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Brinda Goswami

Verified Expert in Interior Design

As a founder of iii studio, Brinda has designed and executed over 100+ projects with a special focus on luxurious residential designing. She is the owner & principal designer at iii studio, Hyderabad.

Blog » Interior Design Concepts » 10 Most Famous Interior Designers You Should Know

Famous Interior Designers in the World

A beautiful home – something that is included in almost every bucket list of things one would want for living their version of a perfect life. While everyone would love for their home to be seen as a personal statement that defines themselves, there are those who reach beyond that and turn their homes, offices, and other spaces into shrines of design and excellence.

And what makes homes better than the interior designers who leave a remarkable effect on every home? Maybe it’s the walls, the carpets, or perhaps just a fresh touch of intricately shaped paints but interior designers have an eye for turning every personal castle into a model home to the envy of neighbors and such.

If you’re a fan of good design (just like us), then you probably have tabs on all the latest furniture pieces, seasonal trends, trending items, and collectibles and who’s got them. You must also share our love of knowing the a-list of interior designers who have made history and those who are at the forefront of interior design today.

Today, we talk about the best interior designers in the world and why we are in awe of their award-winning designs. Architecture and interior design are not stationary professions. Styles, trends, technologies, tastes are constantly evolving. Here is our salute to the 10 award-winning interior designers that have not only met their challenges but exceeded all expectations with their designs.

Read also – 20 Most Famous Female Interior Designers

10 Famous Interior Designers:

1. Philippe Starck
2. Albert Hadley
3. David Hicks
4. Billy Baldwin
5. Elsie de Wolfe
6. Dorothy Draper
7. Jonathan Adler
8. Axel Vervoordt
9. Kelly Wearstler
10. Peter Marino

1. Philippe Starck

Philippe Starck is a famous French industrial and interior designer, architect, and creator. From utensils to factories, apartments to hotels, most of Starck’s designs have grown to have a cult following. The hotels that he has designed have defined the modern global cityscape. He was first recognized in 1982 when he designed the apartment belonging to French President Francois Mitterrand. His most famous creations are the Ghost chair, Ero|S| chair, Bubble Club Sofa and Armchair, and La Bohème stool. His most revered interior works remain The Peninsula Hong Kong in Hong Kong, Café Costes in Paris, and fashion lounges all over France.

Philippe Starck

Paradis du Fruit is perhaps his signature creation along with the Ghost Chair and Ktribe Lighting range that caught the attention of French nobility and have been adorned in upper-class French chateaux and even the Élysée palace(official residence of the French President). Known for his democratic style of design, the designer stresses the concept of objects being good before being beautiful. He further gained widespread acclaim for introducing a new philosophy of equality design stating that good designs must be available for all regardless of the price.

interior design of Philippe Starck

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Mama Shelter Hotel in Marseille, France is another project which has been described as an Alice in Wonderland experience with surprises at every corner marked with simple furniture and an ample atmosphere.

Read also – How Much Do Interior Designers Make?

2. Albert Hadley

Albert Hadley, one of the top designers in New York was part of Parish-Hadley, an interior design firm run by Dorothy “Sister” Parish (1910-1994) and Hadley (1920-2012). This Manhattan-based design firm has held out its position as one of the USA’s blue-chip design organizations for many decades. Albert Hadley was known for his knack for wedding glamour and functionality, a trait not many designers can boast of.

Fondly known as the “Dean of American Decorators”, Hadley had an impressive client list -Astor, Mellon, Getty, and Rockefeller are a few to name. Even so, he believed “Names are not really the point”, he said in an interview with New York Magazine in 2004. “It’s what you can achieve for the simplest person. Glamour is only part of it, not the essence. Design is about discipline and reality, not just about fantasy beyond function and reality”.

Albert Hadley

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A Tennessee man, Hadley was known for his modern designs with subtle hints of various other design styles like traditional, futuristic, and art deco. His innate sense of balance in design was a major factor for his work to be appreciated worldwide.

Hadley and Parish were known for their truly inspired designs with futuristic modernity such as the Kennedy White House. They were also excellent minimalists and their traditional designs have truly stood the test of time and are still studied by design students all over the world. One of their most iconic designs is still the Parish’s New York Dining Room.

Much like Diana Quasha one of Hadley’s clients, he was the decorator to pursue if you wanted something interesting, functional, and beautiful, not just traditional, modern, or industrial.

Read also – Life of an Interior Designer

design of Albert Hadley

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3. David Hicks

David Nightingale Hicks began his career drawing cereal boxes for the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. He was born in Essex, England in 1929 and graduated from the Central College of Art. He rose to popularity when a magazine article about the makeover he designed for his mother’s house in London went, in what could be termed as, viral. That was the true start of his career as a decorator and interior designer.

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Hicks was perhaps best known for being a firm critic of designs reminiscent of stuffy old English homes. He was more interested in mixing colors, patterns, and shapes of furniture and decor to produce a luxe decor that would leave inhabitants awe-struck. His design for the Helena Rubenstein combined purple tweed walls laden with upholstered seats and magenta colors that set the interior design stream by storm. His fresh, contrasting and opposing styles.

His designs have reached the rooms of Prince Charles and Princess as well as the tech-influenced QE2 ocean liner and a yacht for King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Hicks maintained his designs which lived on with his daughters Edwina Brudenell and India Hicks, as well as his Ashley who is a London-based architect.

Read also – How To Become An Interior Designer?

interior design of David Hicks

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4. Billy Baldwin

Billy Baldwin was perhaps the only interior designer who hated the term. He preferred to be known as a ‘decorator’ even though his contribution and approach to design a home qualified him way above the title even he preferred. As far away from being a maximalist, Billy Baldwin was not exactly a minimalist either. Quality and comfort were Baldwin’s guiding principles. He believed in building up from the “good bones” of a space.

The architecture was almost the primary factor in his projects, much more important to him than decoration. “Scale and proportion give everlasting satisfaction that cannot be achieved by only icing the cake”, were some of Baldwin’s most well-known words.

Billy Baldwin - interior designer

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Apart from decorating, furniture design, and being a favorite of high-end clients in California and Hollywood, Billy Baldwin was added to the International Best Dressed List in 1974. Be it his perfectly tailored suits or the well-defined lines and textures of his interiors, their immaculate nature was there for all to see.

It is said that all great men are eccentric. He certainly came across as so to other designers in his approach. Many of the decorators of his era discarded the client’s personal belongings and began with a blank slate, though he only used them in the design. Even taking into consideration the nature of the wardrobes, he claimed that he had “a natural interest” toward women’s clothes and that they were going to be worn in the spaces that he would work on.

interior design of Billy Baldwin

Whatever project he worked on, scale and proportions were his ruling tenets. From reworking the interiors of Cole Porter’s Waldorf Towers apartment to Jackie O’s home on Skorpios – or completely changing the Soho Park Avenue living room of Diana Vreeland – Baldwin amazed the design world with his residential, townhouse, and victorian projects.

Upholstered furniture, in dark colours and simplistic building books, is another classic part of the Baldwin look. Baldwin still has been described as the foremost authority on decorating since the publication of his book, Billy Baldwin Decorates, in the early 1970s.

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5. Elsie de Wolfe

Elsie de Wolfe (1859 – 1950) was a New York City theater actress who delved into a design studio and started off as a decorator in 1904. She also designed a lot of her film sets.

“I believe in optimism and white paint”, are words that every designer is familiar with. She is also the mother of interior design or interior stylist as a career. Animal prints is one of the most remarkable and memorable contributions that live on in the modern world.

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Though her fame may have begun in theatre, her triumph in society was aided by her flair of decorating a room and her trademark design language: French country furniture, leopard print, tropical flowers, zebra, mirrored, and even calico wall coverings, and sometimes bathrooms decorated like living rooms. Her trademark designs and patterns can easily be seen in this picture of a room in her Versailles Villa Trianon home. She had the aesthetic sense of a fashion designer and a spatial understanding that every decorator envied.

Wolfe’s prestigious portfolio also includes the infamous remodeling of the Colony Club, a women’s society in Manhattan, New York. Her usage of treillage as an interior wall shade was iconic and groundbreaking.

Read also – 17 Best Interior Design Magazines

interior design of Elsie de Wolfe

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6. Dorothy Draper

Dorothy Draper (1889 – 1969) was a true blue American and a true icon is not just American but world history of interior design. Her fame, design sense and flair led her to have her own syndicated advice column for design-related questions. Using luxurious plastering, floral patterns, and bold, prominent stripes in her designs, she created her trademark style admired by many and featured in multiple editions of the New York Times. Draper was revered for her flair of giving a luxe flourish to hospitality interiors.

Dorothy Draper - famous interior designer

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Her enviable portfolio includes hotels like the Casino Hotel Quintandinha in Brazil, Greenbrier in West Virginia and the famous Fairmount hotel in San Francisco. Her expression of luxury with vivid colors and patterns and signature black and white flooring can be seen in the image here from within the Greenbrier.

Read also – How Do High-End Designers Get Interior Design Clients On A Low Budget?

interior design of Dorothy Draper

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7. Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler wears many hats as a designer. From pottery to pillows, lighting fixtures to furniture items, residential projects to hotels – Adler has been breaking convention in design and setting new trends since 1993 when his pottery exhibition was debuted at Barneys. His bold and cheeky designs made him rise to popularity after which he extended his portfolio from ceramics to basically everything that interiors would require. He is known for his quirky designs that create a light atmosphere and induces mirth.

Jonathan Adler

His use of bold and vivid colors, sharp lines. Even though he has been at the top of his profession, Jonathan Adler never completed his interior design certification. His trademark approach and flair for combining colors and patterns enabled him to have not just a successful interior design firm but multiple license deals with firms such as H&M Home Store and Kravet. Apart from working on model apartments and private residences, Adler’s design studio has also designed the interiors of Eau Palm Beach and Parker Palm Springs. He also has his own brand – ‘Now House’ under which he sells his creations and furniture.

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8. Axel Vervoordt

A Belgian interior designer, art and antique dealer and one of Hollywood’s favorite home decor experts, Axel Vervoordt is known for his private showroom, creative and minimalist designs that blend modern-day functionality into his designs. Considered a master of minimalism by many, Vervoordt has been sought after by multiple celebrities to design their homes.

His ability to create timeless designs with a modern and minimalist touch has been in style since 50 years ago when he created his first design. His enviable portfolio includes designing the homes of celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Sting, and Bill Gates! His work has been praised and recognized by various publications and TV shows such as the New York Times, Elle Decor and HGTV.

Axel Vervoordt is known for his refined understanding of space and colors and his keen eye for antiques and decorative items. The core principle of Axel Vervoordt’s design studio is that a home should be an expression of the owner’s soul. His impeccable taste manifests in his personal collection as well as his designs. With a holistic understanding of what others might call metaphysical concepts, Alex believes in harmony of proportions.

The living room shown in the image captures the essence of Axel Vervoordt’s approach to design – loads of natural light, minimalist designs, a mixture of elements and neutral colors contrasted by bold, colorful furniture items and antiques. It is this subtle mixture of timelessness and modern minimalist ideas that has made him one of the most sought-after interior designers in Los Angeles and the world over.

Read also – How To Get New Clients For Your Interior Design Business?

9. Kelly Wearstler

One of the most revered and sought-after contemporary interior designers in the USA and all over, Kelly Wearstler has marked her territory in the industry by refusing to conform to regular, boring patterns. She rose to popularity over 20 years ago when the CEO of the Kor Group of builders, approach the then up-and-coming Kelly Wearstler to design a model room for the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Being new to the hospitality scene, she was unsure. Inspired by the boomerang shape of the building, her nuanced approach to designing the space with mid-century modern fittings made her an instant success. She later went on and married Brad Korzen.

Kelly Wearstler

Kelly Wearstler is known for approaching design as an intuitive process. Her flair for combining unexpected colors, patterns, and lines with the perfect furnishings. She describes the design as “falling in love over and over again”. She has been featured in the prestigious Architectural Digest’s AD100 list of the best interior designers all over the world and Elle Decor’s A-List. With her unique style of blending different eras of furniture, mixing color with sophistication, she has revolutionized the face of contemporary American design.

Wearstler’s portfolio includes designs created for the Viceroy Hotels and Residences, Anguilla’s Four Seasons and the Proper Hotels in San Francisco and Austin. Apart from a strong hospitality portfolio, she has also designed residential masterpieces for Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz and Gwen Stefani.

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10. Peter Marino

The fashion industry’s favorite interior designer, Peter Marino established his design company in 1978 and since then has been sought after for designing luxury showrooms for brands like Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Fendi, Chanel, and Dior. Prior to owning his own design practice, Marino has worked with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; George Nelson; and I.M. Pei/Cossutta & Ponte.

Peter Marino

His residential projects and boutique designs are known for their luxe materials and furnishings and exquisite art displays. Peter Marino’s best work according to him is the Getty residences project in West Chelsea. The unity of art, design, and architecture is something that is not just Marino’s but London’s pride and a true interior design legacy.

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That’s it for our list of the top 10 most famous legendary and contemporary interior designers known throughout the world, sought after by the most elite and admired by every designer. If you think we have missed some great names, do let us know! We’d love to know who your favorite interior designers are.

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