Patrick Sutton, a Baltimore-based interior design firm behind work that has included projects such as the Sagamore Pendry hotel, placed among international competition to receive two top industry honors.
The firm earned a place in the latest Andrew Martin Interior Design Review—Vol. 25, which covers work from 2021—as one of the top 100 design firms in the world.
Sutton’s firm also made the short list of 21 designers from that review in Homes and Gardens—a century-old publication and the United Kingdom’s first-ever home interest magazine.
The London-based Andrew Martin design house is a global design leader; its annual list is named by The Sunday Times of the U.K. as “the Oscars of the design world.” Past celebrity judges include such cultural juggernauts as Gordon Ramsey, Thandiwe Newton and Twiggy.
Patrick Sutton was selected for the Andrew Martin list out of a global pool of applicants. Competition included more than 1,000 designers and architects from China alone.
This occasion is the second time Patrick Sutton has made Andrew Martin’s famous list—and it’s only the second time the firm entered. Sutton’s firm first took home the prize in 2019.
“It was pretty satisfying to realize that they recognized us both years,” says Sutton, principal and namesake of the firm.
Sutton has a unique form of storytelling which sets him apart from other designers.
Instead of having a consistent style to design, Sutton approaches each project as a story. His methods stem from accompanying his father, Horace, on travel journalism assignments when he was a child.
Sutton watched as his father found the “genus loci,” what draws people to certain locations. His father captured that essence in his writing and transported readers to these places.
In his design projects, Sutton finds what draws his clients to a particular location and what their dreams are in that space. These two elements create a narrative which influences his design—no two projects are the same.
Sutton describes this process, which is also detailed in his book, “Storied Interiors” (Images Publishing Dist Ac, 2018).
“You start to see a movie in your head about what that lifestyle wants to be. Why the beach? What is it about the beach that gives it its quality—that soothing, relaxing energy? What are the rituals that you see people going through in terms of making dinners together and reading books in a cozy little library on a rainy day?
“You could not tell that same story in a duplex on the Upper East Side of Manhattan,” he says.
The Sagamore Pendry is the firm’s most well-known project in Baltimore, Sutton says. It was named the No. 1 hotel in the country by Conde Nast Traveler’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards.
“That was pretty rewarding,” he says.
Sutton says Baltimore does not always have the best reputation in the news. He was proud to be able to “move the needle a bit.”
“It’s kind of nice for us to be able to do something that puts a positive light on the city.”
Other notable restaurant projects in Baltimore include Charleston, Cinghiale, the former Pazo—“that was one of the first places in Baltimore where people felt like downtown was an entertainment destination that was more than flip-flops and cargo shorts,” he says—and Four Seasons Baltimore restaurants such as Maximon, Azumi and Loch Bar.
Sutton’s firm also recently worked on Perennial Restaurant in Towson. Beyond the local scene, his team designs projects nationwide and sometimes internationally.
With his restaurant work, it’s all about recreating where the food was made so that people can feel like they’ve journeyed there for two hours.
Sutton says rather than feel pressure from his award recognition, he sees it more as validation for three decades of work from a team searching for excellence.
“You just keep swimming, keep swimming, keep swimming, and then finally, ‘Oh, there’s the shore,’” he says.
He’s currently working on a redesign for the interior of the Oregon Grille in Hunt Valley, The Choptank restaurant in Annapolis and a Spring Valley home renovation in Washington, D.C.