June is one of our favorite months here at HD in terms of discovering exciting up-and-coming talent in our industry. It’s the issue where we feature our annual Wave of the Future honorees, and also when we get to hear from them directly, at NextGen Forum, which was held a couple of weeks ago in Chicago.
Each talked about their most recent and upcoming projects, their challenges, and how they create a powerful experience for guests in the hotels and restaurants they design. But what really stood out was each designers’ attitude about collaboration—both on their own teams and with others they work with.
Here are some of their thoughts on successful teamwork:
- “It’s really important that everyone we work with has an open mind,” said Starwood Capital Group’s vice president of design, Liubasha Rose. She worked hand-in-hand on 1 Hotel & Homes debut property in South Beach with Meyer Davis Studio. “I become another member of the design team, and we become a family.”
- Warren Red principal Dieter Cartwright, who has a spate of new projects on the boards including Kimpton hotels in Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Chicago, agreed. “We foster a constant cultural collaboration with anyone who joins our team,” he says.
- “Collaboration is the key word,” added Griz Dwight, principal and owner of GrizForm Design Architects, who said on his team—which well known for its restaurant design in the DC area—there’s no such thing as a bad idea. “It fosters growth,” he said.
- Sometimes good teamwork comes down to simple manners, said AJC Design’s principal Alica Cannon, who as part of the team of firms that designed the Penthouse suite at the Tuscany, a St Giles hotel in New York, knows a thing or two about working with others. “Always say thank you,” she said, and remember that when you’re the one in charge, it’s crucial to be diligent. “Never let anything go out without checking it five times yourself.”
- And if something does go wrong? “Own up to your mistakes and be humble,” said ELK Collective director and director of design for Début Hotel Group, Kelly Ogden, whose recent projects in Portland, Oregon are adding to the renaissance the city is experiencing. “Portland is coming up in a big way,” she said. “There’s a seriousness to the design, and suddenly people are taking notice.”
- Speaking of mistakes, “if you made the choice, own it,” said Meg Sharpe, owner of Meg Sharpe Interiors, whose first hotel, a collaboration with Richard Mishaan Design, was the renovation of the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach in Miami. “Keep moving forward.”