Inspired by YSG: How To Achieve Global Eclectic Style

Sydney-based architecture and interiors design firm YSG has taken the design world by storm since bursting onto the scene in early 2020.

In the few short years since, the studio has been showered with accolades, picking up awards at every major Australian design awards program — and a few international ones too!

But what is it that makes YSG so unique — so of the moment? In this first instalment of our new column, Inspired by, we unpack the magic of YSG, and share some of the unique elements of their style that we love!

Lucy Feagins

La Palma by YSG. Throw from Chee Soon Fitzgerald. Bedside tables from CCSS. Cushions made by Re-Materialised with fabric from Think Positive. Artwork ‘Repose’ by Stacey Rees from Saint Cloche. Walls hand painted with stripes extending from canvas by Creative Finishes. Mirror (bathroom) by Rachel Donath. Michelle Stool by Tim Rundle for SP01 from Space Furniture. Honed Tiberio marble vanities and splashback from and crafted by Med Marble. Portagallo marble and Rosso Verona tumbled marble tiles from Aeria County Floors.

YSG director Yasmine Ghoniem in her Bondi apartment, aka Bait by YSG. Styling – Felicity Ng


Bait by YSG. Reeno bench mini from Grazia and Co, upholstered in Kiwi Boucle from Pierre Frey. Pion dining table by Sancal from Kezu. Banquette custom designed by YSG and made by Materialized (with vintage textiles from Cheesoon and Fitzgerald). Lampe de Marseilles by Le Corbusier from Cult. Luna Bolster Eggshell cushion by Jardan. Stool by Henry Wilson. Styling – Felicity Ng

La Palma by YSG. Vase from Spence & Lyda. Gus Stool from Jardan. Platter from Dinasour Designs. Giallo Sienna marble island bench designed by YSG and crafted by Med Marble.

‘At its very core, my outlook is nourished by the layers of my culture and travels.’

- Yasmine Ghoniem

Bait by YSG. Floor runner from Kulchi. Stool by Henry Wilson. Custom joinery by YSG made by Xpert joinery in Porter’s Paint Biscotti. Stansborough Wool throw from The DEA Store. Artwork ‘Mr Tallmadge’ by James King (2015) from Becker Minty. Framed scarf by Kushana Bush from Cheesoon and Fitzgerald. Styling – Felicity Ng

La Palma by YSG. Artwork (middle) ‘Stucco’ by Stacey Rees from Saint Cloche. Artwork (left, red) by Tom Mackie. Artwork (white) ‘Ghostly Misfit Tiles’ by Jan Vogelpoel Ceramics. Artwork (bottom right) ‘Volcano Chess’ by Alex Xerri from Saint Cloche. Sculpture (round, top left) ‘Full Moon’ by Bettina Willner from Saint Cloche. Sculpture (fan, bottom left) ‘Fan’ by Elise Cameron-Smith from Saint Cloche. Artwork (flower, bottom left) ‘Godwana’ by Carissa Karamarko from Saint Cloche. Sculpture (left, on shelf) by Mel Lumb from Saint Cloche. Sculpture (on shelf far right) ‘Yarnina II’ by Sallie Portnoy. Sculpture (on shelf second from right) ‘Garnet’ by Bettina Willner from Saint Cloche. Artwork (right, framed) ‘Balcony’ by Clare Walker from Saint Cloche. Artwork (right, pink stripes) ‘Glass of Water on Pink Striped Shirt’ by Sophie Sachs from Saint Cloche. Sculpture (snake, right) ‘Red Snake’ by Elise Cameron-Smith from Saint Cloche. Shelves custom from Saint Cloche. Bikini #5 Wall Light from Servomuto. Coffee tables custom designed by YSG made by Med Marble. Bela Floor Lamp by Kettal from Mobilia. Bean bag from Koskela. Cushions from Lucy Montgomery. Glasses from The DEA Store. Basket from Spence & Lyda. French wash painted ceiling with custom colour and painted detail by Creative Finishes.

La Palma by YSG. Adam Goodrum ‘Trace’ Armchairs from Tait. Stools by Kartell from Space Furniture. Granada Hourglass Side Table’ from Globe West. Wide Stripe Lilac Towel by Aeyre from Reliquia Collective. Pots from Robert Plumb custom painted in blush tone. ‘Deeply Pendant’ from The Together Project. Chair (right & back) vintage with seat pads by Re-Materialise. Chair (left) vintage. Tablecloth from Pigott’s Store. Sequoia Pouf by Frederica from Cult. Mugs, cups & saucers by Mud Australia.

Lucy Feagins
2nd of November 2023

‘Bold concepts and resourceful detailing. A mixture of high and low octane colours plus a tapestry of discordant textures and patterns would be my summation’. This is how YSG founder Yasmine Ghoniem describes her design aesthetic, and her studio’s unique approach.

It’s a way of working that feels intuitive and multi referential — weaving together layers of inspiration from a myriad of places, eras and cultures. Much of this is driven by Yasmine’s own life story, and her distinctly global outlook.

‘At its very core, my outlook is nourished by the layers of my culture and travels’ Yasmine says. ‘Like all YSG spaces, everything’s inter-connected and there’s no hierarchy regarding materials or furnishings. A home should never feel like a showroom’.

Global influences

Having spent her formative years in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, it’s no surprise that the Middle East is a rich source of inspiration for Yasmine and her studio. YSG is currently undertaking a substantial residential project in the region, and architectural details — from ziggurat patterns in Njad villages through to intricate metal motifs on painted doors in Saudi — are inspiring the designs.

Other recently completed projects look further afield for inspiration. ‘La Palma‘ — a stunning residential project in NSW’s Palm Beach — channels rustic Ibiza beach clubs and Mexican resorts.

‘The clients wanted to tap into a dreamy resort vibe that opened the house up to easy entertaining,’ Yasmine explains.

The mood here is both playful and practical, with robust  materials reimagined in new ways. For instance, tumbled marble pavers arranged in checkerboard patterns inside and out artfully balance practicality, with a sense of fun.

Layers of pattern

On a completely different scale, ‘Bait‘ in Bondi is a small apartment refurb with a similar use of bold pattern, and hand-made details that cohesively weave a myriad of global influences into a tiny 55square metre footprint.

Here the kitchen floor ‘tiles’ are actually hand-painted on the original timber boards (by Sydney mural artists Creative Finish), giving the kitchen a unique patina, where scuff marks are welcomed.

‘I didn’t want anything that looked brand new,’ says Yasmine, reflecting on this space (which was her own former apartment). Layers of rugs and textiles give the space an inviting, lived in feeling and a sense of history. ‘The rugs spread tales of faraway lands and remind me of all my travels,’ Yasmine explains.

Maximum texture

Texture is a significant feature of all YSG projects. We’re especially drawn to their use of rattan furniture and lighting in La Palma, and other projects. ‘The organic nature of these elements instantly give off a relaxed, worn-in vibe that’s far from precious,’ Yasmine muses.

‘Believe it or not, our clients at La Palma inherited some of the furniture with the purchase of the property… including the sun room’s wicker sofas,’ Yasmine explains. These existing pieces were revamped with paint, and re-upholstered with fun summer prints and pattern.

Balance and diplomacy!

All YSG projects share a richly layered materials palette, where shiny surfaces meet textural rattan and woven elements, natural stone complements timber details, and somehow, everything comes together cohesively. The rationale for this approach is surprising. It’s less about an affection for maximalism and more about balance, and diplomacy!

‘I often pair opposites so no one element dominates a room,’ Yasmine explains.

‘In La Palma’s kitchen, the island bench features a waterfall marble surface that looks like dripping caramel. So I balanced the sweetness with a strip of red paint to accentuate its pairing with a more neutral stone beneath’.

‘We also need to be more accepting of worn patinas and even crinkles,’ Yasmine advises. ‘Every space I design always looks better six to twelve months after I hand over the keys, because humans leave the most incredible scents and traces. You can’t buy that’.

Want to see more? Visit The Design Directory to discover our top picks in furniture, lighting, rugs and more! 

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