It doesn’t matter whether you like modernist details or flashy faux-Boho fit-outs, there’s no denying that there’s a certain kind of pleasure that comes from spring cleaning your feed with architects and interior designers.
Once upon a time, Instagram was that adorable little platform someone you knew used to take perfectly square food photos, before passing them through a nauseating filter without so much as a hashtag. My, how things have changed. The monolithic platform, which now boasts 1 billion active users, is still infested with trite imagery; but its entrenched place within business and pop culture means you can now discover more than just your friend’s half-eaten Reuben. Architecture and design, for instance, is a huge category of interest. To bring you up to speed, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite personalities working in this medium. Take a peek below.
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong.
The mind behind Amber’s floor-to-ceiling makeover is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of hospitality design, having contributed interiors to a diverse array of significant hotels such as The Breakers in Palm Beach and Belmond Cipriani. Tihany’s Instagram account is mostly given over to documenting his lofty, warmly tinted restaurant and barroom spaces. Keep an eye out for occasional appearances from Thomas Keller — the award-winning chef has collaborated with Tihany on a number of restaurant projects since 1980, including three Michelin-starred Per Se.
By many metrics considered to be one of the most sophisticated designers in Asia — whose vast output of work includes hotels, homes and objets d’art — Fu’s is a name that’s hard to avoid, especially for aesthetes who are operating out of Hong Kong. The Cambridge-schooled architect attained instant acclaim for his work on the iconic Upper House property, going onto refine a design approach which marries European architectural practices with various Asian cultural identities. For an effective primer in how to add interest to lighting and structural surfaces, his AFSO account is a must-follow.
The London-based Maltese designer is, to put things delicately, a fixture on the international art and interiors scene. Having started professional life as Dame Zaha Hadid’s personal gallerist, Sultana would go on to become a covetable interior decorator sought out for (as the FT puts it) “his baroque-meets-pop art style”. In addition to cataloguing a range of residential projects, Sultana’s feed is a fantastic repository of imagery from other interrelated disciplines. (He is, among other things, a significant collector of Francis Bacon’s works.)
Wearstler (known to many as “the grande dame of West Coast interior design”) has been a known quantity since the mid-1990s, but her IG feed is an excellent place to reacquaint yourself with her exuberant, nominally maximalist style. Over the years, hotels have been an especially prominent part of her practice — be sure not to miss the occasional post documenting her experience designing Proper group’s various U.S. properties. (We’re big fans of the Proper Austin’s satisfyingly linear frontdesk.)
Following graduation from Seoul’s prestigious Hongik university — widely held in the same regard as SNU — designer Kwangho Lee set up shop in the local neighbourhood of Seongsu-dong. From here, for over 10 years, he’s been crafting ‘materially experimental’ objects. Signature projects include lighting fixtures which are made by weaving textile material over multiple electrical wires; and a series of copper chairs which have been treated using traditional Korean enameling.
In the 15 years since Lyndon Neri established his eponymous architectural firm alongside partner/spouse Rosanna Hu, he has become a seminal voice in China’s growing community of A-list design talent: having worked on a wide variety of hospitality and retail concepts which have brought international attention to Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. As with his overarching design practice, Neri’s images work to dissolve distance between the subject and its viewer, honing in on overlooked features like structure and materiality. He shoots primarily in monochrome.
Despite the stately age of 84, Pritzker laureate Norman Foster remains one of the foremost British architects of the 20th century. Celebrated around the world for his lofty, illuminated office spaces — notably including HSBC’s Hong Kong headquarters — his social feed could be considered something of a well-earned victory lap, wherein good design in all forms (e.g. sculptural, residential, vehicular) reigns supreme.
The Italian architect, best known in Asia for the expressive louver-clad facades of The Middle House, boasts a painstakingly manicured Instagram account, replete with imagery 100 times more interesting than your average Pinterest mood board. Cycling through photography, mock-ups and illustration, viewers get a strong sense of Lissoni’s secondary output in furniture design. (A series of low-slung cast and rodded aluminium tables, designed in collaboration with Living Divani, would make a dramatic impression in most dining rooms.)
Many of our resident Antipodean readers are likely to be cursorily acquainted with Johnson’s oeuvre — the product of her work playing such a starring role in the inviting showrooms fielded by her husband Patrick Johnson. Despite her appeal online, Johnson is careful to practice a restrained, casually modernist approach to design — big on heirlooms and light on trends.
Whimsical, emotionally resonant interiors — which you don’t see so much as feel — are something of a lifelong obsession for Tony Chi. After all, the Taiwanese-born hotel designer has been contributing steadily to the medium since the 90s, overseeing a plethora of properties in Japan, China, and of course, Hong Kong. Over on Instagram, followers can explore the full gamut of Chi’s influences (what he dubs “narratives”) ranging from Calder mobiles to projects fronted by his contemporaries.