Carlos Mota is a color wizard

Carlos Mota, fearless when it comes to color.

I’m sharing my thoughts about A Touch of Style, a book published by Assouline, to celebrate the inimitable style of Carlos Mota here on the Bruce Andrews Design Journal. The international stylist loves to be addressed by his real name above the many nicknames his friends are wont to call him—a hilarious list of plays on his last name that includes Mojito! The book is a big, bold testament to his work, proving he knows how to conjure up beauty in a hurricane of challenged taste that our world can subject us to simply because he has what it takes. From the theatrical, where his first job was designing sets, to today when the lessons learnt make for a man who does not think linearly or categorically but is a modernist who knows that to intermingle a pair of Manolo’s with a tee shirt attests to an impeccable point of view. This perspective expresses both elegance and ease.


Celebrating Carlos Mota Style

Carlos Mota styles greatness

To accentuate the whimsy of this room with its touch of Droog, mid-century modern elements and contemporary art, a pop of color in the flowers hits its mark at center stage. Image © Douglas Friedman.


Flowers and color bring a touch of raw energy indoors—a move he makes that brings in rare natural beauty and aromatic scents. I love the sensuality with which he infuses a well-rounded interior, and he knows it doesn’t matter where you live—country manse or town home—the essence of chic is transformative, a veritable symphony when floral fragrances permeate a room.


Carlos Mota enhances interiors with styling

Leaving the metals and sumptuous fabrics to make their own statements, dashes of color in the flowers and accessories show Mota’s talent for composing. Image © Douglas Friedman.


Carlos believes that surrounding people with things they love makes it possible for the end-game to be capturing the essence of personality. The wonder of his additions to these treasures and the edits he undertakes to compose each scene helps him to create spaces that become things of beauty in and of themselves. These are not necessarily just valuable antiques but kicky collectibles that represent some moment in the past.


Carlos Mota brings the outdoors inside

Bringing the outdoors inside is the defining statement made by this vignette, a slight of hand Carlos Mota knows so well. Image © Eric Piasecki.


What I love seeing is the beauty of Carlos’ spirit that can’t help but infuse a room—this amazing mixture of the unexpected that becomes so disruptive. He brings personality and emotion into the rooms that he creates. This is akin to what we are all about at Bruce Andrews Design, which is why his style resonates so deeply with me.


Carlos Mota’s “A Touch of Style,” published by Assouline.

Carlos Mota’s “A Touch of Style,” published by Assouline.


Just look at his portrait that leads this post—his ability to intermingle a symphony of colors evident in his choice of clothing and the riotous composition behind him, a completely natural stance for him that is the very definition of lightheartedness. In his introduction to the book, he says, “Officially, I have been an editor for both Architectural Digest and Elle Décor. Unofficially, I know every bloom in the flower market.”


Carlos Mota goes from pop to ethereal

A bit of fanfare for the luminous light that flows into this space is achieved with the simplest of moves by Carlos Mota. Image © Firooz Zahedi.


He makes notes of days spent on magazine shoots with single-minded photographers, fussy interior designers and anxious celebrity homeowners when his job is to help everyone capture the best possible version of a home. This discipline has served him well considering the book is filled with a flow of unique spaces that could only have sprung from his talent.


Carlos Mota knows color

Some tongue-in-cheek fun makes this floral arrangement powerful within this milieu. Image © Matthieu Salvaing.


The first job in the theater mentioned above was designing sets for Caracas’s best productions. “I made props, sourced antiques, and found just what a scene was missing to create that perfect ambience,” he notes. “You have to be very specific when you do theater, or the illusion won’t work. The lessons I learned there have stayed with me.”


Carlos Mota naturally talented

Chinoiserie stands on its own in this vignette within which a splash of pungent green serves as a brilliant textural contrast. Image © Ngoc Minh Ngo.


Proving he’s a bit hard to pin down in terms of his creative process, he declares he lives according to two phrases at all times—“Less is more” and “More is more”; adding, “What can I say? I am both a modernist and a Venezuelan!” He deems the book A Touch of Style a reflection of the way he works, each page designed to be enjoyed through any approach the reader chooses: “You may peruse it from front to back or wander through in any order.”


Carlos Mota, the mix master

This juxtaposition of modern furniture, which includes a Wicker Felt chair by Marc Newson; traditional Boiserie on the walls; and the glint of gilded furnishings create an eclectic scene that might intimidate some stylists, but not Carlos Mota. Image © Matthieu Salvaing.


Whichever way you choose to take the journey, the pages will have you moving across continents, from town to country, inside living spaces and outside to their gardens, or, as Carlos puts it, “Wherever the camera needs to go to capture the essence of a home or its owners…” This is where you will find him—adjusting, adding, or taking away. “Each moment, to me,” he says, “is as good as the next.” With each turn of the page, his declaration was illustrated right before my eyes.

Is it any wonder he is the mastermind behind so many of the remarkable photographs we see in the top design magazines such as Vanity Fair, Departures, Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, Interior Design and the once luxurious House & Garden? As I was experiencing his oeuvre through this book, something occurred to me: Mota is a veritable color forecast all his own!

This post, A Touch of Carlos Mota Style, © Bruce Andrews Design, all rights reserved. Our furniture is now available through Nandina Home in Aiken, SC; Jalan Jalan in Miami, FL; Travis & Company in ADAC in Atlanta; and the Ellouise Abbott showroom in Dallas, TX. We will soon be showing in the Ellouise Abbott showroom in Houston and in the Michael-Cleary showroom in Chicago, IL.