Rebecca Jezek keeps her dresser, a glass-topped Danish piece crowned with Calla lilies and a bowl of clementines, in the kitchen. “It’s where the only closet in the house is located,” she says, “so the kitchen also serves as a dressing room. Somehow, it works.”
This sort of malleability — one space doubling as another; one piece standing in for the next — is a hallmark of the designer’s Los Angeles home. Its long main room, flanked on either end by the kitchen and bedroom, is where Jezek unwinds with a book at the end of a long day. It’s also where she works, as the head of an eponymous interior design firm launched in 2008. Here, her choices cater to a need for fluidity and flexibility. In place of bookshelves, there’s a “library table,” stationed in a corner and heavily laden with titles in neat, sturdy stacks. There is no sofa, but a semicircle of chairs, drenched in sun and poised to welcome visitors, provides a moveable, ultra-efficient substitute. “I work here, I live here, I entertain here, I relax here,” the designer says. “The architecture and the layout are conducive to all of that.”
Jezek, an LA native, came upon the space as the result of a happy confluence of timing and luck. “The owners never advertise it,” she says. A former guest house, “it’s always rented by word of mouth, and has been inherited over the years by a bunch of acquaintances.” Jezek’s predecessor happened to be a friend — and when that friend followed a job to New York, the designer stepped in to fill her place. The owners, who live elsewhere on the property, in a home separated from Jezek’s by a thick barrier of plumbago, welcomed her warmly. “They said, we have two requirements for living here: one, we have to like you and two, we want you to be happy here,” she remembers.
Since then, she’s applied guiding tenets of her design practice — a propensity for warmth, an appreciation for architecture, and a deep respect for the classics — to the house, whose French doors and concrete flooring provided a bright, blank canvas. In many ways, it’s a standing tribute to what’s shaped her: from her own father, an architect influenced by Bauhaus and Dieter Rams (and for whose commercial interior architecture firm Jezek worked as a teenager); to various Czech porcelain artists; to the great designers of Cassina, including Bellini, Magistretti, and Corbusier.
Making a home here has bestowed an added layer of meaning to her work, too. “I’m lucky enough to know what it’s like to live in a really beautiful space that is a big source of joy in my life,” Jezek says. “Providing that to other people is sincerely the best part of the job.”
The Beyoğlu district is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Istanbul, but for centuries, it’s been the Turkish cultural capital's most modern quarter as well. Beyoğlu got telephone lines, electricity, and a funicular early on; new technologies, fashion, and the arts have always flourished there. So it's fitting that the creative firm helping to spearhead the growth of modern design in Turkey has all but grown up on Beyoğlu’s cobbled streets. Headed by Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Çağlar — an architect and interior designer who met as students in the late 1990s — Autoban is housed in a half-baroque, mid-19th-century Italianate building, but inside, the studio is almost seamlessly modern: high-ceilinged and open plan, lined with white marble and fixtureless white cabinets. The only nod to the past comes in the form of old wooden sills that unfurl around the windows of the partners’ offices.
Walk into any number of chic boutiques in the world —the Calvin Klein flagship on Madison Avenue, Dior in London, Dover Street Market in New York — and you're bound to see the work of Samuel Amoia, the interior designer–turned–furniture phenom who's shot to stardom in the last few years making pieces that mix high and low materials, and incorporate healing minerals and crystals such as amethyst, malachite, pyrite, onyx, and agate. But there's one place you won't find many examples of Amoia's work — in the spare, textural one-bedroom Chelsea apartment he's shared for five years with his boyfriend, Enrique, and two dogs, Pig and Bruno.
For Uglycute, it all began with a Bruno Matthson knockoff. It was 1999 and Swedish design was having a moment, but not, it seemed to the group’s four fledgling members, for the kinds of edgy experimental crafts and artistic hybrids being made by the emerging scene at the time — Wallpaper magazine and its ilk were still peering into the long shadows of Sweden’s old modernist icons. And so architecture grad Fredrik Stenberg and artists Jonas Nobel, Andreas Nobel, and Markus Degerman vented their frustration in the only way they knew how: by mounting a show around a sarcastic simulacrum of Matthson’s Eva chair made from a clunky particle-board box and cheap nylon straps. Complemented by a set of primitive clay pinch pots and a crude plywood table, the installation served as a launch pad for the group, and its subject matter — elevating cheap materials in order to question traditional norms of beauty and value — lent their firm its distinctive name. “It was meant as a new take on formalistic values,” says Nobel, who with the other three partners has since built a thriving practice known for its work with museums and clients like Cheap Monday.