TOP 10 MODERN INTERIOR DESIGNERS
Serenity is the overriding feeling at the sight of Deborah Oppenheimer’s exceptional designs. The South African designer mastered the art of understanding materials and communicating mood through visual means during her early career in art direction and fashion design. After adding Zurich and Switzerland to the list of countries she’s lived in, Oppenheimer launched her interiors business in Hong Kong in 1993. To this date she hasn’t stopped travelling, putting her creative spin on global locations, from New York to Phuket, where she fuses striking lighting solutions, elegant soft accessories and understated furniture. It’s Oppenheimer’s affinity for open space, symmetry and light and dark that gives her work a thoroughly modern appeal. While residential spaces are her forte, the designer has also branched out into commercial commissions, designing a luxury retail space in Hong Kong’s impressive International Finance Centre (IFC).
2. JEREMIAH BRENT
With no formal training, it was his natural artistic instinct and hobby for deconstructing furniture that gave Jeremiah Brent the skills to start his eponymous design firm. Taking on the position of assistant to A-list stylist Rachel Zoe in 2011 gave him an invaluable insight into running a luxury business and working with VIPs. From here the designer went on to build his own little black book of high-profile clients – Rachel Zoe herself and celebrity colourist Rita Hazan have commissioned Jeremiah to decorate their homes. While his firm specialises in diverse projects, from luxurious penthouses to super-chic nightclubs, his entire portfolio is unified by a steadfast exhibition of fresh interior design. It’s Brent’s mantra – “Interior design, like fashion, is art we live our lives in” – that keeps his work consistently desirable. The incorporation of the beauty and style of high fashion results in sharp, sleek interiors characterised by clean colours, gorgeous materials and subtle vintage accents.
3. JOSEPH DIRAND
Dirand made our top French interior designers shortlist and we couldn’t resist featuring him again for his ultra-modern designs. With a respected photographer for a father and fashion designer mother, creativity is clearly embedded in the genes. Dirand followed the family’s creative footsteps by starting his interior design firm in the late nineties and has gone on to apply his less-is-more philosophy to private residences and exotic hotels around the world, and introduce a new class of luxury retail stores by designing boutiques for brands such Rick Owens, Chloé, Givenchy and Balmain. His penchant for marble, a minimalist colour palette, maximised light and well-spaced furniture are what attributes his portfolio with a distinctly modern attitude.
4. 1508 LONDON
Another must-mention maestro in the modern interior design field is 1508 London. Designers at the UK-based firm are unbounded by design dogma and view each project as unique, looking to develop a story using the history and geography of spaces for inspiration. Locations the firm has worked its modern magic on include luxurious residences in London, a five-star hotel in Venice and penthouse in Istanbul. This image from Project Elizabeth – a Victorian postal office converted into a high-impact apartment-cum-gallery – demonstrates the firm’s powerful expertise with materials. Pre-cast concrete doors on its first floor mezzanine are cleverly crafted with timber inside to make them lighter and perforated with bespoke acrylic lenses to amplify light throughout the space. Unsurprisingly, the firm won the Best London Interior Award for this project at the prestigious UK Property Awards last year and we’re certain it won’t be the last.
They may be architects first and foremost but Marmol Radziner know more than a thing or two about interior design – and landscape, furniture and jewellery design for that matter. The full service firm, founded in 1989 by Leo Marmol and Ron Radziner, has created award-winning modern masterpieces in New Zealand, Arizona and California to name just a few places. With its residential projects, it aims to “design homes to absorb stories of a hundred years” focusing on the relationship between the client and the space to create a perfectly tailored environment. Materials that age well, such as concrete, wood and natural stone, are a resolute favourite with the firm as is creating fluidity between indoor and outdoor design. It also uses each project site to influence design decisions so that spaces become elegantly rooted in their surroundings.
6. HARE + KLEIN
Down Under is represented in our top 10 by Hare + Klein. The Australian-based firm, headed by Meryl Hare, have enjoyed an impressive 27-year lifespan to date and are still going strong. What’s the secret to its success? Creating modern interior design without a sell-by date. Sleek surfaces and subtle colourways give its projects a timeless quality and no matter how big or small a room is, each space the firm touches feels stylishly spacious and brought to life with just the right amount of luxe accessories. The multi-award winning practice doesn’t just curate modern-looking spaces but tackles its projects with a modern mindset, carefully considering the sustainability of materials. In this image from one of its residential triumphs, the firm’s talent for showing off contemporary art to its utmost potential is immediately evident.
7. MR ARCHITECTURE + DECOR
With a CV that boasts renovating Christian Dior and Lanvin stores, there was no question that MR Architecture + Decor would scoop a place on our shortlist. It seems there’s nothing the 30-person New York-based studio can’t do as it specialises in everything from ground-up construction to interior architecture, design and decoration for residential and commercial capacities. Space, proportion and light are primary concerns in each of its projects, which are always tailored to perfectly suit the client’s needs. Its stand-out residential work never wavers from reaching the highest standards and rolls captivating staircases and exceptional lighting installations up with contemporary art and unique rugs. Each project is truly individual and the firm executes a sleek, sophisticated sensibility with just as much success as rustic modern luxury.
8. NEAL BECKSTEDT STUDIO
Since its inception in 2010, Neal Beckstedt’s studio was tipped as one to watch – and rightly so. The boutique design firm has grown from to strength to strength and now holds an extensive range of projects to its name including London townhouses and the oceanfront holiday home of fashion designer Derek Lam. “My core design aesthetic is always creating a restrained sense of luxury, resulting in a space feeling both effortless and timeless,” the designer explains. Whilst his work delivers a modern vibe, Beckstedt doesn’t forget to pay attention to functionality and comfort. “My designs balance rich textures and tailored details to create spaces that are modern, comfortable, inviting, and infused with warmth and ease.” And to add greater desire to his work, Beckstedt is an aficionado when it comes to clean colour palettes, capturing relaxed elegance with neutral schemes.
9. ERIC KUSTER
A fully fledged master of luxury, Eric Kuster has turned his hand to interior design, magazines, fashion design and furniture manufacturing. It’s his ability to leave a mark of “metropolitan luxury” on spaces that has led him to be appointed to design everything from luxurious homes and hotels to must-visit nightclubs and the VIP lounge of Barcelona’s football stadium. The Kuster look is masculine and monochrome. A sense of drama and moody atmosphere is conjured in his work by his seamless integration of light and shade. Hints of opulence are attained in many of his projects as metallic tones and sheeny upholstery are balanced by furniture pieces with a raw, natural aesthetic. The designer approaches each project with the location at the forefront of his mind, painting laid-back colours in exotic private residences in keeping with the natural setting and sourcing antique chandeliers for period homes.
10. MARCEL WANDERS
After opening the doors to his studio in 1995, Marcel Wanders rose to international acclaim the following year for his iconic Knotted Chair design and now the Dutch-born creative is the leader of a powerhouse of around 50 international design specialists and co-founder of successful design label Moooi. While innovative materials, techniques and pops of bold colours are constants in his design vocabulary, his work also makes references to historical styles with flamboyant details, ornate patterns and overstated sculptural features. His avant-garde vision has attracted collaborations with esteemed brands such as Swarovski, Puma and MAC, and commissions to design the world’s most luxurious hotels. Oversized bells encasing chandeliers, extravagant seating solutions and stunning wall panelling are just a few of the many unpredictable, but brilliant, features that pack his projects with his magnetic personality.