Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Interior designer and principal/co-founder of bicoastal design firm BHDM Design.
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA.
Studio location: Manhattan.
Describe what you make: We’re an interior design studio, and design all parts of projects—custom lighting, furniture, spaces, art, graphics, uniforms… pretty much anything a client asks for! We design both commercial and residential work, with a strong sense of hospitality and approachability. One of the silos of our business is working with developers on multifamily housing, including the design of units, public spaces, amenities and model and leasing offices. Most recently we’re working with our friends at Gotham to develop model apartments for their new Gotham Point property, a 1,132-unit building. We like to show a mix of narrative and audiences when we do models, creating “memory points” for potential tenants.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: Projects that give back are always the most meaningful, and gratefully we’ve been able to help with many. Most recently, we helped a company called Real develop a new take on therapy. Their goal was to create a community and visibility around therapy, to destigmatize it, and to support mental wellness as a pillar of health. It’s been a great collaboration—beautiful not only in its look, but in its mission to help people.
Describe the problem your work solves: We’re often trying to blend aesthetics with new thoughts on operations: how can a hotel be more “self-serve,” and still maintain brand continuity? How can operational necessities be made to look (and function) the best way possible? All our projects are bespoke, so we are constantly questioning our own standards and industry standards to create a better product for our clients, across the board.
Describe the project you are working on now: We’ve been involved with a project named Tangram—a 250,000-square-foot mall and food hall—for almost eight years. It’s just starting to open, and it’s been so gratifying to see it all come to life. The project is our interpretation of a Tangram puzzle, extruded in the 3D. Folded, faceted planes are represented on all surfaces, from columns and walls to ceiling and even the terrazzo floors underfoot. The food hall has a futuristic cyberpunk look, inspired by the kinetic energy of Asian night markets.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: We’re currently in development on two Bay Area hotels for Hyatt’s JDV brand—both are really fun and spirited, and reimaginings of existing properties. This kind of project is always fun because our team gets to help think through all parts and pieces, from plan improvements to how the new narrative can touch all points of the guest experience.
Wild Palms—a 1960s-era motel—will be relaunched with a “62 and sunny” approach, to feel effervescent and playful, with retro winks and an updated approach to food and beverage and social work lounge additions. Hotel Avantel, previously a Silicon Valley workhorse hotel, is being updated with a nod to healthy living in the Santa Clarita Valley. Color, textures, and makers from the area will be displayed, and interpreted through a joie de vivre lens. They launch late 2022 and early 2023 respectively—we can’t wait to see them come to life.
We recently completed the reimagination of the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SoMA. We were brought on to oversee the hotel’s design, which includes the addition of a new lobby, Regency Club, full service bar, chef-driven restaurant and an innovative grab-and-go marketplace, as well as extensive redesigns to all 686 guest rooms, executive and presidential suites, and redesigned meeting and event spaces. We envisioned our design through an arts-centric lens, seeking inspiration from the hotel’s location in the heart of San Francisco’s Arts District.
To bring this narrative to life, we incorporated a defined palette of textures and motifs inspired by different mediums of art, including digital motion graphics, photography, painting, landscape architecture, mixed-media art and sculpture. We also formed a partnership with The Academy of Art University in SF to secure original custom artwork by local students and alumni, which we layered throughout the hotel’s public spaces, guest rooms, and suites. Taking the guest experience into consideration, we intentionally created multi-functional public spaces that would seamlessly transition from day to night, ensuring that from guests’ first cup of coffee to their last cocktail of the evening, there was always an art-infused place to work, eat, and play.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Wine and cold brew on tap, and usually at least one dog running around!
What you do when you’re not working: I’m a habitual house renovator—my partner and I have bought and fixed up four properties in the past five years, so there’s always something cooking on that front. We’ve also taken up boating and exploring the North Fork of Long Island from the water. In the fall, I’ll start back into my tap classes again—while I’m no Gene Kelly, it’s a release that’s both creative and something that has nothing to do with anything else in my life: a “just for fun!”
Sources of creative envy: Phillipe Starck seems to always conjure up amazing, imaginative and unique work. Beaux Arts Paris, or Impressionist Paris—to have been alive at that time in that place would be amazing. People who work with their hands every day—I think being a painter, sculptor, print maker, or anything like that would be so fulfilling.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Instagram! I love it… but I spend WAY too much time on it.
Concrete or marble? Marble. Somehow it’s just warmer.
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse. A true fantasy.
Remember or forget? Wait, what? JK—usually remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts.
Dark or light? Dark and moody AND light and lovely… love them both.