Welcome to our annual Global Interiors issue. Good design can enable, inspire and elevate our lives. This has been magnified over the last year, as circumstances have required us to stay at home, with more opportunity than ever to contemplate the stuff that surrounds us. Marking a year since the pandemic turned the world upside down, this Global Interiors issue salutes the design pieces that have brightened our days, and the luminous talents behind them.

We’ve broadened the scope of our headline interiors story, featuring designs from six continents, rather than focusing on six specific countries as we did in previous years. Our head of interiors Olly Mason worked with Berlin design studio Form & Rausch to create a visual feast, setting standout furniture pieces against escapist backdrops that are modern while rooted in geographical context.

We also bring you a trio of midcentury Californian homes that have been given a new lease of life. In Malibu, Kelly Wearstler transformed a long-neglected beach house with an illustrious pedigree into a striking surf shack. In Los Angeles, meanwhile, just below the Hollywood sign, Studio Shamshiri’s take on the former home of Robert Kennard (a leading Black architect of his generation) is an exercise in thoughtful luxury. Nearby, we revisit John Lautner’s Garcia House, an icon of American architectural history that was featured in Wallpaper’s January 2009 issue (W*118). Owners John McIlwee and Bill Damaschke, architects Marmol Radziner, interior designer Darren Brown and environmental designer John Sharp offer us a masterclass in sensitive reinvention, presented over 12 pages and also starring on our newsstand cover.

Further alluring homes in the issue include a converted barn in Norfolk, by London-based 31/44 Architects, and a family home in the Hamptons that pays homage to the area’s farmhouses, by New York’s Young Projects.

We call on three visionaries who have changed architecture in very different ways. In a conversation with our architecture editor Ellie Stathaki, Rem Koolhaas discusses Boompjes, his first commission for Rotterdam and an early expression of his now-famous vision for urban living. ‘Towers are the expression of capitalism and slabs are the main expression of socialism. In the 1980s, it was very interesting to try and create a hybrid shape,’ he says.

We take a deep dive into the work of Anupama Kundoo, which is at once elegant, resourceful, environmentally sound, and celebratory of local knowledge. Above all, she believes that architecture should be a conduit to happiness: ‘There is no other aim: to be alive is to be happy.’

And we look back on the career of Italian postmodernist master Paolo Portoghesi, a creator of Baroque-inspired buildings and advocate for the first Venice Architecture Biennale. Going against the currents of his era, he championed ‘a bit of noise and colour in architecture’, a call for greater creative freedom that has proven prescient when we consider the plurality of contemporary architecture.

As 2021 gathers momentum and optimism, this is a timely celebration of design. We hope you enjoy the issue!

Sarah Douglas