Eric Cohler ’81, one of the leading and most sought-after interior designers in the country, will be returning to the HWS campus to give a series of seminars for art and architecture students as well as a public lecture on his work and design philosophy. Having recently been named as an Ambassador of Arts and Spirituality to the United Nations, as well as delivering the address as the keynote speaker of the G 20 in Seoul where he spoke about empowerment through art in third world countries, Cohler has a unique perspective on the world of art and design.
While on campus, Cohler will deliver a public talk “Through an Artist’s Lens – Trusting Your Eye in a World Gone Mad,” Thursday, March 24 at 5 p.m. in Stern 103, which will be followed by a dinner for faculty and participants of Cohler’s seminars. Following the dinner there will also be an information session about the Eric Cohler Internship and Travel Award that will led by Cohler and last year’s award recipient Katherine Giglio ’11.
The award, which Cohler established in 2006, provides rising seniors with the opportunity to complete a two week summer internship at Cohler Design, Inc. in NYC as well as a travel stipend for a senior research project of the student’s creation.
Using his extensive background and vast knowledge of the world of design, Cohler will lead three seminars addressing art and the inner voice. Open only to students in the art and architecture departments, all seminars will take place in Houghton House on Thursday and Friday afternoons. Topics include “Hearing Voices; Listening to Your Inner Self,” “Hearing Voices; Listening to the Built Environment,” and “The Arts as Currency.”
Seminar sessions, which have already been filled, are limited to art and architecture majors or minors. All students planning on applying for the Eric Cohler Award should attend the public lecture and information session. Applications for next year’s award are due Monday, April 4.
Cohler earned his B.A. in English and art history from Hobart in 1981. He also holds a masters degree in Historic Preservation from the Columbia University School of Architecture and Urban Design, and a certificate from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Cohler was recently named to the top ten designer list in the US by Elle Décor, and had his design and fabric selected by President and Mrs. Obama for the White House dining room.
Industry magazine editors have dubbed Cohler the “Mixmaster” for his use of contemporary materials juxtaposed with classical elements. Since establishing his firm in 1991, House Beautiful has described him as one of the 14 “best of the best” in the “next wave of designers in America,” and he is included annually in their “Top 100” issue. His aesthetic is sought after for the country’s top showhouses, including the Kips Bay and Hampton Designer Showhouses. Cohler’s work often appears in leading domestic and international periodicals, books, and design television shows. Interior design manufacturers have taken notice of Cohler’s distinctive design aesthetic, with Visual Comfort carrying his lighting designs, and Lee Jofa premiering a Cohler fabric collection in September 2006.