Interior Designer Brendan Wong has earned himself a rock solid reputation in all the right circles. From gracing the pages of our finest interior design magazines to gloriously transforming some of Sydney’s most luxurious and enviable residences, his unmistakable trademarks of attainable decadence and princely sophistication have brought untold joy to many a creative, discerning and property-owning eye.
Together with in-house senior designer Georgia Hawkins, this dedicated duo have intrinsically weaved elegant magic with bold colour palettes, sleek lines, luxe fixtures and butter soft landings. Yes, with his graceful hints of shiny and his romantic depths of hue he’s caused quite a stir and Sydney’s most fortunate property owners can’t get enough of this softly spoken, impeccably mannered style expert.
On the subject of hues, he’s wearing a beautifully tailored jacket in a shade of something indescribably wonderful. Limited in my own creative ignorance I can’t put a name to it but I want to own it immediately, even if it is only in the form of a lowly tea towel. “It’s Masala, the Pantone Colour of 2015” he responds proudly, eyes lighting up and his handsome smile broadening. Yep, Brendan Wong lives in colour and breathes in light.
The Brendan Wong Cover for Belle Magazine 2015
An Interview with Interior Designer Brendan Wong
The Early Years
From my early years through to today my parents have always been my biggest support. They always encouraged my interests growing up, taking me to find the odd materials for my various creative projects – I was always making things.
My father is a civil engineer so I grew up with him working on bridges and airport projects which gave me an early insight into seeing something come from the drawing board to reality.
Our family went camping once a year with a large group of friends and I remember how fascinated I was by seeing the tents going up. I would build little timber structures from things I collected, I’d create little cleared pockets amongst heavy scrub, almost like carving out rooms. Creating spaces fascinated me. I’m quite happy designing homes now and I have no desire to go camping!
When I graduated from university (Bachelor Interior Design at Curtin), I worked for a few years on corporate projects before moving to London to work for an architectural practice. I then moved to Paris for a few years to work and complete my Masters of Interior Architecture. I Founded my own design studio here in Sydney 10 years ago.
I have always loved the work of American artist Tony Duquette, who did a lot of stage and set design from the 40-70’s. His work is very bold and although more rich in decoration than my own, and could be very ornate at times, I love the way it keeps your eye meandering through the room.
Colour and Light
For many years I’ve been fascinated by purples. A pale lilac is always intriguing, it can shift from being strong in colour by day, to become almost neutral grey by evening. It also works well against monochromatic backdrops. More recently, I am combining various colours in stronger hues across the whole spectrum. Colour is very personal so it’s often in collaboration with client’s taste.
Destination of Dreams
Italy..from the most polished interior fit outs to rustic architectural gems, they can cross genres and periods but always with style and grace.
The roaring 1920’s. It was a prosperous decade, the beginning of art deco, and the high energy atmosphere of entertaining really inspires me.
The Eye of the Beholder
It’s important to me that a home does not reveal itself all at once. An interior should have a definite first impression, but then, as you walk through the rooms, details start to reveal themselves in the cabinet work, the wall treatments. This should then extend right down to cushions and upholstery trim – so you continue to delight people at even the micro scale. To me that makes an interior truly beautiful.
Exciting Times and Furniture Lines
We work with some great clients, which makes all our projects enjoyable, and ultimately produces the best results. I have been lucky to work with a client who gave us the freedom to custom design nearly every furniture piece in the project. This inspired me to develop a full furniture collection which we are gradually bringing to market. It’s a very rewarding experience to collaborate with the artisans that bring my furniture designs to life.
Residential interiors are very personal and I really enjoy the journey with clients. I’m furthering development of my furniture collection which takes my design ideas and philosophies to a whole new audience.
An Interview with Georgia Hawkins, Senior Interior Designer at Brendan Wong Design
I studied Interior Design at Leederville College in Western Australia.
My real education began at Forbes and Fitzhardinge Architects when I was fresh out of design school.
I then worked in London for a retail design company. After working in commercial interiors for years, I could no longer resist the pull to residential interiors which is my true love.
Interior Designer Christian Lyon was my mentor in making that transition. I worked in Perth for Christian for 4 years before moving to Sydney.
Brendan and I have been friends since our commercial design days in Perth. When Brendan decided to set up shop in Sydney, I was an eager supporter whilst I worked in architecture and had 2 babies. As Brendan’s projects increased I joined the business part-time and gradually it has developed into a full-time role. To date I have spent 9 charmed years and counting at Brendan Wong Design.
We are currently working on a Brazilian Modernist dream in Cronulla. It’s a confounding but exciting house and the client is very keen to push it to the max.
Then there is a decorating job in Killara which has been highly detailed. Again the client was keen to take it as far as it can go and I’m all for layered decoration when the idea is to create a 70’s fantasy. The best projects are the ones where the clients are not after a bland outcome, where they gain satisfaction from pushing the design boundaries. It means we continue to develop as designers.
Concept – Illustration – Execution.
Concept stage is obviously fun, because Brendan and I get together and thrash out ideas and let our creativity off the leash.
It’s often my role to illustrate these concepts for our presentations which I love.
Executing those ideas is a hard slog and really stretches & tests me, but it’s always really rewarding.
The most favourite part of any job is walking out of an installed job that looks and feels amazing.
If we’ve done our job right, we’ll leave behind elated clients, living in a functioning artwork.
Architectural Digest, World of Interiors and Elle Decor for next level International.
House and Garden, Belle & Vogue Living, naturally.
Books on Carlo Scarpa inspire me. I’ll read every study of the authentic, transcendent beauty he creates.
Anyone who says that Kelly Wearstler isn’t a genius, is just jealous because she’s also beautiful, thin and rich. But I try to put my bitterness aside and eat her books on decorating, with my eyes.
I’m picturing an expansive single level house in the desert somewhere, with a high cactus count and a killer art collection.
But maybe its the sound of rain outside in a Sydney winter thats getting to me.
Designer’s Time Machine
The late 60’s, early 70’s.
Pattern, colour & texture have endless permutations and finding the perfect combination to make a client happy is why I do this job.
High quality textiles excite & inspire me and are often the final detail for a job that we might work backwards from.
United States of Designer Play
Destination US…because Los Angeles & New York inspire me.
The way the US vendors operate is smooth, friendly & highly professional. You don’t just work in the industry there. It’s a calling and whatever you can imagine, is available.
My heart skips a beat when I think of a trip to Jean de Merry or Blackman Cruz in LA.
The vintage shops in LA are where it’s at and where I’d love to be regularly.
Interiors Photography provided by Maree Homer for Brendan Wong Design
Brendan Wong and Georgia Hawkins photographed by Simon Bernhardt for Iconic and Vintage 2015
Gifts to Brendan Wong Design supplied by Gascoigne & King Luxury Scented Candles
With much gratitude to Brendan Wong, Georgia Hawkins, Simon Bernhardt and Gascoigne & King
Brendan Wong has twenty years industry experience throughout Australia, London and Paris and holds a Bachelor of Interior Design and Masters of Interior Architecture. His boutique design studio has developed a reputation for using quality, well-detailed materials that are layered with unique furniture and art to evoke restrained luxury. As recognition of his commitment to the development of the design industry, Brendan was honoured to be the recent recipient of a Fellowship to the Design Institute of Australia. Brendan’s designs have been profiled in many publications including House & Garden, Belle, Indesign, Grand Designs, Metropolitan Home, Art Edit, Inside Out, Home Beautiful, Luxury Home Design and Modern Home.
Brendan’s clients seek his unparalleled expertise to transform their house into an exquisite home. Signature to every project is the partnering of his elegant aesthetic with a functionality that transcends the years. Each bespoken interior demonstrates the highest levels of clarity, sophistication and craftsmanship.
Brendan’s projects are diverse with a portfolio that includes a Melbourne penthouse, a grand Sydney heritage residence, a Southern Highlands estate, sophisticated inner city lofts and apartments, holiday houses and many family homes. His design solutions are equally diverse, and tailored to each location: “The best word to describe Brendan’s approach to his discipline is respectful. He respects the architectural envelope in which his work exists, the power it has to add aesthetic and functional benefits to peoples’ everyday lives, and the varied interests of his clients” (The Australian).
As a progression from Brendan’s unique interior projects, he is currently designing a select collection of furniture that demonstrates his core values of uncompromising quality, elegance and restrained luxury. The range is testament to his interest in design at both the macro and micro scale- his interiors continue to reveal themselves right down to the last detail. In addition to the customisable furniture range under development, Brendan scours the globe for unique collectables which he curates into projects to delivered an intelligently yet uncontrived result.
A keen supporter of charities that nurture younger Australians, Brendan has dedicated his expertise to causes including Starlight Children’s Foundation, Operation Smile and Mirabel Foundation.