At Home with Vita — MICHAEL BARGO
AT HOME WITH VITA is a monthly interview with artists, designers, and friends who inspire us.This month’s Q&A is with Michael Bargo, an interior decorator, stylist antique dealer who's quickly risen to become one of the most influential young tastemakers on the New York design scene—not to mention the Internet—thanks to his eponymous furniture gallery and Instagram account that boasts nearly 70,000 followers. His eclectic sensibility centers on midcentury French design, championing pieces from the likes of Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, Jean Royère and other icons of post-war Europe. For the past decade, Bargo has been artfully displaying and selling his expertly curated collection of rare furniture, decor and art directly out of his New York apartment, making him no stranger to entertaining guests in his home. We caught up with him this summer to learn about how he goes about playing host.
Describe your entertaining style.
Michael Bargo: My style is very relaxed and casual. I grew up in the south and was taught that manners are to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome, so that’s my first priority. I think my aesthetic reflects that too. I don’t like anything formal that would make someone feel uncomfortable. I also want people to feel happy so I usually use bright colors and happy flowers.
Who has influenced your entertaining style?
MB: My maternal grandmother, Martha Stewart and Jacques Grange.
Where do you seek aesthetic and menu inspiration?
MB: Il Buco! Where else?!
What are your table-setting essentials?
MB: Always have small, casual floral centerpieces that don’t overcrowd the table or anyones view. Always soft linens that don’t leave lint on your lap! And always red and white wine, champagne and sparkling and flat water.... Everyone should have what they want to drink!
No Michael Bargo party is complete without:
MB: Good lighting. Good music. Good champagne.
Where was the most memorable tablescape you’ve ever seen?
MB: A dinner in honor of Francois-Xavier and Claude Lalanne in Paris
What are the signature recipes you serve when entertaining guests?
MB: I love serving prosciutto and melon with really cold champagne in the Summer. I also really love serving caviar with potato chips. Basically anything that’s super easy.
What are your favorite purveyors or resources to pick up local produce, provisions?
MB: Serene Green Farmstand [Sag Harbor] and Amber Waves Farm [Amagansett].
Fantasy dinner party guests? Whose home would you love to be invited to, and who love to have as a guest in your own home?
MB: I’d like to go to the White House for dinner. And to my home I’d love to have Amy Sedaris!
Who features heavily on your entertaining playlist?
MB: My friend Trevor Cheney makes the best playlists on Spotify. Those are the easiest and best lists to play at a dinner party.
Any tips on how to transform a space into an inviting environment for entertaining guests?
MB: As long as everything is comfortable and relaxed it’ll be inviting!
What are the keys to a perfect summer dinner party?
MB: Cold water, cold champagne and blankets on the lawn.