Australian interior designers and their associated design companies and decor have always had their work cut out for them.
Perhaps nowhere in the world was this more important than in a country whose settlers were for the most part in a land so foreign in every way, that creating a familiar environment was a vital part of normalising life.
Rudimentary slab huts, with wattle daub soon gave way to European design ethos. Collonades of Doric columns and inappropriate velvet interiors were concepts from England, ordered months in advance from catalogues brought in by sea.
Soon famous Australian interior designers made their mark on the colony and then the country, creating an Australian interior design the country would call its own.
Today Australia celebrates its famous interior designers with almost celebrity status, their ideas in demand in the residential and commercial market sectors.
Top Australian interior designers are an intrinsic element in the launch of multi-million dollar developments, as seen by the launch of such projects as Gurners’s St Moritz development in Melbourne, synonymous with the design of revered design David Hicks.
No longer just talented artists, people in interior design australia become famous designers, with an Instagram following and clear celebrity status.
Darren Palmer, one of the best interior designers Australia has produced, is a household name and a commercial entity in himself.
Famous interior designers are also a major part of the leisure industry with stars such as a décor by George Lavissianis style stamp as integral to a restaurant’s success as a series of hats next to the listing.
How to rate the top firms, whether local or international, is the job of awards as much as client demand, with each feeding the other.
The annual Australian Interior Design Awards are a celebration of décor, style and the best companies in the business with entrants from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth competing across a range of categories designed to illustrate various strengths – and all their successes.
Of course, there are international awards, such as the IDA awards, whose range expands to include fashion, architectural achievements and graphic design elements amongst others.
Other awards include the INDE.Awards and Saturday Indesign as well as FRONT Design which have been gaining popularity over the past few years,
But it is magazines such as Architectural Digest and Vogue Living that make the super celebrities in design. The likes of Kelly Wearstler and Jean-Louis Deniot grace the pages of AD 100 list on a regular basis, with a home designed by Wearstler adding a zero or two to a Hollywood listing.
Minimalist vs Modern
Style, it is almost rude to say, equals money, and money it is fair to say encourages style.
To judge who is better, to try and list the best interior designers in Australia is to try and compare a Kadinsky to a Reubens, Bauhaus to Coco Republic.
Each has an integral place and calling in creating a look that says, this is who we are.
In that mind set, here is a list of the Top 5 Australian interior design companies who excel in their field.
1. Coco Republic Interiors
Larger, more retail and updated design services are available via retail shopfront. Where once household names in leading furniture and design brands, family owned and operated for almost 40 years.
Products and styling, such as Coco Republic are now offering individual interior design service. With the three main studios in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane the reach is national and international, with access to the designer team also available in New Zealand.
The takeaway is that good Australian Interior design is accessible, and not the closed school right of the very well to do.
2. Williams Burton Leopardi
In Adelaide the company Williams Burton Leopardi (WBL) has become a design force to be reckoned with. The multi award winning design firm has been recognised in multiple categories, both state and national and puts emphasis on the value of client collaboration. The interior design team is led by Sophia Leopardi, a frequent jury member for prestigious awards she believes her genuine love for people, and the joy she finds in her work and its effect on those who experience them is a driving force in the company’s success.
3. Darren Palmer Studio
First came the skill, then came the media. Darren Palmer is perhaps the best known and most recognised face in Interior Design in Australia. A relative newcomer Darren Palmer (the studio) was founded in 2006 and expanded his design work online with his growing following.
While his studio has a depth of skilled talent, it is the sophisticated, understated personal style of the very personable man whose name is the brand, that puts him right up there at the top of his profession.
A range of products books, magazines, master courses followed and culminating in his annual top rating exposure on the Channel Nine TV Series, The Block.
In a society now screen obsessed, the high profile created by all of these media channels has increased his brand power, but at the same time, none of this has changed him or his talent.
4. Splinter Society Interiors
Founded in 2005, Splinter Society led by Chris Stanley and Asha Nicholas, has created an enviable body of work, both in architectural and interior design projects. Whether residential or commercial their rich textural palette is a signature touch, creating unique textile environments for their clients.
Greg Natale. Known for his tailored, polished spaces and precise, considered approach, which have made him one of the best and overall top Australian interior designers over the past 16 years.
Since 2003, Greg Natale has been dedicated to the integration of design and decoration in the areas of interior and exterior residential and commercial design.