Like those who have inspired him, it is impossible to succinctly define Christopher Roy McConnell. His work is substantial, significant, yet maintains an unlikely fluidity at the cusp of art
and design, between aether and earth. His high-end, original furniture and interior design firm reflect the signature contradictions that tantalize and challenge, creating sumptuous environments driven by tangible masculinity. “I want to experience the drama when I walk into a room,” he asserts.“I want to be enveloped in the atmosphere.”
I don’t believe I could be limited to any one artistic medium.My passions are limitless; everything I do leads me to something else. Interior design inspired furniture, which leads to textiles. The truth is, the total experience of an environment should encompass everything: the architecture, the grounds, the interior and the lighting right down to the last detail.
Growing up in his native England, Christopher pursued an academic path that focused on business courses. “I always assumed I’d be in business because that’s what seemed logical to my family,” he reveals. “I wasn’t thrilled with the idea.” Despite his best efforts to conform, Christopher’s creativity and vision were unwavering, demanding that he engage and nurture them to their fullest. In 1999 he left the University of Richmond and relocated to Sarasota, graduating from the prestigious Ringling School of Art + Design with a degree in Interior Design.
Christopher’s fascination with fashion and textiles has inspired the tailored elegance that he imparts into every project. Textiles, though, are only one layer of the design process. “The total experience of an environment should encompass everything,” he remarks. “Every detail, from the architecture, to the grounds, to the interior and the lighting, should reflect a lifestyle.”
His work is sensual, stimulating. Residential design strains against the corsets of signature style; furniture straddles the divide between form and function. Christopher’s brand is a sultry ambiance, daring and perched on the edge of something feral and undiscovered.
Style is most potent when it is least complicated. Finely-made things add meaning and grace to life.
His signature furniture line, a series of limited-edition pieces with a focus on design, reflects Christopher’s attitude toward material acquisitions. “I buy things I love,” he muses. “An object has to move me.” This belief system extends to his clientele. Notes Christopher, “A piece has to have a story; people want to be able to talk about it. We provide that narrative.”
As his interior-based design projects became increasingly complex, Christopher began to create custom furniture pieces for his clientele. His work led to relationships with a growing group of skilled tradespeople, artists whose products were purposeful, powerful. Long interested in launching his own furniture line, Christopher cultivated his network of craftsmen until the dream took tangible forms.
“A piece has to have a story; people want to be able to talk about it. We provide that narrative.”
His current furniture pieces are inspired by the clean lines of Amish workmanship, though they transcend the utilitarian limits imposed by centuries of functional living. The process of crossing cultural boundaries wasn’t without its challenges; Christopher recalls his early meetings with Amish craftsmen who were baffled by his non-traditional vision. “As I began to experiment with alternative functions, to push the boundaries of usage,
Why Not Bespoke’s pieces are part of a juried design competition in Italy, and are poised to redefine the American influence on high-end furniture.
Eclecticism, to me, produces excitement through creative tension … Eclectic interiors may startle you at firstrst, but it is that surprising quality that holds you there and calls you back.Christopher Roy, the design firm, represents high-end residential and unique commercial projects that require the attention and savvy of a sophisticated internationally-driven approach. He educates his clients, empowering them to become curators of their own homes. “People want to show off their individuality and take ownership of their home design, rather than being dictated to buy brands and transient trends,” he observes.
Christopher acknowledges that while he may initially thrust his clients beyond their comfort zones, there is a symbiotic experience that guides the process. “While I always try to push myself to find ways to invent environments that stimulate and challenge expectations, I don’t consciously go for an over-the-top effect,” he offers. “My clients’ needs and desires are the soul of each project. Even a room with very vivid contrasts should be timeless, a pleasurable place to work, play, relax and live a little.”
“Real luxury, after all, is not a status. It’s a service.”
He continues, “I’m attracted to things that are different, thought provoking. This is what I provide for my clients. Quality is the integral element of every project; timeless sophistication transcends interior design and elevates a space into something imperceptibly exclusive. Real luxury, after all, is not a status. It’s a service.”