Travel is an essential part of the job for renowned decorator Vicente Wolf. The interiors maven spends three months a year visiting far-flung regions of the world in search of inspiration and one-of-a-kind pieces—everything from rugs and textiles to necklaces and plates—to sell in his New York City showroom, VW Home.
This year, the Cuban-born designer headed to Bali, South Africa, and Iran, where he stayed in small villages and met with local vendors to source items and create custom pieces for clients, both residential and commercial (including Wynn Hotels), and for his own homes.
No destination is off-limits for Wolf, who found his time in Isfahan, a central province of Iran, especially moving. “I’ve had several Iranian clients, and the way they praised their home country made me want to experience it first hand,” he says. “Iran is often discredited in the press, but everyone I encountered on my trip was extremely friendly and hospitable.”
Here, he shares some of his favorite places, pieces, and memories exclusively with T+L.
Chehel Sotoun is a pavilion and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Isfahan (the capital city of its namesake province) with terraces and state rooms where foreign ambassadors and dignitaries were once entertained. The building has 20 slender wooden columns in front that support an extraordinary Venetian-glass mirrored ceiling, and which also reflect onto a 52-foot-long pool.
Most stores sell wares made by local craftspeople, but I discovered an artisan who actually produces the plates he sells. He showed me the process of applying finish to cloissoné plates, a skill he's really perfected.
Right: I bought several strands of prayer and worry beads made from colored glass and wood inlaid with silver.
Masjid-I Shaykh Lotfallah mosque was built in the 17th century exclusively for the Shah. You can tell it was designed for one person, because there are no minarets, which are used to call the faithful to prayer.