From Paris to Los Angeles, a look at the top trendsetters
Tristan Auer Studio
Tristan Auer’s design makes the interplay of art and architecture the focal point of a Paris apartment, which serves as his design studio. Photo by Yann Deret
Elegant, understated and comfortably timeless, Tristan Auer’s interiors are the epitome of Parisian chic.
The 47-year-old Mr. Auer, who honed his skills while working with Christian Liaigre and Philippe Starck, set up his eponymous studio in Paris in 2002. He was commissioned to decorate Coco Chanel’s Paris apartments on rue Cambon probably that same year.
Three years ago, he opened Wilson Associates’ first European office, which focuses on the luxury hospitality market.
Mr. Auer was one of four interior designers chosen to work on the renovation of Paris’s 18th-century Hotel de Crillon, a project that was heralded by Architectural Digest magazine. That and his other residential, commercial and hospitality projects around the world led to his being named Maison & Objet’s 2017 Designer of the Year.
“Interior design is all about layout and flow,” he said. “Decoration is about color and style. I’m not that interested in decoration.”
Mr. Auer, who also designs furniture and lighting, insists that he doesn’t have a signature style, saying he’s inspired by each client’s likes and lifestyle.
Tristan Auer tailors his interiors to the likes and lifestyles of his clients. Photo by Vincent Leroux
“I consider myself a tailor,” he said. “I’m doing a suit not for myself but for them. Each suit will be designed to fit one client perfectly, but all of them will be elegant, comfortable, audacious and of course, modern.”
For Mr. Auer, each project is a psychological study.
“I work to understand not what my clients want but what they need,” he said. “The perfect space will change your life and your relationships. I start each story with people; it’s always a surprise because I never know how it’s going to end up.”
Mr. Auer, who has done work for the royal family of Qatar, recently designed a small apartment for a couple in Paris. “The husband was from India and the wife was from Japan,” he said. “I adapt myself to all cultures, and the scale of the project doesn’t matter. I learn from every project.”
Mr. Auer, a graduate of the ESAG Penninghen school of art direction and interior architecture in Paris, has always been attracted to beautiful objects. “I cannot live in an environment that doesn’t please my eyes,” he said.
In his own Paris home, he hung a 1910 tapestry depicting fairytales opposite his bed. “It’s the first thing I see every day and the last thing I see every night,” he said. “Its composition is perfect—the harmonious interplay of proportions, objects and colors makes me happy.”
Mr. Auer is working on residential projects in London and New York City as well as on his own newly purchased home in the countryside outside Paris.
Natasha Baradaran Interior Design
Contemporary art and casual, comfortable furniture set the tone for a living room Natasha Baradaran designed in a Brentwood, California, home. Photo by Roger Davies
The past and the present reside beautifully together in the casually elegant interiors that Los Angeles-based designer Natasha Baradaran creates.
“My aesthetic is about a mix,” said Ms. Baradaran, who is in her 40s. “It’s a combination of vintage finds, contemporary arts and my own furniture collection in order to create unique spaces that reflect the homeowner. Vintage pieces feel timeless and fresh next to contemporary pieces. I strive to create work that is fresh, sophisticated and relevant.”
Ms. Baradaran, who had done projects in London, Aspen, New York and Montecito, California, in addition to Los Angeles, often finds the past in her own present: She collects many of her vintage objects in Milan, Italy, where she has a summer house.
“I’m inspired by the Italian expression ‘la dolce far niente,’ which means ‘the sweetness of doing nothing,’” she said. “I especially love Robertaebasta, which has the best of Italian vintage presented by decades in four different stores in the heart of the city’s Brera design district.”
If her designs draw deeply from a variety of inspirations, it’s because of her own eclectic background. “They are an amalgamation of L.A. lifestyle, my Middle-Eastern heritage and my time in Italy,” she said.
Natasha Baradaran started her career with the iconic firm Wilson Associates. Photo by Roger Davies
No matter how sophisticated or refined, her interiors are designed to be lived in. “L.A. has always been a part of me and my aesthetic,” she said. “The casualness and approachability of my interiors, regardless of how grand or formal, is something inherent in me since I am a native Angeleno.”
Ms. Baradaran took her first interior design courses at UCLA while waiting to start a doctoral program in international relations.
“I was a newly married homeowner,” she said, “and I thought it would be fun.”
Ms. Baradaran, who opened the interior design studio that bears her name in 2000, started her career with the iconic firm Wilson Associates, where she worked on residential and hospitality projects.
Her work has been featured in numerous magazines ranging from Architectural Digest to Elle Décor, and she has received several awards and accolades. She won the 2012 “Star on the Rise” award from West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center and in 2013 was included in The Hollywood Reporter’s list of the “25 Most Influential Interior Designers in Hollywood.”
In addition to interiors, Ms. Baradaran designs furniture and textiles. “I see these as three different arms,” she said. “Each arm infuses another and could not exist without the other. To really understand my point of view as an interior designer, each practice is a piece of a complete story.”
New projects include a beach house in Montecito, a penthouse in Century City, California, and a townhouse in New York City. Her latest fabric collection launches in the fall.
“The collection plays with outmoded ideas of masculinity and femininity that have been placed on materiality, such as the perception that a fragile material is feminine or a bold one is masculine,” she said.
Ashley Darryl Interiors
New York City
Large-scale abstract art and colored window frames give a classic contemporary look to a living room designed by Ashley Darryl in a 19th-century house in Clinton Corners, New York. Photo by Marco Ricca
Ashley Darryl’s contemporary classical interiors are designed to be timeless.
“When you look at my projects, you can’t tell when I did them,” she said. “Neither can I.”
Ms. Darryl, 37, who opened her eponymous studio in Manhattan in 2014, artfully mixes old and new pieces to help stop the ticking of the clock.
“I love the story behind each vintage piece,” she said. “I like to know that someone loved it and enjoyed it through the years. These pieces catch the eye in a room. No one can duplicate some of the things I’ve created because the pieces are unique.”
Ms. Darryl, who was named a Next Wave Designer by House Beautiful in 2014 and a Rising Star by the New York Chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Association in 2017, has an interesting history.
Ashley Darryl in her New York City apartment. Photo by Allyson Lubow
The daughter of an interior designer, she never thought about going into the field. Instead, she studied art history at Southern Methodist University and did graduate studies at Sotheby’s, where she learned about antiques. An internship with an interior designer through that program shifted her focus.
“I was obsessed with interior design,” she said.
After working for Jeff Lincoln Interiors in New York City for seven years, she opened Ashley Darryl Interiors.
Ms. Darryl, whose work has been featured in Architectural Digest, The New York Times, House Beautiful, Vogue and Domino, draws inspiration from a variety of design icons, notably Jeff Lincoln, Billy Baldwin, Steven Gambrel, Jacques Adnet and David Hicks.
And also from her own past. “My mother used to take me to flea markets,” she said. “And I used to bring my finds home rearrange my room every other day.”
Her Texas upbringing also plays into her designs. “I grew up half a year on a horse ranch, so I like bringing greenery into a room,” she said. “It brings life to the cold concrete of New York City. And it makes the space and the people in it feel better.”
Bryan O’Sullivan Studio
In a Fifth Avenue apartment in New York City, Bryan O’Sullivan created bespoke tables to complement the walnut bed by architect Annabelle Selldorf. Vintage pieces, including a 1937 Venini mirror and Roberto Giulio Rida table lamps, add a relaxed sense of glamour to the space. Photo by James McDonald
Since opening his namesake design studio in London in 2013, Bryan O’Sullivan has completed a variety of residential and commercial projects around the world.
His designs, which he describes as “timeless and elegant, homey yet cutting-edge stylish,” are bespoke and personalized.
“We design everything from lighting to furniture, which adds more layers to the uniqueness of these spaces,” he said.
The 36-year-old Mr. O’Sullivan, who is from Kenmare in County Kerry in Southern Ireland, worked for Selldorf Architects in New York; David Collins and Martin Brudnizki in London; and Luis Laplace in Paris after he studied architecture at the University of Westminster.
Bryan O’Sullivan opened his London studio in 2013. Photo by Mark Cocksedge
“I look up to Annabelle Selldorf,” he said. “She is an incredible architect/designer, and she always strikes the right balance of beauty, elegance and art.”
His studio, which he started in his bedroom, now occupies two floors in a London office that houses a team of 20.
As a young designer, he strives to offer a “fresh perspective” that takes his clients’ needs and wants into account.
Mr. O’Sullivan takes inspiration from a variety of sources, including the beauty of his native Ireland.
“My parents’ house has big floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the bay,” he said, “and I was always interested in the idea of creating spaces both architecturally and internally and the connection with the outside from a young age.”
He recently completed a four-and-a-half-year restoration of an 11,000-square-foot townhouse in Paris, a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park in New York City, a ski chalet at the Courchevel resort in the French Alps and several yachts in the Mediterranean.
Mr. O’Sullivan has done projects for several hotels, including the Berkeley in London, The Green on St. Stephen’s Green park in Dublin, the Tamburlaine in Cambridge, England, and the LAVIDA at the Catalunya Resort in Girona, Spain.
He’s developing a bespoke lighting and furniture collection and is looking forward to adding textile design to his oeuvre.
Live bamboo trees, which have become Andrew Sun’s signature, were used at the Courtyard House in Toronto to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors. Photo by Chao Chen
Architectural and interior designer Andrew Sun creates naturalistic, minimalist spaces that explore spatial relationships and the interplay of light and shadow.
“My heart lies more in the architectural field,” he said. “I strive to cut to bone in my design to seek the balance point where there is nothing to add and nothing to take away.”
Mr. Sun, 35, who graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2008 and established his boutique atelier in 2013, is best known for the Courtyard House, an award-winning home he designed and decorated that features his signature statement: live trees planted in the living space.
“I like to divide spaces into multiple areas to create smaller spaces and use live trees and plants as dividers,” he said. “It’s like designing a village, and it gives a treehouse feeling.”
Andrew Sun started his career with an architectural firm. Photo by Jean Su
The greenery is meant to complement Mr. Sun’s use of natural materials, notably wood flooring and stairs. “I want to create a connection to nature,” he said. “Tiles and concrete are too cold.”
He said the idea of bringing nature inside is particularly appealing to his clients in the Greater Toronto Area, where the cold and snow make it impossible to enjoy the outdoors for great lengths of time.
For commercial projects, he takes inspiration from the local culture, the clients’ identity and the particular use of the building. “I always embed a little surprise,” he said. “I want the design to evolve when the user interacts with it.”
At a newly constructed hand-pulled noodle restaurant in Toronto, for example, he took inspiration from the noodle-making process and hung cutting boards on the ceiling.
“The space is very long and narrow, and the client didn’t think the very end of the restaurant would attract many customers,” Mr. Sun said. “We applied different finishes on each side of the cutting boards, so the moment customers look back, they see a completely different restaurant. The further you are inside the restaurant, the greater the effect is.”
Mr. Sun, who started his career in an interior design firm and worked in the interior design division of an architectural firm, soon will be a licensed architect.