By: Nikki Hunt
Next week, the annual edition of the Interior Design Review arrives in Singapore bookstores. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular publication, it is a compilation of the works of the top 95 designers from around the world. Indeed the Times (UK) has described it as the “Bible” of the interior design world and it certainly is a Bible for me. Long before I had even conceived the notion of beginning my own interior design practice, I would paw through the pages of this annual tomb and oooh and aaah at the pages within- 4 kilos of the most inspiring designs from all over the globe.
The inaugural edition was published 20 years ago. The work of Kelly Hoppen graced the cover and that was the first time I had ever heard of the decorating diva. Since then, this book, perhaps more than any other, has chronicled the evolution of design. Each year I wait for the new edition with eager anticipation and this year is no exception. As a featured designer, I am fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy a couple of weeks early, which means that I have had some time to review this year’s selections.
Kelly Hoppen’s work has been selected once again and it is fascinating to see how she has evolved as a designer.
There is still the same crispness to her work and sense of symmetry that infuses her projects with a wonderful tranquility. But 20 years on, the Queen of Taupe and Master of the Understated, has developed a Midas touch and embraced colour to boot. Her feature, for me, is one of the highlights of this year’s edition.
Another favourite of mine, are the Hirsch Bedner pages.
Not surprisingly, Greg Natale, the darling of Australian design was selected but, personally, I was more excited by the works of his compatriot, Rob Mills.
Familiar names like Suzanne Lovell and Taylor Howes were there and I particularly enjoyed the new sultry flavor to Katherine Pooley’s recent works.
But for me, the most exciting and inspiring works were from the Asian Designers.
When I first started collecting these books in the late 1990s, the pages were dominated by British, European and American designers. Admittedly, there was a smattering of selected works by a few Japanese designers but Western design clearly dominated the industry.
This year’s book is a clear testament to how far Asian design has progressed… Names like One Plus and Stephen Leung, command as much respect now as their Western counterparts.
But this year, they have been joined by host of up and coming Asian designers and their featured works are teaming with an unmatched vitality. Asians are no longer emulating their Western counterparts, these projects are fresh, resonating with a vibrant creativity yet reflecting their heritage. A full 17% of featured works have come from the Asian Region. The bulk are from Hong Kong/ China/ Taiwan but we at Design Intervention are delighted to once more represent Singapore Design in these pages.
This year we have been joined by a budding new designer from Indonesia, Prasetio Budhi, so doubling the representation of the S.E Asian Region.
It may have taken Asian designers 20 years to make such a significant impact on the global design scene but we are now, clearly, a force to be reckoned with. And when I see the quality, creativity and innovation in the designs coming from our region, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Asia dominating these pages within the next 10 years.
It is an exciting time to be a designer in Asia.