Photography by Ms Martien Mulder
Words by Mr Jim Shi
When your work manifesto is the pursuit of "unexpected delight", it helps to have an imagination that knows no bounds. Having worked as a creative director for brands all over the world, from London and New York to Italy and Sweden, Mr Christiansen, 34, now applies his particularly non-traditional tactics to clients that include fashion labels and hotel groups. Here he shows us around his unconventional workspace.
What was the catalyst to starting Chandelier?
I grew up on a farm in the Australian outback. I watched The Muppets and Dynasty and dreamt of faraway places like New York. When I was 22 I moved to Italy to work at Benetton's Colors magazine and was excited to finally arrive in New York soon after - but then I felt the marketing of many brands here was formulaic. There was little sparkle. So I created Chandelier, a company that is all about unexpected delight.
Where does the name Chandelier come from?
Firstly, I want people and brands to shine. A chandelier is like fireworks or a Christmas tree: it's an unapologetic inspiration. I also had an incredible network of great people - stylists, photographers, illustrators and designers ? and that network looked like a chandelier when it was all drawn on paper.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your office?
Cinderella-meets-punk rock. It's curious. It's fun. It has balls (literally). It never feels like work. It's always changing. It attracts people who smile and love what they do.
What are some of your favorite places in New York? Why?
My bathtub, because I get all my ideas there. My truck; I just bought an old Ford F-150 from 1985. I throw the dogs inside and we go driving around the city looking for ideas. Chinatown - I am moving to Chinatown currently. It's unexpectedly wild and creative. But you need
A DOG'S LIFE
Daylesford (right) is named after Daylesford Organic - the organic shops and cafés in London. I love everything about that brand; it makes me so happy, which is exactly how I feel about my dogs. Freeway is named after the dog on the Eighties TV show Hart to Hart
Watch and tie bar
My vintage Rolex is from the year I was born and this is my lucky tie bar. I wear it during big pitches
We did a project for NARS Cosmetics and this is a portrait of Marc Jacobs (left) shot by François Nars. The image of the woman putting on lipstick was for a 300-page book I created for 7 For All Mankind. I found the Princess Diana magazine cover at Dover Street Market, just before the royal wedding
Graphis Magazine COllection
My favourites are from the Fifties and Sixties. I recently bought an entire library of them from a woman in Los Angeles who had the magazines in her garage. I look at an issue everyday for inspiration
I just created the Chandelier Surf Shack, a compound in Montauk for all my staff and friends to escape to during the summer. We have honeybees and a big vegetable garden. Most importantly we have the surf. This is my old surfboard from Hawaii. We also designed limited-edition Chandelier surfboards with Saturdays Surf NYC
to scratch under the surface to find the treasures. The Bowery Hotel - where I have lived for almost three years - is still my favorite place in the city. The airport - because I get so angry at bad creative work when I am there that it inspires me to work harder.
You're obsessed with airlines. Where did that develop from?
It's true, I am obsessed. It's my dream job and although I have pitched for some airlines, I've never landed one as a client. I think when you grow up in Australia it becomes part of your DNA. I think Marc Newson has done an awesome job at delivering surprise for Qantas. Air France's new economy food boxes are beautiful. They prove you can still be surprised and excited at the back of the plane.
What's been your most memorable project to date?
We designed a massive pop-up book last year as an invite to our annual Christmas extravaganza. It took seven months to make and was a truly selfish, expensive and indulgent piece of work.
Having worked in a vast array of disciplines, including magazines, film, books and a fashion brand, how have they shaped you?
I've been very fortunate to experience many disciplines. Until recently I never saw the connective tissue - except that they were all different platforms to tell stories, and I was super curious. Just now am I seeing how it shaped me. It's important that those who work for a brand live the brand.
Being from Australia, how does your style differ from when you are there compared to when you are in New York?
There is something about the color of the sky in Australia. It's a shade of saturated blue that you never see anywhere else. I was raised on a visual diet of the outback: blazing blue sky, golden sugar cane and bright red earth. The visual language of Australia is true optimism. Bold confident colors; no pastels or grays. I think that had a deep impact on me, and you can see it in all my work.
What brings you the most satisfaction in life?
That I can be creative and curious every single day.