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Not only is Cliff Fong one of the chicest people we know, the Los Angeles-based interior designer and co-owner of the exquisitely curated galerie half, recently earned himself a place on the 2015 OUT100 as well as the enviable gig as a judge on HGTV’s Ellen’s Design Challenge.
How he manages all this, we’ll never know. Yet, somehow, he is constantly traveling and came up for air long enough to answer our questions too!
1. Where did you go on your most recent trip?
2. What was your favorite memory from it?
Scuba diving in 30-40 feet of clear blue water looking over an active reef.
3. In terms of design, what city inspires you most right now?
Budapest. The city has incredible history and breath-taking architecture. One can find sublime interiors there: raw, and rich with details, just waiting for rejuvenation or reconceptualization. The flea market is amazing.
4. What place would you say is the most "design challenged”?
Dubai. It’s great on architecture, but the rest is a bit crazy.
5. FAA regulations aside, what iconic chair would you swap airplane seats out for if you could?
This chair by Guillerme et Chambron. (image above) It’s about the most comfortable thing from mid-century France, one could imagine. It’s not quite iconic yet, but I think it will be.
6. What is the most challenging item you've ever personally brought home from a trip?
A painting by Piet Mondrian that I found in the Budapest Flea market. I didn’t trust any shipper to send it so I hand carried it and put it in the overhead compartment. I stood up and personally helped every traveler load that compartment to insure it’s safety.
7. Hotel you think is designed perfectly?
Singita Boulders Lodge in Kruger National Park, South Africa. (below)
8. What building/structure is worth a 12-hour flight just to see in person?
9. How many stamps do you have in your passport?
I really can’t count. The stamps overlap. I was told recently by an immigration agent that I needed to order more pages.
10. Where will you go on your next adventure?
Thinking about Micronesia for a dive trip, but also really want to see the ancient structures at Nan Madol, near Pohnpei.
HGTV’s Ellen’s Design Challenge airs its second season premiere on January 18, 9 pm/8pm central.