Q&A with Fashion-Inspired Interior Designer Jarvis Wong

Jarvis WongJarvis Wong loves to mix and match.

So much so, he asserts his personal design philosophy is wholly rooted in his penchant for fusing seemingly clashing patterns and pieces. “I love to combine contemporary and classical elements to create something that is fresh and uniquely mine,” he reveals.

The designer—who grew up in Hong Kong and attended boarding school near Chicago as a teen—originally started out in the fashion industry in pursuit of a childhood dream, only to later realize the profession didn’t quite suit him as well as he’d imagined.

Armed with an architectural degree from Columbia—along with a keen eye for design, honed by years working as a women’s wear designer at Ralph Lauren and Kenneth Cole—Wong smoothly transitioned from haute couture to interior décor.

Following a stint at architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, he moved on to CetraRuddy—another New York City-based company—where he designed the lobby and model unit of Walker Tower, a luxury residential development in Chelsea. “[Due to] the success and positive response I received [for my work] at Walker Tower, [I realized] it was time to launch [my own firm],” he says.

Walker Tower
Walker Tower Residence

Soon after, Jarvisstudio was born.

Below, Haute Living chats with the designer about his up-and-coming interior design company (which already boasts clients in Hong Kong, London, and New York), ultimate career goal, and projects he currently has in the works.

What is your ultimate goal as a design professional? Which are you more passionate about: architecture or interior design?

My ultimate goal is to use design as a tool to help others realize who they are. An important part is also creating mood and desire. I’m definitely more passionate about interior design! It allows me to combine my architectural training with my experience working in the fashion industry. It’s the best of both disciplines.

Describe your experience working in the fashion industry. How did it ultimately impact your interior design career?

Truthfully it was a bit overwhelming working at the fashion shows. I remember sitting on the studio floor late at night, picking swatches and sketching out looks for months on end. However, the experience made me more in tune with fabrics, patterns, and color palettes.

Name a few individuals you look up to and draw inspiration from.

Architects I admire greatly include Le Corbusier, Zaha Hadid, Arata Isozaki, and Oscar Niemeyer. Fashion designers include Karl Lagerfeld, Raf Simons, Miuccia Prada, Nicolas Ghesquiere, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Dior.

Which types of projects do you enjoy working on the most?

Jarvisstudio focuses mainly on interior design—especially high-end residential work [such as] the Walker Tower, and Stella Tower, its sister project in Hell’s Kitchen. We also started developing a hospitality project in Asia this year that I’m extremely excited about.

Stella Tower Lobby
Stella Tower Lobby

What are some projects you currently have in the works? Which of your projects are you most proud of or excites you the most, and why?

We are working on several residential projects in Manhattan and Hong Kong, in addition to the hospitality project in Asia I mentioned. The Stella Tower lobby is near completion, which is very exciting to us. It’s a gorgeous space. I am extremely proud of the work we did at both Walker and Stella towers, in collaboration with CetraRuddy. I have a great working partnership with the team: developers Michael Stern of JDS Development Group, and Elliott Joseph of Property Markets Group, and of course Vickey Barron of Douglas Elliman—the head of sales on both projects. For any designer, it’s a dream team arrangement!

Stella Tower Residence
Stella Tower Residence

If you could design any structure in the world without having to worry about any fathomable limitations, what would it be?

A museum, hands down.

Name one trivial fact about yourself one might be surprised to hear.

Shoes! I have a closet full of shoes for all kinds of different occasions. I don’t believe in all-purpose shoes. A beautiful pair of dress-up shoes or sneakers are must-haves for any outfits, just as accessories and art are must-haves for any great interior space.