Members of the design community and the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) family gathered under the coffered roof of the Park Avenue Armory Veterans Room to raise a glass to the late Albert Hadley, a man who came to be known as the “Dean of American Interior Design” and Interior Design Hall of Fame member.
The cocktail benefit was co-chaired by Bunny Williams, Brian McCarthy, and David Kleinberg—all of whom trained under Hadley before launching their own firms. In addition to Hadley’s former employees, Allison Russell Davis, NYSID’s Alumni Council President and Chair, worked to organize the event. Kleinberg mused aloud as people began to filter in, saying, “Albert would have hated this, being the center of attention, but he secretly would have been so honored to be remembered in such a way.”
Though the event served as a benefit to raise money for the school, many took the opportunity to pay tribute to the life and career of Hadley. Reflecting on his time with Hadley, McCarthy said, “If I had to choose one word to describe Albert, it would be magician.” The magic that McCarthy saw in Hadley while under his guidance was also mirrored in his interiors. Hadley worked for such illustrious clients as Mrs. Brooke Astor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Oscar de la Renta, infusing space with elegance and grace.
Beyond interior design, Hadley proved an able and enthusiastic teacher for the future generation of interior designers. He had been active with the NYSID since the early 2000’s, molding the curriculum, serving on the board, and always supporting the efforts of the students. David Sprouls, the President of NYSID, announced that Hadley also willed .5 million dollars to NYSID to set up an endowed scholarship. The proceeds of the benefit will also go towards the scholarship fund. In the words of Patricia Sovern, Chairman of NYSID, “It will be his lasting legacy for the future of interior design education.”
It may have been Sprouls who captured Hadley best as he described him quite simply during the toast as “a friend, a teacher, and a powerful inspiration to all interior designers.”