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By Drew Limsky | Photo: by Nick Garcia | Photographed at Ornare | April 4, 2018
Call it mind-meld or alchemy, but when interior designer Jessica Jaegger and Ornare director Claudio Faria get together, ideas—and a mutual appreciation for quality—bubble up.
“I knew the Ornare name, but I’d never worked with them,” recalls interior designer Jessica Jaegger. “But 10 years ago, I had a client from São Paulo who wanted to work with Ornare on their home here. And then Claudio and I fell in love—we became very good friends.” To watch the two transplanted Brazilians interact is to witness the rapport of soul mates. After giving up a law career in Rio, Jaegger came to Miami in 2001 and studied design at Miami International University. She launched her eponymous firm in 2011. Meanwhile, in 2007, Claudio Faria emigrated to Miami from São Paulo to join Ornare and open its Design District showroom. The pair are in the middle of a creative journey that has encompassed 10 glamorous local projects. Here they give Interiors South Florida a window into their merging of talents.
What was that very first project like?
Claudio Faria: It was a very happy interaction—we hit it off right away. We understood her style and language. Jessica’s clients had just purchased a unit in Jade Ocean. We did everything: kitchens, vanities, closets, laundry room—a very complete job. It had three bedrooms, 3,000 square feet. Once everything was finished the clients were super happy. I remember they came in here and complimented the project and told us how much they loved living in the environment Jessica created for them. And to be part of that creation meant so much to us.
Jessica Jaegger: I believe in the whole concept of Ornare. We speak the same language in terms of interior design: the straight lines and the quality of the mechanisms—the functionality. And I tell clients they will never have this kind of customer service. You can have an installation that was done five years ago, and they will happily come back. I can rely on them.
Faria: Jessica has very cool clients—very high-profile clients with very interesting budgets.
Interesting budgets? You mean the sky is the limit?
Faria: They want to have nice things, and Jessica is the best possible curator, hand-selecting pieces.
Where are you in your collaboration now?
Faria: We just finished a project in Beach House 8—two apartments combined.
Jaegger: It’s a 10,000-square-foot apartment. Gorgeous. And we’re doing projects in Jade Signature, Green Diamond—
Faria: And we just finished a residence in Porsche Tower, a two-story penthouse.
Claudio and I had lunch recently across the street, and afterward, when we walked in here, I said to myself, Of course! The most important thing in the home is the closets. I wouldn’t necessarily have thought that until I was introduced to Ornare’s work. When did clients come to understand this?
Faria: Closets migrated from a storage concept to a boutique concept. Many times our clients are looking for a way to display their fashion and their lifestyle—and their personalities. And not just for others. The closets are a way to give pleasure to yourself: When you get dressed, everything is functional, organized, beautiful. Closets—along with the bath—are the most intimate spaces in the home.
Jaegger: They are meant to be seen, not hidden. For our Jade Signature project, the closets are a passageway from the master bedroom to the master bath. Originally, there were two walk-in closets with drywall dividing them, and I said, ‘Let’s demolish all this and let’s make this one integrated space.’ Now when they walk through the dressing room they see these beautiful leather doors. And we’re using Ornare’s Australe line for the master bedroom and we’re incorporating the leather panels.
Faria: When you integrate the closet with the bedroom, the bedroom grows in size and you can use the doors as panels. It’s a more sophisticated look and way of living. You have all these options in terms of materials—wood, leather. It opens up all kinds of possibilities. For our Jade Signature project, Jessica also used the Manhattan line. It’s more classic—painted lacquer with nine coats. The handles evoke art deco radio hardware. It’s a romantic look, very nostalgic.
And the Ornare kitchens are about display as well, with a more boutique feeling than kitchens typically suggest.
Faria: It’s true. For many years we only designed kitchens without handles. But in our new Stilo collection, we introduced handles and we treat them as jewelry. You can have the handles plated in gold, black silk—unexpected finishes.
So are we drinking Champagne to celebrate the installations you just finished, or your 10-year anniversary?
Jaegger: I was thinking about the projects—
Faria: But now I think both! We both started from scratch when we came here. Now it’s time for Champagne.