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15 Leading Design Influencers Reflect on 2015 & Share Aspirations For The New Year

Jan 08, 2016 01:59 PM EST
15 Leading Design Influencers - 2015/2016
(Photo : Fashion Times - Meg Busacca)

When another year passes by, it is important to take time to reflect on change. Whether that change is in business, in a new culture, in one's family or friends, perhaps in love and in perspective— whatever the newness stems from — we're inherently drawn to individuals who positively embrace and transform change into growth.

To shed a different light, our design editor asked 15 of today's leading design influencers to share what 2015 taught them and what they hope for in the New Year. 

Hello 2016!


(Photo : Courtesy of Aerin Lauder)


"One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received is to do what you love and do it well. That's been an ongoing focus for me since starting the AERIN brand and will continue to be in 2016. This year we'll show at Maison & Objet for the first time and I'm looking forward to the international growth and bringing the AERIN lifestyle to more countries around the world."

- Aerin Lauder, Founder and Creative Director of AERIN 


(Photo : Courtesy of Michael Boyd)


"My most important lesson from 2015 moving forward is that stuff does not make you happy, it is the ideas and inspiration behind design that can enhance and enrich your life. We are all so busy and distracted, often shying away from the things that really matter. I am just trying to be fully present and not get sidetracked by superfluous stuff and staying focused on the heart of what matters. I hope 2016 brings Peace-on-Earth because design won't matter if there is no civilization."

- Michael Boyd, Architect & Designer


(Photo : Courtesy of Alessandra Branca)


"My lessons were many... but THE most important lesson is to allow myself to evolve stylistically and not be limited by what people might have come to expect of me... I may love red and classicism but definitely fell in love with SO many other colors and forms this year! I hope to find more great clients whose personal evolution includes supporting mine!"

- Alessandra Branca, Interior Designer

(Photo : Courtesy of Frank de Biasi)


"In 2015, I learned the importance of our living in a very global world with influences and possibilities coming from all over. One example of this was having been invited by Residence magazine in Shanghai to help judge an architecture and design competition. After my trip there I've spent the last four months speaking to knowledgeable people about expanding my business to China. I'm hoping in 2016 to create a flourishing business in China - a country I was much taken with!"

- Frank de Biasi, Interior Designer


(Photo : Campion Platt -


"The most important lesson I learned this year is that communication is king! It may sound trite, but with all our modes of communication these days getting it right is even more important. Years ago when we all had face to face meetings and took notes, communication seemed simpler - more direct and less fallible. With emails, texts, voice, pictures, files, folders it is much easier to miss the nuanced in all facets of communications nowadays. In 2016, I am hoping to carve out a more balanced creative time for my work and family time to play."

- Campion Platt, Architect & Interior Designer of Campion Platt Interiors

(Photo : Courtesy of Ashley Hicks)


"In 2015, I learned to follow my heart! Getting engaged 2 weeks after meeting Katalina and married 3 months later. I've never been happier. I hope for more of the same in 2016..."

- Ashley Hicks, Interior Desginer


(Photo : Courtesy of Jamie Drake)


"My biggest 2015 lesson came from finishing up a very complicated and large 4 year project, to great success. I led the entire effort and a huge team, with the biggest number of consultants I've ever dealt with. The client's rep said in the decades they had been in the business they never had such a large and complex project run as smoothly as this one, and it was a model for them to follow with all their projects. It taught me more than ever the power of teamwork and creating great partnerships! I'm looking forward in 2016 to a dynamic new partnership...specifically my joining forces with Caleb Anderson to form Drake + Anderson."

- Jamie Drake, Interior Designer


(Photo : Courtesy of Caleb Anderson)


"I am looking forward to investing this energy wholeheartedly in my newest and biggest venture yet, combining my company with that of Jamie Drake. Our new firm, Drake + Anderson, has many exciting projects lined up for 2016 and beyond, and I know that the New Year will be my best year yet."

- Caleb Anderson, Interior Designer


(Photo : Courtesy of Philippe Maidenberg)


"I live in Paris, 10 minutes by walk from the Bataclan where the terrorist attack happened. It was a shock for all of us. I also live in a country where extremists take more space each election. Even though it's not this year's lesson only, I was still very sad to see how people sometimes forget our recent history. Human beings can be genius and crazy at the same time. For 2016 and the following years, I trust things are going to change deeply in a peaceful way. The world is my playground and I am taking my business to a more international level. In 2016, I am happily pursuing opportunities in London and New York for my hotel design business."

- Philippe Maidenberg, Architect & Designer


(Photo : Courtesy of Kendall Wilkinson)


"My guiding principle is 'order equals calm.' This absolutely pertained to 2015 and will guide the way we work in 2016 and beyond. Homes that are well designed and well organized make for calm and happy owners. The trend for better and fewer is getting more traction and I encourage my clients to think this way. Buy the best quality you can — it will last longer, has more artisanal authenticity, and it will create more of an aesthetic statement, leading to less clutter and more order."

- Kendall Wilkinson, Interior Designer

(Photo : Courtesy of Vicente Wolf)


"In 2015 I have learned to sit still and be in the present, enjoying every minute. I find, this is the most important time to gather inspiration. I've attempted to enjoy every moment that life throws at me and live in the here and now. This year emphasized how important it is to listen to your clients. I hope in 2016, I will use my creativity to the best of my capacity and always see the glass half full. I want to continue to have an appreciation for design aesthetics that focus on the past."

- Vicente Wolf, Interior Designer 


(Photo : Courtesy of Katie Scott)


"In 2015, I learned the importance of building a strong foundation! Life and business are unpredictable, but you can stand strong even when the wind blows if your feet are rooted in authentic core values. In 2016, I hope the seeds that I have been patiently planting begin to flourish!"

- Katie Scott, Jewelry and Interior Designer


(Photo : Courtesy of Michael Tracy)
"The most important lesson I've learned in 2015 is: Time is precious — Love what you do & Do what you LOVE. I hope 2016 will bring new ideas, new connections and new adventures for me personally and for The Rug Establishment."
- Michael Tracy, U.S. The Rug Establishment Partner

(Photo : Courtesy of Mia Gargiulo)



"Patience!!! 2015 has taught me a whole new level of patience. My hope is that I do not forget this lesson of timing and that everything falls into place when it is supposed to."

- Mia Gargiulo, U.S. Cinar Partner


(Photo : Courtesy of Kathleen Walsh)


"Last year I was in the client-seat as my husband and I embarked on the renovation of our new home. The biggest lesson I learned was how important it was in the beginning of the process to decide, as a couple, which items were nonnegotiable with our architect and contractors. When it comes time to move in, clients forget all the day-to-day decisions but really look forward to perks and luxuries they've been most excited about from the beginning. For my clients, I am going to make sure we don't ask them to budge on the things that matter most to them. For 2016, my hopes are for all the refugees and those starting all over again in a new place. I hope for small, kind gestures from all of us as individuals to all those starting anew to help them finally feel secure and welcome in their new homes and communities."

- Kathleen Walsh, Interior Designer 

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