If the name of the Los Angeles-based entrepreneur, fashion and interior designer Cliff Fong does not ring any bells, his clientele of A-list Hollywood celebrities will do just that. Born in New York and educated in art history, Cliff Fong’s taste leans heavily into the context of the project. 

His Hollywood-based interior design studio, Matt Blacke Inc. founded in 2009, is among the leading practices of the city.

Cliff Fong- 15 Iconic Projects
Cliff Fong photographed at  Galerie Half, Los Angeles ©Ryan Pfluger

Listed are 15 of his most exciting projects, both residential and commercial, reflecting his elegant taste.

1. Pistola, LA

Location: Los Angeles, California
Client: Chef Vic Casanova and Restaurateur Seth Glassman
Year of Completion: 2014      

Created for celebrity chef, Vic Casanova, Pistola is a modern take on the quintessential steakhouses of New York City. The aesthetic of fine luxury is crafted from a remodelled warehouse of very humble origins and transformed to offer a unique dining experience. 

The bar, main dining and a second dining space on the level above each have a distinct décor, tied together by the industrial elements that span the entire structure. Of these, the skylights and exposed beams in the upper dining area are the most striking, complemented by the colour palette. 

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Pistola, Los Angeles ©Matt Blacke Inc.
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Ceiling-high shelves and Carrera marble form a crisp and indulgent composition for the bar © Matt Blacke Inc.

The colour and material palettes together form the contracting backdrop composed of black and greys. The exposed industrial elements are softened by the use of textured wooden finishes. Custom-made lighting fixtures including sconces and chandeliers were crafted from 1940s bistro glass hand-picked by Fong.

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The upper-level dining space with brick flooring and a retractable roof lends an intimate dining experience. © Matt Blacke Inc.

2. Gusto 

Year of Completion: 2012
Client: Vic Casanova
Location: Los Angeles, California

The bespoke interiors and singular delicacies earned Gusto the title of Best New Restaurant in 2012 by Esquire magazine.

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The colour and material palette reflect the comfortable luxury of the restaurant, while the furniture complements the simple industrial aesthetic © Matt Blacke Inc.
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The bar area to the rear with ceiling-high cabinetry houses the spirits, the Carrera marble slab and the barstools elevate the ambience, with the industrial lighting fixtures bringing a playful edge to the space © Matt Blacke Inc.
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The additional dining space on the floor above overlooks the main dining space features a more understated décor while the furniture provides a more intimate setting © Matt Blacke Inc.

3. Ryan Murphy’s Laguna Beach Residence

Year of Completion: 2016
Client: Ryan Murphy
Location: Laguna Beach

Capitalizing on the panoramic views of the ocean and adjoining landscape, the interiors are understated, with Fong’s signature style of eclectic furniture and art bringing a touch of museum-quality interiors.

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Ryan Murphy’s weekend is a steel, concrete and glass homage to his childhood aspirations and the city he calls home © Architectural Digest
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The Illum Wikkelsø sofa and the Jean Prouvé chair bring the comfort while the Doug Aitken mirrored artwork brings the glamour to the living room © Architectural Digest.
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The bed is flanked by William Haines chinoiserie lamps covered in white porcelain flowers, and at its foot is an  Hermès folding chaise. © Architectural Digest.

4. Beverly Hills residence, Ellen DeGeneres 

Year of Completion: 2011
Client: Ellen DeGeneres
Location: Beverly Hills, California

The home of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi was visualised as a sanctuary, with its rich history and architecture lending an overarching appeal.

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The entrance hallway is a preamble to the home, furnished with a bench from Lief and a Serge Mouille chandelier above the ping-pong table by art Rirkrit Tiravanija. © Architectural Digest
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The living room is furnished with slipcovered sofas and a cocktail table by Kathleen Clements Design. Sculptures and art by Mark Grotjahn and Ed Ruscha enliven the neutral tones of the walls and furniture. © Architectural Digest
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Grey flannel upholstery for the walls sets up a neutral backdrop for the custom-made bed by Lief, an antique Gustavian cabinet and a 17th-century Tuscan table. ©Architectural Digest

The furniture reflects Fong’s ability to bring the Mid-century-modern aesthetic to the contemporary world with understated elegance.

5. Ryan Murphy’s House in Beverly hills

Year of Completion: 2011
Client: Ryan Murphy
Location: Beverly Hills, California

Originally designed in the mid-1920s by architect Ralph Flewelling, the home of Ryan Murphy in Beverly Hills is envisioned as an elaborate expression of the client’s personality. Previously owned by Diane Keaton, it is also the venue of a fundraiser hosted by Murphy for Barack Obama.

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The foyer is furnished with a green Monterey of California sofa and ceiling-high wooden shelf making it an entry library where books and memorabilia are displayed. © Anthony Barcelo
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Décor for the master suite enhances the vaulted wooden ceiling and large windows. The vintage chandelier, sofas and antique centre-table create a comfortable space with a classic touch. © Anthony Barcelo
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The formal living room with vaulted timber ceiling and arched brick fireplace with white stucco chimney © Anthony Barcelo

6. Private Suite, LAX, Los Angeles

Year of Completion: 2021
Client: Gavin de Becker & Associates
Location: Los Angeles, California

The Private Suites at LAX were redesigned by Cliff Fong in 2021, following the demand for luxury travel and raised standards for security and privacy following the pandemic. Meant predominantly for the affluent passengers flying commercial, the suites aim to provide a space to entertain their members before departure or upon arrival at the LAX. 

Each of the thirteen private suites was conceptualized to bridge the gap between the comfort of home and global connectivity. 

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Deep tones and light wooden finishes are reminiscent of Fong’s style that creates contrast and comfort. © https://www.businessinsider.in/
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Warmth and luxury are masterfully amalgamated using bespoke furniture for each suite. © https://www.businessinsider.in/
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The artwork and lighting design add a touch of elegance to the space. © https://www.businessinsider.in/

Vintage Vladimir Kagan chairs to the curated artwork adorning the walls, Fong’s taste reverberates through the state-of-the-art suite facility, complete with spas and chauffeur detailing. 

7. Residence at Hancock Park, Los Angeles

Year of Completion: 2021
Client: Sonya Roth
Location: Los Angeles, California

Through this residential project for Sonya Roth, managing director of Christie’s auction house, Fong goes the extra mile in preserving the essence of the 1927 Mediterranean-style mansion. Retaining some elements of the original architecture like the archways and the spiral staircase, the walls of the house are predominantly white, and adorned by artwork by key artists and friends.

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The living room is furnished in an assortment of statement seating by Børge Mogensen and Kaare Klint and a bench by Jean Prouvé, with a colourful canvas by Stanley Whitney. The neutral walls and flooring contrast the furniture and artwork, while the exposed structural elements highlight its volume. ©William Abranowicz
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In the dining room is a 21st-century Rick Owens dining table, with Arne Jacobsen Lily chairs and a Gerrit Rietveld sideboard. The delicate 1950s Serge Mouille chandelier and white oak panelling bear a slight contrast that ties up the space with solid and sleek silhouettes © William Abranowicz
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The trio of archways leads into the media room, at the centre of which sits a plush sectional in vibrant aubergine and vintage Karl Springer cocktail tables, complemented by Florian Maier-Aichen artwork.© William Abranowicz

8. Ink, Los Angeles

Year of Completion: 2011
Client: Michael Voltaggio
Location: Los Angeles, California

Celebrity Chef Michael Voltaggio’s restaurant reflects the signature Fong aesthetic of dark and luxurious spaces and an assortment of statement furniture and wall art. The food takes the center stage, in a humble setting with understated décor.

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The main dining space seats sixty and is furnished with old butcher block tables, Mid-century Visqueen chairs. © Matt Blacke Inc.
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The composition of 12” Douglas fir columns adds a soft boundary between the dining and sushi bar makes a soft boundary and helps highlight the space. © Matt Blacke Inc.
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A private dining room seating ten features a central dining table and art by Chuck Close and Tilo Baumgartel. © Matt Blacke Inc.

9. Breakfast Room and Solarium, Maison de Luxe

Year of Completion: 2015
Client: Maison de Luxe
Location: Beverly Hills

Each year, Maison de Luxe commission an assortment of architects, interior designers and decorators to turn a given space in the mansion into a rendition in their style. The mansion’s breakfast room and adjoining solarium were designed by Fong. 

The architecture of the mansion lends itself to elegance, which is enhanced through Fong’s European pastoral take on interior furnishing. The silver-grey paint by Farrow & Ball sets a neutral and comforting backdrop for the furnishings and lighting. 

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The blue Kaare Klint sofas and the Frits Henningsen coffee table at the centre of the breakfast room with neutral Farrow & Ball paint adorning the walls © Luxe Interiors and Design

The Gustavian chest of drawers by Lief and wingback chair by Mogens Koch are the other statement furnishings, creating a distinct spot within the room.

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The solarium is furnished with armchairs, bench and sofa by Bausman & Company © Luxe Interiors and Design
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The French windows by a circular dining table afford beautiful views of the estate lawns, flooding the space with natural light. © Luxe Interiors and Design

10. Ranch in Santa Monica, California

Year of Completion: 2011
Client: Ellen DeGeneres
Location: Santa Monica

The isolated retreat for the client indulges their love for nature, horses and barn architecture.

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The living room is furnished with a Belgian linen sofa and a 1962 Fabricius & Kastholm chair with a granite-top cocktail table by Brenda Antin.©William Abranowicz

The antique Belgian brick fireplace is adorned by a Catherine Willis wall sculpture. The living space feels more relaxed owing in part to the light colour palette, and partly to the décor that complements the architecture.

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The kitchen features an antique bluestone table and 19th-century American Windsor chairs with an Italian industrial light fixture above. © William Abranowicz

The Kofod-Larsen armchair and a midcentury Danish lounge chair by brick-lined fireplace create a cosy nook within the dining space.

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The horse barn is home to an Oldenburg gelding, with some spaces modified to create a workspace within an adjacent stall.© William Abranowicz

The 1900s French armchair by the 19th-century table workbench brings a classic touch to the rustic barn interiors, highlighted by the exposed structural elements.

11. Madison Gallery, Malibu

Year of Completion: 2007
Client: Madison Boutiques
Location: Malibu

With the chain of Madison boutiques in Brentwood and Los Angeles, the Madison Gallery brings an inspiration shopping experience, housing the top fashion labels and creation by celebrity stylists. 

Fong’s industrial-chic inclinations drive the choice of statement furniture and lighting, creating a veritable gallery that displays the clothing and jewellery.

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Arches and neutral tones create a clean backdrop to present the merchandise, with contemporary art and publications adding personality to the store. © Matt Black Inc.
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The industrial factory table on the upper floor is a statement furniture piece by Serge Mouille, while the brick flooring and deep tones enhance the intense, moody interiors. © Matt Black Inc.
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The two-story store features a stairway flanked by Charlotte Perriand table and chair, custom-made fixtures lighting the steps. © Matt Black Inc.

12. Galerie Half

Year of Completion: 2007
Client: Galerie Half
Location: Melrose, California

The vintage and antique showroom founded by Cliff Fong in 2007 is a unique project, with its interiors adorned by Mid-century furniture and antiques acquired from all over the globe.

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Mixing statement furniture creates a dynamic ensemble displayed at Galerie Half © Shade Degges
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Through hand-picked artwork and accent lighting, space embodies a museum-quality interior that transcends its status as a store © Galerie Half
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Fong’s style is reflected in the industrial look softened by the material finishes and colour palette © Cliff Fong via Instagram

13. Loft in Tribeca, New York

Year of Completion: NA
Client: Jason Biggs
Location: New York

The transformation of this industrial loft to a cosy home for a family with toddlers is marked by furniture and artwork that blends with the architecture. The exposed brick, timber structural elements and wood-burning fireplace are capitalized on by the use of complementary lighting design and colour palette.

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The central dining table is in a vintage Danish style, lending contracting tones to the deeper hardwood flooring. © Laura Moss
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Furniture allies with the exposed timber and brick, with splashes of colour to enhance the material palette. © Laura Moss
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The asymmetric navy Bertoia wire lounge is among the key furniture pieces that brighten up the living area. © Laura Moss

14. Production House, Malibu

Year of Completion: 2010
Client: Ryan Murphy
Location: NA

The production offices for Ryan Murphy were envisioned by Fong as an understated space to facilitate creativity. The artwork reflects the taste of the client, and the renovated set-painting studio is given a new and equally fruitful existence.

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The white walls bear a contrast with the dark furniture, and the flooring reclaimed from the Paramount sets.© Matt Black Inc.
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The large windows and view drew Murphy to the studio, where the comfortable chairs and couch are arranged intimate casting sessions. © Matt Black Inc.
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Production meetings are held in the “American Horror Story” themed room, where the large table at the centre lends itself to table-reads and discussions. © Matt Black Inc.

15. Lodge in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina

Year of Completion: 2020
Client: NA
Location: North Carolina   

The architecture of the lodge by Lake Toxaway is a unique undertaking since local guidelines did not permit flat roofs. Appealing this clause, the clients proposed a more sustainable roofing design that led to the policy alteration and successive construction. 

Fong creates a space that is both comfortable and harmonious with the landscape, utilizing reclaimed and locally sourced materials. The Scandinavian furniture and bespoke décor enhance the context even further.

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The dining area seats eight, with Poul Henningsen pendant lights and large windows overlooking the outdoors. © Veranda Magazine July/August 2020 issue.
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The cabinetry inspired by the work of George Nakashima is beautifully complemented by the Juno limestone counters and backsplash. © Veranda Magazine July/August 2020 issue.
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The living space features a custom-created billiard table and a motorised bookcase that reveals a bar behind an Alexander Calder painting © Veranda Magazine July/August 2020 issue.

What makes Cliff Fong the choice of the celebrities and trendsetters in the community is more than his eye for detail and ability to acquire the most unique pieces of décor. His forte lies in delivering spaces that befit the personality of the clients and the surroundings alike.

Author

Sagarika Latwal is an architect based in Bangalore exploring creative outlets and entrepreneurship within the industry. An armchair expert in art history, film and - oddly enough- ornithology, she is in constant search of hidden ideas to inform her designs. With her inclination towards architectural journalism, she hopes to make the beautiful complexities of architecture accessible to all.

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