Cliff Fong | Seamless, Timeless Flow

A well-rounded approach to design.

Written by

Isaac Dektor

Photographed by

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Styled by

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Cliff Fong. Pair Of Concrete “Loop” Chairs By Willy Guhl, 1960’s, Switzerland. Aloe Dichotomacharacter In Monumental Concrete box By Willy Guhl, 1960’s, SwitzerLand. Ficus Palmeri In Concrete chalice Planter By Willy Guhl, 1960’s, Switzerland. Deuterocohniabrevifolia In Cement Cauldron planter By Willy Guhl, 1960’s, Switzerland. Myrtillocactus Geome-Trizans “Elite Crest” In Concrete marmite Planter By Willy Guhl, 1960’s, Switzerland. Additional Plantmaterial Shown, Platycerium Bifur-Catum Specimen “Staghorn Fern”.

Cliff Fong’s sophisticated and eclectic style in home design reflects his diverse upbringing. The Brooklyn-born artist traversed the country to attend California State University where he majored in art history. The 53-year-old setup shop in Los Angeles over two decades ago, quickly embedding himself in the city’s fertile design scene as an interior designer, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. 

Fong’s style is often characterized by a willingness to mix vintage and contemporary elements, bold color palettes, and a keen eye for decorative objects. Fong primarily works in residential spaces but has also designed notable commercial spaces as well, such as Top Chef alum and season six winner Michael Voltaggio’s restaurant Ink.

The luminary designer co-founded an artisanal unisex collection called Chatav Ectabit in 2004 with designer Sandy Dalal.  Fong opened Galerie Half on Melrose Avenue in 2009, an expansive marketplace for 20th-century design, European antiques, architectural elements, and art. Flaunt spoke with Fong to discuss his influences, how his approach has evolved, and more.

Cliff Fong. Cast Aluminum “Tulip” Chairs By Pierreguariche, 1950’s, France. Marble Table In The Style Of Angelo Mangiarotti.

How has your traveling influenced you as a designer?

I receive a lot of inspiration from my travel as I get to explore different elements of nature, as well as different cultures and historically important design and architecture. That has helped inform my work immeasurably. Additionally, since I’ve studied art and architectural history from around the world, I often find myself, putting almost everything I see in my daily life into some sort of historical perspective.

How do you believe your approach to design has evolved since the beginning of your career?

My design process has become much more well-rounded than it was in the beginning where I used to really just focus on furniture, Now, not only do I think about furniture and all the related elements in a room more immediately, like art, accessories, etc, but I also consider flow. My client’s personal interests and how they will engage the home are much more of a concern as I want to make sure they get the best of our time and work together. The process is much more well-informed and hopefully seamless as I feel a different level of cohesion in bringing all the elements together more so now than ever before.

When designing a space, what is most important to you? What do you hope people take home with them?

I think my most important goal is to make something that feels stimulating, interesting, and authentic while being reflective of my client’s personality and interests. That is always my mission. If I can make it as comfortable and functional and as sexy as possible those are all bonuses and can be considered important to the mission as well.

What does home mean to you? What is your favorite corner in your home?

Home has a variable definition for me, sometimes it’s an entertainment space, sometimes it’s a sanctuary, sometimes it's a laboratory. Lately, it has been an enabling space for all sorts of projects, hobbies, and curiosities I’ve had which the pandemic afforded me the time to explore. My favorite corner in my home is tough as I’m not good at playing favorites. I like things for different reasons and I like things at different times of the day. I think I probably spend the most time in my bedroom but if I were to think about a place I like enjoying it’s either my backyard near the fish pond or my pool area underneath the canopy of a large avocado tree.

What is your home away from home?

Sometimes it feels like a plane, as when I’m not home I’m always going somewhere. But, if I were to think about my favorite places to go where I feel at home it’s probably somewhere either in Greece or in France.

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Cliff Fong, Galerie Half, Chatav Ectabit, Isaac Dektor