Legends of Design

August 18, 2020

Discover the people who inspired modern design and shaped history. These four interiors icons are the true founders of the interior design profession today and the masters who defined 20th century style.

Elsie de Wolfe. 

Also known as Lady Mendl, Wolfe went down in history as one of the most influential interior designers. She is considered the first female interior designer and set the standard for interior design in America. Known for her acute sensitivity to her environment, Wolfe replaced heavy victorian styles with light and uncluttered elements. According to The New Yorker, “Interior design as a profession was invented by Elsie de Wolfe”.

Lorenzo “Renzo” Mongiardino.

Born in Milan, Italian architect, interior designer, and production designer Mongiardino resisted the modern movement and reinvented antique style. The private nature of his projects created a sense of classic timelessness in each of his designs. A fundamental element of Mongiardino’s work is the determination of space — the search for a balance of proportions prior to decoration. Due to Mongiardino’s artistic precision, his work has withstood the test of time and continues to influence interior design styles.

Dorothy Draper.

Known for being an “anti-minimalist” designer, Draper’s work was bold, exuberant, and colorful. She promoted wild color palettes believing that “lovely, clear colors have a vital effect on our mental happiness”. Draper’s signature styles — large scaled prints, black and white tiled floors, and vibrant colors — became definitive of the Hollywood Regency interior design style.

David Nightingale Hicks. 

An English decorator and designer, Hick’s design career launched in 1954 when his primary residence was featured on the cover of British magazine House & Garden. He is known for using bold colors, mixing antique and modern furnishings, and combining patterns. One of his greatest contributions to the design community was the popularization of patterned carpet and effortlessly mixing the old with the new.

Photography courtesy of: Vogue Magazine, Miguel Flores Vianna, Courtesy of: The Architectural Digest, Cecil Beaton, Vogue, December 1937, and Jeff Fiorito.