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One of Orlando Soria’s most popular Instagram photos features two identical ceiling pendants made from frostedglass panels and matte brass pentagons. “There hasn’t been this much double trouble since the 2004 Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen blockbuster smash-hit New York Minute,” captioned the Los Angeles-based interior designer.
Gone are the days when designers pounded the pavement, portfolios in hand to build their profiles. Today, millions of potential clients scan social networks in search of professionals who not only inspire, but also entertain their followers. As the founder of design services firm Hommemaker and creative director of Homepolish, a New York company offering interior design services on an hourly basis (plus a special guest at the Interior Design Show’s Globe Style Saturday) Soria is a leading digital-age designer (@mrolandosoria has topped 64,000 Instagram followers), approaching social media with an authoritative yet affable presence that attracts both commissions and collaborations. “Basically, it’s allowed me to have a voice, to say, ‘Hey, this is my skill set. How can I help you?’”
Of course, image-based platforms like Instagram prevail in the visual world of interior design. To date, Homepolish’s Instagram account boasts an ever larger fan base (more than 600,000). “I love Instagram because it provides inspiration both to potential Homepolish clients who will sign up and to people who may never choose to hire a designer but have an interest in how to make their space beautiful,” says Soria. “It’s a combination of design candy and design education, so it serves more of a purpose than just allowing people to brag about how awesome their lives are.”
Occasionally, though, something does happen that’s worth boasting about. “The lead singer of Grizzly Bear, one of my favourite bands, started following me on Instagram a few months ago and liked some of my photos,” says Soria. “It was really exciting for me to know that an artist I really like and respect was seeing something I made.”
To pay that feeling forward, Soria shares some of his own go-to Instagram sources for inspiration.
DESIGN MILK @designmilk
“I love this feed because it’s so different from what I do and what a lot of the design Instagrammers are doing out there. DesignMilk tends to skew very ‘product design’ and ‘architectural,’ while the rest of us are photographing white rooms with cute accessories. I find it kind of educational and also lovely, though most of the spaces aren’t what I myself would design, because I’m not that minimal.”
MATT ALLARD @lifeserial
“Matt’s work is very much Southern California-inspired without being contrived. I love that he gives us little peeks into his life while not making his feed completely about him. He’s more interested in showing you how he sees his aesthetic surroundings.”
RICHARD HAINES @richard_haines
“Richard is a fashion illustrator, and I have been obsessed with his work for quite some time. I find that looking to other fields, especially fashion, helps me think more broadly about the purpose of design.”
PAUL OCTAVIOUS @pauloctavious
“This guy is just an amazing photographer. His images are inspiring for colour and composition.”
JEN GOTCH @jengotch
“Jen takes a super-humorous approach to marketing her brand Bando while telling stories about her life. Her neon aesthetic is refreshing, and she’s endlessly relatable.”
JOY CHO @ohjoy
“Joy has so many great DIY ideas and gets personal about her family. I love that she’s always showcasing ways to add bright pops into your life, from stationery to party hosting.”
“Their photos are all so gorgeous, and their ideas for home decor are always on point. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the founder, Grace, who has written so many lovely things about her own life over the years.”
EMILY HENDERSON @em_henderson
“I worked with Emily for years and I love keeping up with her constant content creation and watching her renovate her home. It’s crazy how much beautiful stuff this woman creates!”
MYLES TIPLEY @mylestipley
“Myles is a DJ and design writer in New York with a really cool feed. He has a gorgeous wife and a beautiful kid, and I love keeping up with his life. He’s always taking pictures of cars, which I love but never take time for, and highlighting their design.”
Orlando Soria appears in conversation with Globe Style contributor editor Maryam Siddiqi at the Interior Design Show in Toronto on Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. For tickets and information, visit interiordesignshow.com.