Luxury design can take many forms—from a well-crafted piece of furniture to perfectly thought-out space planning, to the colors, textures, and materials used in a room. But for the right space, they must all converge seamlessly and create a feeling the client loves. Even more so, they should be timeless and reflect the personal lifestyle of the homeowner. And that’s exactly what Anita Lang, ASID and founder of Scottsdale-based IMI Design, does.
Lang, who has been designing for more than two decades, always knew she had an eye for design. “I really think every human being has a gift to share with each other,” she says. “I happen to see spatially; it’s funny, as a young person, I didn’t realize others couldn’t. It took me awhile to understand it is the way my mind is particularly wired.”
As an authority in her field, her straightforward and experienced approach is of service to clients across the spectrum including residential, commercial, and hotel properties in the Southwest and international destinations, as well.
From an early age, she always had an entrepreneurial spirit and recalls working on spatial interior designs as early as 10 years old. The Maine native went on to study in Wisconsin and eventually moved to Arizona, which she now calls home, ultimately establishing IMI Design in 1992. The Sonoran Desert is a great source of her inspiration.
“I love how raw the topography is here. Our landscape is so different from any other place in the world; it’s a great place for design as it inspires innovation,” she says.
The desert landscape informs many of her modern designs, which are sophisticated and elegant, yet warm and welcoming
The desert landscape informs many of her modern designs, which are sophisticated and elegant, yet warm and welcoming. She is quick to say it is also a community full of talent, from architects, designers, craftsman, and artists which has translated into many successful project collaborations.
But it’s clear that her knack for intimately getting to know her clients and their needs is a huge component of that success. Through an intensive discovery session, she works to really get to know what a client likes and dislikes and uncover little nuances that they may not even know about themselves.
“I’m a very intuitive person. So, when I sit with someone, I really get to learn who they are. Design is an intimate relationship; I get to know how they like to have their socks in their drawers; their morning routine, or the fact that they don’t like pink because it reminds them of an aunt they didn’t like. You learn all these little nuances of how people respond to their space, which is what I love about the power of design. Using this information, I am able to create an environment that will affect them in a positive way…I am a translator of sorts.”
Oftentimes Lang will also get her inspiration from the environment itself, of course including the architecture. “To me the art is the structure itself, design is not decoration. It is the sculpting of space, the use of light, the composition of truthful materials that evoke a feel in a space. By the time we get to furniture, it’s a simple outgrowth of what’s already been established as the design philosophy of that particular project.”
While many of her designs are focused on creating clutter-free spaces with clean lines, she uses natural elements to soften and warm the space—favoring materials like wood, stone, and textures for dimension. “Something we really relate to as humans is the beauty of nature. I find bringing it into the environment is essential in making modern design very livable.”
Of course, that also means doing so in a sustainable way, which is why Lang prefers sourcing her materials from companies who do so in an earth-friendly manner. “We have become a throw-away society, and I think we’re all learning collectively that it’s not the way to be,” she says.
With that thought in mind, she believes in investing in quality, lifetime purchases rather than the trendy or what’s good enough for now. “You should think of yourself as a curator of your home, so you’re selecting pieces that are meaningful and will stay with you throughout your journeys,” she says.
And while Lang isn’t one to follow trends, she does forecast a bit of a departure from the grey and whites to a more textured, colorful, and patterned aesthetic. As a thought-leader in her industry, what she looks out for most is a progression in how our lifestyles are changing. The transition of the kitchen is one such example, which was once a smaller blocked-off space, and now has become a central part of most homes. As a global student, she has seen great innovation that will continue to impact how our families interact within the kitchen.
“I don’t do anything just because; every single item I select or design is because there’s an intention behind it,” she says
It’s evident that it’s the passion instilled within Lang and personal philosophies that drive her designs. “I don’t do anything just because; every single item I select or design is because there’s an intention behind it,” she says. “The qualities that I live my life by and I do my work for others are love, truth, beauty, and joy. Every decision we make is based on these principals, and it gives a lot of importance and care to the people that we serve.”
It’s clear that Lang believes in living beautifully. And that’s one philosophy that truly resonates with us.
“Life is too short to live in mediocracy. Beauty has always had a profound effect on the human spirit, and I believe the places we live and work should have a positive and uplifting effect on us and our lives.”
#1: I use tons of amazing textures because it adds a lot of character to an environment.
#2: Color evokes a certain emotion. Don’t let it look like a cheap trick; use it wisely.
#3: Buy the best thing you can afford and let that become part of your collection.
Anita is the founder and owner of IMI Design, a full-service interior design and planning firm in based in Scottsdale, working with clients from around the world. Produced in partnership with our friends at IMI, you can view her innovative furnishings line at IMI online.