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Nicole Day

With landscape and interior design, former ballerina Nicole Day finds the world really is her stage!

Nicole Day
photo: Heidi Harris

Landscape architect, interior designer and Buckhead resident Nicole Day remembers the exact moment she realized her calling. She was lying in the grass in Luxembourg Gardens in Paris and thought about how someone had intentionally created the garden around her to be a place of beauty and refuge. It was a masterpiece.

As a classically trained ballerina who spent countless hours at the Atlanta Ballet and the School of American Ballet in New York, Day understands the work that goes into a massive production, whether on the stage or in the environment. In fact, you might say her design work is similar to that of building a stage set: It begins as an empty space waiting to be transformed. Here, the founder of Day & Day Company, a landscape architecture and interior design firm, shares more about her creative process as well as her new patent-pending product.

How did you go from ballerina to designer?

I got injured at 18, and it became clear I wasn’t going to be a professional. So I went to the College of Charleston. A lot of ballerinas do not go to college, but I was very thankful that I did. I didn’t know what I wanted to study, but I fell into biology. I was interested in understanding how the world worked, and in that biology degree, I took every course I could in plants. Later, I had the opportunity to intern with Sheila Wertimer, a well-known landscape architect in Charleston.

In what ways is ballet still a part of what you do?

A big part of my work is narrative and telling a story as an experience. That’s something I think comes from my background in dance; it’s an understanding that we’re all moving through space. We’re all dancing. Dancing is just organized walking. And as a landscape architect, it’s my job to choreograph that movement and how people experience space.

What do you wish people knew about landscape design?

We’re all aware that the buildings we enter were designed by an architect, but we’re not as aware of that same thing in landscape. Everything outside, especially in an urban environment, has been designed by someone. There’s so much opportunity in landscape.

What is a good local example where readers can see great landscape design in action?

I worked on a project called Echo Street West in West Midtown. It’s 19 acres that stitch five city blocks together with dining decks, bike trails and public plazas. There are even reconstructed woodlands. It’s a dynamic place with a lot of different uses and ways to move through it. It feels like it’s been there forever when it’s a completely fabricated place.

You also do interior design, which led to creating your first product. Tell us more.

For a particular interior design project, the room was oriented to a corner. We needed to find a corner console, so I designed one. It started as a riddle in my head about how to reconcile a corner. The patent- pending Circle Square Console is designed to be a media console, so there’s an electrical cavity, but it’s versatile. Each piece is handmade here in Atlanta by a local German woodworker, and his attention to detail is phenomenal. Additionally, the wood color gets richer over time, so it evolves with you.


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