Mitchell Owens, Architectural Digest’s decorative arts editor, delivered the commencement address at the NYSID’s May 25 graduation ceremony and received an honorary doctorate. “For someone who did not graduate college, receiving an honorary doctorate from the New York School of Interior Design has come as a bit of a shock. Still am, honestly. But greatly pleased,” he tells EAL.
Owens has worked at AD since 2010, and has also worked for The New York Times, Elle Decor, Travel + Leisure and Departures. “NYSID is an institution that I have always admired,” he says, “one of the nation’s most important schools dedicated to the art—and it is an art as much as it is a science—of interior design. Even more astonishing is that I’ll be honored alongside the architect Peter Pennoyer and the decorators Katie Ridder and Leta Austin Foster, three extraordinary talents. Plus, I get to deliver the commencement address. Honestly, I’m quite chuffed, and my husband, my daughter, and my mother are extremely proud—even though they think calling me ‘Herr Doktor’ from now on might be a bit much.”
In his speech, Owens shared with the students about his role at the magazine and his approach to design: “As a writer and an editor, and simply as a curious person, I look at rooms with an intense desire to read them, like a fortune teller does tea leaves or why a palm reader traces the lines on one’s hands: Why that lamp, why that table, why that tile, why that mantel, why limestone instead of marble, why that? What explanations hide beneath the surface? Is the room a calculated escape, a reaction against something? Or is it an embrace? What does it say about the designer or the architect or the client or even our moment in time?”