One doesn’t normally evoke the worlds of interior design and professional basketball in the same breath, but there’s undeniably a bit of the Kobe Bryant story in Ryan Saghian’s path. Just as Kobe was a young star who went straight from high school to playing professionally in the NBA, Ryan was also very young when he made the leap to starting his own design studio. Today the 28-year old Angeleno stands as both a young talent and an established name/brand unto himself, the embodiment of an all-in ethos now sought for his masterful ability to marry Old Hollywood glamor with an energized Millennial modernity in rooms exuding an authentic lived-in atmosphere. Like his immortalized hoops counterpart, Saghian’s journey toward fame and success within the design industry follows an unconventional path.
Similar to the late iconoclast, Saghian would proclaim his intent to become a designer early on, exuding a rare and intense passion that belied his age. “I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to do at a very early age and wasted no time getting started,” he admits.
While most 15-year olds have yet to plot a course toward college – let alone the semblance of a career path – a young Saghian began working at Los Angeles award-winning firm, Woodson & Rummerfield House of Design as an intern throughout high school before enrolling at the Art Institute of California where he would graduate with a degree in Interior Architecture. Young designers are typically expected to toil under the tutelage of senior talent for several years, to gain experience but also abide by an industry that expects youth to pay dues.
Saghian would instead push all of his chips into the game in his early twenties, launching his own design studio, Ryan Saghian Interiors, from his parent’s garage. He would quickly outgrow those salad days, leveraging social media to build up interest and eventually securing enough work to turn a dream into a profitable reality.
Today, he’s changing the industry from the inside out. His portfolio is confidently punctuated with numerous accolades – the youngest designer awarded Interior Designer of the Year by the city of Los Angeles, International LuxDeco Top 100 talents, and an invitation to participate as a competitor of Bravo’s Best Room Wins.
By the time I was 21, I recognized social media could provide a platform to showcase my work and ideas. I was nervous of course, but I had confidence about my own passion, drive and talent despite my age and limited experience.
With an eye adept for tailoring opulence beyond superficial extravagance, Saghian’s work encapsulates everything from furnishings, wall treatments and rugs of his own design, including a signature scent inspired by a favorite childhood memory revived in scented candle form. This emotional memory is consistent throughout Saghian’s work, whether designing a space or an object.
“My approach to design is all about feeling. Creativity comes from the heart, it’s intuitive,” explains Saghian, “I create spaces that are pouring with self-expression, and that’s the identifiable Ryan Saghian experience.”
Ryan Saghian Home is arguably the designer’s purest expression of his vision of “infusing classic DNA into contemporary pieces” – a home collection inspired by his travels and excursions rummaging through countless thrift stores, flea markets and trading posts. “My dream has always been to design as many beautiful homes as possible, and with my own line of furnishings, wallpaper, dinnerware and more, people all over the country and world can have a bit of my design to enhance their space.”
Ryan also revealed what it means to him to go all-in – professionally, creatively and personally – in an episode of DMTV Milkshake. Here, he talks about having a supportive community, his ideal client (spoiler alert: one that goes all-in!) and even shares the movie and book that changed his life. Check it out:
Ryan has also lent his talents to brands like Bijou, whom he designed a collection of handmade cork wallpaper confettied with glimmers of gold and paint splashes suggestive of Jackson Pollock and Interview-era celebrity-dom.
He’s currently working on a new collection for Manhattan’s most venerable emporium of design and art, Moss, developing pieces he describes as “more earthy”, alongside launching a new rug and signature tile collection. While Saghian acknowledges tastes and personas evolve, he does not want anyone to mistake these more organic developments as indicative of a turn away from what has brought the young designer so much success. “Black and white will never, I repeat, never go out of style!”
The confidently modern designer, one unapologetically devout to his own bold and sumptuous vision of the good life, has aspirations to one day apply his signature style beyond a rug, room or even across a residence. “I want to dive into hospitality. Could you imagine a Ryan Saghian designed hotel, restaurant or bar? A DREAM!”
Photography by Anthony Barcelo.