September 21, 2020
Michael S Smith
Michael S. Smith is one of the most sought-after talents in the design industry today. With an international roster of high-profile residential, hospitality, and commercial clients, he is known for an effortless blend of all-American modernism and European classicism—always fresh, always surprising, always evolving. A California native, Smith studied interior architecture at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, followed by graduate work at the Victoria and Albert Museum Study Centre in London. He has received numerous accolades throughout his career, including being continuously named to the AD100 and Elle Decor’s A-List, and he was honored by the Hispanic Society of America with his partner, James Costos, the former ambassador to Spain and Andorra; they received the organization’s 2016 Sorolla Medal in recognition of their extraordinary support of Spanish art and culture. Smith was also the 2018 recipient of the distinguished Arthur Ross Award for Excellence in the Field of Interior Design from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. From 2008 through 2016, Smith worked with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on the design of the private quarters of the White House, as well as the refurbishment of some of its State Rooms, and their focus on showcasing works by a diverse group of artists and artisans was both groundbreaking and highly acclaimed. In 2010 Smith was appointed by President Obama to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House and he now serves on the Design Advisory Team for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. Smith’s extensive Jasper collection of fabric, wall coverings, furniture, and accessories and his Templeton line of fabrics are available at his showrooms in L.A. and Madrid and in multiline showrooms across America. The designer has published five books with Rizzoli: Elements of Style (2007), Houses (2008), Kitchens and Baths (2011), Building Beauty (2013), and The Curated House: Creating Style, Beauty, and Balance (2015). His latest book, Designing History: The Extraordinary Art & Style of the Obama White House, will be released this September. It documents Smith’s extraordinary collaboration with the Obamas through extensive photography, behind-the-scenes stories, and rich archival material. The book places the Obama White House within the context of the building’s storied past and its evolution over the past two centuries, chronicling the process of updating the country’s most symbolic residence and revealing how Smith’s collaboration on the decoration, showcasing of art, and style of entertaining reflected the youthful spirit of the first family and their vision of a more progressive, inclusive American society.