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The Fair
April 15, 2024

As a kid growing up in New York, Tobi Wright fell in love with graphic design. “When you live in the City, graphic design has a daily impact on you,” she says of the attraction. But as computers changed the field, altering it from a complex, hands-on skill to more of a desk job, she turned to interiors. “In all of its tactile, layered, and collaborative glory, it provided a path back to my passion for the process of design,” she says. Her company InsideWright transforms commercial and residential spaces by transporting the senses and creating a mood. “Clients often tell me that they’ll walk into a favorite room just to experience it,” she says. ”There is no greater compliment.” Below, she shares her design philosophy and why she is a fan of  “Good Will Hunting.”

A room with a beach-pool vibe created by InsideWright

A room with a beach-pool vibe created by InsideWright

How would you describe your design philosophy?
Environments have a visceral impact on us, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Your home should reflect your core being; an office should inspire productivity; a street-level restaurant or retail store should stop pedestrians in their tracks and draw them in; and a hotel should envelop you in an alternate reality.

Give us some context about where you live: How long you’ve been there and how does it influence your work?
I grew up in New York and was obsessed with the city for many years. At 51, I have a love-hate relationship with it, though I still can’t imagine living anywhere else full-time. My version of New York begs for escape, and this impacts my approach to design. I feel that interiors should conjure an experience. One of my favorite projects was for a client in the West Village who requested a beach-poolside vibe. Ironically, I had started transforming my living room into a backyard around the same time.

InsideWright living room-turned-backyard

Wright's living room-turned-backyard

Which designer or piece of work inspires you?
Paola Navone. Early in my career, every time I was stopped in my tracks while flipping through a magazine, it was a Paola Navone design. The way she transitions from one material to the next is so unique, and her material choices are completely unexpected. I find her work ballsy and refreshing.

Which of your projects or products are you most proud?
Landing the lead design position on National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) New York Bureau redesign was an incredible honor and opportunity. Creatively, I was able to marry my two passions: graphic design and interior design. Translating branding through interior finishes was extremely fulfilling.

NPR’s branding team requested a design element that communicated their reach to local and global communities. My solution was a “spoke” lighting design with a central, circular light as the hub. The individual spokes represent communities, while the panels that connect the hubs symbolize the organization’s worldwide reach.

The hub-and-spoke lighting design for NPR's New York Bureau

The hub-and-spoke lighting design for NPR's New York Bureau

What are you currently working on?
I’m seeking opportunities in restaurant and hospitality design. My brain is more inclined toward concepts than styles, and I know I’d thrive in those more experiential worlds.

What’s next?
Right around New York Design Week, [luxury real-estate developer] Corcoran-Sunshine will reveal the model apartment they hired me to do. It’s striking yet serene and full of color! I can’t wait to show the world.

And just curious: What is your favorite movie?
Aesthetically, “The Queen’s Gambit” blew my mind. The scouting, the interiors, the costumes, the cinematography…bar none!

But sociologically, “Good Will Hunting” is my favorite. There are countless movies about women relating to one another. This is a rare gem of a film about men, community, class, and vulnerability.