Architecture and interior design impacts just about every part of our life.
It captures our minds and hearts — it excites us, keeps us calm and has the ability to make us think.
The United Kingdom continues to produce a plethora of outstanding design talent whose influence has been felt across the world and in various industries.
Here’s our round-up of inspirational architects and interior designers to follow in 2019.
Inspirational Architectural Firms You Need to Know
1. Glenn Howells Architects
With offices in Birmingham and London, Glenn Howells Architects has built its reputation upon the great value it places in creating spaces and buildings that can make people’s lives better. Founded by Glenn Howells in 1990, GHA is known for its vast array of works: master planning, residential, office, education retail, health and leisure; many of which have won a diverse range of awards including RICS and Civic Trust award, the British Council for Offices award and its Savill Building project was shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2016.
2. Eric Parry Architects
Eric established Eric Parry Architects in 1983, with London being the focus and setting for most of his architectural projects. The practice has since developed a reputation for delivering beautifully crafted and thoughtful buildings that respond to their context.
With a portfolio of renowned body of critically acclaimed work; much of his projects involve cultural historic buildings such as the restoration of St Martin-in-the-fields Church and Andrea Palladio Exhibition, high-end residential and commercial projects like the Four Seasons Hotel Spa in Park Lane and Château de Paulin, and bespoke designs including furniture and textile that place great emphasis on holistic practices and dedication to detail and craftsmanship.
3. Foster + Partners
A global studio with a notable approach to sustainable architecture, urbanism and design, Foster and Partners are one of the most prolific architects of this age. Founded in 1967 by architect Norman Foster, the studio has since established a worldwide reputation, with ethnically and culturally diverse offices across the globe. In 1999 Norman became the twenty-first Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate — the highest award in architecture.
Leading his firm of some 1,300 people — his buildings flaunt their technological ambition in sharp lines and shimmering glass — and project a worldview of lightness, transparency, and progress. Foster + Partners are the architects behind the commercial skyscraper 30 St Mary Axe in London, aka The Gerkin, which has become London’s most recognisable building. Other projects include Pavilion of the Holy See, Hermitage Plaza, The Murray, Apple Kyoto, DUO Central Park, just to name a few.
4. 6a Architects
6a architects, a London-based firm founded in 2001 by Tom Emerson and Stephanie Macdonald after meeting at the Royal College of Art, has become one of the leading architectural practices in the UK. The studio is perhaps famously known for its contemporary exhibition spaces in delicate historical settings; like the South London Gallery completed in 2010, which was expanded to include a Victorian terraced house, and Raven Row, a 2009 two Huguenot merchant’s buildings that they adapted and extended into a gallery.
Recent projects include a façade for Paul Smith in Mayfair, the restoration of the Fashion Galleries at the V&A Museum and Tree House in east London. One of the few projects 6a Architects are currently designing is the new MK Gallery in Milton Keynes expected to open in March 2019.
The architectural firm has won several RIBA awards, has been nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture — Mies Van der Rohe Award (2011, 2013 & 2015) and was awarded the Erich Schelling Medal for Architecture in 2012. In 2018, Tom Emerson was awarded the Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Prize for his work with eth in Zürich, only the second architect to receive the prize since its inaugural year of 1938.
5. Mikhail Riches
Led by David Mikhail & Annalie Riches, Mikhail Riches is one of the prime architects for residential development. The firm has created some of the most outstanding and unique looking buildings for private developers, housing associations and local authorities. The practice came into prominence in 2009 when named the Housing Architect of the Year and was recognised by Grand Designs magazine as one of the Top 10 architects in the United Kingdom.
7. David Kohn Architects
Winner of the Young Architect of the Year Award 2009, David Kohn established his London based practice, David Kohn Architects, in 2007. Over the past decade the practice has completed a number of memorable projects including A Room for London in 2011, a collaborative project with artist Fiona Banner; the 2012 White Building; and the refurbishment of Carrer Avinyó apartment in Barcelona that won World Interior of the Year in 2013.
In addition, David is a committed educator and lectures internationally on architecture and design, a writer on cultural issues, a design advisor to Newham Council and the Sorrell Foundation and a course leader at London Metropolitan University.
With a team of over 50 talented individuals and more than ninety creative awards and nominations to its name, this 28-year-old Hammersmith-based architecture and design firm is known for its influential and excellent architectural planning, build, and refurbishment. Formed by its three principals: Chairman David Spence, Managing Director Graham Harris and Creative Director Neil Hogan, the company initially made its name in ultra-high-end residential schemes, before extending its expertise to include leisure, workspace and retail.
With a portfolio showcasing architectural brilliance, SHH’s work has appeared in world’s leading lifestyle and architectural publications, including VOGUE and ELLE Decoration in the UK, Artravel and AMC in France, Frame in Holland, Monitor in Russia, DHD in Italy, ELLE Decoration in India, Habitat in South Africa, Contemporary Home Design in Australia, Interior Design in the USA and Architectural Digest in both France and Russia. Award winning Projects include House of Books, Terrace Restaurant at London Zoo, Imperial War Museum Restaurants, Dubai Hills, Sevenoaks Nature and Wellbeing Centre, The Mill, and Victoris Gardens Penthouse in China.
9. Zaha Hadid Architects
Awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011, Zaha Hadid Architects innovative projects builds on more than thirty years of revolutionary exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design. Dame Zaha Hadid, founder of the architectural firm, was known as the queen of curves; and the most prominent contemporary female architect, not only in Britain but world-wide. With 950 projects over 44 countries, a team of 400 skilled individuals from 55 nations; the studio won an award every year since 2000, winning up to 12 awards in one year.
Hadid brought dynamism and innovation into all her buildings, and her endless contribution to the architectural profession has been recognised by the world’s renowned institutions including Forbes list of the World’s most Powerful Women, Times 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012, and the Japan Art Association presenting her with the Praemium Imperiale, further cementing her presence as one of the world’s most influential architectural figures of our time.
Her buildings utilised unconventional, circular forms and strong lines, never settling for ordinary. Some of her most striking buildings include London Aquatics Centre, Shelkh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi and The Riverside Museum in Glasgow which showcases meandering, zig-zag zinc-clad roof that references the ripples on the nearby river Clyde. After her passing in March 2016, Zaha Hadid Architects still remains, launching countless projects and products that are still true to her design philosophy.
10. David Chipperfield
Since its inception in 1985, David Chipperfield has been at the helm of David Chipperfield Architects; an award-winning firm with over 180 staff at offices in London, Berlin, Milan and Shanghai. The practice is known for a meticulously crafted minimalist approach to design with expertise in museum construction and restoration. In 2012, Chipperfield was invited to curate the Venice Biennale under the theme ‘Common Ground’.
Having worked for both Richard Rogers and Norman Foster before setting up his own practice, Chipperfield has long been a vocal critic of peacocking, buzz-generating buildings; and rather adheres to Le Corbusier’s dictum that “architecture is the masterful, correct, and magnificent play of volumes brought together in light.”
This is reflected in some of the firm’s most well-known projects such as the Hepworth Wakefield gallery in Northern England; Musee des Buaux-arts in Reims, France; Gridiron building at St. Pancras Square in London; and his masterpiece to date, 19th-century Neues Museum restoration in Berlin, winner of the 2011 Mies van der Rohe Award.
10. A L A
After a successful 20-year partnership with the late Jan Kaplický at Future Systems, RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete, formed her own London design and architecture practice, AL_A, in 2009.
The architectural firm is behind a range of ground-breaking projects, including the futuristic Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, a $342 million luxury hotel and shopping mall in Bangkok, the MAAT museum in Lisbon, a media campus for Sky and a Maggie’s Cancer Centre in Southampton.
In 2018 Amanda received The Jane Drew Prize, an annual lifetime achievement for an architect that “raised the profile of women in architecture” — past recipients include the late Zaha Hadid and Denise Scott.
Inspirational Interior Designers You Need to Know
11. Martin Brudnizki Design Studio
Since Swedish-born Martin Brudnizki established his multi-disciplinary, award-winning interior design firm in 2000, the highly energetic and collaborative studio has worked on high end residential and commercial projects worldwide. MBDS employs over 70 staff between its two locations, New York and London; and is behind some of the glitziest restaurants, hotels and private members’ clubs.
Memorable and inspired work include Soho Beach House Miami, Matsuhisa at Badrutt’s Palace in St Moritz, The Academician’s Room at The Royal Academy of Arts and Scott’s and Cecconi’s the Ivy Chelsea Garden.
In 2015, Martin also set up ‘And Objects’, a separate product design studio through which he has collaborated with the likes of Porto Romana and George Smith. The firm’s design work has received notable recognition, including accolades from Wallpaper*, Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar and the European Hotel Design Awards.
12. Emma Sims-Hilditch
Emma Sims-Hilditch launched her firm in 2009, after working in film production with Ridley Scoot. The studio was established in the Cotswolds near Bath, in a Grade 2 former inn that was restored back to life by the team in 2013; and now complemented by a smart London base. Emma is renowned for championing “a fresh take on the English country house look,” in cities and countryside alike, and celebrating a style that is classic and graceful but also highly relevant.
Recognised as one of House & Garden’s Top 100 Designers, she was later recruited to makeover the interiors of the home of former House & Garden retail editor, Carole Annett. She has also worked on a private estate outside London which involves restoring a former schoolhouse, a woodman’s cottage, a bespoke gun room and an ice cream parlour.
13. Rose Uniacke
She’s an interior designer, a designer of furniture, lighting, accessories and an antiques dealer; Rose Uniacke is a respected curator of spaces with a studio and showroom based in Pimlico, London. Whether it’s a residential or a commercial project, she believes strongly in creating understated interiors that are rooted in history even as they embrace the present, and using of elegantly simple muted colour palettes and luxe textiles, which are the defining characteristics of her style. A showcase of her elegantly furnished townhouse which she shares with film producer David Heyman, led to a commission from the Beckhams to design their Richmond home.
14. Douglas Mackie Design
For clients in search of handsome interiors that have a well-balanced mix of styles, moody colours with sumptuous textiles and deep comfort, Douglas Mackie Design tops the list. Having studied architecture, Douglas ultimately discovered a passion for interior design while working in New York; and later set up his own company in London in 1995.
With immense knowledge of and reverence for design, the firm has built up a substantial reputation and loyal clientele internationally, and it is celebrated for its classic-meet-contemporary interior that assembles furnishings, art and artefacts into three-dimensional compositions — a style which is in high demand these days in Central London and elsewhere. His most well-known residential work includes English Manor, Holland Park Residence, Khightsbridge Residence and a Gloucestershire Home.
15. Fiona Barratt Interiors
With stunning residential and commercial luxury projects across the UK, Europe and America, Fiona is an unmissable force in the British interior design field. The award-winning designer and entrepreneur founded her design practice in 2006, after a promising career that began at Kelly Hoppen Interiors, where she was a head designer. Her first commission soon after launching her company was a luxury lodge in Verbier for Sir Richard Branson; a project that set the tone for what was to come.
The company’s success is born from the dedication and experience of her talented team, together with her unrivalled skills in achieving effortless elegance. One of her striking projects is a full-scale residential redevelopment in Moscow, which involved turning a concrete shell into a family apartment.
Over the years she has remained true to signature style, which blends sophisticated neutrals with bursts of accent colour, and experimenting with antiques and 20th-century pieces. Completed projects include a private residence for a major art collector in Beirut, a townhouse in Harrogate, the ultimate bespoke villa in Mallorca and branded residences throughout Great Britain.
16. Janine Stone
For 30 years Janine Stone & Co. has been dedicated to designing luxury elegant interiors. A true internationally acclaimed powerhouse of multi-talented 50 architects, designers, craftsmen, project managers, technicians and builders; each creating exceptional work and ensuring that their projects run like clockwork.
Founded by Janine Stone, joined by her husband and business partner, Gideon, with offices in London and Manchester and associates in Moscow, Milan, New York and Southern France; the firm specialises in developing, refurbishing, designing and building extraordinary private residences for ultra-wealthy private clients globally. Projects include the refurbishment of a mews house in Belgravia, a new private home in Surrey and the refurbishment of an Arts and Crafts house in Kent.
17. Helen Green Design
Helen Green Design is one of Britain’s most respected interior design practices. The design house, founded by the late Helen Green in 2002 and now headed by Design Director Tim Murray, who has more than 18 years’ experience in the interior design field, delivers sophisticated yet livable interiors and a range of bespoke British-made furniture.
The dynamic studio strives to deliver exceptionally high and personalised levels of service, with work including onshore and offshore feats, having transformed private yachts as well as country houses, grand houses, townhouses, penthouses, showrooms and hotels in luxurious locations such as Belgravia, Barbados and Val d’Isère.
Pushing boundaries and exploring new techniques, the studio concentrates on modern and traditional elements; with great emphasis on architectural detail, and unique textural combinations reflected in the firm’s interior endeavours.
18. René Dekker
With an experience that spans 25 years, London-based firm has well and truly perfected the art of interior design. Founded by René Dekker, the designer delivers exceptional services and beautifully furnished interiors spaces which always embody a luxurious and opulent sensibility.
René has been awarded a string of deserved accolades for his trend-setting solutions for residential and commercial projects. Outstanding interior work include West London Penthouse, Central London Apartment, Kensington Mansion Flat, Belgravia
19. David Collins Studio
David Collins formed his London-based design house in 1985, and was responsible for the design of some of the capital’s hottest restaurants, bars and hotels. Known to his name is a diverse range of residential and commercial projects; including Alexander McQueen and Jimmy Choo stores as well as the home of Madonna.
David’s design style was characterised by decadent and glamorous; and the design DNA he built into his firm still lives on after his passing, thanks to his loyal team of 45 architects, interior and furniture designers.
His signature colour was blue, seen most famously in the Blue Bar at the Berkeley Hotel in Belgravia. Other projects the design studio has undertaken include Ritz-Carlton Residences and leisure amenities at Ole Scheeren’s MahaNahkon mixed-use tower in Bangkok, John Barrett’s salon in Bergdorf Goodman, The Delaunay in Covent Garden, Massimo and Bassoon at the Corinthia in Westminster, Wood in the New Forest and a penthouse next door to Buckingham Palace.
20. Kelly Hoppen
With 40 years of experience at the forefront of the design industry, Kelly Hoppen is one of the most sought-after and worldwide recognised interior designers. The Jewish and Irish descent artist designs residential projects: apartments, houses, and yachts for an ever-expanding international private client list, as well as commercial design projects including hotels, restaurants, office spaces and aircraft interiors.
Kelly also manages her eponymous decor and home accessories brand, Kelly Hoppen London. Inspired by her travels throughout Asia and Europe, her ever-evolving style is underpinned by a subtly coordinated fusion of eastern principles of simplicity and balance, with the western tastes for sumptuous textures and luxurious finishes. Projects include Pearl Yatch 75, Lux’ Belle Mare, The Lakes, and Lux Grand G.