Jack Lenor Larsen and Thomas Woltz honored at its Annual Spring Benefit at the Metropolitan Club

New York, NY - January 2012 - The New York School of Interior Design will honor Jack Lenor Larsen with a Lifetime Achievement Award and Thomas L. Woltz with the school’s first Thomas N. Armstrong III Award in Landscape Design at its annual Spring Benefit on Wednesday, April 18 at The Metropolitan Club, 1 East 60th Street in New York.  This year’s Benefit co-chairs include Mario Buatta, Ellie Cullman, Philip Gorrivan, Amy Lau, Stephanie Odegard, Campion Platt, and Barbara Slifka. The Vice-chairs include Graham Arader, James Druckman, Marina Kellen French and Mary Ellen and Richard Oldenburg.

“We are very pleased to salute Jack Lenor Larsen and Thomas Woltz,” said Patricia Sovern, Chairman, Board of Trustees. “Each of these men have made exemplary contributions to their respective areas of expertise and serve as complements to one another’s talents. We are particularly proud to launch the Thomas N. Armstrong III Award in Landscape Design, honoring the late trustee’s devotion to the landscape design.” According to Sovern, Armstrong’s son, Whitney Armstrong, will present Woltz with the award.

Jack Lenor Larsen is a visionary, scholar, world traveler, and an authority on traditional and contemporary crafts.  Founder of his eponymous firm in 1952, he has designed thousands of hand-woven fabric patterns and textiles in natural yarns, many of which are associated with the modernist architecture and furnishings and are in collections of major international museums.  In 1997, his company merged with Cowtan & Tout, the American subsidiary of Colefax and Fowler in London, and has grown steadily to become a dominant resource for his innovative hand-woven signature fabrics and wallpapers in over 30 countries.  Larsen’s passion for international weaving and textile crafts made him familiar with techniques such as ikat and batik, which he introduced to the American public in the early 1970s.  

More than a textile designer, the 85-year old Larsen is also recognized for LongHouse, his spectacular home, which is located on 16 acres in East Hampton, New York.  Built as a case study to exemplify a creative approach to contemporary life, Larsen was inspired by the famous Japanese Ise shrine. LongHouse contains 13,000 square feet and 18 spaces on four levels. The building is raised on stilts and the spaces are divided by fabric sliding panels, which showcase Larsen's fabrics and his collection of historical and contemporary crafts, including works by Lucie Rie, Wharton Esherick, Edward Wormley, and a glass chandelier by Dale Chihuly. The gardens present the designed landscape as an art form and offer a diversity of sites for the sculpture installations by such luminaries as Yoko Ono, Sol LeWitt, and Willem de Kooning.

With Master degrees in Architecture and Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia, Thomas Woltz joined Nelson Byrd in 1997 and became a partner of the firm in 2004. He has led designs of a broad range of institutional, and corporate projects in the United States and abroad, including The Peggy Guggenheim Sculpture Garden in Venice, Italy; the Luckstone Corporation in Richmond, Virginia; Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia; The McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia; Round Hill, Jamaica; and Eastwoodhill Arboretum, the National Arboretum of New Zealand.  Woltz has also led design work on private gardens and farmland in a dozen states and New Zealand over 15 years of practice. Currently, the studio is dealing with more than 10,000 acres of cultivated land in Virginia, California, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Connecticut, New York, and New Zealand.  Woltz also serves on the Board of Directors of The Cultural Landscape Foundation and has been named to the 2011 ASLA Council of Fellows.

More recently, Woltz was instrumental in the establishment of the Conservation Agriculture Studio within his company. This is a family of projects that share information and seek to interweave sustainable agriculture with best management practices for conservation of wildlife, indigenous plants, soil and water. He also has held a part-time faculty position in the University of Virginia School of Architecture for 14 years teaching site planning and land analysis.

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Founded in 1916, the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID), located at 170 East 70th Street, is New York’s only private, not-for-profit college devoted exclusively to interior design education and related disciplines. NYSID’s guiding principle is that the interior environment is a fundamental element of human welfare, and the college is committed to actively improving, through design, the quality of life for all segments of humanity. This ideal is put into practice by a dedicated faculty of well-known designers, architects, art historians, and authorities in the field who guide a diverse student body of over 750 full- and part-time students. NYSID offers certificate, undergraduate and graduate programs in the field of interior design, design history and theory, and sustainable design. The college is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and NYSID’s BFA is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

The New York School of Interior Design 2nd annual gala dinner will be held at The Metropolitan Club, at 1 East 60th Street. The cocktail reception is from 6:30–7:30 PM, followed by dinner.
Tickets to the benefit start at $500 and $1,000 per person.  Tables of 10 can be purchased for $5,000 (Supporter), $10,000 (Benefactor), $15,000 (Connoisseur) or $25,000 (Patron). To purchase tickets or for more information contact: Director of Development, Monica Cheslak, 212-472-1500, ext. 430 or email mcheslak@nysid.edu.

Press ReleasePhyllis Greer