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The Story Begins in a Storied Beautiful Place

How the Carlyle Hotel Became the Design Inspiration of Sfumatura

The Carlyle Hotel, like many storied beginnings, serves as the heart of Cliff Schorr’s enlightened inspiration. His work for a silver magnate required his eye for matching colors and textures while using tromphe l’oeil to disguise a switchplate by marbleizing it. Across the room, skilled craftsmen hang color stained silk panels onto the walls. It was this spark of insight that Cliff Schorr had where he saw the marriage of color and opacity of technique that birthed the idea that later became the Sfumatura product.

Like Leonardo Davinci, Mr. Schorr intentionally uses his own special technique to create useful ambiguity and optical illusions. “ Leonardo Davinci’s technique in the Mona Lisa most notedly, illustrates the equivoque of color, glazes, and the layering of paint. It relates to our product very closely. Sfumatura is created by applying many layers of broken, transparent or semi-transparent color to our fabric. We see colors through other colors. Ideally our work appears to be a particular color but is in fact many. Once applied, Sfumatura walls can become what they need to be—and at their highest good be a natural expression of the designer’s intent.”

Cliff Schorr’s career in film and television has informed his viewpoint of background and foreground and creating quiet moments or drama while saying it through the expression of physical spaces. “ Sfumatura is the marriage of the theatre and my experiences working in interiors. Working in an apartment and building a set for film and television is a very natural crossover.”

“Theatre is a repository of period design because theatre often times is looking back while telling a story. Because I did scenic painting and set design, I was required to know what Biedermeier furniture is and the difference between Ionic, Doric and Corinthian columns. It expanded my own interests in interior spaces and the idea about place. I believe that doing the right thing, for the right space at the right time makes all the difference.”

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