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May 13, 2015
Designer Spotlight: Charles Pavarini III
Designer Spotlight: Charles Pavarini III

Our latest Designer Spotlight explores the world of Pavarini Design with founder/president Charles Pavarini III, who took his experience working in theater and started a design firm with a unique focus on the aesthetic possibilities and capabilities of lighting.

His introduction to the industry:

Originally working in theater, Charles Pavarini III came off a show tour almost two decades ago and decided it was time for a change. With a family background in architecture and construction, including his grandfather’s participation in building iconic landmarks like the Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum, and the Seagram Building, interior design seemed like a natural expansion of Charles’ skills. 

After completing a 4-year program at the New York School of Interior Design, he was hired almost immediately by the famed designer Ruben de Saavedra, ASID that he worked with and assisted for the following two years. The next step was to go out on his own with partner J. Randall Tarasuk. Together they launched Pavarini Design, the design firm they have now been running for the past 16 years.

As any business does, Pavarini Design started out small. Now they design everywhere from Southampton homes to Park Avenue penthouses to desert homes in Arizona. The firm has won 21 awards for design excellence, including international awards and the IFDA Circle of Excellence Award. Most recently, Charles received an award from the ASID, a Lumen Award, Interior Design Magazine's B.O.Y.A. Award, and a C.O.D.A. Award for a lighting sculpture he designed in Kansas City.

The power of light:

Given that Charles has a theatrical background, his focus on interiors has always been not only in providing backgrounds, furnishings, floorings, etc., but also in how to make the design come alive. As such, one of the firm’s specialties is lighting.

“We use light as a design tool, not to illuminate a space but to design it with light.”

Where to begin a design:

When they begin a project at Pavarini Design, most often they start with the flooring, i.e. rugs and carpets. It’s much easier and more efficient to begin with the flooring and build upon that with fabrics and furnishings. The actual form comes throughout the process. Once they know color and form, they light the space.

Working with clients:

“The client is the most important entity in a project because in the end, that client needs to live and entertain in the space,” Charles explains. Every project comes to an end, meaning the designer leaves and the client stays. At Pavarini Design, their sensitivity to the clients’ needs and desires always comes first. “It’s the responsibility of an interior designer to be conscious of that and to allow that client’s lifestyle to come through,” Charles elaborates.

Indirect & direct inspirations:

Charles is very quick to point to music as one of his major indirect inspirations. In his view, an interior has many of the same elements as music, including crescendos, softness, and loudness. The theater is another expansive source of inspiration, as Charles has always brought his theater experience to the forefront of his design. Gazing upon the mountains and blue skies in Scottsdale, Arizona (home of Pavarini Design’s satellite office) at the time of our interview, Charles adds, “Nature is always a major inspiration and has been ever since the cavemen lit the first fire.” 

Charles travels a great deal, noting how important it is to go abroad and explore the history and designs of other countries and how these designs have influenced other designs across space and time. At the time we spoke, Charles had just returned home from a 12-day Mediterranean cruise. 5 days were spent in Barcelona, admiring and exploring architecture and design that seemed like it was from another world. He took a tour of Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Família, a large church known for its powerful beauty.

“When I actually went inside the building, I found it to be a very spiritual and emotional experience. That’s what interiors should do – they should touch us in a spiritual and emotional way.”

Bucket list & dream designs:

Charles has two major items on his design bucket list: a private jet and a yacht, both of which are sure to be unique design experiences. In terms of a dream design, however, Charles points out that he would love to design a Broadway musical set, one for a new musical that has not yet been created. Aladdin is mentioned as one musical he recently attended that he considered to be one of the pinnacles in theater design, describing it as “an absolutely amazing study in color.”

His relationship with Stark:

“Stark is the forerunner of flooring in our industry, so since I’ve studied in school, I’ve known about Stark,” Charles explains. He feels that vendor loyalty is tremendously important, as it cements good relationships; so he looks for companies that will support designers. In his experience, Stark has been that company time and time again. He adds, “The variety of items offered is par to none.”

“In the past 15 years, I’ve used Stark almost exclusively. I go there first and almost 100% of the time, I will find either exactly what I’m looking for or something to inspire an interior.”


Our vast collections, decades of experience, and unparalleled commitment to excellence in quality and concierge service are just some of the reasons that Stark is a first-stop destination for an exciting array of creative designers all across the country.

See more about the wide array of designers that work with Stark in our Design Showcase.

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