Christmas came early this week for design devotees and architectural aficionados waiting to see who would be named to Architectural Digest’s AD100 for 2019, a list recognizing 100 top talents worldwide in the field of design, deemed the “best of the best” by the editorial staff at the style-setting magazine.
On Wednesday, the print and online publication, founded in Los Angeles and now based in New York, revealed the names of the design and architectural firms honored. It included 16 tastemakers from Southern California, up from nine selected in 2018 and seven in 2017.
“We spotlight people we are excited about, people who have cultural impact, up-and-comers,” said Amy Astley, editor in chief of Architectural Digest. “It’s a mix of architects, interior designers and a few landscape designers.”
Astley admitted it was not easy editing the global list to 100.
“We agonize over it,” she said, “we don’t take it lightly. We have lots of meetings all year, and we keep lists … everything is deeply considered.”
Ultimately, Astley said, she and her team aspire to shine a light on what they believe will be the most important names in the year ahead, “people we think our readers need to know about.”
Parsing established rock stars from fresh-faced newbies is where it gets tricky.
“We can’t just have it be a list of the same people since 1990,” when the AD100 was first published, Astley said. “As fabulous as they are, we have to include both legends in the field and also bring in rising stars and new names.”
This year, the AD100 named 14 first-time firms to the list, half of them helmed by female founders, and four of them from California: Brigette Romanek, Jamie Bush + Co. and Studio Shamshiri, all based in Los Angeles, and Charles De Lisle from Sausalito.
“We generally look for people who we have been published in the magazine,” Astley said. “Occasionally, there’s an exception, but for the most part we feel that their work should be featured” in Architectural Digest.
With a hefty 16% representation on 2019’s AD100, the design world in Los Angeles is deserving of a victory dance in the end zone. If designers did that sort of thing.
“California is a hotbed of talent,” Astley said, “it always has been and still is. … When you think of California design now, you think of indoor-outdoor, you think of houses that let in the sun, let in the light … the talent coming out of L.A. is amazing.”
The 16 Southern California Cal style-makers on the 2019 AD100
Brigette Romanek, RomanekDesignStudio.com
The Archers, Team-Archers.com
Atelier AM, Atelieram.com
Bestor Architecture, BestorArchitecture.com
Commune Design, CommuneDesign.com
Georgis & Mirgorodsky Architecture & Design, gma.nyc (La Jolla)
Johnston Marklee, JohnstonMarklee.com
Kelly Wearstler, KellyWearstler.com
Marmol Radziner, Marmol-Radziner.com
Martyn Lawrence Bullard Design, MartynLawrenceBullard.com
Michael S. Smith, Inc., MichaelSmithInc.com
Paul Fortune Design Studio, PaulFortuneDesign.com
Jamie Bush + Co., JamieBush.com
Studio Shamshiri, StudioShamshiri.com
Pierce & Ward, PierceandWard.com
Waldo’s Designs, Waldosdesigns.com
Bonnie McCarthy contributes to the Los Angeles Times as a home and lifestyle design writer. She enjoys scouting for directional trends and reporting on what’s new and next. Follow her on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome