Raised in Melbourne, Antony Todd worked in set design in his native Australia before arriving in the U.S. on vacation in 1992. Smitten with New York City, he decided to stay. His “big break” came in 1995 when White House press office contacted him about creating floral arrangements for a UN summit. (No one seemed to notice that while he was busy coordinating details with the Secret Service, he wasn’t even a legal US resident.) Todd who was initially known for his exquisite floral designs has since built a reputation for his event planning business, interior design and retail store. His impressive client list includes Graydon Carter, Martha Stewart, Amy Sacco, Condé Nast, Miramax, and the MoMA.
Antony Todd, was recently in Dubai as part of a tour of the region arranged by the luxury housewares store, Tanagra. In addition to sharing tips for floral and table arrangements, he also had few moments to chat with Dubai Bites about what inspires him, what he picked up shopping in Dubai and his love of cooking.
DB: What is your design philosophy?
I would say to work with quality products (both flowers and vases) and to have a creative eye (to be able to pay attention to detail and to be able to edit).
DB: How would you define your style?
My own personal style really reflects my life story and trips around the world. From pictures of my mother and my early childhood mixed with modern Italian furniture, an antique ottoman and fresh cut flowers from my garden – everything has a story.
In regards to my working style, I believe in keeping things simple but also creating an experience when you encounter the space or arrangement.
Todd is known for mixing styles. Here a traditional Syrian mirror anchors a contemporary table. The blue chairs add whimsy.
From the years of travelling I am inspired from the different cultures and people I have met. Having a early background in set design has given me a classic foundation. Over the years I have been able to explore, experiment and bring these different elements to my design.
DB: You have stores in New York and Istanbul, how has each setting inspire you?
It’s a matter of walking the streets, smelling the air, sitting and drinking a coffee. Both Istanbul and NYC are big cities and share a lot of similarities, both are surrounded by water but it’s the people that make the difference and give me the greatest inspiration.
DB: What is your favorite room in your home?
I personally love the kitchen! It’s a place of gathering, warmth and entertainment. I love to have people in the kitchen while I cook or prepare food – it shows an authenticity to food you are about to serve.
DB: What’s your favorite item that you picked up on your travels?
A centrepiece of hyacinths include those still with the bulb.
I actually picked up some great antique Bedouin bracelets here in Dubai! I plan to use them as napkin rings for a summer dinner party. Just to add that little something special that most people wouldn’t think of.
DB: What is the last place you saw that made you think, I wish I’d done that?
I actually stayed at the One and Only (Jumeriah) while I was here in Dubai and I was really surprised! I personally know the team behind the interior decor of the hotel – it’s a small world and there are only a few people how can handle such a big job. It certainly made me think what I would have done instead.
DB: Do you like to entertain at home? What would be your entertaining advice?
I love to entertain at home! There is nothing better than being able to conjure up a fantastic menu, bring to together new and old friends and create a dinning décor to take people out of their everyday lives.
Todd use oranges and orange roses for a tone on tone table setting.
Definitely take a walk outside in your garden – pick some leaves and local flowers. Mix together fruits (dragon fruit, dates on a branch) or vegetables (artichoke or onion flowers) and finish off with some fresh flowers from the market.
DB: Do you like to cook? What’s your favorite meal?
I love to cook – I enjoy foods from all regions! It’s hard for me to just pick one cuisine; it can certainly be anything from a Moroccan tajine to a Pakistani cashew green curry! As long as its authentic, fresh and made from the heart!