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5 of the most influential interior designers working today

Steve Parsons – WPA Pool // Getty Images

5 of the most influential interior designers working today

Kelly Hoppen after receiving an CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Our interiors influence us more than we think. Whether we can name the design styles splashing across our spaces or the designers who define them, our interiors have and always will influence our moods, sense of home, and taste.

The COVID-19 pandemic reminded people just how much their interiors mattered as lockdowns worldwide made our homes our only sanctuary. Lightweight home offices meant for paying bills and writing letters transformed into fully stocked, heavy-duty spaces ready to take on long work hours. In our search for more soothing environments, there was an even greater demand to bring more of nature indoors, whether through large sliding doors, generous windows, nature-themed interiors, or houseplants.

When it comes to our spaces, changes like these require creative minds. These designers—all with a unique eye for harmonizing color, texture, and space—have helped homeowners uncover the potential of a well-designed room, whether by incorporating bright and happy color palettes or leaning into the soothing effects of beige.

To demonstrate the reach of interior design, Lazzoni Modern Furniture highlighted five of the most influential interior designers in the world using reports from design authorities such as Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, and others. These at-a-glance bios will put a name to many of the design styles you’ve likely come across.

Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Juan Montoya

Juan Montoya attends Casita Maria Fiesta! 2023 at The Plaza

Born in Colombia and trained at Parsons School of Design with stints in Paris and Milan, Juan Montoya has a way of making interiors feel luxurious without being overbearing.

Since establishing his eponymous firm in 1978, Montoya has been wowing clients with his grasp of textures, shadow, and scale, a perspective afforded to him by his dual training in architecture and interior design. Over the past four decades, Montoya has worked around the globe, from New York City apartments tinged with art deco urban flair to earthy mountain retreats. At a Miami apartment, Montoya recreated a yachtlike sailing atmosphere, realizing his client’s dreams of living by the water.

His tastes have animated art galleries, offices, and luxury resorts, and his work earned him placements on Architectural Digest’s inaugural AD100 list and Elle Decor’s A-list. Additionally, Montoya was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in 1988.

Rob Kim // Getty Images

Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler attends the collection launch event for Jonathan Adler For Fisher-Price.

Many interior designers rise through the ranks via their ability to juxtapose decorative objects and make compatible aesthetic decisions. On the other hand, New York City-based Jonathan Adler started by creating the very objects he’d come to adorn his homes with.

In 1994, Adler convinced Barneys to purchase his pottery, legitimizing his skills and leading to his eventual work creating other small pieces and furniture, kickstarting a global wholesale business. With a design style self-defined “modern American glamour,” Adler has found a way to make the niche genre feel entirely applicable across geographies and spaces. One can easily spot an Adler space by its generous use of bright colors, gracefully loud formats, and the happy tone it imparts.

His spate of businesses today includes an e-commerce site, brick-and-mortar design stores, and, of course, a breadth of commercial and residential projects on which he imparts all his design acumen. In 2023, Adler opened a 2,500-square-foot store in London’s popular Kensington neighborhood. Still, by his own oft-cited accounts, he continues to live and work as a potter first and a multihyphenate designer second.

Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Axel Vervoordt

Axel Vervoordt attends the LongHouse Reserve New York Benefit Honoring Axel Vervoort

Axel Vervoordt is a designer who’s managed to occupy both traditional and off-the-cuff cultural spaces in equal measures. On one hand, he’s successfully defined the high-brow tastes of moneyed institutions, cultivating an aesthetic of curated luxury. On the other, he’s been employed by such celebrities as Sting and Ye to design their personal estates. To cement this foothold in the interior design world, he was even named to Architectural Digest AD100’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

Vervoordt first made his name through his impeccable ability to curate antique items that went against the grain of popular taste. His ability to pick out beautiful items—otherwise overlooked by other collectors—and arrange them in attractive contrast with their visual contexts helped him flourish as a designer, entrepreneur, and curator.

Though some might call his interiors minimalist, it would be more accurate to call them understated, with a “romantic sense of memory.” Today, his taste informs all his ventures, including an interior design firm, galleries across the world, and an antiques trading organization.

David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Kelly Hoppen

Kelly Hoppen

Kelly Hoppen attends her anniversary party celebrating 40 years as an Interior Designer, at Alva Studios.

It’s hard to imagine how a designer could become known for a color palette that ranges from taupe to beige, but that’s exactly what South Africa-born designer Kelly Hoppen has done. In design circles, Hoppen is even known as the “Queen of Taupe.” (In her own London home, Hoppen admits it took her six months to identify the right shade for her flooring). But Hoppen’s penchant for nuanced shades is only the beginning of her minimalist aesthetic.

Starting with her first commission when she was 16 years old, redesigning a kitchen for her stepfather’s friend, Hoppen’s reputation for blending a tranquil atmosphere with a modern aesthetic precedes her, attracting clients like the Beckhams and even being knighted. Using linen and juxtaposition of Eastern and Western design elements, clean lines, and neutral tones, Hoppen’s style skilfully creates a refined yet accessible space.

Ultimately, her entrepreneurial savvy is probably what launched her hard skills into the mainstream, helping her forge roles as a TV personality, a 10-time author, an entrepreneur, and a designer to the stars.

Kim Landy // Getty Images for NGV

India Mahdavi

India Mahdavi speaks at event.

It’s hard to pin international designer India Mahdavi’s style down to a single set of adjectives. Much like her background (Iranian, Egyptian, and Scottish) and multicultural upbringing (in the United States, Germany, and France), her eclectic aesthetic is playful, informed by myriad cultures, and always captivating, especially in her use of color.

Even her training is diverse: Mahdavi received her architecture degree from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and moved into interior design while in New York City, spending the year studying graphic design at Parsons, furniture at Cooper Union, and industrial design at the School of Visual Arts. Her most formative education likely came at Christian Liaigre’s Paris design studio, where she worked as an art director. Shortly after, Mahdavi opened her own design studio, as well as her showroom and interior accessories store.

Mahdavi makes playful, colorful choices in any given room, such as pairing curvaceous pink chairs with a lattice wall or a zebra-print rug with a plush C-shaped aquamarine sofa. Despite the splashy palette, Mahdavi’s work is anything but crude, always emanating a warm sense of curated optimism.

Today, the Paris-based Mahdavi continues to impart her expertise via her showroom, boutique, and interior design practice, including work for a contemporary and modern art museum in Trondheim, Norway, opening in 2025.

Story editing by Carren Jao. Copy editing by Paris Close.

This story originally appeared on Lazzoni Modern Furniture and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

Article Topic Follows: Life

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