Artists  •  Spotlight on...

Interview with David Ko, the interior designer behind the trendy studio Maison Ko

Born and raised in California, David Samuel Ko has always had an eye for design. He moved to Los Angeles after graduating college and hasn’t looked back since. This trendy designer’s exciting aesthetic, combining pops of color with vintage finds and mid-century furniture, has put him on the radar of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood. He has designed several premium boutiques for the brand Frankie’s Bikinis, created by influencer Francesca Aiello, and has recently worked with actress Hilary Duff to design her baby daughter’s nursery.

Partnering with SINGULART on an exciting project, this designer to the stars has curated a sale of art and design pieces under the theme “A Hip Californian Home.” He answers our questions, revealing his fascinating background and giving out much needed tips for the interior design lovers reading us!

SINGULART: How did you first get into interior design? Have you just always loved it?
David Ko: The summer after graduating college, I had a hard time finding a job and didn’t really have any real idea of what career path I wanted to pursue. I grew up experimenting with so many different creative outlets (fashion, styling, photography, to name a few) and felt like I had to decide then and there what I wanted to do and stick with it for the rest of my life, which was obviously not the case. A friend of mine was working at an interior design firm and asked if I had any interest in meeting with the designers and helping on a few projects. I loved them and their work, was hired, and worked with them for almost three years. There I learned the ins and outs of the industry and was able to wear so many different hats and work on a variety of projects. I was also able to find my own style and appreciation for design. I’ve realized since that I did love interior design growing up without even realizing it. I always enjoyed decorating spaces like my rooms, parent’s house, friend’s parents’ house and never thought of it as a career path. I wasn’t exposed to interior design so it wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles that I realized it was something I loved and could make a living out of.

What is your biggest inspiration, both in life and in design?
I would say fashion is one of my biggest inspirations in design. I look at the mixing of colors, patterns, and textures that designers use a lot. I’ve found that fashion is easily translated to interiors since you are working with the same materials. So whether it’s street style or something new on the runway or even archival, I draw a lot of inspiration from it in design and also in life. But my biggest inspiration in life would definitely be my mother. I can’t imagine my life without her! She was the first of her family to immigrate to the US from the Philippines and has always been a hard worker. She is my biggest supporter and who I want to make the most proud in the world. Her unconditional love and passion for people and life is something I strive for. I mean I wouldn’t be here today, physically and mentally, without her.

What was your intent and ambition behind the launch of Maison Ko?
My intent was to start a company where I was free to express all of my creative interests and make a business out of it. I always knew I wanted to start my own business, but just didn’t realize it would be so soon into my career. I only had around 4 years of experience before I started this venture and can safely say I’ve learned so much since Maison Ko started, and I’m still learning! Maison Ko is like my little baby and I am so thankful to have this company and platform. I’m also beyond grateful for my clients as I wouldn’t be here without them!

What would you say has been your favorite project to date?
I would say a nursery I did for Hilary Duff has been one of my favorites. I love designing and collaborating with her and we had a lot of fun with Mae’s room. There were a lot of bold choices made which, I think, individually would seem like a hodgepodge, but together it just makes sense. I love how moody the space turned out yet perfectly soft enough for a newborn.

The nursery David Ko designed for Hilary Duff

How would you describe your aesthetic or artistic vision?
It’s funny, I get asked this question a lot and I still have yet to come up with an answer! I feel like I’m still learning so much and haven’t done one style consistently enough to be able to say that is “my look.” But I would probably say my style is a little mid century, high-impact, playful and colorful, yet grounded.

How do you think the pandemic has changed the way we think about interior design?
I think people are a lot more practical when it comes to design decisions. Mainly comfortability, functionality, budget, and use of space. Not that these were not considerations before the pandemic, but I think now more than ever, these are things all my clients are very aware of.

How has Social Media changed the landscape of Interior Design according to you?
Social media has made interior design a lot more accessible. There was a point where people didn’t really care what their space felt like as long as it looked nice and new. Now people are taking time to curate their homes and spaces to fit their personality and are aware about how it feels when they’re in them. I think the strive for perfection or the “highlight reel” that social media created has also instigated this for interior design. So not only do people want to look good, they want their spaces to as well. Which isn’t a bad thing! I also think it’s given us, designers, the platform to showcase our work and reach an audience we may not have been able to in the past. It’s definitely helped land new clients and other opportunities which I am eternally grateful for.

What are your best tips when it comes to decorating a home?

  1. Have fun with it! I don’t think interior design should be so serious. Don’t be afraid to play with color or funky patterns if that’s something you like or are drawn to.
  2. Always double check all your measurements, especially if something is custom. I like to tape things out to make sure the amount of square footage the piece will cover feels good, not only for myself but for my client as well.
  3. Comfortability is key. Choose textures and silhouettes that are cozy for places that you want to get cozy. No one wants to sit in an uncomfortable chair.

Finally, do you have any favorite design pieces from your SINGULART curated selection?
I love the Pike Bench (Double) by Brian Chabaan. He is a friend of mine and I adore him and his collection of furniture and accessories. The moon divider is something I would love for my own space and think it’s a perfect mix of vintage and new (stylistically). For art – I honestly love all of my selections and can see each having their own place in my home. I didn’t know a lot of these artists but love how easily I was able to find them on SINGULART.

Don’t forget to check out David’s selection for A Hip Californian Home!