is how Nicholas Konzal describes his design abilities, which include
working with organic materials (floral design), textiles (interior
design) and manmade materials (furniture design). "Good designers
can work in different mediums," says the Wauwatosa designer.
after graduating from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design six
years ago with a degree in interior design (he also attended MATCís
design school), he started Nicholas Karl Design. Working with his
partner, Julio Bryand, and Bryandís sister, Veronica, the trio has
created the large-scale floral designs for the Milwaukee Art Museumís
Art in Bloom for the last two years. (Konzal won first place in 2010
for his arrangement of Fritz Winterís "Black Action"
painting.) "Studying design at different schools helped me become
more well-rounded," Konzal says.
the billiards room in the 2012 Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse and
the dining room in the 2013 showhouse. (See a preview on page 80.)
"Itís great to look at a space and visualize what the end
product will be and watch it transform into that," he says.
M: Tell me about
this yearís Art in Bloom display.
NK: This design
took us 300 hours because we built 30 containers specially for the
show. We wanted people to feel like they were walking underneath a
canopy of gorgeous arrangements. We flew in the banana leaves from
Costa Rica, and the elephant ears from Hawaii.
M: How do floral
design and interior design relate to each other?
NK: In floral
design you can mix product yet have it look classic and simple. Itís
the same way in interior design. Blending similar colors with just a
slight variation on color makes it interesting. For this yearís
showhouse dining room, all the pieces are interesting on their own,
but they are not overbearing, they donít scream out at you. And some
things pop out as accents, like the orange Dermond Peterson napkins.
M: What is your
I want things to look classic, have classic proportions and be
balanced. Less is more, but what is there should stand on its own and
M: You design
NK: My brother,
Peter, is a remodeler and also very good at building things. For last
yearís showhouse I wanted a table that was the right height for
playing chess by the fireplace. I gave him the idea and the dimensions
and he built it. My furniture designs are a little more modern with
clean lines. I like to use natural raw materials, marble and metal.
M: What is the
biggest design mistake people make?
NK: Space is the
hardest thing for people to grasp. People should follow the roomís
architecture to create a conversation area and place furniture around
that. There should be a flow to the space.
M: Anything else
we should know about you?
related to sculptor Joseph Konzal. His bust of Mark Twain from his
American Series was in the room I designed for last yearís Wisconsin
Breast Cancer Showhouse. I guess Marilyn Monroe owned the Abraham