for the first time?
It’s important that, as designers, we listen and learn from our clients; it’s the foundation of any collaboration. No client or project is the same and sometimes our visions don’t match but, like any relationship, understanding is the key to success. Our best designs and our most profound storytelling has always stemmed from relationships that became symbiotic as we learned our clients and our clients learned us, building the trust that yields great design.
How do you hope people feel after reading this book?
The book is as much about family as it is about design and architecture. Of course, we hope that it inspires the next generation of designers, but, perhaps even more importantly, we hope that it connects with readers, prompting them to take stock of the stories contained within their homes, the stories that they want their homes to convey, and the stories that they hope will unfold against these very personal backdrops.
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Is there a dream project you haven’t tackled yet?
I would love to work on a sustainable community, one that is anchored around a shared kitchen, a large plot of land, a working farm, an art barn, a communal spa — that nourishes the community in every sense of the word.
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