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Class of 2020

Class of 2020: Luke Edward Hall is Charming Everyone (and We Mean Everyone) With His Playful, Now-and-Then Work

published Nov 8, 2019
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Who: Artist and designer Luke Edward Hall
Nominated by: Jonathan Adler, designer, potter, and author
Where to follow him: Instagram

Apartment Therapy’s Class of 2020 Design Changemakers is a specially-selected group of the 20 people in the design world everyone should know about by next year. We asked experts (and you!) to tell us who they think should be included—see the rest of the nominees here.

Why Luke is part of the Class of 2020: “Luke Edward Hall has his finger on the pulse of today and tomorrow whether it be neoclassicism through a Memphis lens or lurid colors with beautiful lines. Look, subject, and panache he’s got it all on lock. You’d be mad not to hop on this comet while you can.” —Jonathan Adler, designer, potter, and writer

Luke Edward Hall, who is by every account a wunderkind (he’s 30 with a dizzying amount of accomplishments already under his belt) and darling of the design world, does not shy away from color. Or pattern. Or a certain trademark whimsy and mix of styles that feel both of the past but oh-so what’s to come. A scroll through his Instagram feed means being transported to a world and style that feels uniquely him— one that has captivated, well, pretty much everyone. From loose, playful sketches on a Chateau Marmont pad to a video of him painting a 70-foot mural in front of the new Lanvin store in SoHo, it’s clear that this artist and designer has just begun what is sure to be a lengthy and notable career.

To list every brand he has collaborated with of late would take far too long (and would probably be outdated by the time this was published). Suffice it to say, his unique perspective has caught the attention of many people, and he is in high demand. When asked what he has been doing to change up the field he’s in, he says, “I think I’m trying to basically make work that’s playful. I think that design can be taken quite seriously. And I’m trying to do something fun with it. I’m all about playfulness really, and a kind of a romantic mood.” This romanticism comes as no surprise when asked who he looks up to. “Cecil Beaton, who I have loved some time. And a lot of the people who were working at the same time in the 1930s, like Steven Tennant and Oliver Messel, are a big inspiration to me as well,” says the artist. “And then in terms of interior design, I’ve got lots of heroes, David Hicks is a huge inspiration and John Fowler in England.” To learn more about who he is and where he gleans inspiration, we spoke with the English designer about the return of maximalism, his latest collaborations, and more.

Apartment Therapy: What do you remember as being design inspirations growing up? What is your inspiration now?

Luke Edward Hall: I was always drawing and making things as a child—I grew up in a small town and I discovered fashion magazines such as Dazed & Confused as a teenager, which inspired me to move to London and eventually study fashion design. I’m inspired by the places I’ve traveled to. I look at the past quite a lot. Interesting mythology and folklore seem very inspiring to me.

AT: What’s your favorite project you worked on in 2019 so far? (and why?)

LEH: I enjoyed collaborating with the Italian porcelain producer Richard Ginori—they’re a historic, revered company but were also a lot of fun to work with.

AT: Is there a specific piece or design of yours that you think is particularly indicative of who you are or what you’re trying to do?

LEH: I’m not sure there’s a singular piece, but maybe one of my ceramics. They’re handmade and they’re one-off, and they’re unique, but they’re hand-painted with a design, an optimized design of a kind of Roman, Greco-Roman inspiration. But then, also I use bright colors, so it’s that idea of taking inspiration from the past but then doing something contemporary with it I suppose.

AT: What three words would you use to describe your work or style?

LEH: Colorful, romantic, theatrical.

AT: What makes you feel at home in your own space?

LEH: I think all of my bits and pieces, so when I’m at home, I’m surrounded by things I’ve collected over time. Little trinkets I picked up in my travels and all of my books that I’ve collected. I must have my books!

AT: Any big plans for 2020 or beyond you can share with us?

LEH: I’m working on the interior design and art direction of a new hotel and bistro in Paris, set to open in the spring.

AT: What three words would you use to describe where you see the design world going in 2020?

LEH: More and more layered and colorful.