Building on Phaidon’s first foray into the interior design category, By Design: The World’s Best Contemporary Interior Designers introduces us to the most groundbreaking interior designers working today. The book which has been dubbed the Oscars of the design world, celebrates the globe’s greatest interior designers – and we’ve been given a preview with an edited extract of the best living rooms in the book, which we are sharing with you, below. 

See: Living room ideas – inspiring ways to decorate and furnish your space

1. Studio Ashby

With her Anglo/South African background, Sophie’s work reflects both heritages in a fresh, modern and welcoming way, whether it’s a design scheme for a penthouse overlooking the Thames, a boutique hotel or restaurant, or a rambling country or seaside retreat. 
 For this private residence in London’s upscale Floral Court development, Sophie has chosen a boldly captivating color palette, with unique pieces that included a burr-elm coffee table and a dining table with dried flowers, and lashings of contemporary shapes, art and furniture. Design philosophy: A sharp eye for combining antiques and modern furniture

2. Romanek Design Studio

Brigette Romanek opened her Los Angeles-based Romanek Design Studio in 2018, and has since garnered a huge following. Her studio has grown exponentially over two years, and it is easy to see why.  For this family home in Malibu, Brigette created a space that was elegant yet modern. A carefully-considered mix of sleek contemporary furniture, bold color and sublime texture make up this expertly-designed small living room. Design philosophy: A gift for incorporating her clients’ art collections, and a love of greenery

3. Kit Kemp

Kit Kemp is a powerhouse in the interior design world. Her day job may be as creative director of Firmdale Hotels, overseeing the look and style of 10 hotels, but her vision extends well beyond the ostentatious bedheads she is famous for.  As an author, public speaker and blogger, she fills her audience with a belief that they, too, can throw out the rulebook and pair seemingly mismatched patterns (don’t be fooled, however, there is plenty of method to what she does), and that they can bring a bit of color and verve to their lives. It’s this sense of fun and abandonment that has seen so many other brands lining up to work with her, hoping to harness her talents for themselves. As we discovered when working together on our June 2019 Centenary issue, she is a dream collaborator, able to see the whole and the micro, delighting in new ideas. Design philosophy: Organic materials, hand-crated designs and uplifting colors 

See: Small living room decor ideas – clever ways to plan and decorate a small space

4. Grisanti & Cussen

Chile-based boutique design firm Grisanti & Cussen was founded in 2007 by architect Hugo Grisanti and designer Kana Cussen. The duo are thorough researchers, gifted with a sense for color, texture and using sustainable materials.  This contemporary apartment in Sweden – designed for housing company Riksbyggen – marries the formal simplicity of Scandinavian furniture with the lively palettes of Latin America, with the living room walls painted in broad stripes of dusty pink and Spanish blue.  Design philosophy: Fun, color and vivaciousness 

5. Young Huh Interior Design

New York-based designer Young Huh is the creative behind Young Huh Interior Design. She founded her firm after deciding to turn away from a budding law career. For a client’s home in Mantoloking, New Jersey, Huh brings together an everlasting palette of crisp whites and apple greens, grounding the room with a Chinese silk rug and topping it off with a dreamy cloud-motif wallpaper on the ceiling. This home is a curated extension of the outside world.  Design philosophy: Elevated and purposeful, but also suited for play 

6. Daniel Romualdez

Daniel Romualdez has a constellation of high-profile clients, including Daphne Guinness, Tory Burch, Cornelia Guest, Aerin Lauder, and Mark Rockefeller. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Daniel started to work on his dream to work on interiors, initially in the offices of Thierry Despont, before opening his own firm in New York City in 1993.  In the living room, neutral, calming tones dominate. Elements of the natural world provide a focal point. Here, a geological specimen placed atop a coffee table made of logs creates an earthy connection. Design philosophy: Calm, tonal colors with unusual textures and raw materials

See: Small living room storage ideas – clever ways to clear clutter in a compact space

7. Fawn Galli

Known for her experimental style, Fawn Galli’s launched her own interior design and construction management firm in 2005.  Galli’s iconic-led approach came into play for a client’s residence in Short Hills, New Jersey. While eccentric and visually off beat, the designer has used acid yellow pops and Art Deco elements to create a space that if brimming with beauty and wonder. Design philosophy: Old-world elegance with modern sophistication

8. Tom Scheerer

Tom Scheerer is a master of the American East Coast, yet his allegiance isn’t to tradition but to comfort and elegance.  For the neutral palette interiors of an East Hampton house he designed in 2017, the enlivening accent is a color instead of decorative objects – a blue hue sings beautiful in this space Design philosophy: Never intimidating but are always striking and serene

9. Humbert & Poyet

Any interior designed by Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet is all about luxury, order and restraint. They revel in their profound know of this history of design, and this is evident in the spaces they create. Humbert & Poyet often choose to combine a classical Modernism with a sharp, contemporary edge. Villa Odaya, for example, in Cannes, references its Côte d’Azur artistic heritage throughout.  Design philosophy: Classical Modernism with a sharp, contemporary edge

Shop the book

A richly illustrated, authoritative global survey of the best and most creative interior designers and decorators working today. 

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