2023 Emerging Designer Award: Joshua Smith


“I’ve always sensed that a home is the backdrop for creating a beautiful life,” says Joshua Smith, this year’s emerging designer. Though he took some missteps before discovering his calling—what he refers to as his “detour into darkness”—his past experiences informed a considered, purposeful approach to design that results in spaces that are at once beautiful and uplifting.

“I didn’t know where to start,” he remembers of his initial forays into interiors, when he shouldered the decor of his first home. “I slowly began collecting things that made my heart sing.” His joy in the process and the sense of peace he found there engineered an epiphany. “I understood how powerful a home can be, especially when it’s designed for an individual,” he recalls. “I realized my purpose was to help people achieve that same sense of sanctuary.”

Photography by Lance Gerber

The revelation propelled him to enroll in the New York School of Interior Design. That led to an internship at S.R. Gambrel, Inc., which quickly turned into a full-time job. Though he was living his dream, the realities of supporting himself in one of the world’s most expensive cities quickly became apparent. On the verge of giving up and moving home, his father encouraged him to keep going, confident Smith would make it. Inspired, he fired off an email blast to his contact list and by the end of the month, he had three freelance projects. Soon he was inundated with enough projects to hang out his own shingle.

His initial consultations with his clients, what he calls his “Six Pillars of Balanced Design,” probe deep into their lives. “Each piece we select can support us, reminding us of our true essence and contributing to our bliss,” he says. Sustainability is a part of that conversation. “It’s about creating a space that elevates the experience of the everyday in every way.” This is home as heaven on Earth.

More news: