Designers Are Using Organic Shapes to Bring New Life to Interiors

From the gentle curves of a live-edge table to the softly elegant buds of a flower-shaped chandelier, biophilic forms that celebrate nature's asymmetries are in high demand.
Family Home by Swoon, The Studio in Dallas, TX
Photo by Shayna Fontana

To get just the right organic vibe in this Dallas dining room, Swoon, the Studio, went the extra mile. Make that a thousand miles. “The table was actually built by my husband, who’s an amateur woodworker,” says firm coprincipal Joslyn Taylor, explaining that he lugged an outsize slice of black walnut for the table top from Upstate New York, then welded an unobtrusive support for it out of black steel. “We didn’t want the base to detract from the natural curves in the slab,” Taylor adds.

To accompany her spouse’s handiwork, she set an inky Panton chair at each end and hung an Isamu Noguchi Akari light sculpture above it. The nook is papered in York Wallcoverings’ Etched Arcadia Mural.


Living room by Jessica Schuster Interior Design in New York
Photo by Peter Murdoch

Youthful yet utterly sophisticated, this Jessie Schuster–designed living room in New York’s Meatpacking District harmoniously combines myriad styles. The space is anchored by a teak-root cocktail table set atop an alpaca hide from The Rug Company, but our eyes are drawn to the Adam Pendleton silkscreen between the windows.


Regan Baker dining room in California
Photo courtesy of Regan Baker

In this Menlo Park, California, dining room, the natural element comes via the human hand. “After we couldn’t find precisely the right art piece for this space, we commissioned San Francisco–based artist Caroline Lizarraga to create the rainbow-hued wall mural for us,” says Regan Baker.

“Caroline was inspired by agate stones’ concentric patterns,” Baker explains, adding that the work “really embraces organic forms.”


Pool area by Mark Ashby
Photo courtesy of Mark Ashby

In designing this outdoor space of a home on the shores of Texas’s Lake Austin, Mark Ashby set up a playful dialogue with the surrounding nature. “We loved the juxtaposition of the solid limestone banquet with fluffy plantings and warm organic shapes,” he says.

Sculptural jute and wire chairs surround a heavy petrified wood stump. “The organic carved wooden chairs in the background are not only very comfortable but very functional,” notes Ashby, explaining, “They swivel around the fire pit for late night conversations.”


Houston, TX living room by Meg Lonergan
Photo by Par Bengtsson

In designing this Houston media room, Meg Lonergan took her cue from the rich earthy tones of the Randy Twaddle rug. She “layered a lot of colors,” she says, “to create a cozy warm environment.” In the center of the space, Lonergan placed a glossy Flexform coffee table whose curves echo those of the swooping vintage Bruno Mathsson chair sitting beneath the stunning Chuck Ramirez artwork.


Dining room by Homework
Photo by Nicole Franzen

“We wanted to create subtle tension, mixing age-old relics with modernity while maintaining restraint,” says Susan Work, the cofounder, with her husband, Ben, of the design firm Homework. To execute their scheme for this San Francisco dining room, they surrounded an Eero Sarinen Pedestal table with 100-year-old chairs that Ben found at a flea market in the 1980s.


Terrace in Salina Island, Italy by CasaQ
Photo by Scott Frances

CasaQ’s Erin Quiros imbued the terrace of a summer home on a small Aeolian island off the coast of Sicily with North African flair, Her inspiration: a recent trip to Morocco, where she purchased the pendant light.

Quiros was also influenced by the surrounding nature, choosing furnishings that harmonize with the sweeping sea view, as well as by the local culture: She built the wall benches, called bisuoli, based on ones in older buildings on the island.


Michael del Piero kitchen in Chicago, IL
Photo by Janet Mesic-Mackie

“In this Chicago apartment, we were inspired by the linearity of the buildings and grid-like views out the window,” says Michael Del Piero. “However, we also wanted to provide a contrasting softness.”

The light fixture, designed by Lindsey Adelman for Roll & Hill, embodies both the yin and the yang of that juxtaposition, with angular arms that evoke tree branches. Another noteworthy contrast is created by the black of the Minotti leather chairs set against the stark white of the dining table.


Josh Greene foyer in New York
Photo by Eric Piasecki

“This New York City entry opens up to the living room, which faces west and gets beautiful evening light,” says Josh Greene. “We used a very pale pink silk paper with a little sheen on the walls to enhance the rosy glow of sunsets.”

When the natural light disappears, artificial illumination is provided by the vintage Murano flush-mount fixture à la Barovier in the shape of a giant elegant oyster.


Dining room in New York by Stonefox Design
Photo by Peter Murdock

In a Manhattan duplex, Stonefox Design created a glamorously moody dining room, plastering the walls in a dark hue and hanging from the ceiling a Lindsey Adelman chandelier that seems to be draped with Spanish moss. Below this, vintage Ole Wanscher chairs sit at the custom table.


New York living room by Brian Murphy
Photo by Sergio Villatoro

Brian Murphy filled this sprawling New York living room with attention-grabbing furniture, but he made its focal point a group of sculptural Nekton stools by Zaha Hadid. Separated here, they are designed to interlock, forming a tight cluster that resembles coral.

The artwork on the wall is just as stunning, including a colorful Jean Dubuffet painting and African Mumuye sculptures.


Bedroom by KES Studio
Photo courtesy of KES Studio

“My goal for this Bel Air, California, bedroom was to keep the space bright so that there’s a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor,” says KES Studio‘s Steven Smith. “We also wanted to keep the design both modern and soft and inviting.”

All these elements combine in the eye-catching Lindsey Adelman light fixture, which seems to float in the expansive space. A structural Ralph Pucci bench at the foot of the bed complements graphic Natasha Baradaran for Jean de Merry end tables.


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