Phaidon’s ‘By Design’ Showcases Stunning Interiors Across The Globe


The flat, tasteless interior design trends of decades past have officially left the building, according to design editor Billy Norwich.

“In the 1980s, a person would get a job with an expense account, fly to a big city, and be registered at the Four Seasons Hotel. And because the Four Seasons didn’t look like where they came from – with marble and all – they thought it was the pinnacle of design, ”says Norwich. “Then there was a period in the ’90s when people would say to their decorators,’ I want my house to look like the Four Seasons hotel ‘. It made the decorators miserable.

Thankfully, we’ve left that bland behind and entered a much more exciting architectural era, in which personal taste – informed by actual travel as much as the ability to browse Pinterest and Instagram – reigns supreme. “The new international style is based on a global mix of influences,” says Norwich. “A little oriental, a little western, a little cowboy, a little Parisian, a little British chair, all of this can exist in the same environment.

Gristanti & Cussen: Riksbyggen, show apartment, Uppsala, Sweden, 2019. Photo by Idha Lindhag, courtesy of Grisanti & Cussen.

By design: the world‘s best contemporary interior designers (released this week from Phaidon and featured by Norwich) is about as close as you can get to an encyclopedia of the current state of interior design in the world. It’s both a beautiful coffee table book and a useful reference tool, whether you’re looking to hire one of the featured decorators to renovate your mansion, or just need some ideas to spruce up your studio.

Studio Ashby: Floral Court, private residence, London, UK, 2019. Photo by Philip Durrant, courtesy of Studio Ashby.

To put together the dynamic list, Phaidon reached out to a network of dozens of taste makers and design experts, including Hut Editor-in-chief Martina Mondadori, writer Amy Fine Collins, stylist Mieke ten Have and photographer Miguel Flores-Vianna – to name the studios that they believe were doing the most original and impactful work today ‘ hui. The only criterion: the designers presented had to be currently working and have been working since 2015. Apart from that, they could work in any style or be at any stage of their career. Some proposers focused on sustainability, others made their choices based on comfort, novelty, relatability or innovation.

Sophie Dries Architect: Street Art Collector Family Apartment, Paris, France, 2018. Photo by Stephan Julliard, courtesy of Sophie Dries.

The designers came from established design centers like Milan, London, Hong Kong and New York, as well as booming homes like Amsterdam, Sydney and Los Angeles. Readers have the chance to take a look at projects from established names like Rafael de Cárdenas, Tom Scheerer and Bunny Williams, as well as discover lesser-known talents like New York-based Young Huh and London favorite Beata Heuman. Even the Call me by your name Director Luca Guadagnino, who designed private homes as well as stores for the Aesop skincare brand, made the cut.

Romanek Design Studio: The Bu, private residence, Malibu, CA, USA, 2019. Photo by Justin Coit, courtesy of Romanek Design Studio.

I asked Norwich what, aside from moving away from cookie-cutter beige styling, is fundamentally different from the luxury spaces that are designed today compared to 30 years ago. Are there real innovations that have changed the way we interact with space? It’s not so much a look or a new technology as it is a process, he says: The most talented thinkers are reusing materials and thinking about sustainability in whole new ways, like reclaimed terracotta tiles. found in houses abandoned by the Shanghai firm. Linehouse. (Although, ironically Norwich, “the wealthy always used to say that buying antiques at auction was environmental.”)

And when it comes to trends or defining a definition of “good taste,” you can forget it. “Anyone is allowed to participate in the party,” says Norwich. “Previously, in design, there was a clearly defined ‘good’ and ‘bad’. It used to be that people were appalled at something. I don’t think people are appalled anymore. In a way, anything goes.

“Anything that is interesting and rigorous deserves our attention,” he adds. “The era of edicts is over. It’s all about opinion and pleasure. “

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