Interior designer Rachel Cannon Lewis considers the eight-foot gorilla statue to be her strangest design challenge – one that she declined to take.

When the Wall Street Journal asked 12 interior designers to share their strangest client requests, of their responses were based around their solutions to uncommon or difficult design themes, such the Barbie Dreamhouse, Barbarella, and the Balenciaga Hybrid Derby Pump shoe.

“He was very literal about it,” Nicole Fuller says about the client who wanted a Batman-themed penthouse, “but we focused on black, charcoal grays, grays and whites, with pops of yellow in the art and accessories. I interpreted the shape of bat wings architecturally and included this in a coffee table.”

Others had particular practical considerations, like a free-flying bird or the need to hide a secret room from a client’s spouse. Rachel Cannon Lewis ended up entirely stumped by the couple who wanted their eight-foot silverback gorilla statue to remain central to their living room’s design. “I tried to figure out how to make him look interesting or like he was an important work of art,” she said. “But by the end of the meeting, after having this gorilla stare menacingly at me from across the room, I knew I couldn’t make it work. I didn’t take the project.”

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