By Katy B. Olson
Architectural Digest has revealed the 2016 AD100 and nearly 20 percent of the prestigious list, representing a broad range of ages and styles, is comprised of new additions. Earning the career-changing credentials every designer and architect strives for the first time this year are 19 firms and designers: Alex Papachristidis Interiors, Axel Vervoordt, Deborah Berke Partners, Commune, Francis Sultana, François Catroux, Isabel López-Quesada, Kelly Wearstler, Lorenzo Castillo, Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam Ltd., Rios Clementi Hale Studios, Robert Kime, Robert Stilin, Rose Uniacke Studio Ltd., Shawn Henderson Interior Design, Sig Bergamin Architecture & Design, Tino Zervudachi & Associés, Tsao & McKown Architects, and Vincent Van Duysen Architects. (Here's the full roster.)
Kelly Wearstler's Doheny Residence in Beverly Hills, California; courtesy Kellywearstler.com
“The AD100 has been an Architectural Digest mainstay since 1995. Most recently, it’s been a biennial compilation, but publishing it annually will make it even more relevant—and competitive,” editor in chief Margaret Russell shared. “Each of the tastemakers being recognized has a clear vision—some are cutting-edge, some are classicists, but all are raising the bar for international design right now.” Five of this year’s names have appeared on every AD100 list since the inaugural one, including Appleton Partners LLP-Architects, Jacobsen Architecture, Mario Buatta, Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Stephen Shadley Designs. The 19 new additions represent six countries: Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Spain and the U.S.
Enduring AD100s shared their thoughts on the honor. "To be listed in the AD100 is one of the most gratifying experiences one can have in an industry that is so colored by amateurs and false prophets of design," Simon Jacobsen, managing design partner of Jacobsen Architecture, which has made the list every year, tells EAL. Of the honor's significance, he says, "This is a list of the highest disciplined and the most sought-after design professionals and the process to be chosen is no casual affair. At the level that these design icons operate in can be tough and exhausting, where the stakes are very high and 'beyond excellence' is expected. You got the nod again, you're in the club, keep working." Perennial AD100, architect Robert A.M. Stern, shares, "Like the magazine itself, the AD100 continues to stand for solid accomplishment, not trends or one-off adventures. We're gratified that AD believes in our firm, and we welcome the new talent that has joined the list over the years."
Newly added names reflected on the meaning of the list. "The fact of featuring among so many respected colleagues and be rewarded by one of my favorite magazines, makes me profoundly grateful," shares new addition Vincent Van Duysen. "We are doing more and more projects in the U.S. and this nomination is absolutely a big step in our professional track overseas as well as in the 30 years we are working on architectural, interior and product design projects." Says Philip Vergeylen, head of design at Paolo Moshino for Nicholas Haslam Ltd., "Over the years we have had various projects published in Architectural Digest which has clearly established itself as one of the most influential design magazines. It is an incredible honor to have been selected for the AD100 list by such a respected source and we are thrilled to be in such good company.” First-time honoree Roman Alonso, founding partner of Commune, says, "It's a great honor to be included in the AD100 this year and in the company of such illustrious colleagues, many of whom are our heroes and an inspiration to us at Commune." And, as newly named Shawn Henderson, who is principal of his eponymous firm, says, "It truly is a career milestone for me."
Russell shared her take on the honor, and this year's honorees, with EAL:
EAL: Adding 19 new firms/designers is a huge change in the list, nearly 20 percent of the total. Is this number typical, more, or less than usual?
M.R.: Having 19 new names on the AD100 this year reflects the vibrancy of the industry and the emphasis we place on recognizing the architects and designers who represent the best in design right now. My first two years as editor of Architectural Digest brought significant change to the 2012 AD100 list, with 53 new firms being added to it.
EAL: What characteristics do the honorees share?
M.R.: The AD100 honorees are very diverse—some are cutting-edge, some are classicists, but collectively they symbolize design we truly believe in.
EAL: The AD100 distinction is one of the greatest honors a designer can receive. What qualifies firms and designers to be added to this list?
M.R.: The AD100 is the ultimate honor in the design world and the recognition can change the course of one's career. We go through an extensive editing process to select the firms that have done the most extraordinary work this year. This isn't a list based on past achievements or the breadth of a designer's career, it's a list grounded in relevance. The honorees all have projects that make a strong statement in a variety of styles, and their work reflects the very best in design. As we move forward, presenting the list on an annual basis will make it even more timely—and far more competitive.
Architectural Digest has partnered with auction house Paddle8 on a sale of items from the personal collections of 10 of this year’s AD100 honorees. View and bid on the lots from December 1 through 17, and discover the full AD100 list.