People

Interior Inheritance

by Kristopher Fraser Photographed by Ulla Parker, Linda Pinto, Kalliope Karella
Friday, October 28, 2016
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Whoever designed the Carlyle Hotel managed to do it in such a way that the breakfast room always has the perfectly dim, romantic lighting. The maitre’d flutters around the room asking if anyone would like coffee or breakfast. In walks Linda Pinto, a woman who is out of a Parisian dream. Her crisp pinstriped pantsuits, large pearl earrings and poise are breathtaking. To gaze upon such elegance was a privilege.

We begin talking about interior design, her history and her beloved brother the renowned decorator Alberto Pinto, and for a moment she is utterly and beautifully vulnerable. “I miss him everyday,” she says her lips tremble for a moment and her eyes fill with nostalgia before she returns to her poised, yet gentle and calm demeanor.

Since his death, Linda has been the chairman of Alberto Pinto Interior Design. The Parisian-based luxury interior design firm is known for doing some of the most luxurious work in the world for billionaires, yacht owners, five-star hotels and even planes. For over thirty years, Linda was by her brother’s side building what has become one of the best known luxury interior design businesses in the world.

This week, Linda has released a book titled Alberto Pinto: Signature Interiors, featuring the designer’s last projects completed posthumously.

“The timing to do the book was right,” Linda said. “I believe that fall is the perfect time to launch a book.”

Her drive and passion to carry on the 85-person business after her brother’s unexpected passing is truly remarkable. Alberto had a disease that left him very ill for almost two years. In the face of his untimely passing, Linda had no problem stepping up to ensure that the business they built together would proudly carry on.

“I wasn’t nervous about leading the business at all,” Linda said. “We worked so closely together for 30 years. Also, the employees we have are very loyal to the company, some of them I have worked with for 15 to 20 years. We’re like a family.”

Prior to her brother’s passing, the grand matriarch of the firm handled more of the administrative and management endeavors, but stepping into more of the creative role proved to be no problem for her whatsoever. “We have about eight head interior designers, and everything we do, we make sure we try to stray true to his legacy and memory,” she says. “Nothing moves forward without my approval. I’m involved in every project, but our entire creative team acts as one.”

In terms of her approach to work and her business, Linda has some advice on assembling a great team. “Life and the world is difficult today, and we spend more time at the office than we do at our homes. You need to establish a brilliant team of people that you enjoy being around, that make it easy for you to go to work. If you aren’t happy at work, then it’s hard to work.”

In her work, her approach is as opulent as possible. “Minimalism is not an option.” Although she has been in the business 30 years, and her clients often look through her archives for inspiration she has an extremely strict rule about never repeating any past designs, because as she says “When you are top quality, it is important that everything you do is unique.”

Recently, at the suggestion of her daughter Davina Koskos, the company launched a home goods line.

“Alberto always wanted to design things he could use in the home,” she said. “I remember during breakfast he would have these ideas of what he wanted plates and home wares to look like. Finally, he found someone to hand paint the porcelain. Most importantly, we’re also giving work to older artisans, some of whom have been out of work for a while and now help create the furniture line, giving them work all year.” The collection can be purchased via appointment with their showroom.

The business will always be an ode to Alberto’s memory. “We have many photos of him in the office, including a giant portrait when you first enter. Everything everyone does, we want to honor his memory,” Linda said.

Visit the website for Alberto Pinto design at albertopinto.com/en.

The book can be purchased online at Rizzoli’s website.

 


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