As she kicks off three big Philly design projects, Karen Daroff reveals the Global Influence that inspired her locally.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Quattro LED task lamp by Robert Sonneman, YLighting ($450). Ball clock by George Nelson for Vitra, Lumens (from $395). Chamcha wood coffee table, Phillips Collection ($2,697). Womb chair Eero Saarinen 1948, Knoll ($3,917). 2300 Chestnut St., 215-988-1788
“There is design inspiration around me every day, everywhere I go,” says Karen Daroff. And it’s that open-minded approach to interior design that has made her firm, Daroff Design, successful for more than 40 years. While her work has taken her to 34 states, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and China, Daroff is a Philadelphian at heart. “I’m very proud to have been educated, live, and work here in Center City,” she says.
All those passport stamps have played a role in her design projects. “I photograph everything, because I am constantly inspired,” she says, describing textured tiles she found in Spain, for example, and the architecture in Africa.
Much of Daroff’s day-to-day centers on large-scale commercial projects like hotels, resorts, multifamily housing, and workspaces. “Our work is guided by ever-evolving technology and factors like the environment and sustainability,” she says. Her longtime clients include Comcast and Disney, with three notable projects in the pipeline: a new restaurant at the Philadelphia Zoo, transforming the Family Court building into a new hotel, and a refresh at Moore College of Art and Design, Daroff’s alma mater.
It’s no surprise that her home mirrors the clean lines and sleek functionality that has grown to be a hallmark of her work. The classic pavilion design concept, inspired by 1930s architect Guiseppe Terragni, features B&B Italia furniture and neutral tones with pops of color. Skylights and large windows create open areas for guests to congregate. Her favorite piece of décor is a vintage alabaster bust of a Victorian gypsy woman. “I treasure her as a very unique feature in our home,” she says. 2121 Market St., 215-636-9900