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VL50: Australia's best designers of 2024

The VL50 represents the creative talent raising the bar and shaping—or shaking up—the Australian design industry. This year, the occasion will be celebrated with an awards ceremony presented by Mobilia, in collaboration with JLR and Waterford and supported by Ruinart. Compiled by the Vogue Living team, below are the best creatives across the fields of interior design for 2023.

Flack Studio, Melbourne

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: Authenticity is the still point of David Flack’s ever-spinning creative world, but designing a space that feels true to the client and studio doesn’t just “happen by accident”. At Flack Studio, he says, “We are focused on every detail… We consider the materiality, curation of all elements, the marriage between landscape and interior.”

2023 IN FOCUS: Flack lists three highlights: Flack Studio HQ, Tamarama House, and the East Melbourne project, which appears in this issue.

UP NEXT: Flack Studio Architecture will launch with co-principal and architect Richard Blight. “We’ve been working together for years and being able to officially launch our architecture practice is a dream come true,” says Flack, who will also complete the Los Angeles home of singer-songwriter Troye Sivan this year.

Flack Studio-Melbourne-VL50-2024

Acme, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: The Australian hospitality scene owes a lot to interior designer Caroline Choker and architect Vince Alafaci, founders of multidisciplinary design firm Acme. Also partners in life, their narrative-driven perspective, comprehensive exploration of material and desire to push creative boundaries culminate “in a complete immersive and sensory experience” that invites indulgence.

2023 IN FOCUS: Melbourne’s Apollo Inn, TotalFusion Platinum luxury wellness club in Newstead, Queensland, and The Grounds of South Eveleigh in Sydney.

UP NEXT: Some highly anticipated venue openings including a new Supernormal restaurant in Brisbane, and Song Bird and Bobbie’s in Double Bay.

Alexander &Co, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: Principal Jeremy Bull and his team design with the intention of creating connectivity, experience through materiality and a rich sense of place. “Our work is born from stories… it becomes textural, patinaed, full of shade and shadow, surprising shape and form,” says Bull. “We like to find the mythical and magical.”

2023 IN FOCUS: Alexander &Co became B Corp and Carbon Neutral Certified, all while expanding the team’s ‘home’, Alexander House, and taking on residential and hospitality projects in Sydney and Queenstown’s historic Ayrburn Precinct.

UP NEXT: The Isle of Wight Hotel on Phillip Island marks “a huge architectural milestone for the practice”, and there’ll be more hospitality ventures in Auckland and the Gold Coast.


Fiona Lynch, Melbourne

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: “Our work is soulful and nuanced, exploring new narratives and artisanal techniques to craft unique interiors for cultural, residential and hospitality spaces,” says designer Fiona Lynch, who combines her fine arts expertise with an assured way with texture and colour, inventive uses of space and a harmonious melding of the raw and the refined.

2023 IN FOCUS: Fiona Lynch Office has been working on a major Australian cultural institution—the new Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta. Her new Melbourne residential project also features in this issue.

UP NEXT: Lynch says she is looking forward to a luxury hotel project in Queensland.

Handelsmann + Khaw, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: Though Tania Handelsmann and Gillian Khaw say their style is guided by a considered approach rather than a certain look, their work is distinctly elegant, achieving the sort of beauty that’s free of formality and trends, balancing quiet luxury with a dose of playfulness.

2023 IN FOCUS: It was a year enriched with variety, from Edwardian-era houses and “a Miesian box” to Khaw’s 1980s American Psycho-inspired apartment.

UP NEXT: The team will move into a new Paddington studio, which they describe as “an opportunity for us to ‘H+K’ an entire building”. Plus, a collaboration lighting range with Dunlin is in the works.


Richards Stanisich, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: The intention of this interior design and architecture practice is to elicit feeling and possibility, and when it comes to style directors Kirsten Stanisich and Jonathan Richards agree it is ever-evolving. Says Richards: “Our work reflects a passion towards unique details, exploring materials and creating a very natural design response.”

2023 IN FOCUS: The new Jacksons on George hospitality venue, historic Sydney houses and a flagship real estate office. The team are also in London for the design of a multi-residential project.

UP NEXT: The practice’s community of long-term clients and builders have become friends, and Richards says it’s these relationships that they most look forward to. “Projects run for years and the daily human connections are incredibly important to a great outcome.”

Hecker Guthrie, Melbourne

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: The design practice founded by Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie creates resolved spaces that talk to a quality rather than an aesthetic, anchored by materiality, depth, beauty and a calming familiarity. But with time, Hecker says their style has become harder to define. “I take influences and ideas from a broad church… as we mature we’re more open to new ideas.”

2023 IN FOCUS: It’s the smaller projects that resonated most with the directors, who recall two intimate Sydney residences filled with “magical moments that make you take a deep breath”.

UP NEXT: Hecker predicts an exciting year ahead, starting with the opening of The StandardX hotel in Melbourne. The practice is also working on cruise ships for APT—a first for the team.


YSG Studio, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: Stepping into a YSG interior is like slipping on a mood ring. “My projects hopefully stir the soul and spark an emotive drive to feel your best self within them,” says director Yasmine Ghoniem, whose bold concepts, confident use of colour and sensitivity to touch reveal a nomadic curiosity and global perspective.

2023 IN FOCUS: Ghoniem co-hosted the television series Grand Designs Transformations, which premiered this year. YSG launched Real Majik, a rug collection with Tappeti, and projects took the team around the world, while back in Australia they worked on residences in Noosa, Byron Shire and Fitzroy, the latter revealed in this issue.

UP NEXT: A resort for creatives in Bali, a countryside hospitality venue in Uruguay, homes in the Middle East and Byron Hinterland, restaurants on Sydney Harbour and a retail space for fashion label Alémais.

Dylan Farrell Design, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: For Dylan and Nicolette Farrell, the rejection of a prescribed style is a style in itself. Eschewing trends in favour of conversation-starting furnishings, purposeful art and intricate details, the design studio marries its classical ideals with a contemporary attitude and international fingerprint.

2023 IN FOCUS: The Sydney residential project in this issue was a major feat, with decorative pieces imported from all over the world.

UP NEXT: Dylan Farrell Design is launching a furniture collection, After Editions, in the United States and Europe with pieces crafted by makers in Sydney and Los Angeles. Projects across Australia are also in the works.


Tamsin Johnson, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: The fresh, epoch-hopping eclecticism that underpins Tamsin Johnson’s oeuvre is an extraction of “unique pieces of furniture, retired crafts, techniques and ‘real’ art” that Johnson places in conversation with one another. Says Johnson: “I want just enough tension in a space to create actual harmony.”

2023 IN FOCUS: A strong mix of residential and commercial endeavours, from a jewellery showroom, parfumerie and restaurant to private homes including the project in this issue.

UP NEXT: Johnson’s second book with Rizzoli will be published this year. Plus, new sites for P Johnson and a large-scale heritage-site hospitality project.

Greg Natale, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: Greg Natale is a self-described modernist who loves maximalism. The interior designer starts with a clean interior and functional approach before applying “curated layers of pattern, colour and texture to build immersive spaces with strong personalities”. Through this layering process, Natale’s style reveals itself to be bold, eclectic and tailored.

2023 IN FOCUS: Two stand-outs for Natale were the completion of a Bellevue Hill home and a postmodern-style villa on the Central Coast.

UP NEXT: A “hectic but exhilarating” year awaits, with residential projects in London and New York, an exhibition in Milan with Serafini, the introduction of a Kaolin Tiles collaboration and a new bedding line with David Jones.


Golden, Melbourne

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: According to directors Kylie Buhagiar and Alicia McKimm, the name Golden references the golden ratio in mathematics, “the balance of everything, the feeling that something is just right”. The duo’s desire to establish harmony translates to interior spaces that are at once reductionist yet expressive, refined yet emotive.

2023 IN FOCUS: The Golden team marked 10 years in business with the completion of their Fawkner Park studio in Melbourne.

UP NEXT: Golden has several residential projects nearing completion, including McKimm’s own home. Residences in Sydney and Perth will also receive the Golden touch.

Blainey North, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: A Blainey North project is synonymous with grand gestures and glamour, yet the renowned designer asserts her style “is a celebration of life”. Her calling, she says, “is to interpret how people want to feel [and] create spaces that make them feel happy and motivated”.

2023 IN FOCUS: North identifies two New York projects: a Central Park apartment and an estate involving international artists and artisans. North also announced her global studio’s collaboration with Armani Casa.

UP NEXT: A new accessories and furniture collection, homes in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, apartments in New York, a luxury wellness clinic in Mosman and “a secret project in Mayfair”.


Thomas Hamel & Associates, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: Thomas Hamel designs rooms that embrace a “cross pollination” of inspirations and worlds, and every project is defined by the esteemed design firm’s sophistication, creative confidence and international scope.

2023 IN FOCUS: Particularly meaningful projects include the English countryside estate of longstanding clients and the completion of a grand Victorian home in Melbourne, three years in the making.

UP NEXT: Expect projects from “Sydney to Melbourne, Mayfair to St. Moritz”. The Thomas Hamel Graduate Mentorship Program will welcome a new mentee, says Hamel. “I look forward to sharing what I have learned over my 30-plus years in the industry, doing my part to take Australian design to the next level for future generations.”

Pattern Studio, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: Well-balanced spaces that give a wink to those who enter them — this is what founders Lily Goodwin and Josh Cain hope to achieve. “Our spaces reward those who look closely with little architectural surprises. If we can make you relax and smile, we’ve done our jobs. If we can take your breath away, we’ve done our best work.”

2023 IN FOCUS: The interior design practice worked with fashion label Song for the Mute on its Sydney flagship. The pair also completed their first residential project, a Paddington terrace.

UP NEXT: Goodwin says there’ll be more work with Song for the Mute, plus a furniture brand’s retail space, a Sydney home and a Byron retreat.


Arent&Pyke, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: After 16 years at the helm of their design practice, Juliette Arent and Sarah-Jane Pyke say their style has matured but the desire to “deliver uplifting, enduring and beautiful” spaces remains key. What is felt is as vital as what is seen, and they champion sustainability, mental health and inclusivity in design.

2023 IN FOCUS: Alongside the home in this issue, Arent and Pyke are especially proud of two projects: KODA Cutters hair salon in Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building and Speargrass House in Queenstown, New Zealand.

UP NEXT: An historic hotel on Sydney Harbour, residences in regional New South Wales, Melbourne, Margaret River and Queenstown, and a QVB hospitality project.

Akin Atelier, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: Director Kelvin Ho and his team of interior designers and architects put positive, purposeful experiences at the centre of their work. Every project possesses a unique energy and no two are alike. Says Ho: “The underlying constant is a narrative… expressed through materiality and form.”

2023 IN FOCUS: Totti’s Lorne in Victoria was particularly thought-provoking. The restaurant challenged Akin to “evolve a concept into a regional, seaside location”.

UP NEXT: Good Luck, a restaurant in a Sydney heritage space. “It’s a riff on the Hong Kong diners we grew up frequenting in the suburbs.”


Phoebe Nicol, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: A Phoebe Nicol interior speaks in refined gestures, subtly weaving the interior architect’s appreciation for history into modern spaces. “I find myself drawn to the interplay of two distinct worlds: the elegance of classic styles and the dynamic energy of contemporary design,” says Nicol, who co-owns The Vault Sydney, an antique and 20th-century furniture showroom.

2023 IN FOCUS: Her Kings Road, Clairvaux and Jersey Road residences were the highlights of the year.

UP NEXT: Nicol and her team have projects across Australia, including a Spanish Mission-style house in Perth, a Mornington Peninsula home and several Sydney properties.

AP Design House, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: For interior designer Alexandra Ponting, beauty and comfort can, and should, co-exist effortlessly. Whether designing a private home or flagship boutique, her style is spatially minimal and tactile in materiality with a romantic undertone, and Ponting says she balances “strength in foundations and detail… and charm through art and decor”.

2023 IN FOCUS: Three Sydney residential projects shine through: Federation House, Terresford House and Arts & Crafts House.

UP NEXT: The studio has several new builds in the pipeline in collaboration with architecture firms.


Studio Doherty, Melbourne

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: Alive with colour and character, the bold homes and contemporary commercial spaces designed by Mardi Doherty and her team are highly functional, resolved, innovative and unafraid of making an impact. “Our style is informed by our values — we are an inclusive studio that fosters collective creativity and champions the power of imagination,” says Doherty.

2023 IN FOCUS: Leonard Joel auction house’s new offices and gallery spaces in Melbourne were a highlight.

UP NEXT: Residential projects are in development, including a collaboration with Rob Kennon Architects and Myles Baldwin Design. On a smaller scale, the studio is designing an airstream caravan interior.

Decus, Sydney

STYLE PHILOSOPHY: What defines Decus founder Alexandra Donohoe Church’s style? “Intuition,” she says. “It’s more interesting for designers to have parameters that breathe, flex and stretch from project to project, and we may evolve away from this approach… who knows?” Her own desire is for spaces imbued with the quirks, qualities and possessions that make it feel at home.

2023 IN FOCUS: A penthouse overlooking Bondi Beach, the reinvention of a modernist house amid Sydney parklands and a new beachfront abode in Cottesloe, Western Australia.

UP NEXT: Donohoe Church remains tight-lipped about the studio’s upcoming projects but hints at “overseas adventures”.