For decades, the annual RECORD INTERIORS competition has showcased some of the world’s top architectural designs. Selected by an editorial jury, the winning 2021 projects all demonstrate a sensitive yet bold approach to materials and context while addressing the client’s programmatic requirements.

In New York, Dean/Wolf Architects infused a loft/residence with daylight through a sensitive addition and renovation that speaks more to the existing brick and timber structure than to a forced sense of luxury. On the opposite coast, the San Francisco office of Gensler created a future-forward showroom for electric car manufacturer Lucid that takes advantage of the company’s technology smarts without losing sight of the importance of local natural resources.

Japanese architects are masters of invention when it comes to materiality and space, as exemplified by Yoshimasa Tsutsumi’s interpretation of regional craft and tradition for a wedding-kimono showroom in Yokohama, and a pair of culinary shops in Tokyo by KAMITOPEN Architecture-Design Office—both as charming as they are resourceful. Finally, Sweden-based Windgårdhs refreshed a former soap factory in a centuries-old building in Palma de Mallorca for the Concepció Hotel by Nobis, collaborating with a local tile maker to lay the groundwork for their surprising scheme.