Alexander Wang's Interior Designer Talks Celebrity Clientele & Decor Tricks

Ryan-Korban-Headshot
You may not recognize his name — yet — but interior designer and stylist Ryan Korban is no stranger to the cool downtown New York set. At just 29, he's already worked his luxe, old-world-inspired magic for some of fashion's elite. The holy sanctum that houses Alexander Wang's Soho-flagship treasures? Yep, that was him. That gorgeous, limited-time sale on One Kings Lane? His. But before the rising star becomes a household name (though, we doubt he'd opt for a Target collab), we had to talk to Korban about his celebrity clientele, secret to success, and dark and sexy romantic aesthetic. Yes, friends, Nate Berkus, he is not.
You often create spaces that are both masculine and romantic, over the top and chic. Where do you find inspiration?
"Cars, jewelry, garments, flowers...I tend to gravitate toward anything that exudes good taste. I take a small piece of everything and put it together to create an aesthetic."
What's an unfamiliar decor trend or trick you think everybody should know about?
"Putting furniture along the perimeter of a room. It’s really the worst thing you can do for a space. It leaves empty space in the middle of the room and lacks interest in traffic flow. The best trick is to work in the middle of the room. I wish I had learned that sooner in life."
You've designed for Alexander Wang, Natasha Poly, Jessica Stam...what's the biggest challenge and reward for designing for such creative, fashion-forward people? Any pressure?
"Pushing them enough without pushing them too far. When you work with people who have their own 'taste,' it is always a collaboration, which is always a tricky thing. You want to be sure you push your client so they will listen to you, but you always have be sure their voice is heard as well. It can be a very tricky balance. This is the exact reason I often prefer working on commercial spaces. It tends to be more straightforward when you are working with a company versus a private client."
Do you ever have to compromise your vision working with clients who have such a strong sense of style and point of view?
"Yes, I have. And it has never been a success. It just does not work."
You're 29 — relatively young for such success in interior design. What's your secret?
"Ambition and excitement. It’s important to just keep moving forward. I am always looking for the next thing and not relishing in the moment."
So, if physical and monetary restrictions were not an issue, what would your dream/fantasy project look like? Don't hold back — the sky's the limit.
"To keep working at the level I am right now. I’m really lucky to be able to say I am doing exactly what I want to be. My only dream would be for it to keep going this way."
What's one decor piece — that's not your own — you are coveting right now?
"Anything Jean Michel Frank."
If you could design for anyone, who would it be?
"Queen Elizabeth."
What does the future have in store for you?
"I have been really focused on retail right now and have some amazing projects opening in the fall. I am also working on my first book with HarperCollins."

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