Illuminating the often misunderstood role of an interiors stylist, Colin King’s Arranging Things (Rizzoli) is a masterful look at the numinous, even sacred, nature of objects and an introspective musing on their dynamic placement. King writes how styling “can be a daily practice, one that empowers you to see the world differently and find new meaning in your surroundings.” Making a poetic splash with his co-writer, Sam Cochran, the book relates King’s instinctual approach to clarifying a room—and one’s life—through the editing of its materials.
The New York–based King is widely known for his casually refined aesthetic. Mixing restrained modernist lines with notes of unkempt asymmetry, he attributes his fondness for “off-kilter” elements in design to an early life spent clinging to perfection.
King started his professional path training in classical ballet, later pivoting to personal training, which brought him into contact with an extensive roster of celebrity clients. It was his exposure to the exceptionally arranged interiors of such clients that King would later build upon in his work as a stylist. Moreover, while circulating among these individuals of a certain status, he would also benefit from connections made with influential designers—in particular, Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, mentors who helped the young King develop his inimitable talent, namely an ability to find movement in stillness.
King recently launched his own enterprise, Colin King Studio, in Tribeca, where he regularly stages interior stylings for leading brands and publications, many of which are featured in Arranging Things. King is a masterful interiors storyteller, and the book not only solidifies the stylist’s impact on the aesthetic field, but also his remarkable deployment of content creation. King’s career ignited on Instagram in 2020, when the artist was stuck at home during the early months of the
pandemic. Seeking a creative outlet, he began a daily project of “shopping” his apartment for eclectic ephemera—geometric sculptures, ceramics, and wild natural clippings snipped from the street. King then posted his compositions under the hashtag #stayhomestilllife, inspiring roughly 200,000 followers, many of whom took up the daily practice of distilling their complicated world down to its essential beauty.
Arranging Things represents the maturation of King’s nascent social provocation. He encourages readers to listen, deeply, to their surroundings, make more space for serendipity, and seek out a little delight. “Eliminate the noise and sit with the truth. There’s beauty in stillness,” King writes. The result is not so much a design manual as it is a suggestive prompt to channel the joy of arrangement and then go with what feels best.
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WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CICETTI
This story appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of MILIEU.