March 9, 2016
Abstract: Common wisdom tells us that a design problem can be solved by a logical thought process, one that precludes issues of taste and style. But we think otherwise. Our approach is to confront taste and style head on while navigating the vagaries of trend and obsolescence-the inevitable fact that design quickly becomes outdated. We do this by appropriating and re-interpreting ideas from the world at large-fashion, art, music and, of course, design. While trying to avoid working in a particular idiom, we prefer a hyper-eclectic approach. Cheryl and Jeffrey Katz will share images that have helped us define and codify our thoughts about interior architecture and decoration, as well as images that inform their work. Cheryl and Jeffrey run C&J Katz Studio, a small design firm in Boston with an eclectic array of projects ranging from residences to restaurants.
Cheryl Katz is a local girl, staying close to home when her parents convinced her to go to the School of Education at Boston University. But in her heart, she knew that fashion, retail, and design was her true calling. After a couple of years teaching and writing curriculum, she wrangled a job in the fashion office of a large retail store. This is when her real education began.
Jeffrey Katz studied architecture at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he grew up. Right after getting a Bachelor of Architecture degree he headed to Cambridge to continue his studies and a year later received a Master of Architecture degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. That's when he met Cheryl, and three years later they were married. He spent the next several years at an architecture firm in Boston-where he worked with the partner in charge of interiors-and teaching at Rhode Island School of Design.
Cheryl decided that it was time to strike out on her own as a freelance fashion stylist. This often took her to New York, helping to convince Jeffrey that he, too, should be on his own. He quit both of his jobs and together they found a great apartment in a pre war building in Midtown and moved to New York. It was 1984 when the second bedroom of the apartment on W 55th St. doubled as the first office of C&JKatzStudio.
In New York, their agent helped get them all kinds of assignments. They designed and styled sets for magazine and TV ads. Soon, fashion work morphed into design work as clients who first worked with them as stylists and set designers now hired them as C&JKatzStudio.
Since then the duo has designed dozens of residences as well as a lot of restaurants, retail shops, exhibits and workspaces. They've written a couple of books and hundreds of articles along the way and have garnered a fair share of awards and accolades, including their induction into the New England Design Hall of Fame in 2009.