Designing ambitions

 “Go for it! Dive in!” Designer Denise Korn says. “Design touches and permeates everything from voting to clothing to dishware and is much better valued and understood here in the US now more than ever before. There are many opportunities to focus your brainpower, create and impact what's going on in the world through the power of good design. Embrace the web but embrace it as a designer with sensitivity, smarts and grace; learn it, understand it and make that a part of your creative expression. Trust me, it's where everything is heading."


Denise's other family...

 YOUTH DESIGN is like my third child,” Designer Denise Korn says, “and a personal passion of mine since I can see clearly that this makes a huge impact in the lives of the students we serve. It's a great way for designers and creative firms and agencies to work with and mentor talented youth, they inspire and bring a fresh perspective with them. If you'd like to learn more about YOUTH DESIGN or the many ways to to get involved visit us at our website.”

Architectural delights

 “I am a Diller, Scofidio and Renfro fan,” says designer Denise Korn,”so I love the new ICA. The Amanian Winton's Harry Parker Community Rowing Boat Houseon the Charles River is simply fantastic, as is MIT's Kresge Chapel by Eeron Saarinen." Another head-turner?  “I also love the Zakim Bridge, it's an amazing addition to Boston's skyline.” 

Kresge Chapel

50 Massachusetts Avenue 

Cambridge, MA 02139

(617) 253-4795‎


Who has the eye?

Designer Denise Korn has spent her career sharpening her “eye.” No surprise, she’s a great resource for Boston’s finest art, beginning with the mother-of-all museums, The Museum of Fine Arts (Denise loves the Oceania Permanent Collection) as well as Pinkcomma Gallery.


Style, baby

“On the fashion front, our local sweetheart, Daniela Corté is a rock star!” Designer Denise Korn tells us. “She cuts like magic and finds truly luxe and wearable fabrics, I can wear her lines all day and into the night!" Another all-time favorite? Riccardi on Newbury Street for the top European designers and fashion that is now, now, now. For hair and make up: “Lauren Genatossio is world class. I have worked with her on fashion photo shoots and she has now opened a sweet studio called Sarra, making her secret sauce and beauty tips available to all.”

A simple list

Turns out, designer Denise Korn is a woman of few words when we asked her for her favorite homegoods stores. She turned out a simple list, jam-packed with the city’s most exquisite boutiques: Vessel, Koo de Kir, Black Ink, Merida Home, and Marimekko.






South End braised

When it's mealtime, you’ll often find designer Denise Korn restaurant-hopping around her own stomping ground in the South End. Her neighborhood favorites include Charlie's Sandwich Shop on Columbus Avenue (“Did you know that they won a James Beard Award?”) Rocca, Myers+Chang, The Butcher Shop, Toro (“Anything that Ken Oringer does”), and Petit Robert. On occasion, she hightails it across the river to Henrietta's Table and Rialto. "Chef Peter Davis and Chef Jody Adams, both at The Charles Hotel, Cambridge, are two of the most amazing chefs and my most favorite people and the most hard-working people I know. You can never go wrong at the bar, full-on dinner and, in my opinion, Henrietta's has the most killer breakfast in Boston. You never know who will show up… nestle in next to heads of state, actors, philanthropists and scientists and it all feels like home.”

A clear visionary

Maybe it's because her father is a Holocaust survivor that Denise Korn learned how fragile and fleeting life can be, that destiny can change as fast as a car can crash, or a baby is born. 

Marcel Korn was a child in World War II when his parents, Bernard and Rica, and sister, Pedy fled from their home in Romania. The Korns hitchhiked, trekked, and jumped trains, zig-zagging across Europe until they settled in a single hotel room in Paris. They stayed there for the next five years. Franc by franc, they saved enough money to come to America, where they set up home in Chelsea and Bernard found work as a butcher in Faneuil Hall. 

Marcel grew up to become a world renowned Orthodontist and professor, married, and fathered two daughters, Denise and Nikki. But history casts a shadow, now doesn't it? For Denise, no walk past a Quincy Market butcher stand comes without a nod to the suffering her relatives overcame -- and how, with an unfortunate twist of fate, things could have ended differently.

Not that that's what would you see if you see the Korn family albums: frames and frames of smiles, ski vacations, and grandchildren. Beautiful. That Denise sees the story behind the pictures is important. Because she's the poster child of having it all --  the Cornell degree, loving husband, son and daughter, awards and awards for her Boston and Manhattan business, Korn Design. Her company focuses on branding businesses, creating an image that will foster success. There have been web designs for LXR Luxury Resorts, campaigns for Patrick Lyons and Chef Jasper White's Summer Shack, and most recently, an entirely new revamped, rebranding for the Boston Ballet -- from logos to billboards to company letterhead. For eighteen years, Denise and her business partner Javier Cortés' signature approach is for her and her team to immerse themselves unconditionally in a company. They research. They interview. They brainstorm. Then, they do it again. And again. Until they know the business, staff and the market so well that the design, whether it's a logo or a matchbox, reflects a greater whole from all of the single parts.  

Embracing the beautiful and capturing the spirit is Denise's way of giving back, but in ways that go far beyond her corporate clients. In 2003, Denise launched Youth Design, a nonprofit organization connecting Boston public school kids with a thing for arts and technology with mentors in leading design firms, ideally paving the way for career opportunities. Her students may never know all of Denise's reasons for helping them, but they are very personal. Success is as delicate as life itself, after all. Any helping hand along the way can make or break a dream for an artist -- or a butcher.