Six interior designers on their favorite materials

Architects and designers today are faced with seemingly endless options when it comes to selecting materials. While the news tends to favor those pushing the boundaries of materials science, we’ve also followed a trend among top designers who are turning to ancient, even ancient, materials and fusing them with contemporary practice. Biophilic design has entered the mainstream, and natural surfaces (or those that mimic them) are all the rage. On social media, we find plenty of evidence of the resurgence in popularity of 20th century products like Formica, which was innovative in its day but neglected for decades. We caught up with leading interior designers across the country to discuss the materials they’ve used to infuse classic sophistication into their latest projects.

Old Texas Brick Brick

thomas ryan

Founder, TW Ryan Architecture

“With the Three Chimney House, we looked for materials that were an integral part of the local building tradition, but could also speak a more contemporary visual language. Brick seemed a natural choice with these criteria in mind. After many extensive research, we found Old Texas Brick located in Pharr, TX Their “Vintage White” bricks are hand coated with a limewash before being fired in the kiln resulting in a rich and Laid in a running bond with flush mortar joints coated across the face, we emphasized the mass of elemental forms on the individual brick units.

stairs leading to the door of the house
(James Florio)

Delta Millworks Accoya Wood

Alison Von Glinow and Lap Chi Kwong

Founders, Kwong Von Glinow

“The exterior cladding material is the first experience people have with a building. The material should be beautiful, durable and perform well in all seasons and all weather conditions. We like to use sustainably harvested wood like Accoya on our projects because it balances two very different and distinct qualities: the wood siding may seem monolithic, but each plank is unique and has its own grain. We recently exhibited this effect on our Ardmore home in Chicago, stacking gray and black Accoya wood siding on top of an exposed concrete foundation wall.

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