In the chaotic New York of the 1980s, Carlos Mota managed to keep to a routine. On Mondays, like clockwork, the Venezuelan interior designer would go to the city’s flower district in search of his boss’s favorite blooms. Mota was working for fellow Venezuelan Perucho Valls, who back then was one of the best-known decorators in New York. He’s still remembered today for being part of the inner circle of fashion designer Halson: Valls was his assistant and a friend of his longtime partner, the stormy artist Victor Hugo.
“I met him [Valls] in Caracas and when I moved to New York I started working as his assistant. One of my tasks was to supply him with flowers: both for his home and for the office,” Mota recalls by phone from her New York apartment. “With him, I learned to keep nature in mind in all my projects and about how important constant work is to gaining a foothold in this profession, to not chicken out of at anything.”
Many moons later, the world of flowers and plants is one of the keys to Mota’s new project: Casamota. After working nearly 40 years in interior design, Mota has done almost everything. He is known internationally for his work as an editor for Architectural Digest and Elle Decor, and now he has decided to add one more thing to the list: his own home decor brand. The idea for Casamota arose from a chance meeting in India with his partner, Neha Malhotra, the founder of an embroidery workshop in Mumbai which has worked for various fashion firms.
The brand’s first collection is called Verde (green), and includes tablecloths, cushions and other textiles (there are also tableware) with prints of flowers, ivy leaves and other plants. The color green reminds Mota of his exuberant native country, but above all it makes him forget the shade that — as everyone who knows him can attest — he hates. “In the 1990s, I saw how beige began to spread throughout the United States. I don’t even think it’s a real color. It’s just a way of toeing the line.” That’s precisely the opposite attitude that the city he fell in love in the 1980s demands.
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