A Brave New World: Pioneering Design Statements by European and American Interior Designers

In the ever-evolving world of interior design, certain designers stand out for their fearless approach and innovative creations. We explore the dynamic landscape of design, contrasting the safe players from Europe with the rule-breakers from America. We delve into the remarkable works of eight interior designers who have made bold design statements, drawing inspiration from the spaces they have crafted. European interior designers have long been known for their refined sensibilities and attention to detail. These safe players navigate the realms of design with precision and elegance, creating spaces that exude timeless charm. One such visionary is Alessandra Branca, an Italian-born designer based in Rome and Chicago. At the heart of Alessandra Branca’s design philosophy lies her meticulously curated atelier, a creative sanctuary where timeless elegance meets contemporary flair. 


Branca’s artistry radiates peculiarity and energy with seamless geometry and bright shades; Image credits: Simon Upton


Within its walls, Branca collaborates with skilled artisans, selecting sumptuous fabrics, restoring classic furniture, and drawing inspiration from architectural heritage to create harmonious interiors that transcend cultural boundaries. Guided by her innate sense of style and fueled by collaboration, Branca’s atelier is a hub of creativity and innovation, where bespoke designs come to life, evoking emotions and telling captivating stories through every element.

Another European designer known for his impeccable taste is Axel Vervoordt, the renowned Belgian interior designer and art dealer. Drawing inspiration from the concept of Wabi-Sabi, his spaces embody simplicity, authenticity, and a sense of serenity. One standout example of Vervoordt’s exceptional talent can be seen in his collaboration with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West for their Calabasas mansion. This project showcases Vervoordt’s masterful ability to blend minimalism with warmth, creating a space that not only reflects the couple’s style but also maintains a sense of tranquility.


Axel Vervoordt masterfully blends simplicity with tastefulness with muted tones and symmetry in Kim and Kanye’s Calabasas Mansion;Image credits: Jackie Nickerson


Vervoordt carefully curated a subdued colour palette in the Calabasas mansion and utilized natural materials to create a harmonious and inviting atmosphere. The interiors exude a sense of elegant simplicity, with clean lines, open spaces, and a deliberate selection of furniture and decor. Vervoordt’s keen eye for detail is evident in every aspect of the design, from the choice of textures to the placement of artwork. Integrating organic elements, such as wood and stone, further enhances the connection between the interior and the surrounding natural landscape.

We can’t speak of European designers without mentioning Ilse Crawford – a luminary in the realm of interior design, who brings a distinctive touch to her projects that is both human-centric and aesthetically resonant. Her approach is exemplified in the Embassy House project in Beijing’s diplomatic quarter, completed in 2015. Here, Crawford skillfully orchestrates a symphony of earthy tones, utilizing wood as a connective thread to weave through the entire apartment seamlessly. The interiors are characterized by curves and angled geometry, creating a dynamic and visually intriguing space. The tactile and robust material palette not only enhances the connection to nature but also imparts a sense of solidity and permanence. 


Ilse Crawford orchestrates a symphony of earthy tones in Embassy House, Beijing, utilizing wood as a connective thread to create a dynamic and visually intriguing space; Image credits: Design Boom


Another masterpiece showcasing Crawford’s ingenuity is the Chalet in Switzerland, completed in 2015. Nestled in the serene Swiss Alps, the Chalet is a family home where Crawford employs a warm palette that effortlessly blends with the breathtaking outdoor surroundings. Through the Chalet project, Ilse Crawford once again demonstrates her mastery in crafting environments that not only captivate the eye but also evoke a range of emotions, transforming living spaces into timeless, adaptable havens.


In the Chalet, Switzerland, Ilse Crawford employs a warm palette seamlessly blending with the breathtaking outdoor surroundings; Image credits: Felix Odell


Next on our list is Patricia Urquiola, who is renowned for her innovative and versatile approach, marked by a recurring theme of soft and liquid materials. Her design philosophy seamlessly combines functionality with aesthetic appeal, creating spaces that are not only visually captivating but also deeply experiential. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to pushing the boundaries of conventional design, Urquiola consistently transforms environments into dynamic and harmonious realms. Exemplifying her ingenuity, Urquiola’s BMW Welt Exhibition Space One is a testament to the fusion of form and function. Introducing an undulating metal mesh as a vertical element, Urquiola extends her soft materials concept to create a visual spectacle. This metal mesh, functioning as a rigid curtain for expansive windows, reflects the metallic hues of the showcased cars, establishing a dynamic and shimmering atmosphere. The interplay of finishing and lighting not only aligns seamlessly with BMW’s brand DNA but also showcases Urquiola’s distinctive design vision, resulting in an exhibition space that harmoniously marries innovation with refined elegance.


Patricia Urquiola’s BMW Welt Exhibition Space One introduces an undulating metal mesh, reflecting the metallic hues of showcased cars and creating a dynamic and shimmering atmosphere; Image credits: IFDM


On the other side of the Atlantic, American interior designers are celebrated for their fearless approach to design, often challenging traditional conventions and pushing boundaries. Kelly Wearstler, a renowned designer based in Los Angeles, is known for her bold use of colour, pattern, and texture. Her fearless approach is exemplified in the design of the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, where vibrant hues and unexpected combinations create a visually striking and vibrant atmosphere. Wearstler’s designs defy conventions, injecting a sense of energy and playfulness into every space she touches.


Kelly Wearstler injects a sense of energy and playfulness into the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, where vibrant hues and unexpected combinations create a visually striking and vibrant atmosphere; Image credits: Retail Design Net


Renowned interior designer Bobby Berk is celebrated for his innovative ideas and transformative makeovers. With a fearless blend of design styles, he creates personalized spaces that are visually stunning and authentically tailored to each client. One standout example of Bobby Berk’s design prowess can be seen in the transformation of El Segundo – Petite Green Kitchen & Laundry Room. In this project, Berk skillfully combines his signature eclectic style with a focus on functionality. 

The petite kitchen and laundry room are infused with vibrant colours, playful patterns, and unexpected textures, creating a visually captivating space. Simultaneously, Berk maximizes every inch of the compact layout, incorporating clever storage solutions and efficient design elements to ensure optimal organization and practicality. The result is a charming and highly functional space that exemplifies Berk’s ability to create stunning designs regardless of size constraints.


Bobby Berk’s transformation of El Segundo – Petite Green Kitchen & Laundry Room exemplifies his signature eclectic style, infused with vibrant colors and playful patterns; Image credits: Bobby Berk


Martin Lawrence Bullard, a maestro of eclectic design, brought his distinctive touch to transform Kylie Jenner’s residence into a captivating haven. Infusing the space with bold colours, sumptuous textures, and unexpected patterns, Bullard curated a luxurious yet exuberantly eclectic atmosphere. One of the hallmarks of his work lies in the strategic placement of statement pieces that uniquely reflect Kylie’s style.  The residence showcases custom-made furniture and carefully chosen art, blending diverse influences seamlessly. Bullard’s design not only captures Kylie Jenner’s taste but also pushes the boundaries of traditional aesthetics, resulting in a dynamic and personalized home that marries high-end luxury with playful charm. 


Martin Lawrence Bullard’s eclectic touch transforms Kylie Jenner’s residence into a captivating haven, Image credits: Pinterest


Last but certainly not least, Jonathan Adler, the maven of bold and glamorous design, brings his distinctive touch to his residence with partner Simon Dunne. Known for his fearless use of colour and whimsical patterns, Adler’s design philosophy is a celebration of individuality and joy. In their abode, Adler juxtaposed the home’s austere exterior with warm and idiosyncratic interiors, aiming for a fusion of Big Sur bohemian and rich Ibiza hippie influences—two of their beloved adopted personas.


Jonathan Adler’s residence with Simon Dunne is a celebration of individuality and joy, fusing Big Sur bohemian and rich Ibiza hippie influences; Image credits: Douglas Friedman


Furnishing the space with a mix of Adler’s own designed furniture and rugs alongside an eclectic selection of vintage finds, the home becomes a vibrant tapestry of design elements. From a starburst mirror framed with spindle legs to industrial ceiling lights and suspended rattan lounge chairs, each piece reflects Adler’s flair for unexpected juxtapositions. Embracing his role as a potter, Adler incorporated ceramic tiles into key areas like the kitchen, living room, and master suite. Collaborating with artistic friends, the residence features a kitchen island mural by John-Paul Philippé inspired by local birdlife and a giant macramé owl by set designer Andy Harman, adding bespoke charm to this dynamic and whimsical dwelling.

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