This week HD’s CitySCENE: Next Generation Networking party went back to Dallas. Roughly 125 young designers, architects, owners, and purchasers headed to Ghostbar at the top of the W Dallas for some great food, conversation, and views—the unseasonably cold Dallas weather held off just long enough for us to make use of the expansive balcony overlooking the city. Luckily enough, Deborah Lloyd Forrest of ForrestPerkins was able to stop by as our guest of honor. Look out for photos in the Jan/Feb edition. (For past photos of CitySCENE events, click here.)
While in Dallas, I took the time to stop in and say hello to a few design firms. I had a fantastic lunch with Dan Nelson and William Bradley of Vision Design at Villa O, which they recently designed. In the summer, the indoor-outdoor space must come alive, but even with the dampening weather, the space had a warm, yacht-inspired feel with painted exposed ceilings, wood floors, banquettes, and tables (with a high gloss finish), and white and blue furnishings. And the Italian food was a stand-out as well. I am still thinking about the breadless chicken parmesan with zucchini pasta.
I also stopped in the Wilson Associates expansive offices, which they have been for 20-some years. It was so great to walk around and meet everyone with Amy McEvoy, the firm’s head of PR. Even though she had told everyone to clean up for me (which they didn’t have to do), it was so inspiring to see the many, many project boards of hotels they are working on, from the Sofitel Dubai to the Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico. We plan to publish one of their newest with Sol Kerzner, the Mazagan Beach Resort in our March issue, and the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain in Arizona opens next week. The best part: spending time with Trisha Wilson in her office (which has the best view in the house overlooking the city). She’s a woman of pure inspiration.
I also had a lovely breakfast with Trish Martinek of HKS. I have worked with her for my eight years at HD, but had never met her in person, which was such a treat. We talked about the recent merger with Hill Glazier, monopolizing on social media, and touched on a few of the hundreds of projects they are working on. Two standouts: the W Hollywood, set to open next month, and the St. Regis Punta Mita in Puerto Rico.
And to cap off my trip, I had a terrific lunch with Design Duncan Miller Ullmann‘s Kellie Sirna, business development/PR, and principals Kimberley Miller and Turner Duncan. Besides a boutique hotel in Shanghai, they also just finished up the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando attached to the Waldorf Astoria. It may be one of the last 1,000-room hotels for awhile. And the duo, who are recent Platinum Circle Award winners, was just awarded the International Business Achievement Award by the Dallas Business Chamber in the small to mid-size business category. Congrats!
To walk off our big lunch, I got a tour of Duncan Miller’s design of the Hotel ZaZa. It may be five years old, but looks brand new. The attention to detail, one-offs, artwork, and the various themed suites would make me keep coming back for more. First I would want to try out the erotica suite; then the rock star one, a favorite of real rock stars. Another ZaZa just opened in Houston as well. Here’s to hoping the owners are planning on more locations outside of Texas!