Textured By Design
The talent featured in our new overview of contemporary interior designers very much take the rough with the smooth
Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? Answers lie in our new book, By Design: The World’s Best Contemporary Interior Designers. In this title a panel of experts put forward individuals and practices creating some of the best interiors of the moment.
Of course, in the age of Instagram, it’s hard not to judge a designer’s work from a visual point of view. However, plenty of nominating panel went beyond looks, to consider feel. “In making her nominations, the esteemed architectural and design writer Pilar Viladas included those whose work is informed by the past but that also pushes design forward, and she contemplated the different ways in which designers approach their work,” explains William Norwich, Phaidon’s commissioning editor for fashion and interior design, and in the book’s introduction. “‘Some are adept at making art an integral part of their rooms,’ she suggests, ‘while others are creating their own art for their interiors.’ Irrespective of their process, however, Viladas selected designers that ‘all share a certain level of sophistication [and an understanding of] how texture and nuance help make a room feel comfortable.’”
You practically feel the contrasting texture in the photos of LA designer Kelly Wearstler’s work. “Wearstler credits her love of natural materials and processes—gorgeous marble, luxe fur, metal surfaces with a romantic patina—to her childhood in South Carolina spent by the shore,” explains our book. “Her early passion, combined with an education and training in Boston and New York, led to Wearstler becoming a worldwide phenomenon by the 2000s, known for her unique Maximalist vision for boutique hotels and her vibrant commercial and residential projects.” That haptic charm comes across in full effect in this contrasting stones and textiles in this Malibu residence, that the designer worked on in 2009 (top picture).
Over on the East Coast, New York practitioner Courtney McLeod, founder of Right Meets Left Design, has gained a similarly textural reputation As her entry in By Design puts it, McLeod is “known for her brio: bold, bright upholstery and wallpapers are characteristic of her work. Such vivacious colors may feel like risks for others, but for McLeod, who worked fifteen years in finance, a vivid palette is a sure thing. Yet, thanks to a calibration of delicate accents, layered textures, and choice patterns, her spaces are playful and serene, not an assault on the senses.” Her work on a private residence at Sands Point on Long Island, New York, brings all that home.
Belgium’s iconic architect and designer Vincent Van Duysen adopts a similar, though perhaps more restrained approach. His timeless, textured interiors have earned him prestigious awards, A-list clients, and five monographs during his thirty-year career,” says By Design. “Like the best of his trade, Van Duysen is an artisan, designing every small detail from the ground up. Restrained in color and sparsely furnished, his interiors share an intense physicality, born from an intuitive sense of material and form. He credits this, in part, to his early work with Italian architect Aldo Cibic, whose focus on abstraction and elemental shapes is an enduring inspiration.”
Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in Van Duysen’s own home, where, as our book puts it, with bone colors, time-weathered woods, and custom modern touches, he created “a marvelous fusion of the raw and the refined. A decade after renovating the former notary house, Van Duysen peeled back the layers of time once again to create a ‘hermit’s retreat’ in the attic. Paying homage to its heritage, he sourced seventeenth-century oak to form a new floor and functional wall. The old conceals the new: a huge bluestone bathtub and gray gloss-lacquered shower.”
To see Van Duysen’s beautiful bathroom, as well as much more besides, order a copy of By Design here.