Over the next month, these industry professionals will provide their invaluable insight in naming an Interiors of the Month winner and four honourable mentions for May.

Anne-Rachel Schiffmann, director and senior architect at Snøhetta

Based in New York City, Anne-Rachel Schiffmann is a Senior Architect, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP and director at the international firm Snøhetta. Previously, she held positions at Diller Scofidio. Schiffmann has additionally served as a guest critic at Columbia GSAPP, Parsons New School, Pratt Institute, FIT and City College of New York, among others. Her expertise is reflected through a variety of projects, including Calgary’s Central Library, the Student Learning Center at Ryerson University in Toronto, the SFMOMA expansion in San Francisco, the Stillspotting installation for the Guggenheim Museum and the French Laundry Kitchen expansion in Yountville, California.

Christiaan Fokkema, partner at Hollandse Nieuwe

After obtaining a master's degree in architecture in Delft, Christiaan Fokkema worked on international retail design projects for design agency Storeage, before joining Hollandse Nieuwe in 2016. Since joining the studio, the Dutch architect has been responsible for several high-end workplace interiors such as the Adidas HQ in Amsterdam, Naturalis, University Fontys, Equity Estate and the interior of Aidsfonds SoaAids Netherlands. He became a partner at Hollandse Nieuwe in 2019 and leads the design teams in creating innovative unique work and learning spaces for both public and corporate clients. Fokkema strongly believes in the power of beauty to improve the quality of work, learning and life.

Chunji Zhang, founder of Brand Republic Creative

Chinese entrepreneur and brand strategist Chunji Zhang has worked across the retail sector for nearly 20 years, holding a master’s degree in fashion marketing from South Korea’s Ewha Womans University. This year, she founded Brand Republic Creative, a brand incubation platform that leads the new consumption of domestic fashion goods. Prior, she founded Youhan Brand Planning & Design Consultation Co and was a partner at Chicmax Group (Shanghai) and the CEO of Hondo (South Korea). Zhang also initiated the world’s first tea cosmetics brand, Cosmetea. She now resides in Shanghai.

Gudy Herder, founder of Eclectic Trends

Originally from Germany, Gudy Herder is an experienced trend consultant, keynote speaker, and certified trainer with a background in international retail management. She is the founder of Eclectic Trends, a Barcelona trend agency specialized in identifying micro- and macro-trends in interior design and lifestyle. The team has worked with the likes of Ikea, Montblanc, Grohe, Samsung and the European Design Institute. Herder’s career is driven by a passion for observing meaningful trends and making them actionable.

Justine Fox, co-founder of Calzada Fox

Justine Fox blends her unique understanding of applied colour psychology, trends, insights and ergonomics with futures thinking. Her consultancy work at Calzada Fox – a London colour consultancy – spans architecture, citizen experience, electronics, FMCG, branding and graphic design. Lending clients a multidisciplinary, Fox helps to creates engagement with people through product development, social content, publications and immersive installations. The practice’s driving philosophy is that the power of colour goes beyond aesthetics and should be explored for its ability not just to enhance, but to add value and impact to specific projects and in specific locations.

Leni Popovici, founding director and partner at KAP Studios

A graduate of the Architectural Association, Leni Popovici co-founded KAP Studios in 2018 and opened offices in London and LA. Drawing on her rich international design background and talent for conceptualizing new buildings, she brings a visionary spark to every project she works on. Her experience ranges from high-density, mixed-use residential projects in London to designing 400,000-sq-m neighbourhoods in central Bucharest, high-end residential developments in LA and boutique shopping malls in Cairo. Passionate about all scales of design from innovative master-planning to careful interior detailing, the Romanian architect champions creative and flexible thinking.

Liam Doyle, principal at Jump Studios

As a principal at London’s Jump Studios, Liam Doyle focuses on sports and entertainment buildings such as Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the Co-Op Live, a collaborative project with Populous. Since graduating from the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in 2011, Doyle has worked in architecture, interior architecture, landscape design, lighting design, fashion and product design. He has contributed his skills to global projects including residential, commercial, mixed-use development and master-planning, and was formerly with Cinimod Studios in London and Philippe Rahm in Paris. 

Omar Abdelghafour, design principal at L.S.Design

With over 15 years of professional experience in the design industry from renowned practices, Omar Abdelghafour founded the award-winning multidisciplinary design and architecture practice L.S.Design (Light Space Design) in 2004, which has offices in Dubai, London and Bali. Abdelghafour, who was born and raised in the UK, received his master’s in transport design and then architecture there. He believes in unique craftsmanship and refined aesthetics, and sees architecture as ‘one part of “design” as the language for life – not a singular discipline’. This philosophy translates to his work in private and commercial architecture alike.

Ruud Belmans, co-founder and creative director of spatial design at WeWantMore

WeWantMore is an independent design studio specialized in interior design and branding, headquartered in Antwerp. Co-founder and creative director of spatial design Ruud Belmans strongly believes spaces influence how people feel, behave and interact. Under his creative lead, the studio explores the junction of design, art and entertainment to create spaces that make people feel, including hospitality, retail and office design. The team has completed projects for Samsonite, Accor Hotels, Chateau de Vignée and more.

Yifan Wu, co-founder of Sò Studio

After attending Central Saint Martins and working at Chapman Taylor and Broaday Malyan for several years, Yifan Wu co-founded Sò Studio in 2016, an architecture, interior, and industrial design practice based in Shanghai. Wu leads Sò Studio with intellectual rigour, creating inspiring, innovative places with powerful visual impact.

Mengjie Liu, co-founder of Sò Studio

Mengjie Liu met Yifan Wu while working at Chapman Taylor, and they later founded Sò Studio together to realize their design ambitions. Liu studied at China’s Tsinghua University and University of the Arts London. As the co-founder of Sò Studio, she pursues a distinctive design aesthetic and aims to cleverly use material details in all her projects. Since 2015, she’s also published several articles in INTERNI magazine and Art Newspaper magazine.

Sonia Tomic, senior associate and head of furniture and materials at Universal Design Studio

Sonia Tomic has 18 years of experience in retail, hospitality, workplace and exhibition design, in Australia, the UK, Sweden, the UAE, South Korea and Japan. Alongside leading her own projects, Tomic’s role and expertise at Universal is to oversee innovation, creative and technical design quality with regards to furniture, materials and bespoke design in support of the studio’s approach to human-centred design, how we inhabit spaces and how spaces can meaningfully support and improve the human experience in everyday life. Spaces for Fortnum & Mason, Ace Hotel and Mulberry are among her most recent works.

Stefan Weil, CCO and co-owner of Atelier Markgraph

Starting his career in the 1980s as a graphic designer in the music field, Stefan Weil went on to serve as a creative director in the 90s, eventually joining Atelier Markgraph as a CCO and co-owner. The Frankfurt design, architecture, engineering and planning firm operates at the intersection of cultural and corporate experiences, developing exhibitions, trade shows, set design and showrooms. Weil is also the co-creator behind the Museum Of Modern Electronic Music, which will open in Frankfurt later this autumn.

Tina Norden, partner at Conran and Partners

An architect and interior designer, Tina Norden has a diverse portfolio stretching across many contexts and continents, from hotel and restaurant design to high-end residential. Norden studied architecture at Westminster before completing her MA in Architecture and Interiors at the Royal College of Art. She is now a partner at Conran and Partners and collaboratively leads teams in the UK and Hong Kong on award-winning projects across the globe. Key projects include the iconic German Gymnasium in London, Park Hyatt’s new Auckland hotel, Hotel Maximilian in Prague, the White Label QO for IHG in Amsterdam, Mayfair’s Rüya restaurant and the KEF Gallery in Hong Kong.

Veronica Givone, managing director of hospitality at IA Interior Architects

Rooted in IA’s London office, Veronica Givone manages the global practice’s hospitality-design practice. A seasoned studio leader and design director with 20 years of experience in the boutique and luxury hospitality and residential sector, she has completed notable hotel projects such as the JW Marriot Venice Resort and Spa, Hilton Barcelona, The Westminster Curio Collection, The Lowry Hotel and The Mansion residential development in London, to name a few – her designs can be seen across the EMEA and United States. A native of Italy, Givone holds a degree in interior design from the Istituto Europeo di Design.