William Diamond, designer and former partner with Anthony Baratta at Diamond Baratta, died on July 9 in Chicago at age 63. The New York Times reported that he had been depressed for the last few years and that he took his own life.
Diamond was renowned for working with electrifying colors, and playing with both scale and scope. “They lived in the most vivid part of the color spectrum,” Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Architectural Digest, told the Times of the firm's work. “You’d walk into their rooms and it was as if the furniture was dancing. The rooms were always happy.” Diamond retired from Diamond Baratta in 2012.
Diamond; courtesy Thomas Hart Shelby, NYT
The designer grew up on Long Island, NY, and studied painting at Carnegie Mellon University before dropping out. As the Times reports, he was "largely self-taught, but with an encyclopedic knowledge of interior design, furniture and art history." He lived for many years in apartments devoid of furnishings, except for a television and a mattress on the floor, until 15 years ago when he purchased and decorated his East Hampton farmhouse.
Suzanne Slesin, publisher of Pointed Leaf Press, reflected on the impact of Diamond's work to the newspaper: “He designed the fabric, made the furniture, painted the floors. Everything was a coordinated fantasy. His rooms made you smile, and they made you understand what interior design was all about."
Diamond is survived by his sister Leslie Hodes, brother Jeff, stepmother Barbara Diamond and step-siblings Sandi Kimmel and Michael Kimmel. Find Diamond's full obituary online, and view a selection of his work.