The design world’s landscape is constantly changing – new trends introduce themselves, new places become inspirational hubs, styles are created (and old styles return) and new technology continues to evolve the industry.
But, above all, the most important design tool is undoubtedly people. The world’s best design is only accomplished because of its best interior designers. And since there can never be an answer to the question “Who is the best interior designer?” #LUXDECO50 takes a look at the 50 top interior designers we’ve been inspired by and whose design moves we were watching in 2019. Alternatively, discover #LUXDECO100, the Top Interior Designers of 2020.
Image Credit: Bennett Leifer
Still riding high from the feature of this Upper West Side penthouse in the October 2018 issue of Architectural Digest, Bennett Leifer has had quite the year. For 2019, the New York interior designer continues work in New York City and New York states (including a new build in Southampton) and looks west with a Mid-century Modern restoration in Beverly Hills.
Image Credit: Blainey North
In 2018, the designer completed an incredible waterside property in Sydney (for which she won an International Interior Design and Architecture Award for Residences over 15M in 2017 and was shortlisted as a finalist at the Society of British and International Design Awards in 2018) in her trademark highly polished style. Current projects include a 5-star hotel, the Crown Sydney Spa and penthouse and a luxury superyacht.
Image Credit: Carlyle Designs
Principal Jordan Carlyle hasn’t wasted any time since 2019 begun – the New York designer has already launched a new designer furniture collection, Carlyle Collective. Characterised by fragmented and monolithic forms by designers such as Scala Luxury and Sylvan SF, velvety upholstery by Duistt and Bespoke London, and unique lighting by Atelier Demichelis and Articolo, the pieces are what is to be found in Carlyle Designs’ high-end residential projects.
Image Credit: Christian Liaigre
Known for his contemporary styles and minimalist lines, Christian Liaigre was busy launching astoundingly date-less furniture in 2018 and hinting at what is coming in 2019 via his Instagram account. His designs for the Imperial Treasure restaurant in London also had their showcase when it opened in December.
Image Credit: David Collins
David Collins Studio
With three big hospitality projects (George’s Bar at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Kerridge’s Bar and Grill at the Corinthia London and the redesign of Roux at the Landau at The Langham), David Collins Studio could have, understandably, called it good on 2018. But the studio continued with many other residential and commercial projects including the transformation of Harrods’ Food Hall and a 41,000 square foot modern gentleman Superbrands department for Harrods. 2019 sees the launch of ‘The David Collins Studio Collection for Baker’.
Image Credit: David Hicks
With recent projects including richly adorned penthouses and lush apartments, Australian interior designer David Hicks has spent the year exploring the highest heights in some of Melbourne’s most coveted towers.
Image Credit: The Arts Club
With its December 2018 AD100 cover – a townhouse project for the Caten twins, founders of Dsquared² – still embellishing many a stylish coffee table, Dimore Studio rounded last year off perfectly. The year was full of designing new iconic spaces like this one for Leo’s at The Arts Club in London.
Image Credit: Elicyon
The West London studio has flown the nest this year with a show apartment at the One Palm Jumeirah in Dubai and an elite Shanghai home and it looks as though they’ll have to get used to it. Now in its fifth year, Elicyon’s international commissions are coming in thick and fast with 2019 projects in Sri Lanka, Mumbai and, again, Dubai – this time in the form of a 30,000 square foot penthouse.
Image Credit: Elizabeth Metcalfe
Canadian designer Elizabeth Metcalfe champions the cause for elegant simplicity in her designs and, last year, her completed new build Gordon Woods project won her awards at both the Canadian Property Awards and the International Property Awards. Featured, also, in Andrew Martin’s Design Review – Volume 22 (2018) the designer has caught the eyes of international design authorities.
Image Credit: Ferris Rafauli
With designs characterised by heavily masculine themes (moody grey palettes, rich woods and awe-inspiring proportions), mega-mansion projects and an “obsessive attention to detail”, it’s no wonder Canadian designer and builder Ferris Rafauli counts Drake as a client. The unique firm focuses on a wide variety of home design from furniture to interiors and from building to landscaping.
Image Credit: Finchatton
The London studio continues work on the illustrious Twenty Grosvenor Square – the first standalone Four Seasons residences – which is set to open in the spring, as well as working on the “in excess of £1.1 billion worth” of development it has in the pipeline.
Image Credit: Fiona Barratt Interiors
Fiona Barratt Interiors
Seemingly concentrating on the studio’s FBC Kitchen line which was launched in 2017, the Fiona Barratt Interiors team is also gearing up for the completion of a 4-year-long Hong Kong hotel project early this year and, in July 2018, the founder hinted at a possible Rizzoli book.
Image Credit: Francis Sultana
The founder of his eponymous design studio and Artistic Director of London’s prestigious David Gill Gallery, Malta-born Francis Sultana is a sought-after design commodity for the highest of high net worth individual clients. 2019 for the designer includes a Herefordshire country estate, a New York Park Avenue apartment and a Hong Kong mansion with a biography set for the autumn.
Image Credit: Douglas Friedman
Francois Catroux still remains the elusive, storied-but-rarely-heard-from designer who is wanted by everyone, including families you may have heard of – the Rothschilds, the von Furstenbergs and the Santo Domingos. The autodidact’s interior style is one often attempted but never matched.
Image Credit: Francois Champsaur
Running the gamut from purist minimalism to vibrant maximalism, French designer Francois Champsaur is well-known for his hospitality design as well as unique private residences. Two hotels which got the Champsaur treatment recently are Le Bailli de Suffren (above) in the south of France and St Barts’ Hotel Manapany. The latter officially reopened at the end of 2018 after a spectacular renovation project, fully restoring its St Barts iconic status.
Image Credit: Gilles & Boissier
Gilles & Boissier
The French duo are putting their hand to some huge projects in 2019. First, a commission for the interiors of the east tower of New York’s exciting development The Eleventh – two slanted edifices, situated on the city’s increasingly-popular High Line and with spectacular views of the Hudson River. A $121 million renovation of Madrid’s iconic Hotel Ritz – the Belle Epoque beauty which opened just 5 years after its sister hotel The Ritz Paris – and a overhaul of St Barts’ Carl Gustaf in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma complete in late 2019.
As the name for his 2018 book The Patterned Interior suggests, Greg Natale is showing no signs of slowing up his enthusiastic use of unique prints. Neither is his interest in developing almost every style known to man. The designer’s 2018 work was as varied as updated coastal/country to 70s-inspired whilst still instantly recognisable as his.
Image Credit: Guillaume Alan
A master of Parisian minimalism, French designer Guillaume Alan’s interiors are surprisingly welcoming with the designer achieving simple beauty which manages to be anything but clinical. His recent Paris apartment project (above) was featured by American Architectural Digest in April 2018 as well as major publications around the globe.
Image Credit: IMG NYC
As America’s largest luxury real estate design and marketing group, New York’s IMG NYC is single-handedly changing the city’s real estate game with its full-service offering. From high-end interior design to home staging, art collection to turn-key rental, it’s no wonder the firm is the go-to for A-list and celebrity clients looking to sell their multi-million dollar pads. Notably, in 2018, the firm’s model designs for 200E21 Gramercy brought in $52.9 million worth of contracts in less than 40 days.
Image Credit: India Mahdavi
We still have dreams about that Red Valentino store. This French designer has undoubtedly revolutionised retail design and Mahdavi’s 2018 designs for the Tod’s Sloane Apartment gave the brand a seriously smart makeover.
Image Credit: Jean-Louis Deniot
Whilst we’re waiting with baited breath on the proposed 2020 completion of Elysee Miami (for which Jean-Louis Deniot designed the residences and social areas), the French designer is still on our minds. Ever the original, his work inspires in waves and even designs of years past continue to inspire. We’re constantly rediscovering new things about his wonderfully original treatment of the Nolinski Paris.
Image Credit: Jacques Garcia
Two Jacques Garcia projects opened this year – the d’Orsay Residences in New York and the NoMad hotel in Las Vegas – both with their own design narrative entirely. The d’Orsay made up of minimalist spaces with abstract art, blank white walls and curated modern furniture; the NoMad Las Vegas bearing the Jacques Garcia hallmarks of dramatically lit spaces and lots and lots of red, albeit combined with pared back guest suites incredibly unique for its locale.
Image Credit: Jacques Grange
A favourite of the the serious art collecting set (including Aerin Lauder), Jacques Grange astounds with the breadth of his design abilities. Although known for his layered interiors , the designer can also take a complete diversion and nail a scheme entirely à la mode. His designs for 2018’s Hotel Mamá prove that it’s young designers who are keeping up with him.
Image Credit: Jeff Andrews
LA-based designer Jeff Andrews is known for his celebrity clientele and screen-worthy interiors. Alongside working on his second wallpaper collection for Astek Wallcoverings, a new Rizzoli-published book The New Glamour: Interiors with Star Quality comes out in April which charts the Jeff’s work for stars such as Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner and Kaley Cuoco.
Image Credit: Joseph Dirand
Once known as the best of the best for minimalist style, Joseph Dirand has dramatically developed his style of late. His recent projects, such as Paris’ Girafe and Miami’s Four Seasons Surf Club residences and social areas (including the champagne bar, above) showcase his move toward context design.
Image Credit: Katharine Pooley
Katharine Pooley wasn’t resting on her laurels in 2018. The designer and her team tackled its biggest project to date – the one million square foot F2 Shaoxing Racing Circuit and Cachet Boutique Hotel and spa complex.
Image Credit: LUX* Grand Gaube
Kelly Hoppen MBE
Kelly Hoppen can truly turn her hand to anything, including a Mickey Mouse-themed wallpaper collection, in collaboration with Disney, to celebrate the mouse’s debut in Steamboat Willie 90 years ago on 18th November 1928. But enviable brand collaborations aren’t all the designer has going on. The inaugural Kelly Hoppen International Design Awards will be launched in China shortly.
Image Credit: Kelly Wearstler
Kelly Wearstler remains everyone’s favourite design maverick, but 2018 saw the inimitable LA designer’s approach change slightly with the new hotel Proper San Francisco. The hotel’s designs were notably pared back from her signature Maximalist style and we still loved it. For 2019, another Rizzoli book sure to inspire creative minds is in the pipeline.
Image Credit: Laura Hammett
In what founder Laura Hammett described as their “busiest year ever”, this London studio undertook projects in Paris, New York, Miami, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, China and India (as well as the redesign of a 36m private jet). 2019 promises “diversity”, with the signature Laura Hammett aesthetic for the foundation, as she and her team looks to projects like contemporary Miami penthouses – an exciting new challenge for the studio.
Image Credit: Louise Bradley
The designer who pioneered London’s favourite look du jour of inviting tone-on-tone grey spaces decorated with antiqued mirror, plush upholstery and elegant-yet-comfortable furniture (much of it designed in-house), Louise Bradley leads the way in transitional design.
Image Credit: Annabel's
Martin Brudnizki’s 2018 should only be summed up with one word – Annabel’s. The designer’s ingenious designs for the London private members club were met with rave reviews and heralded a new age for the iconic club.
Image Credit: Martyn Lawrence Bullard
Martyn Lawrence Bullard
A designer for the A-List set (Cher, the Kardashians, Tommy Hilfiger and Alessandra Ambrosio call Bullard their designer), Martyn Lawrence Bullard is always producing front cover-making spaces but that’s not all he does. Towards the end of 2018, he also turned his attention to jewellery making, launching a line of signet rings, and designing a lamp for Porta Romana’s 30th anniversary charity initiative.
Image Credit: Michael S. Smith
Michael S. Smith
Michael S. Smith’s time as the White House interior designer might be over (at least for now) but his A-list commissions are still very much ongoing. The designer just finished the home of television maestra Shonda Rhimes. Plus, perhaps his most challenging project to date – the renovation of his own Holmby Hills home (Holmby Hills, Bel Air and Beverly Hills make up LA’s Platinum Triangle) which he journals about in his new blog The House on Mapleton Drive.
Image Credit: Natalia Miyar
Diversifying her studio’s portfolio of thinking-outside-of-the-box projects, London designer Natalia Miyar is adding a secluded Ibiza villa, two penthouse projects, a Chelsea home and a St Moritz ski chalet decorated with collectors pieces. The Cuban-American designer returns to her roots with the studio’s first US project in New York.
Image Credit: Nate Berkus
In autumn, the LA designer created a debut home collection Nate + Jeremiah for Living Spaces, full of pieces to help buyers “live beautifully”, as well as a collection of window treatment collection for The Shade Store.
Image Credit: Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam
Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam
The expertise of this renowned studio is imbuing projects with a multifaceted international style, replete with design integrity, a modern air and very good art. This year, the team of Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen continue to expand the Nicholas Hasam Ltd. empire with yet another showroom extension. Their 30-person strong team’s work year looks busy too with chalets in Courcheval and Gstaad, no less than five projects in the Dominican Republic, three properties in the US, several in the UK and a yacht.
Image Credit: Peter Mikic
London interior designer Peter Mikic’s knack for updating modern townhouses (like this Phillimore Gardens project) in a way that honours their heritage is what makes his 2019 commissions exciting prospects. A 16th century Jacobean manor house in West Sussex with original staircase and wood panelling. A new build – a contemporary house in Ibiza with descending windows and a Corbusier-style fireplace – represents his versatility.
Image Credit: Rafael de Cárdenas
Rafael de Cárdenas
Founder of New York interior design firm Architecture at Large, Rafael de Cárdenas’ signature refined contemporary style – imagine everything from high-end jewellery vignettes to clean-cut pixelated forms to illuminated kaleidoscopic designs for the likes of Cartier, Ford Models and Kenzo – is a breath of fresh air for the design world. A 2018 book charted the designer’s architecture career since retraining as an architect (he was previously a fashion designer working for Calvin Klein).
Image Credit: Rose Uniacke
Refined, understated and airy, the designs of Rose Uniacke are the things of ethereal dreams, as this recent Holland Park project proves. 2019 brings an expansion of the RU Editions and fabric collections – heavenly fabric, of course, always being a foundational element to the studio’s designs.
Image Credit: Ryan Saghian
Ryan Saghian is quickly establishing himself as a proponent of all things glamorous and polished with edgy Hollywood Regency and sleek masculine design dominating his repertoire. His recent furniture line launch, Ryan Saghian Collection, and wall coverings collection – made up of fine silk, cork and grass cloths – add another few strings to this designer’s bow.
Image Credit: Viceroy L'Ermitage Beverly Hills
The studio boasts a global project portfolio of ultra-luxury private residences as well as unique hospitality projects like the Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, Miraval Resort and Spa, the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arizona Biltmore and the newly renovated MacArthur Place Hotel, with a design encapsulating Sonoma County’s casual wine country style. Other notable projects include the Above The Penthouse development in Hollywood, a collection of five thoughtfully curated luxury residences on the top floor of The Residences at the W Hollywood and the new Pendry in Park City.
Image Credit: Shalini Misra
The London interior design studio’s Chelsea home awarded the studio Project of the Year at the House and Garden Awards in May whilst September brought two International Design and Architecture Awards for Interior Designer of the Year and Best City Space. Summer also saw the opening of the Shalini Misra-renovated Chakra restaurant in London’s affluent Kensington neighbourhood.
Image Credit: Sophie Paterson
Instagram influencer and head of luxury residential interior design studio Sophie Paterson has been focusing on expanding her influence of design in 2018. The designer launched two bed linen collections with Vis-à-Vis and a wallpaper collection with Fromental, amongst others as well as her thriving international design projects. In 2019, the studio takes on a multi-unit development in London’s Marylebone, a 13,000 square foot Chelmsford new build and a project which neighbours with Buckingham Palace.
Image Credit: Staffan Tollgard
More masculine, sophisticated interiors of this London-based husband-and-wife team seem to be on the horizon. The design studio promised, in a 11th December 2018 Instagram post, “We have some exciting projects currently on the go; some private residential and some commercial contracts; we can’t wait to show you the end results so stay tuned!”
Image Credit: Stéphanie Coutas
A neutral bedroom from an 8th arrondissement, Paris project by French designer Stéphanie Coutas. With a Monaco project, a Paris hotel and a beach club in Saint Tropez – the designer’s current projects read as a what’s what of high-end European design.
Image Credit: Focus
A killer debut furniture collection, a first-time retail design for her now husband’s store Casely-Hayford and unique designs for development One Crown Place and Upper Riverside, Sophie Ashby is carving out a major niche for herself in the design world as a multi-threat.
Image Credit: Studio Duggan
Towards the end of the year, the studio completed their Munich, Marylebone and Hadley Wood (above) projects. Spring 2019 holds the studio’s first furniture collection, TROVE, which will be showcased at its new Notting Hill studio, allowing customers to experience the world of Studio Duggan.
Image Credit: Principal Hotel London
The go-to for the coolest hotels like the SIXTY Hotels, Thompson Hotels and Equinox Hotels, Tara Bernerd has been full-aboard that train in 2018. The studio’s designs for the beautiful Kimpton Fitzroy restoration (for which Tara described herself as the “custodian”) are equal parts overtly handsome spaces with rich woods and welcoming elegant spaces with cloud-like four-poster bed canopies.
Image Credit: Taylor Howes
Congratulations to Taylor Howes which marked its 30th anniversary last year. The London studio spent the entire year celebrating, producing everything from an art series collaboration to an exclusive furniture collection, Love at Dusk.
Image Credit: Thomas Pheasant
Thomas Pheasant spared no time getting 2019 off to a good start, announcing a new console table addition to his Thomas Pheasant STUDIO line on the 4th January. Known for his neutrals and inspired furniture designs, the designer is nothing if not a modern classicist with even his contemporary designs honouring classical forms and proportions.