When Ken Fulk burst onto the scene in 2010 with a splashy masquerade ball honoring jet-setter Denise Hale at his South of Market studio, it seemed he’d come out of nowhere.
The little-known interior designer brought together socialites, politicians and business leaders, titillated them with lavish fare and voyeuristic scenes from San Francisco’s underground subculture, and used the event, dubbed Halestorm, as his calling card.
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Soon, he was decorating the homes and offices of the Bay Area’s burgeoning billionaire set and masterminding elaborate weddings. He was also, becoming an arbiter of taste for his clients where fashion and entertaining were concerned.
It wasn’t from nowhere.
The 49-year-old has spent a lifetime honing the skills and showmanship that has made his Ken Fulk Designs Inc. the most sought-after design and branding firm in.
Hot on the heels of the Battery, a five-level private social club that drew international attention when it opened in 2013, 2014’s schedule contained more than a dozen high-profile projects; a renovation of the relocated Marlowe restaurant; remodeling of the iconic Mark Hopkins hotel on Nob Hill; the design of a forthcoming 226-unit residential tower in New York’s Hudson Yards; and a national retail project.
Fulk, who often dresses in Edwardian suits and bow ties, has no formal interior design training and envisions his design projects as movies in his head, from opening credits to the last reel.
“He is the Frank Lloyd Wright of our generation. The greatest living genius of interior design and architecture. This will be clear to the world in due time, but for now he is willing to entertain our hair brained vision and realize it in a way that we could not have imagined.”
Fulk’s designs tend to combine antiques, modern art and taxidermy, leading some to call him a “one-note wonder.” But in shying away from a strict regimen of classicism and tradition, Fulk enjoys what San Francisco design historian Ed Hardy calls “a freedom and latitude of choice that would have constrained someone like Tony Hail, who was tied to what was right, accepted and what was protocol.”