20 Questions for Asad Syrkett

By Tali Jaffe Minor

portrait image of Asad Syrkett

Asad Syrkett photographed by Naima Green.

green vase decorated with red tile pattern

An ice bucket designed by Gaetano Pesce for Elle Décor’s Design for Good auction, benefiting Housing Works.

What is the hardest part of your job that no one would guess?
Saying no. There’s an incredible amount of great design out there and, sadly, we can’t publish everything we love.

A young architect whose work you’ve discovered in the last year?
Dominique Petit-Frère of the architecture and art collective Limbo Accra. Petit-Frère won one of Instagram’s Black Design Visionaries grants in 2021 and I was introduced to her work when I served as a juror for the program.

A design trend you’re currently taken by?
There’s a renewed love of moiré fabrics in interiors and fashion. I’m very here for it.

The best gift you received lately?
Someone recently gave me a Japanese knife with the most beautiful marbled pattern in the blade.

An app or online tool you’d recommend?
Noisli. It’s a free app for background sounds, like white noise, forest sounds, etc. When I need to write or work on a long edit, I use the app’s café sounds option.

What time of the day are you most creative?
My witching hour tends to be from 5-8 p.m. Something about sunset gets my creative magic going.

Who has had the greatest impact on your career?
Probably the great architecture editor and historian Suzanne Stephens. She’s the deputy editor at Architectural Record, where I got my start, and I learned an incredible amount from her and the team there. She was also one of my professors at Columbia University, where I studied art and architectural history and theory.

One artist’s work you would collect if you could?
El Anatsui.

An indulgence you would never forgo?

A place you turn to for inspiration?
Prospect Park, near my home in Brooklyn. It became the only place to “go” early in the pandemic and I found a new level of appreciation for the sense of community, beauty and change the park offered in a static, isolated time.

Something you collect:
USPS stamps with art, architecture and design themes. I have too many.

Collection of stamps

Stamps from Syrkett’s own collection.

Last great book you read?
Dawn by Octavia Butler.

Most frequently played songs of late?
How about three albums? “Lianne La Havas” by Lianne La Havas, “What’s Your Pleasure?” by Jessie Ware and “Something Wonderful” by Nancy Wilson.

Charitable organization you’re involved with and why?
As someone who cares about equitable access to both housing and health care, I’m so proud of the work Elle Décor does with Housing Works.

Book cover of Dawn Octavia Spencer

Dawn, Octavia Spencer
Available at Books and Books Bal Harbour Shops.

Cover of Elle Décor book

The Height of Style, Elle Décor
Available at Books and Books Bal Harbour Shops.


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