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Lincoln Black Label Home, Miami

Written by Jessica Comingore

*Sponsorship Note: This post was created in partnership with Lincoln Motor Company. We received travel, lodging and compensation in exchange for this feature. All content, words and ideas are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that allow us to create and maintain original content for this website.

I recently teamed up with Lincoln Motor Company to pay a visit to their Black Label-themed home out in Miami. They described the concept as an entire residence (right on the water, no less) inspired by the four themes of their Black Label collection — Indulgence, Modern Heritage, Oasis and Center Stage. Coming from a background in interior design I found the concept to be an interesting challenge, and was even more impressed once I stepped foot in the door.

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Lincoln partnered with Condé Nast Traveler to design the interiors and they elegantly translated the themes into one beautiful room after the other. It was certainly a toss-up, but my favorite of the themes was Indulgence (above), which led the inspiration behind the kitchen and master bedroom. Plush fabrics, distressed leathers and hints of brass done just right. Fittingly, the theme was inspired by chocolate and the variety of emotions it evokes, creating a rich, sumptuous and desirable interior experience.

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Second up was the Modern Heritage theme, which speaks to a refined, European taste. The idea of “elegance without opulence.” The classic black and white palette was contrasted with a subtle crimson red, bringing an artful past into present day.

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The Oasis theme encompassed the exterior areas and the guest bedroom, all of which felt like a retreat from the rest of the home, evoking a sense of calm and solitude. This concept borrows from Eastern influences and is characterized by a harmonious, subtle, two-toned palette in soothing shades of cream and tan; like the sandy dunes of a desert landscape.

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Last, but certainly most dramatic is the Center Stage theme, making a stylish statement with deep red accents and sumptuous leathers inspired by a night at the theater (I’ve got my eye on that slingback, brass base chair).

As you may know, I also love a good conversation with a fellow creative and welcomed an opportunity to chat with Janet Seymour, the design manager at Lincoln who oversees all aspects of the visual experience under Black Label. It was a fascinating dialogue to hear about background getting into automotive design, how her team went about the design process and where she sees the car industry heading next.

1. What is your background and can you describe your path to getting into automotive design?
I grew up with the influence of my father being an architect and always thought I’d go into architecture, but changed course when I was applying to college to pursue product design instead. I went to school at Carnegie Melon, and at the time was leaning more towards furniture design. I never thought I would be involved in cars in any way, but my senior degree project was working with Ford on a future interior concept design. They invited our entire class to the Ford facilities in Dearborn where we got to present and take a tour, and I was in complete awe. I thought to myself, “this is what car design is about.” I ended up interviewing for a position in advanced interior concepts and was the only one in my class who got the job. At the time I had plans to move to Italy to work for an industrial designer in Florence. I was going to enroll in language courses to learn Italian when Ford called back offering me a job.

2. What does a typical day look like for you?
My days are pretty crazy. I tend to be all over the place, overseeing cross-vehicle programs for Lincoln. All of the different commodities that go into developing materials, paint, finishes — anything you can see, touch and feel of the interior and exterior of a vehicle — is handled by our team. There are a multitude of things that go on on any given day; trend research, presentations, meeting with dealers, developing strategies. I manage a team of four designers, each of who is assigned to a program for each of our vehicle lines. Right now we’ve checked off a handful of new developments to prep for the next generation of products coming our way. We’re responsible for defining the future of Lincoln through colors and materials.

3. What is your favorite design detail out of the four themes and why?
This is a tough one. Each theme was designed to cater to different tastes, so that’s what set the groundwork for the concepts and material palette. It all came down to the experience we wanted the customer to feel, and what appealed to their emotive sides. If I were to pinpoint a specific detail, it would probably be the perforated design on the doors and seats because they are very uniquely Lincoln. They were also painstakingly designed, from how far apart each hole is from each other to how the design meets airflow feasibility. Coming from a sculptural background, it appeals to me in the sense that it had to have a sense of balance and beauty. It moves with you.

4. Describe your style in a sentence.
I love clean, modern, fluid design. It has to be about comfort too. Even visually, you have to be comfortable with the vehicle you’re sitting in or the clothes you’re wearing or the furniture in your home.

5. What inspires you outside of design?
I grew up playing classical piano and violin, so music has always been a big inspiration in my life. Architecture has also played a large roll, growing up in a very artistic household among parents with a creative career focus. I also have three kids that inspire me daily. There is always something going on, something that they say, places that we go to, and experiencing it through their eyes provides a different source of inspiration for me that I bring back to work. It’s not just about looking at what’s out there with design and product. We do plenty of trend research and competitive benchmarking, but we also try to have fun with our jobs. Our strategy meetings are a forum to share our thoughts and the social aspects of our lives that attribute to the creation of everything we do.

6. What is your favorite travel destination?
I haven’t been there yet, but if anyone wants to send me to Adrere Amellal, I’m in. It’s an eco resort in the Saharan Desert in Egypt that is built completely out of indigenous materials right within the oasis. It was the dream concept of a Columbia University grad who went back to his homeland to create this experiential travel destination. There is no electricity, no running water, and it takes five hours to travel there across the desert from Cairo. It was one of the ideas and inspiration that we threw out there early on of embarking on the Black Label creation.

7. Who are some of your favorite designers that you feel have informed your design career?
There were a range of designers that I looked to growing up, having had this architectural influence from my father. I grew up drawing sketches of Frank Lloyd Wright homes and was really drawn to early minimalist designers like Mies van der Rohe. Going to school in the early 90’s, I loved Philippe Stark. He was such a new, fresh contrast to the bright colors of the late 80’s. More recently I love Zaha Hadid and Santiago Calatrava. Santiago is an engineer but also has the ability to visually create beautiful works of sculpture. I also appreciate Tadao Ando and his ability to simplify.

8. What groundbreaking thing to do want to see happen in the automotive industry in the next ten years?
I think everyone is probably onto this, but autonomous driving is likely the most groundbreaking thing that’s going to happen in the automotive industry. It’ll open up so many different opportunities for us as designers, just in terms of interior seating arrangements and what you can do with materials to create a more social connection with passengers. Exploring the amenities you can incorporate when that interior space is opened up will be an exciting challenge. I think things are probably headed in that direction.

*Sponsorship Note: This post was created in partnership with Lincoln Motor Company. We received travel, lodging and compensation in exchange for this feature. All content, words and ideas are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that allow us to create and maintain original content for this website.

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