design & inspiration today: Later, Steve
Hello & Good-bye Steve Minatra
an app created by Brock Henderson
Atelier 97 Dennis
Our friend and colleague, Steve Minatra was a brilliant force of nature. He shared his unique & wonderful brand of artistic expression with each one of us everyday & in every way.
At work Steve was the go-to guy for his clients, his team and on every project. He arrived in his signature white van, which was upholstered in a fluorescent galaxy carpet and wall-papered in bumper stickers, magnets, and odes to popular culture. Steve cultivated a curated collection of tool kits, work buckets, and industrial travel cases filled with an unbelievable selection of every conceavable tool, tape, screw, adhesive, cleaners, zip ties, stretch wrap, bolts, wheels and wires. Steve had a knack for discovering impossibly amazing hardware to solve every design challenge.
Ladders, carts, boxes, furniture pads and more — Steve was always ready to make anything happen!
Steve entered the world of visual retail theatre starting sometime in the early 90’s, and worked right through
to now. He worked together with a talented team of creatives to make visual store windows and one-of-kind
Annually the Houston Chronicle debuted the best new authors at an annual Gala showcasing their new books launched that year. Steve adored this project! Using 1,000’s of new hardback books - he’d create towers, huge book props, mosaic embellished sculptures made from pages from the books, and more. His favorite part about this project-- gifting his friends with hand-picked editions from each event.
Steve had an amazing bond with the “frenchies” of Hermes. In Houston, we created amazing bespoke window designs for the Houston Store for decades.
But Steve, and his certain sparkle, became a member of the Hermes family in Paris and New York. Steve traveled the world with the Hermes Silk Scarf printing team. His favorite gig was working on Hermes Silk-screening demonstrations with his french compadres, mixing custom colors, participating in local entertaining activities with his french friends in every destination they visited together. Steve was the MC for the printing exhibit, explaining the scarf printing process to groups of Hermes aficionados across the globe!
Steve set-up wonderful exhibits of Hermes art, silk, leather and history. He’d coordinate the logistics, navigate customs, and set-up exhibits throughout major cities in the US, Hawaii & once to Chile!
Hermes tapped Steve to design and install special events and boutique pre-opening parties-- One of the most amazing and fun was in Washington DC. Highlights were an enormous, round custom banquet on the porch of the Ambassador of France’s mansion on Colorama Blvd. in Washington DC. Steve created an upholstered perfectly fitted cover with hermes scarf pillows - that night included a performance by none other than Eartha Kit.
Following that party -- The next days were spent setting up a custom designed painted trellis garden perimeter in the middle of the parking lot surrounding the new store. We the completely embellished the outside with fresh white roses. Next we magically we created a fresh french garden within the trellis surrounding the store! 20’ cypress trees, illuminated garden obelisks, real fresh strawberry patches, fragrant planter boxes filled with a parisian mix of flora and citrus trees-- it was if literally something appeared from nothing! A triumph!
But, the best part, by the moment the store opened the next day -- like a dream -- everything was back to being a parking lot. The entire french garden vanished due to Steve’s knack for making it happen - with a little help from the guys from 1-800-GOT JUNK.
Steve branched out from luxury retail to the world of interior design. Steve became the go-to guy for showroom and design market set-ups. From luxury furs to vintage fashion & furniture. Steve’s remarkable talent, his unique trend-finder sensibility, and creativity made him indispensible to his coterie of designer clients. Knoll, Sunset Settings, All Records and of course, Hermes.
This tribute to Steve touches on a tiny bit of his work life. Steve created incredible creations for galas, luxury retail installations, pro-bono voluteer projects for the Heights - his contribution to art, installations, is immesurable and amazing--like him.
The world was a much more beautiful place with Steve running the show. His creativity, thoughtfulness, organization, wit and humor will be painfully missed by us all, and especially by his most devoted team of creative co-conspirators and forever friends. #SteveMinatra
-- Angela DeWree