Often clients and peers ask what inspires us. How did you come up with that? We could say we are simply brilliant and it came to us in a dream, but that is probably far from the truth. We find inspiration everywhere, and most often when we travel. Leaving our island bubble and seeing new sites is the best inspiration. We learned early on that hospitality is often on the forefront of design. We might even argue that fashion precedes hospitality, but that could be another essay in itself. Our clients come to us with images of places they travelled to and hip hotels where they hung their hat. It’s time to make some reservations!
Many people check into a hotel, grab their key and head to their room. Not us designers. We start making mental notes the moment the cab pulls around front. A valet is taking our bags but we’re looking at the entry, the lighting, even how it smells. A good designer recognizes that every step of your experience has been very carefully thought through. We are looking at the materials, feeling the textures, and listening to the music being piped through the lobby. All the while we are asking ourselves – how do we take this back to the studio? We are constantly taking notes and asking ourselves questions. What is that material? How is that illuminated? How does that open and close? Sometimes we feel like undercover agents, discreetly snapping photos with our phones. Many times we’ve taken photos under a bar to see how they are washing it with light. More than once we have documented a bathroom. Weird maybe, but it has proven very insightful at times. We even travel with a tape measure in our pockets and measure everything from the heights of end tables to the length of a towel bar. We do our best to achieve this with the utmost discretion, and over the years we’ve become really good at it.
Most importantly, we note how the space makes us feel and how the designer accomplished that. Can we translate this into a home? Can we make our clients feel like they are on vacation every day? That is our goal – we want to transport them to another place. And not just transport them, but make lasting impressions that they share with others.
So we wish we could say we are simply brilliant, but we really owe much to keeping our eyes open. Travel fuels our creativity and challenges us. The good news is that we are surrounded by great design, if you know where to look. So if you see us staring at the ceiling we aren’t just lost in thought, we’re probably wondering if that ceiling detail might work in our next creation. See you on the road!