Honore Balzac, the French novelist and playwright was famous for his sharp observations of details. Balzac could write about people in the most realistic terms because of this gift. Morris Lapidus, the famous architect who designed the Fontainebleau Hotel, among many others, had the perception to conceive the most realistic designs. Like Balzac, he did not care for what the critics said, but instead proceeded to create. Both had a stubborn nature that would create problems in their lives. Men like these permeate the senses with their talent. Their insistence makes the world a richer place to live in.
Deborah Desilets recognized quality designs since she was a child in awe of the Swobilt Store in Tallahassee, Florida. The building captured something in her that would develop years later into a passionate interest for Morris Lapidus’ work. She appreciated Lapidus’ talent, whom she met in 1983. They had a working relationship for seven years. This passage of events is what culminated with her writing the book, Morris Lapidus: The Architecture of Joy. Desilets will speak at the Miami Book Fair International on Deborah Desilets will be at the Miami Book Fair International on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 10:00 a.m., Room 7128 (Building 7, 1st Floor).
RS: Is there any particular building you remember liking in your childhood?
DD: The Swobilt Store by Morris Lapidus on Mainstreet in Tallahassee nestled in a row of buildings at College Avenue and MOnroe Street across from the dime store where I bought fabric.
RS: Did you like playing with dollhouses?
DD: I liked building forts, our family home, or being on a construction site.
RS: What made you realize that you wanted to be an architect?
DS: Making spaces for myself.
RS: What are your hobbies?
DS: Making Music, Fashioning Fashion and Privately Painting.
RS: Do you think a woman is accepted as well as a man in the field of architecture?
DS: Saha Hadid is.
RS: What goes through your mind as you start a new design?
DS: The sounds in the space.
RS: How do you feel?
DS: Absorbed in a state of spontaneous preoccupation.
RS: Morris Lapidus is one of the most creative architects of all time. Your book, Morris Lapidus: Architecture of Joy is a major labor of love and appreciation for one of the best architects of the 20th century. How long did it take you to
accomplish this magnificent book?
DD: Morris Lapidus and I spoke everyday for 7 years, from 1993 until Jan 18, 2001. All those conversations formed this book. I feel he would be pleased.
RS: The “Island Couch” and the “Alton Chair”, in the Fontainebleau Hotel, are such beautiful pieces.
DD: These designs are reproductions of Morris Lapidus’s original pieces.
RS: How do you feel when you see your designs transform into reality?
RS: What projects are you working on now?
DD: Another book–Looting Lapidus; Not all Imitation is Flattery. A Florida Film and a Bar.
RS: Please give me a website for the readers to either reach you or read about you, or both, if possible.
DD: Reach me through www.dennismiller.com