Meet Our Experts: PAGODA RED’s Design Concierges
Clients who enter the PAGODA RED gallery often tell us they feel they’ve been transported into another world. Inspired by classical Asian elements but designed with a modern sensibility, our space is influenced by the belief—shared by world philosophies including Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and many Western practices—that balance can be achieved through the coupling of opposites. It’s why we pair dark and light tones, hard stone with soft textiles, and ancient craft with modern design. We also strive to do everything with respect for nature, from choosing plants to working with materials like wood, stone and ceramics.
For the first time, we are offering our expertise to designers and clients who wish to work with us on everything from homes to hotels. Just as a concierge is a caretaker of a building, we serve as stewards of your project. Our Design Concierges are here to help recommend pieces, style your space, and manage all the details. Meet our experts and explore our services.
Intentional Design: Cultivating the Soul of a Space
We all know when something looks right. It’s a feeling, when you walk into a room, and the scale and proportion of the pieces feel right — but it’s usually more than just how something looks. There is a depth to a room that feels right, and there’s a story — whether it’s the story of the architect, the designer, or why decisions were made. Our pieces are microcosms of these stories. There’s a depth to the pieces and the process of putting them together that we call intentional design. — Betsy Nathan
Collecting: Pulling Together Your Personal Style
We work with many designers and clients to create almost instant collections. A collection makes a house a home. It resonates as a connection between people, cultures and time. Those connections are very meaningful, particularly in the world we live in today. The more you see, the more you look, the more you understand. It helps you remember and find meaning in your life, in moments in time. The art of the hunt can be as fun as finding the object itself. — Betsy Nathan
Garden Design: Aligning with the Elements
What’s interesting about a Chinese garden is that it truly is a world within a world. A traditional Chinese garden incorporates the elements of water, stone, plants and architecture. For me, personally, my spirit tends to be fiery, so it’s important for me in my garden to balance the fire with water. When you get to know somebody, as we do with our clients, you get to understand who they are and what they need to feel more peace in their lives every day. — Betsy Nathan
Art Consultation: Discovering What Moves You
Everything we do is art. We like to work with artists who we consider to have an Asian sensibility. It’s a depth and a timelessness to what they’re doing. You watch the work ebb and flow. It’s an incredible thing to have clients come back, decades later, maybe for a second home or another room — or even now, working with their children or their relatives. They want to incorporate work by an artist that they collected so many years ago into another space. It’s really meaningful. — Betsy Nathan
Finishing Touches: Storytelling through Objects
We often find ourselves in the position of being another arm for an architect or designer. Sometimes for designers, and particularly architects, on the last ten percent of the project it can be helpful to have somebody come in with the finishing touches, and we’ve become a resource for that. We can bring the room they’ve designed to life. — Betsy Nathan
Betsy Nathan was born a collector. Her mother, Ann, a renowned Chicago gallerist, surrounded her family with an eclectic mix of fine art and folk objects. In the early 1990s, Betsy moved to Beijing, where she met a group of legendary Chinese furniture connoisseurs. Under their guidance, she became an expert in provenance, craftsmanship, joinery and history. In 1997, Betsy moved back to Chicago and established PAGODA RED — now a renowned resource for designers and collectors around the world.
One of PAGODA RED’s first team members, Michael has worked with us for over 20 years. During that time, he has developed long-term, collaborative relationships with interior designers, architects and collectors. He specializes in procuring art and antiques, as well as planning interior spaces. He also has a unique gift for garden design.
A specialist in art and design, Erika Beishen trained at Sotheby’s in London during her tenure with PAGODA RED. Informed by deep knowledge of the art market, she excels in pairing antiques with contemporary art and curating environments that balance past and present influences. She holds a BA in Art History from Lake Forest College.
An original member of the PAGODA RED team, Laurene has worked with us for over 20 years. Her relationships with interior designers extend over many years, and she frequently collaborates on finishing their spaces, from styling shelves and coffee tables to curating collections for large projects. She has an eye for vignettes, and is often called on to create photo-worthy displays.