Image above: courtesy of the Greenbrier.

Interior designing is an art. Whether it’s a simple home in the neighborhood or a decked-out mansion in the middle of a metropolitan city, it is a beautiful interior that makes a place stand out among the rest. Besides making it more appealing to the eye, the decorations of a room also act as an expression of the designer’s style. And with any masterpiece, there is an artist behind its creation. Here are some of the most influential interior designers both in the past and in the present who have forever changed the design industry for the better with their unique and creative techniques.

Foto: idshowcase.co.uk

Elsie de Wolfe

Elsie de Wolfe, also known to many as “America’s first decorator”, was truly an innovator of her time. Born in 1859, she was a theatre actress in New York before entering the world of interior design. Known for her iconic quote, “I believe in optimism and plenty of white paint”, Elsie’s signature style continues to be used up to today. The designer’s style is marked by authentic French furniture, bathrooms that are decorated at the same level as living rooms, and her major contribution of adding animal print designs to her arrangements.

Albert Hadley

Albert Hadley, also a prominent interior designer from New York, is known as the “Dean of American Decorators”. Born in 1920, Hadley is also remembered by many as being a co-partner of the prestigious design firm Parish-Hadley which is based in Manhattan. He is most known for his mastery of modern design but with a mix of other styles such as art deco, futuristic, and traditional. “Never less, never more” is Hadley’s mantra when it comes to creating his technique.

Foto: dtale.design

Billy Baldwin

 Billy Baldwin was a designer who actually did not like the term “interior design”. Preferring himself to be known more as a “decorator”, Baldwin had a good eye for choosing designs that fit each room he worked on. Comfort and quality always came first with decorations made by Baldwin as he wanted to build up from the “good bones” of a space. Baldwin’s attention to the architecture of a room and its scaling is what many interior designers of today continue to take note of.

“If a client wants a nineteenth-century Gothic library, it is up to me to create the best nineteenth-century Gothic library ever done, whether I like it or not.”

Billy Baldwin

Sister Parish

 Sister Parish, the other half of the previously mentioned Manhattan firm Parish-Hadley, is another art genius hailing from New York. Born in 1910, Parish was born in a home filled with antique designs that had a heavy and dark appearance. However, Parish innovated a style that is the exact opposite — most known for her work on the Kennedy White House, designs made by Parish are praised for popularizing a relaxed and breezy style of interior design that makes good use of wicker, needlepoint, and ticking stripes accents.

Kelly Wearstler

Kelly Wearstler first made her name known in the interior design scene when she was commissioned to decorate a model room in the Avalon Hotel located in Beverly Hills, California. Since then, Wearstler has made significant contributions to the hospitality business with her signature styles. Some of which include using unique patterns and colors with furnishings and joining together furniture from different eras together to create a style that has never been seen before. Her influence has stretched across other hotels such as Viceroy Hotels and Residences and Proper Hotels.

Peter Marino

Peter Marino first created his own design company in 1978. And since its founding, many top brands have reached out to Marino’s firm to design one of their most prestigious showrooms. These include companies such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Dior to name a few. Marino is known for his use of luxurious decorations and sophisticated art displays in the rooms which he designs. According to him, Marino’s creative take on luxury is a style of interior design that continues to be incorporated in many room decorations.

Dorothy Draper

Dorothy Draper, born in 1889, is known by many as one of the legends of interior design not only in America but in the entire industry itself. Creating a trademark style that continues to inspire many decorators of today, Draper’s designs are described as using sophisticated plastering, floral patterns, and obvious stripes that stand out. Exploring room designs that either stuck with a strict black and white pattern or a more daring approach with colorful combinations, Draper is without a doubt a legend of interior design history.

Mario Buatta

Mario Buatta, affectionately called by others “The Prince of Chintz” for his repeated use of floral motifs, is another prominent name in the interior design industry. One of Buatta’s popular styles is his preference for using the color yellow in his works. He is most admired by maximalists for his proud use of tassels, ribbons, texture, and patterns. Buatta’s style can be defined by a quote he once said, “A house should grow in the same way that an artist’s painting grows. A few dabs today, a few more tomorrow, and the rest when the spirit moves you.”

David Hicks

David Hicks first started off as a cereal box artist for J. Walter Thompson, an advertising agency. Born in England in 1929, Hicks rose to prominence when his work on his mother’s London house was featured in a magazine article. Hicks did not take a liking to designs that reminded him of old English homes. On the other hand, Hicks’ influential style is described as mixing together patterns, colors, furniture shapes, and decor to create a room that is unique and easy on the eye as well.

Foto: courtesy of quietroomsgreen.com.

Jay Spectre

Jay Spectre, born in Kentucky in 1929, was most known for his take on modernism. Mixing it up with elements of luxury to produce a signature style admired by many designers of different generations. Some hints of Asian and African influences have also blended with Spectre’s own unique style. Art Deco is a major influence on Spectre, he is quoted as saying, “In the 20th century, Art Deco has been the greatest design element. It is our heritage and my inspiration.” Designing furniture with his own style is also a technique that fellow decorators have admired from Spectre.

Paul Williams

Paul Williams was a pioneer for interior designers during his time. Known for many titles such as being the first licensed architect to work west of Mississippi and the first Black member of the American Institute of Architects, Williams served as an inspiration for minorities to break through racial barriers. Fully aware of the discrimination that was going on back then, Williams persevered in many unique ways. He even taught himself how to write his designs upside down to account for the chance that white clients would not want to sit beside him. During his rewarding career, Williams has worked with many prestigious clients such as Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra.

Angelo Donghia

Angelo Donghia, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1935, is known for being an influential personality during the 70s and 80s. Donghia’s design style is remembered for its extravagant and eccentric flavor. He decorates his rooms with menswear fabric  (usually gray flannel), using it as upholstery for the walls. Donghia also incorporates sculptural furniture and wood floors into his decorations. He even went as far as to place an Afghani wedding tent inside his own home to add a little bit more flair.

Philippe Starck

Philippe Starck is a prominent architect and interior designer who hails all the way from France. Creating a style that is prominent in the hotel industry, the designs made by Stack have caught the attention of many prestigious institutions such as the Élysée palace — also known as the official residence of the French president. Besides being praised for his popular works such as the Ghost Chair and the Ktribe Lighting range, Starck is most influential for his philosophy that good designs should be accessible and available for everyone.

Mark Hampton

Mark Hampton is one of the interior designers that many remember as making a mark in American history. Working for other influential designers such as David Hicks and Sister Parish during the beginning of his career, Hampton has made a name for himself enough to establish a firm of his own in 1976. Even when inspired by the style of English country and the classic technique in his works, Hampton maximized the “American” feel in his decorations. He has designed interiors for at least three U.S. presidents during his influential career.

Jean-Michel Frank

Jean-Michel Frank first rose to prominence in Paris during the 1930s. Known as the most influential designer of his time (and even up to now), Frank lived the life of an artists. Most of Frank’s interiors had the works of Picasso and Braque hanging on their walls. While he is known to be a minimalist, Frank also incorporated elements of being maximalist in his work — creating a style that is hard to place a finger on but nonetheless easy on the eyes. Design and quality were the aspects that Frank embraced the most. He is remembered for creating one of the most popular minimalist pieces, the Parsons table.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Martyn Lawrence Bullard can be considered to be one of the most influential designers in recent times. Known as the decorator for many popular celebrities such as Elton John, Kylie Jenner, and Cher — Bullard is a successful decorator who continues to make waves in the industry. Included in The Hollywood Report’s Top 25 Designers List, Bullard’s style is described by many as “Hollywood glamour meets ethnic exotica”. His attention to the smallest details while at the same time taking on an experimental role with textures and colors is another unique technique that designers have come to admire from Bullard.

Image: Nicole England

Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler is a jack of all trades. Since earning his big break in the interior design industry in 1933 —when his pottery exhibition was featured at Barneys — Adler’s influence has quickly spread. His work is popularly known for blending colors and patterns together. Creating a style that has broken down the traditions and standards of design and starting a whole new movement in the process. Alongside his creativity, Adler is also known for the range of his work — from pillows, lighting, residential homes, and even hotels — you name it. Adler has an idea in mind for any type of design one could ever think of.

Axel Vervoordt

Axel Vervoordt, a Belgian art dealer and interior designer, is beloved by Hollywood and its many famous personalities for his distinguished style of decorating. Praised by many people as being a “master of minimalism”, Vervoordt not only makes designs that scream creativity, but he also makes it a priority that his said works are fully functional. Being able to perfectly capture space and colors in his decorations, Vervoordt’s philosophy is that a home should echo the soul of its owner. His attention to proportion also earns the respect of many designers and celebrities alike — leaving a good impression and influence on many.

Photography by Thomas Dozol.

India Mahdavi

India Mahdavi has been called by The New Yorker as being a “vitruoso of color”and also as a “possessor of perfect chromatic pitch” — which goes without saying that Mahdavi is an expert at what she does. First opening her design studio to the public in 1999, she has expanded her reach to many prestigious locations all over the world. From California, Japan, and even The Gallery at Sketch in London — also known to many as the most Instagrammed restaurant in the world — Mahdavi’s “touch” has reached many since her career first skyrocketed. Her influential design is marked by a perfect use of saturated space, a mx of elegance and “cartoonish” styles, and an expert use of colors in her works.

Ruby Ross Wood

Ruby Ross Wood, a New York interior designer born in 1881, did not always start off her career in the world of decoration. Previously working as a journalist and ghostwriter, Wood soon expanded her creative reach into the world of design. Breaking the stereotype that defined women as being timid and sophisticated, Wood was a “working” girl who became a role model for future female designers. Being one of the first decorators to use Etruscan furniture, Wood introduced many more styles into the interior design scene back then such as signature white Morrocan mugs and being one of the first importers of cotton print designs by Paule Marrot.

 

 

 

Author

Within interior design, I love the combination of old and new, a marriage of history and modernism, romanticism meeting minimalism. In addition, I have a burning passion for crispy silks, dark chocolate and long baths with a fragrance of lavender.

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