Women of the AD100

Madeleine Luckel, Sophia Herring

Women of the AD100

Jeanne Gang: Jeanne Gang reminds us that architecture is meant to serve a greater purpose; whether connecting with surrounding communities, environments, or individuals. “Architecture creates the platform for human interaction and sets the tone for our social relationships,” says Gang. “But less noticed is how architecture mediates between people, environment, and even other species.” Since opening Studio Gang in 1997, Gang has speckled the skyline with her strikingly geometric and architectural facades. Her long list of accolades include the Aqua building in Chicago, which remains the tallest female-designed building in the world.
Jeanne Gang: Jeanne Gang reminds us that architecture is meant to serve a greater purpose; whether connecting with surrounding communities, environments, or individuals. “Architecture creates the platform for human interaction and sets the tone for our social relationships,” says Gang. “But less noticed is how architecture mediates between people, environment, and even other species.” Since opening Studio Gang in 1997, Gang has speckled the skyline with her strikingly geometric and architectural facades. Her long list of accolades include the Aqua building in Chicago, which remains the tallest female-designed building in the world.
Jason Schmidt
India Mahdavi: “I like providing a solution in order to define, with the client, how to work with all the energy that the space inspires,” says India Mahdavi, who founded her Paris-based studio in 2000. Since then, Mahdavi has become known for capturing the energy of every space she creates through her vibrant and unfettered use of color. Despite her now iconic color palette, each of Mahdavi’s designs feels distinctly unique. As a result, signature Mahdavi interiors, such as the Gallery restaurant at London’s Sketch, have gained global recognition for their impeccable style and photogenic qualities.
India Mahdavi: “I like providing a solution in order to define, with the client, how to work with all the energy that the space inspires,” says India Mahdavi, who founded her Paris-based studio in 2000. Since then, Mahdavi has become known for capturing the energy of every space she creates through her vibrant and unfettered use of color. Despite her now iconic color palette, each of Mahdavi’s designs feels distinctly unique. As a result, signature Mahdavi interiors, such as the Gallery restaurant at London’s Sketch, have gained global recognition for their impeccable style and photogenic qualities.
Paolo Roversi
Brigette Romanek: Brigette Romanek’s interiors are homey and functional with a vibrant spirit. This is perhaps what drew clients such as Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Demi Moore to the Southern California–based designer. “In these stressful times, the idea of home as a personal oasis is more compelling than ever,” says Romanek, whose self-taught and imaginative mind allows her to craft homes that offer a delightful escape from real life.
Brigette Romanek: Brigette Romanek’s interiors are homey and functional with a vibrant spirit. This is perhaps what drew clients such as Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Demi Moore to the Southern California–based designer. “In these stressful times, the idea of home as a personal oasis is more compelling than ever,” says Romanek, whose self-taught and imaginative mind allows her to craft homes that offer a delightful escape from real life.
Douglas Friedman
Kelly Wearstler: Kelly Wearstler began her career with casual projects for friends after arriving in L.A. in the mid-’90s. Shortly thereafter, she founded her eponymous studio which has evolved into the powerhouse Kelly Wearstler brand known today. Wearstler’s oeuvre now ranges from product design, graphic design, and textiles to objets d’art, the Proper hotel brand, and a host of coffee table books. Says Wearstler modestly: “Cross-pollination is what inspires me most.”
Kelly Wearstler: Kelly Wearstler began her career with casual projects for friends after arriving in L.A. in the mid-’90s. Shortly thereafter, she founded her eponymous studio which has evolved into the powerhouse Kelly Wearstler brand known today. Wearstler’s oeuvre now ranges from product design, graphic design, and textiles to objets d’art, the Proper hotel brand, and a host of coffee table books. Says Wearstler modestly: “Cross-pollination is what inspires me most.”
Joyce Park
Miranda Brooks: Whether designing Chiltern Firehouse’s front courtyard in London, or Anna Wintour’s Long Island garden, landscape designer Miranda Brooks’s design philosophy could not be clearer: “to work with the land and nature with a deep understanding of and sympathy to its character; to connect the architecture to the natural world; to create a strong sense of place.” The New York City–based designer has perfected a real-life version of the fairy-tale landscapes fancifully seen on toiles. Today, Brooks’s ability to create magical escapes through greenery has never felt more vital or relevant.
Miranda Brooks: Whether designing Chiltern Firehouse’s front courtyard in London, or Anna Wintour’s Long Island garden, landscape designer Miranda Brooks’s design philosophy could not be clearer: “to work with the land and nature with a deep understanding of and sympathy to its character; to connect the architecture to the natural world; to create a strong sense of place.” The New York City–based designer has perfected a real-life version of the fairy-tale landscapes fancifully seen on toiles. Today, Brooks’s ability to create magical escapes through greenery has never felt more vital or relevant.
Bastien Halard
Kelly Behun: “Of course furniture needs to be comfortable and functional, but I like to go in and respond to a space as though it were a landscape. I think of furniture as sculpture.” So says Kelly Behun, who began her design career working for Ian Schrager Hotels’ Design Studio. Known for her gallerist’s eye and hands-on approach, Behun continues to juxtapose styles and influences to craft singular spaces that speak to the individual tastes. Along with myriad interiors projects, Behun now designs an exclusive line of furniture and homeware as well as an eye-catching collection of lighting fixtures.
Kelly Behun: “Of course furniture needs to be comfortable and functional, but I like to go in and respond to a space as though it were a landscape. I think of furniture as sculpture.” So says Kelly Behun, who began her design career working for Ian Schrager Hotels’ Design Studio. Known for her gallerist’s eye and hands-on approach, Behun continues to juxtapose styles and influences to craft singular spaces that speak to the individual tastes. Along with myriad interiors projects, Behun now designs an exclusive line of furniture and homeware as well as an eye-catching collection of lighting fixtures.
Joy Moyler: Deeply influenced by the vivid colors and textures of the Barcelonian architecture that surrounded her in childhood, Joy Moyler’s 25-year career has seen her specialize in vibrant and impassioned homes that reflect her ebullient spirit. Notable Moyler clients have included Harry Winston, Adrian Brody, and Merrill Lynch.
Joy Moyler: Deeply influenced by the vivid colors and textures of the Barcelonian architecture that surrounded her in childhood, Joy Moyler’s 25-year career has seen her specialize in vibrant and impassioned homes that reflect her ebullient spirit. Notable Moyler clients have included Harry Winston, Adrian Brody, and Merrill Lynch.
Courtney Yates
Beata Heuman: After nine years working for Nicky Haslam, Swedish-born designer Beata Heuman branched out on her own and quickly became one of London’s most buzzed-about talents. “I want to make people forget about the outside world a little,” says Heuman, who’s passionate for bold colors, bright patterns, and contemporary interiors with a splash of classic British charm.
Beata Heuman: After nine years working for Nicky Haslam, Swedish-born designer Beata Heuman branched out on her own and quickly became one of London’s most buzzed-about talents. “I want to make people forget about the outside world a little,” says Heuman, who’s passionate for bold colors, bright patterns, and contemporary interiors with a splash of classic British charm.
Chris Gloag
Mariam Kamara: In 2013, Mariam Kamara joined united4design, the global collective of architects building in the United States, Afghanistan, and Niger. Shortly thereafter, the architect and designer decided to open her own firm. She has made Atelier Masomi’s mission very clear: to first and foremost build for the people. Despite their contemporary feel, Kamara’s designs remain rooted in their surroundings and use of local materials. Legendary architect Sir David Adjaye has even declared Kamara his protégé.
Mariam Kamara: In 2013, Mariam Kamara joined united4design, the global collective of architects building in the United States, Afghanistan, and Niger. Shortly thereafter, the architect and designer decided to open her own firm. She has made Atelier Masomi’s mission very clear: to first and foremost build for the people. Despite their contemporary feel, Kamara’s designs remain rooted in their surroundings and use of local materials. Legendary architect Sir David Adjaye has even declared Kamara his protégé.
Atelier Masōmī
Elizabeth Diller: In 1979 while studying at the Cooper Union, Elizabeth Diller met her later-to-be husband Ricardo Scofidio. Soon the two, and later adding Charles Renfro as well as Benjamin Gilmartin as partners, went on to establish the now iconic firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Despite their now global prominence, the firm—still best-known for New York City’s High Line—has expanded their practice to design everything from grandly scaled public parks to producing an immersive opera set on the High Line. “We’re even bolder and crazier than before,” remarks Diller on her upcoming projects.
Elizabeth Diller: In 1979 while studying at the Cooper Union, Elizabeth Diller met her later-to-be husband Ricardo Scofidio. Soon the two, and later adding Charles Renfro as well as Benjamin Gilmartin as partners, went on to establish the now iconic firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Despite their now global prominence, the firm—still best-known for New York City’s High Line—has expanded their practice to design everything from grandly scaled public parks to producing an immersive opera set on the High Line. “We’re even bolder and crazier than before,” remarks Diller on her upcoming projects.
Abelardo Morell
Laura Sartori Rimini: From her base in Milan, Laura Sartori Rimini from Studio Peregalli conjures up old-world interiors for the modern age. Sartori Rimini cites Renzo Mongiardino, the late Italian architect and designer, as Studio Peregalli’s main mentor. “He taught us to mix rigor with imagination...and to fish into history for inspiration.” Drawing on everything from the Renaissance to the Victorian ages, Studio Peregalli has an uncanny ability to evoke bygone eras in its now telltale period-room projects.
Laura Sartori Rimini: From her base in Milan, Laura Sartori Rimini from Studio Peregalli conjures up old-world interiors for the modern age. Sartori Rimini cites Renzo Mongiardino, the late Italian architect and designer, as Studio Peregalli’s main mentor. “He taught us to mix rigor with imagination...and to fish into history for inspiration.” Drawing on everything from the Renaissance to the Victorian ages, Studio Peregalli has an uncanny ability to evoke bygone eras in its now telltale period-room projects.
Monica Spezia
Alexa Hampton: The legendary Manhattan firm of Mark Hampton is recognized in the homes of Brooke Astor, Estée Lauder, three U.S. presidents, as well as H. John Heinz III. When Alexa Hampton took over from her father as owner and president, in 1998, she continued to craft the immaculately proportioned and elegant interiors that have gone on to define the brand. Along the way, she has added her own fresh take and modern spin, gently pushing her father’s essence into the modern age.
Alexa Hampton: The legendary Manhattan firm of Mark Hampton is recognized in the homes of Brooke Astor, Estée Lauder, three U.S. presidents, as well as H. John Heinz III. When Alexa Hampton took over from her father as owner and president, in 1998, she continued to craft the immaculately proportioned and elegant interiors that have gone on to define the brand. Along the way, she has added her own fresh take and modern spin, gently pushing her father’s essence into the modern age.
Scott Frances
Julie Hillman: “I am constantly looking at art and design. From my daily walk to work to traveling to see art and architecture, the sources of inspiration are endless,” says New York–based Julie Hillman. She draws on a variety of influences to marry eras and create the timeless, eclectic spaces that have gone on to define her career.
Julie Hillman: “I am constantly looking at art and design. From my daily walk to work to traveling to see art and architecture, the sources of inspiration are endless,” says New York–based Julie Hillman. She draws on a variety of influences to marry eras and create the timeless, eclectic spaces that have gone on to define her career.
Virginia Tupker: Virginia Tupker entered the design world as a home editor at Vogue before being tasked by shoe designer Tabitha Simmons to create her first home. Raised in the heart of London’s Chelsea neighborhood, Tupker grew up surrounded by the fashion and design influences that now define her style. Think the rich textiles and eye-catching toiles that characterize traditional London town houses—along with elements of Le Corbusier and Renzo Mongiardino.
Virginia Tupker: Virginia Tupker entered the design world as a home editor at Vogue before being tasked by shoe designer Tabitha Simmons to create her first home. Raised in the heart of London’s Chelsea neighborhood, Tupker grew up surrounded by the fashion and design influences that now define her style. Think the rich textiles and eye-catching toiles that characterize traditional London town houses—along with elements of Le Corbusier and Renzo Mongiardino.
Max Burkhalter
Ilse Crawford: Ilse Crawford, a London-born-and-raised academic, designer, and creative director, has become known for building spaces and environments that immediately feel like home. “We really interrogate clients,” Crawford has stated. Approaching her design with an academic rigor, Crawford’s spaces can often feel laid-back, but they are meticulously crafted to be maximally inhabitable. Case in point: The homey yet eclectic interiors of Soho House’s now legendary New York outpost.
Ilse Crawford: Ilse Crawford, a London-born-and-raised academic, designer, and creative director, has become known for building spaces and environments that immediately feel like home. “We really interrogate clients,” Crawford has stated. Approaching her design with an academic rigor, Crawford’s spaces can often feel laid-back, but they are meticulously crafted to be maximally inhabitable. Case in point: The homey yet eclectic interiors of Soho House’s now legendary New York outpost.
Helen Cathcart
Annabelle Selldorf: Annabelle Selldorf is widely recognized for her elegant restraint and meticulous command of human scale. “You can’t really be an architect if you don’t understand the human body,” says Selldorf. Her impeccable eye has helped establish her as a favorite of art world notables, responsible for iconic galleries like Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner, and Michael Werner, among many others.
Annabelle Selldorf: Annabelle Selldorf is widely recognized for her elegant restraint and meticulous command of human scale. “You can’t really be an architect if you don’t understand the human body,” says Selldorf. Her impeccable eye has helped establish her as a favorite of art world notables, responsible for iconic galleries like Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner, and Michael Werner, among many others.
Harry Mitchell
Louisa Pierce and Emily Ward: After meeting in New York during a night out, Louisa Pierce and Emily Ward became fast friends, and soon established their Nashville-based practice Pierce and Ward. The duo solidified their status with notable clients such Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Hudson, Brie Larson, Emma Roberts, and Dakota Johnson. Pierce and Ward designs evoke a physical manifestation of Southern hospitality: laid back, unfussy, and full of soul. Walls are clustered to the brim with an array of mismatched gold frames, pillows differ in size and shape, and open shelving deliberately peers into the clutters of reality.
Louisa Pierce and Emily Ward: After meeting in New York during a night out, Louisa Pierce and Emily Ward became fast friends, and soon established their Nashville-based practice Pierce and Ward. The duo solidified their status with notable clients such Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Hudson, Brie Larson, Emma Roberts, and Dakota Johnson. Pierce and Ward designs evoke a physical manifestation of Southern hospitality: laid back, unfussy, and full of soul. Walls are clustered to the brim with an array of mismatched gold frames, pillows differ in size and shape, and open shelving deliberately peers into the clutters of reality.
Mikai Karl
Vicky Charles and Julia Corden: Vicky Charles, the former in-house designer at Soho Houses, reestablish herself with partner Julia Corden as Charles and Co in 2016. Since then their client roster has grown to include celebrity couples David and Victoria Beckham, George and Amal Clooney, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, and Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell. Despite the bold names, the firm’s aesthetic remain warm and welcoming, with an innate charm that immediately makes you feel at home.
Vicky Charles and Julia Corden: Vicky Charles, the former in-house designer at Soho Houses, reestablish herself with partner Julia Corden as Charles and Co in 2016. Since then their client roster has grown to include celebrity couples David and Victoria Beckham, George and Amal Clooney, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, and Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell. Despite the bold names, the firm’s aesthetic remain warm and welcoming, with an innate charm that immediately makes you feel at home.
Sheila Bridges: New York–based Sheila Bridges established herself through her daring color choices and soulful design vocabulary. A favorite of everyone from President Bill Clinton to Andre Harrell, Bridges’s fanciful Harlem Toile design has become a byword for mixing the historic with the contemporary—and debuts on a new line of furniture in partnership with digital retailer The Inside.
Sheila Bridges: New York–based Sheila Bridges established herself through her daring color choices and soulful design vocabulary. A favorite of everyone from President Bill Clinton to Andre Harrell, Bridges’s fanciful Harlem Toile design has become a byword for mixing the historic with the contemporary—and debuts on a new line of furniture in partnership with digital retailer The Inside.
Frank Frances
Sally Breer: It’s been five years since designer Sally Breer cofounded the Los Angeles–based firm ETC.etera with stylist-slash-creative director Jake Rodehuth-Harrison. Half a decade on, Breer has helped solidify ETC.etera’s status as a true West Coast shop to watch. Getting the firm there are a host of key projects, ranging from a happily colorful Napa Valley family home to L.A.’s boundary-pushing Firehouse Hotel.
Sally Breer: It’s been five years since designer Sally Breer cofounded the Los Angeles–based firm ETC.etera with stylist-slash-creative director Jake Rodehuth-Harrison. Half a decade on, Breer has helped solidify ETC.etera’s status as a true West Coast shop to watch. Getting the firm there are a host of key projects, ranging from a happily colorful Napa Valley family home to L.A.’s boundary-pushing Firehouse Hotel.
Hamish Robertson
Nicole Hollis: Few designers would be as brave as designer Nicole Hollis to cloak the outside of her own home in a bright coat of black paint. But what else to expect for Hollis, the San Francisco–based upstart who’s bringing a new life to the Bay Area’s surprisingly traditional design scene. “My taste is definitely more informed by materiality,” Hollis told AD this year. For a range of Californian clients, Hollis has created homes in Tiburon, Thousand Oaks, and in the Golden Gate City’s Russian Hill neighborhood.
Nicole Hollis: Few designers would be as brave as designer Nicole Hollis to cloak the outside of her own home in a bright coat of black paint. But what else to expect for Hollis, the San Francisco–based upstart who’s bringing a new life to the Bay Area’s surprisingly traditional design scene. “My taste is definitely more informed by materiality,” Hollis told AD this year. For a range of Californian clients, Hollis has created homes in Tiburon, Thousand Oaks, and in the Golden Gate City’s Russian Hill neighborhood.
Laure Joliet
Tiffany Brooks: Tiffany Brooks became a household name following numerous appearances on HGTV, where she won HGTV Design Star and hosted HGTV Smart Home 2020. But for the Chicago-based designer, television appearances are just part of a busy schedule filled with numerous private home commissions. A passionate advocate for diabetes research, Brooks has also been named one of the nation’s top 20 interior designers by the Black Interior Designers Network.
Tiffany Brooks: Tiffany Brooks became a household name following numerous appearances on HGTV, where she won HGTV Design Star and hosted HGTV Smart Home 2020. But for the Chicago-based designer, television appearances are just part of a busy schedule filled with numerous private home commissions. A passionate advocate for diabetes research, Brooks has also been named one of the nation’s top 20 interior designers by the Black Interior Designers Network.
Kevin J. Miyazaki
Elisa Ortega and Maria Jose Fernandez: With two of its three leaders design-savvy women—Elisa Ortega and Maria Jose Fernandez—Colombian firm 5 Sólidos helped create a zen-yet-country retreat for musical giant J Balvin. Based out of Medellín, 5 Sólidos reaches far past interior design to encompass architecture, branding, project management, and furniture design in what many consider to be South America’s most architecturally-forward metropolis. In addition to a slew of other residential projects, the firm has spearheaded hotel, restaurant, office, and retail commissions.
Elisa Ortega and Maria Jose Fernandez: With two of its three leaders design-savvy women—Elisa Ortega and Maria Jose Fernandez—Colombian firm 5 Sólidos helped create a zen-yet-country retreat for musical giant J Balvin. Based out of Medellín, 5 Sólidos reaches far past interior design to encompass architecture, branding, project management, and furniture design in what many consider to be South America’s most architecturally-forward metropolis. In addition to a slew of other residential projects, the firm has spearheaded hotel, restaurant, office, and retail commissions.
Camilo Echeverri
Frances Merrill: For over 10 years, Frances Merrill has been creating thoughtful and pattern-inflected interiors through her firm, Reath Design. Most are along the California coast, including a particularly eye-catching midcentury Los Angeles home for a pattern and color-loving family. “It’s not something you can codify or teach. It’s intuitive,” Merrill said of her knack for balancing color-rich fabrics, wallpapers, and paints. “This isn’t exactly rocket science, except that it kind of is.”
Frances Merrill: For over 10 years, Frances Merrill has been creating thoughtful and pattern-inflected interiors through her firm, Reath Design. Most are along the California coast, including a particularly eye-catching midcentury Los Angeles home for a pattern and color-loving family. “It’s not something you can codify or teach. It’s intuitive,” Merrill said of her knack for balancing color-rich fabrics, wallpapers, and paints. “This isn’t exactly rocket science, except that it kind of is.”
Laure Joliet
Amale Andraos: Amale Andraos—the first female dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation—founded WORKac with her husband, Dan Wood, in 2002. Since then, the firm has become known for innovative, aesthetically adventurous projects for the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program and Edible Schoolyards—along with a trio of career-highlighting books. Andraos, a native of Beirut, Lebanon, has lived in Saudi Arabia, France, the Netherlands, and Canada.
Amale Andraos: Amale Andraos—the first female dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation—founded WORKac with her husband, Dan Wood, in 2002. Since then, the firm has become known for innovative, aesthetically adventurous projects for the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program and Edible Schoolyards—along with a trio of career-highlighting books. Andraos, a native of Beirut, Lebanon, has lived in Saudi Arabia, France, the Netherlands, and Canada.
Jeremy Liebman
Amy Lau: From the AD Design Show to Salon of Art + Design, New York–based decorator Amy Lau has made herself an interior designer to know. Lau, who was raised in Arizona, holds a masters degree from Sotheby’s Institute of Art and an honorary doctorate from New York School of Interior Design. This year, her firm, Amy Lau Design, celebrates two decades of business. Besides bringing homes in Tribeca, Chicago, and Miami to life, Lau has undertaken celebratory decoration projects for the likes of Baccarat and the Museum of Arts and Design.
Amy Lau: From the AD Design Show to Salon of Art + Design, New York–based decorator Amy Lau has made herself an interior designer to know. Lau, who was raised in Arizona, holds a masters degree from Sotheby’s Institute of Art and an honorary doctorate from New York School of Interior Design. This year, her firm, Amy Lau Design, celebrates two decades of business. Besides bringing homes in Tribeca, Chicago, and Miami to life, Lau has undertaken celebratory decoration projects for the likes of Baccarat and the Museum of Arts and Design.
Mark Siegler
Ariel Ashe: If you find yourself intrigued by the all-black kitchen trend, you have Ariel Ashe to partially thank. The New York–based decorator, one half of the celebrated firm Ashe Leandro, memorably helped a noirish cooking space in the home of her sister and brother-in-law, Alexi and Seth Meyers. Since then, the firm has gone on to create equally memorable spaces for clients such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, and Kathryn Ruemmler, an attorney who served as President Obama’s White House counsel.
Ariel Ashe: If you find yourself intrigued by the all-black kitchen trend, you have Ariel Ashe to partially thank. The New York–based decorator, one half of the celebrated firm Ashe Leandro, memorably helped a noirish cooking space in the home of her sister and brother-in-law, Alexi and Seth Meyers. Since then, the firm has gone on to create equally memorable spaces for clients such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, and Kathryn Ruemmler, an attorney who served as President Obama’s White House counsel.
MALCOLM BROWN
Alexandra Misczynski: Along with her husband, Michael, Alexandra Misczynski runs Atelier AM, which specializes in designing warm, clean-lined interiors with “an element of fantasy, but it’s definitely not fancy.” The same could be said of the Los Angeles–based firm’s projects, which skew toward neutral color palettes, white sofas, and natural materials—all lovingly chronicled in a pair of must-have Rizzoli books.
Alexandra Misczynski: Along with her husband, Michael, Alexandra Misczynski runs Atelier AM, which specializes in designing warm, clean-lined interiors with “an element of fantasy, but it’s definitely not fancy.” The same could be said of the Los Angeles–based firm’s projects, which skew toward neutral color palettes, white sofas, and natural materials—all lovingly chronicled in a pair of must-have Rizzoli books.
Stephen Kent Johnson
Kathleen Clements: When Clements Design made its AD100 debut last year, the mother-son pair behind the operation described their collective design philosophy as “Don’t overthink it.” But with an impressive roster of celebrity clients (Bruno Mars, Adam Levine, Jennifer Lawrence), that seems easier said than done. For her own part, firm founder Kathleen Clements has become a quiet industry powerhouse. But that may not last considering her client roster also extends to another mother-child duo also known to work closely together—Kris and Kendall Jenner.
Kathleen Clements: When Clements Design made its AD100 debut last year, the mother-son pair behind the operation described their collective design philosophy as “Don’t overthink it.” But with an impressive roster of celebrity clients (Bruno Mars, Adam Levine, Jennifer Lawrence), that seems easier said than done. For her own part, firm founder Kathleen Clements has become a quiet industry powerhouse. But that may not last considering her client roster also extends to another mother-child duo also known to work closely together—Kris and Kendall Jenner.
Amanda Demme
Elizabeth Roberts: Queen of the marble-clad Brooklyn brownstone, connoisseur of the Manhattan town house, Elizabeth Roberts is one architect whose services always seem to be in demand. It’s understandable, especially when considering that the family home she helped EyeSwoon’s Athena Calderone fashion continues to be Instagram gold. But while sophisticated residential projects may be her specialty, Roberts has also lent her discernible eye to a range of stylish New York restaurants as well as a potential Long Island community redevelopment proposal.
Elizabeth Roberts: Queen of the marble-clad Brooklyn brownstone, connoisseur of the Manhattan town house, Elizabeth Roberts is one architect whose services always seem to be in demand. It’s understandable, especially when considering that the family home she helped EyeSwoon’s Athena Calderone fashion continues to be Instagram gold. But while sophisticated residential projects may be her specialty, Roberts has also lent her discernible eye to a range of stylish New York restaurants as well as a potential Long Island community redevelopment proposal.
Francois Dischinger
Christine Gachot: Gachot Studios really does seem to be able to do it all. This year, Christine Gachot (along with her husband, John), refashioned one of Andy Warhol’s former homes into a residential development, partnered with Waterworks on a collection of fittings, and maintained a robust docket of client projects. Still, Gachot fans continue to swoon over two of her most notable projects, beauty brand Glossier’s pink-hued flagship location, along with her own enviable Shelter Island family compound.
Christine Gachot: Gachot Studios really does seem to be able to do it all. This year, Christine Gachot (along with her husband, John), refashioned one of Andy Warhol’s former homes into a residential development, partnered with Waterworks on a collection of fittings, and maintained a robust docket of client projects. Still, Gachot fans continue to swoon over two of her most notable projects, beauty brand Glossier’s pink-hued flagship location, along with her own enviable Shelter Island family compound.
David Urbanke
Jan Showers: “Glamour and comfort are not mutually exclusive,” decorator Jan Showers has mused. It’s an apt way to describe Showers’s own interiors, many of which are chronicled in her popular 2020 tome, Glamorous Rooms. But the Dallas-based designer does far more than merely meditate on the nature of design. This year, Showers cochaired the Dallas Kips Bay Decorator Show House, for which she created a minty green lady’s oasis. Showers says she envisioned the room as a perfect perch from which Jacqueline Kennedy might have written her letters.
Jan Showers: “Glamour and comfort are not mutually exclusive,” decorator Jan Showers has mused. It’s an apt way to describe Showers’s own interiors, many of which are chronicled in her popular 2020 tome, Glamorous Rooms. But the Dallas-based designer does far more than merely meditate on the nature of design. This year, Showers cochaired the Dallas Kips Bay Decorator Show House, for which she created a minty green lady’s oasis. Showers says she envisioned the room as a perfect perch from which Jacqueline Kennedy might have written her letters.
Stephen Karlisch
Michelle Nussbaumer: “Whenever I’m traveling, I take pictures of any details I think I can use,” Michelle Nussbaumer told AD last year. The fruits of those labors are evident in her work, such as her own colorfully cacophonous retreat in San Miguel de Allende. Through her own showroom, Ceylon et Cie, the Dallas-based decorator has created an ample canvas on which to bring her visual sense of wanderlust to life.
Michelle Nussbaumer: “Whenever I’m traveling, I take pictures of any details I think I can use,” Michelle Nussbaumer told AD last year. The fruits of those labors are evident in her work, such as her own colorfully cacophonous retreat in San Miguel de Allende. Through her own showroom, Ceylon et Cie, the Dallas-based decorator has created an ample canvas on which to bring her visual sense of wanderlust to life.
Max Burkhalter
Monique Gibson: What do Jon Bon Jovi, Meg Ryan, and Jon Stewart all have in common? They’ve all been touched by the design magic of Monique Gibson. The New York–based designer—who originally hails from the Appalachia region of Virginia—is best known for her enviable kitchens. The open floor-plan her own East Village culinary space is what Pinterest board dreams are made of.
Monique Gibson: What do Jon Bon Jovi, Meg Ryan, and Jon Stewart all have in common? They’ve all been touched by the design magic of Monique Gibson. The New York–based designer—who originally hails from the Appalachia region of Virginia—is best known for her enviable kitchens. The open floor-plan her own East Village culinary space is what Pinterest board dreams are made of.
William Abranowicz
Robin Standefer began her career curating gallery shows in New York’s SoHo’s before branching out into set design after being hired as a creative consultant by legendary director Martin Scorsese. The move proved prescient, and commissions for both films (Duplex) and film stars (Ben Stiller) led Standefer—along with her husband and business partner, Stephen Alesch—to open their own design studio, Roman and Williams, in 2002. The company has gone on to craft iconic interiors including Manhattan’s Standard Hotel, the British Galleries at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and their own furniture and decor shop, RW Guild. When asked what is next for the duo, Standefer says, “‘Next’ is about looking back and layering on the past to create the most innovative and interesting future.”
Robin Standefer began her career curating gallery shows in New York’s SoHo’s before branching out into set design after being hired as a creative consultant by legendary director Martin Scorsese. The move proved prescient, and commissions for both films (Duplex) and film stars (Ben Stiller) led Standefer—along with her husband and business partner, Stephen Alesch—to open their own design studio, Roman and Williams, in 2002. The company has gone on to craft iconic interiors including Manhattan’s Standard Hotel, the British Galleries at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and their own furniture and decor shop, RW Guild. When asked what is next for the duo, Standefer says, “‘Next’ is about looking back and layering on the past to create the most innovative and interesting future.”
©Fredrika Stjarne
Pam Shamshiri: Pam Shamshiri’s life has always been steeped in all things decor. The Los Angeles–based creative, who was a founding member of Commune Design and formerly lived in the famed Schindler house, grew up spending time in her father’s Tehran furniture showroom. These days, she and her brother, Ramin, run their namesake firm, Studio Shamshiri, from a strikingly beautiful office space. Shamshiri clients include both bold-namers like Anne Hathaway along with lower-profile (though hardly less enthusiastic) cult-like fans.
Pam Shamshiri: Pam Shamshiri’s life has always been steeped in all things decor. The Los Angeles–based creative, who was a founding member of Commune Design and formerly lived in the famed Schindler house, grew up spending time in her father’s Tehran furniture showroom. These days, she and her brother, Ramin, run their namesake firm, Studio Shamshiri, from a strikingly beautiful office space. Shamshiri clients include both bold-namers like Anne Hathaway along with lower-profile (though hardly less enthusiastic) cult-like fans.
Trevor Tondro / OTTO
Toshiko Mori: Architect Toshiko Mori’s portfolio is as rich as it is varied, with projects that span from a North Fork beach house to a “Newspaper Cafe” in Jinhua, China, to a Senegalese school for craftspeople. Mori is also the Robert P. Hubbard professor of architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design—where she was the first female professor to receive tenure. This fall, the Japan-born, New York–based architect was honored with the Museum of the City of New York’s Louis Auchincloss Prize.
Toshiko Mori: Architect Toshiko Mori’s portfolio is as rich as it is varied, with projects that span from a North Fork beach house to a “Newspaper Cafe” in Jinhua, China, to a Senegalese school for craftspeople. Mori is also the Robert P. Hubbard professor of architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design—where she was the first female professor to receive tenure. This fall, the Japan-born, New York–based architect was honored with the Museum of the City of New York’s Louis Auchincloss Prize.
Ralph Gibson
Victoria Hagan: “Well, I like to play,” Victoria Hagan once explained to Architectural Digest. “I do a lot of houses that are new construction and major renovations—I enjoy creating. As a child, my favorite movie was My Fair Lady. I love the process of transformation.” That enthusiasm for change has served Hagan well across her career—which have included everything from a shingled house on Martha’s Vineyard to fabrics for The Shade Store. Hagan also recently chronicled her designs in the elegant photography book Dream Spaces.
Victoria Hagan: “Well, I like to play,” Victoria Hagan once explained to Architectural Digest. “I do a lot of houses that are new construction and major renovations—I enjoy creating. As a child, my favorite movie was My Fair Lady. I love the process of transformation.” That enthusiasm for change has served Hagan well across her career—which have included everything from a shingled house on Martha’s Vineyard to fabrics for The Shade Store. Hagan also recently chronicled her designs in the elegant photography book Dream Spaces.
Pieter Estersohn
Meejin Yoon: Meejin Yoon founded Höweler + Yoon with Eric Höweler in 2004. Since then, they have become one of the Boston area’s most celebrated practices. This year, their profile rose even further thanks to their moving Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia. The design, which takes the form of a large granite ring, aims to permanently alter the campus’s historic landscape.
Meejin Yoon: Meejin Yoon founded Höweler + Yoon with Eric Höweler in 2004. Since then, they have become one of the Boston area’s most celebrated practices. This year, their profile rose even further thanks to their moving Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia. The design, which takes the form of a large granite ring, aims to permanently alter the campus’s historic landscape.
© Tony Luong 2020

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest