Sitting Down with Celebrated Interior Designer Brendan Wong
Brendan Wong’s engineer father helped cultivate his love for scale, proportion and building design from an early age. From there, he worked to build a thriving design career, which has taken him around the world including to London and Paris, and of course here in Australia.
Brendan seeks natural inspiration, and he isn’t limited to one specific style or aesthetic. Instead, Brendan has a sense of respect for the architecture of each space he’s designing for, as well as the client's personal preferences and how it will all come together for a beautiful design, but also a sense of functionality.
Brendan has bee recognized by SIDA, DIA and the Kenzo Design Competition Awards. He’s also a recipient of a fellowship to the Design Institute of Australia in 2013. His work has been featured in publications including Belle, Metropolitan Home, Luxury Home Design, and House & Garden. We had the opportunity to talk a bit with him about his work, his inspiration and what drives him.
1. When did you first decide to become an interior designer and how did you get started with your design business?
My Dad was an engineer so I grew up with a drafting table in the house and was fascinated by scale, proportion and buildings. I think from an early age I saw interior design as a more creative version of fine engineering- making things look as beautiful and also perfectly function. I did a Bachelor of Interior Design at university and several years later a Masters in Interior Architecture. I worked in Australia, London and Paris before starting my own design studio 12 years ago.
2. What is the most challenging part of your job?
In design there is no sense of “correct” such as with mathematics, as each design problem can be solved in several ways. It’s a challenge (and skill) to be able to edit ideas to ensure we are presenting the best solution both practically and visually.
3. Is there an interior design style you favour and do you have your own design aesthetic?
My interiors typically have visual highs amongst moments of visual quietness. I think it’s important to establish a visual tension such that the space becomes a cohesive yet energetic experience. I like an interior to move beyond being “even”- it should have a drama that uplifts you. This is more an approach than an aesthetic, the style being more an outcome of the particular client and the architecture it sits within.
4. Who are other interior designers you admire?
Tony Duquette worked in the 60’s and 70’s as an artist, set and interior designer. His work masterfully layered pattern, texture and intrigue. In my own work, I strive to maintain a sense of discovery in each room, whereby details continue to reveal themselves the more your eyes explore.
5. What inspires you?
I find the natural beauty from the colour and forms of mineral and crystals so inspiring- such as amethyst, agate and quartz. As designers we spend years perfecting colour combinations but these are readily abundant in nature. I source and collect minerals from corners of the globe and a unique specimen is often the source of colour inspiration.
6. What do you think is the essential piece of furniture we should all have in our bedroom?
A dresser, low boy, or sideboard: the surface gives the ability to visually curate decorative object or photos with some meaning to you, but also the practical purpose of placing perfumes, glasses, watches etc so bedside tables can have some free space.
7. What key element do we all need for a chic living room?
Small ottomans or benches that inject additional pattern through upholstery or form, and act as additional seating when the room is in use by larger groups. Although the sofa and coffee table take centre stage, these additional elements dress a room and balance out the larger furniture pieces.
In 10 years Brendan is likely to continue fueling his designs astonishingly without the assistance of coffee while realising his dream of designing luxury yachts and enjoying three-day weekends. Undoubtedly Brendan’s immense experience and eye for beauty and impeccable design will allow him to continue the inspiring development in his career and recognition for his work.
Let's get personal .....
1. What else are you passionate about besides your work? Travel, patterns found in nature, and good food.
2. What is your most treasured belonging? An emerald green crystal cube paperweight.
3. What's one thing people may not know about you? I don’t drink coffee.
4. In 10 years I'd like to be .... Designing yacht interiors and taking three day weekends.
5. What can't you live without? The colour purple.