We will learn in this article some trade secrets of some of the best interior designers past and present. These interior designers stand out above the rest because they touched/are touching the creative and complex world of interior design. Their creations will continue to inspire for years to come. To the best interior designer in the world, you have to be a creative genius and think outside the creative box.
We will identify 10 of the best in the business past and present. For other interior designers to be copying your work (no matter what the skill level is) is quite a complement to that interior designer’s work.
The Prince of Chintz
Mario Buatta, “the Prince of Chintz”, earned this creative title because he specialized in “chintz” which is printed cotton fabric with a glazed finish design. This was his personal signature design and one he used in many interior design projects. He was one of the top international interior designers of his day. He once said, “I know I’m not an English country gentleman,” he said. “I’m basically a tradesman who goes in the front door instead of the back.” He passed away in October of 2018. His cause of death was complications related to pneumonia.
This was an ironical statement because he was also known for his interior designs in English country homes which he began to decorate when he started his own business in 1963. He worked long hours often times working 7 days a week. For the most part, he worked with little staff or by himself. He also decorated the homes of the rich and famous some clients included Billy Joel and Mariah Carey.
His billing method was never to charge for time. He charged 25 percent of the value of items sold at auction and he would add 20 to 30 percent for furniture and paintings.
His decorating philosophy was direct and to the point “A room or a house has to come together the way a garden grows — a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow, and the rest when the spirit moves you.” This statement he made in an interview with Life Today Magazine in 1992. He advised young interior designers to flow with their natural creative juices and to take it a little at a time. He implied that they should not feel pressured to accomplish the design all in one day.
He never married and he was always on the move either speaking at a social event or working on one of his many interior design creations. He was a sought after charity speaker and he spoke at many events in his lifetime. We will miss the “prince of Chintz”.
The West Coast Gem
Kelly Wearstler, is an American designer, who is recognized as one of the most creative interior designers in the world. She is known for creating spellbinding hotel interior designs. She was a major force behind the rise of designer hotels in the early 2000’s and she has won numerous awards throughout her long career. Her most notable projects are creating interior designs for San Francisco Proper Hotel, Four Seasons Anguilla, BG Restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman, the Viceroy Hotels, and Residences, Tides Miami and she has created designs for famous celebrities as well.
She is now designing for a set of elevated residential hotels using cultural expression and unique interior design for the specific site. Her philosophy is to develop as many levels of eye-catching sensory experiences she can manage in a particular interior design. She is known for thinking outside of the creative box to create stunning and unforgettable interior designs.
Her advice to young interior designers is to create designs that will cause people to want to linger and hang out in the particular space the design is created in. You want your designs to leave a lasting impression on the people who see them. You just don’t want people to come in and not notice your design attributes.
The London Blitz
By her own admission, Kelly Hoppen, says her signature designs mix neutral palettes, beautiful textures, with East meets West aesthetics. These designs may be found in homes around the world. People from all races, social classes, and walks of life have utilized her famous interior designs in their personal living spaces.
Her goal is to give people a warm and relaxing feel in their homes and she encourages people to not copy her interior designs so much as to use their own creative abilities to create the perfect interior for their homes. She is recognized as one of the top interior designers in the world. She says” For many years I’ve dreamed of designing my own range of wonderful products for the home to maximize that feeling of contentment. Finally, I’ve done it and I’m so excited to share it with you, the culmination of my years of experience and of knowing what works well. I hope you agree that the first collection of beautiful luxury products and helpful advice will inspire you, and give you the confidence to create the home of your dreams. You don’t need to copy my style, I just want to show you what works and then encourage you to create your own vision.” This has been her lifelong vision throughout her long and illustrious career.
She launched the Kelly Hoppen awards in November of 2018, to help inspiring young Chinese interior designers to jumpstart their careers. She states that the interior design industry, in China, grew by 13.7 percent in 2015. She says the industry, in China, is worth 623 billion annually.
The French Soloist
In the world of interior design, Philippe Stark, is a bit on an enigma and a nomad. He is a hard man to understand and stays quite aloof from his staff and people in general. He says he a Nano team and some of his associates have been working with him for 30 years. He cannot work with other people he must design by himself. He says sometimes he works in his bedroom and he claims “that he can design a chair in two minutes and a hotel in a day and a half.”
He says he is a control freak and he never delegates his projects out. He completes them from beginning to end. He is the “King of Intuition “and to make the point he said “I just took on a new guy I met on the sidewalk. He came up and said, “Mr. Starck, can I shake your hand?” like a thousand people every day. But I got a feeling. I said, “What do you do?” He said, “I’m an architect.” I said, “Come tomorrow to my office and we can speak.” And I gave him a project worth $1 billion without checking if he was good or not.
His philosophy for young interior designers is to go with your instinct and organic intelligence in creating or designing products. Be rigorous and work hard and always maintain a code of ethics your whole working life.
The Man from Chicago
Nate Berkus said, “I believe your home should tell your story. What you love most collected and assembled in one place.” And this may be the sum essence of his designing philosophy. He has designed interiors throughout the world. His approachable but elevated wisdom comes through his television shows, designs, home collections and many other avenues.
He established his award-winning design firm at the age of 24. He was formerly a frequent guest on the Oprah Winfrey show and on those episodes he gave practical interior designing points to viewers. His advice to young interior designers would be for that designer to tell the homeowner’s story through the things the client chooses for the home. The places they have gone, the people they have loved, and where they are going in the future.
The Designer from Dallas
Jan Showers, the famous interior designer based in Dallas, believes that “Design should relate to the way we live—it also should be beautiful, glamorous, comfortable and luxurious, even when very casual.” Her designing style has been glamorous, beautiful, comfortable, and luxurious while being casual for over 3 decades.
She and the designing firm she founded have established such consistent quality in interior design that the firm has been named to the “Architectural Digest’s” preeminent international design directory list “AD100” 5 years in a row. This gives us a taste of the superior quality of work her and her staff have designed for years. Her advice to up and coming interior designers is to mix precious pieces with everyday pieces to give the room a balance of simplicity and luxury. She said in essence do not be afraid to experiment.
Timothy Corrigan, is known for thinking and designing in other world terms. In other words, he thinks and designs big. He owns a 45,000 sq. ft. home in Los Angeles California. His firm has built a 40,000 sq. ft. Mediterranean-style home in Doha, Qatar. Timothy firmly believes in tackling large projects. There is nothing small about this designer’s design vision.
He was an advertising executive at one time but his first love has always been to wire lamps and refurbish antique pieces. His Paris apartment was featured in a famous design magazine. People began to ask him to re-do their homes so he switched to an interior design career and the rest is history. He said “I should have known I was in the wrong business!”
His advice to interior designers is to create a symmetrical interior design as opposed to asymmetrical design. This is because the symmetrical design will make one feel more at ease.
The Best of the Best
Muriel Brandolini, maybe the only interior designer in the world who changes her designing philosophy from house to house. She is one of the most sought after interior designers in the world. She was named one of the “top 100 interior designers in the world” in 2016. She was born in France but she grew up in Saigon, Vietnam.
She does not seem to be much of a talker but she lets her designs talk for her. Her designs are fun and playful at the same time. She is known for intricate but multi-layered designs. She attributes her success to her drive, talent, determination and her pure love for designing. The best advice that can be given to other interior designers or homeowners is to follow her example of being driven, determined and have a pure love for designing. If you do not love designing you will not be successful at it.
Waldo Fernandez, was born in Havana Cuba. He is a trailblazer in the interior designing world. Why? Because he is not afraid to put objects from different time periods in the same room. He pioneered this timeless look and he has created some famous interior designs in homes located in Los Angeles, California.
His designs are unique and his signature designs involve strategically placing objects from different time periods in such a way that they flow symmetrically and bring out the natural beauty in every room in the home. He is not afraid to try new and bold designs and this is what he is known for.
His advice to young interior designers would be to be a “perfectionist in interior designs.” He gained national attention when he designed the “greenroom” for the academy awards.
The New York Wonder
Thom Filicia, started his critically acclaimed design firm in 1998, in New York City, New York. His illustrious designs have been featured worldwide. He has appeared on many top-ranking television shows in the past. He has hosted his own show and he has been called by the “House & Garden” as the “International Taste Maker”.
He was also named one of the top 100 interior designers by “House and Beautiful” and he has been featured in top interior and design magazines. His style is to create stunning modern but classical interior designs that maintain their aesthetic beauty. He creates designs based on the individual’s personality and he has designed for many famous clients. His advice would be to create stunning modern designs blended with classic simplicity. Young interior designers could take from his many famous designs one constant theme and that is create “a timeless design in a timely manner.” In other words, create an interior design that will have a timeless appeal but don’t take forever in creating the design.
The Wrap up
We have discussed some of the top interior designers in the world today and we spoke about a legend who recently died. If you are an aspiring interior designer it is the purpose of this article to give you a starting point to launch your promising career from. It was also written to share some of the collective creative genius of some of the best interior designers the world knows and has known.