No Rest in Bucharest
Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 3/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
Meet Lee Mindel and his longtime companion, wanderlust. World-wise parents enabled the budding relationship with trips to Venice and Paris. As a TWA youth representive, he then set off with his backpack at the age of 18. “My rebellion was to go explore the world,” he says. “The experience formed my own archaeology.”
Today, the Interior Design Hall of Fame member lives out of a suitcase almost two months a year, all on the behalf of Shelton, Mindel & Associates. Having previously outfitted a penthouse and a Gulfstream jet for Nicholas F. Taubman, the U.S. Ambassador to Romania, Mindel accepted an invitation to Bucharest, thinking he was heading to Budapest. “We are so stupid in America,” he explains with a sigh.
What followed was a four-day sociopolitical and cultural tour led by an embassy guide who'd lived through the demise of the country's Communist rule. Through his eyes, Mindel says he got a “historical perspective combined with an entrée.” Attractions from the 19th century included a neoclassical bank by Paul Gottereanu and a park by Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Meyer.
Mindel alsovisited the new contemporary-artmuseum, housed in a corner of Nicolae Ceausescu's gargantuan palace. “I met the king and queen, too,” he added when reached at home in New York—while packing for Paris and London. \