Hospitality Design - July 2014 - (Page 61)

perspectives trends startups By Alissa Ponchione BACK FROM THE BRINK When the recession struck in 2008, the hospitality industry was hit especially hard. Development came to a virtual halt, affecting construction companies, hoteliers, vendors, and designers alike. While companies were eliminating design positions (and sometimes whole departments), many talented designers were faced with a dilemma: hope to find another job in a fledgling economy or venture out on their own. Statistics were against those planning to start boutique firms, as more than 170,000 small businesses closed between 2008 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But those designers who persevered and saw the downturn and its aftermath as a catalyst for change-some featured here-have been rewarded. "From the get go, it was the worst time to be working or to start a company," says Adam Goldstein, one of the founding principals of Santa Monica, California-based Studio Collective. "But there's never a good time to do it. There's never a good time to go out there, but there are good stories coming out of it." Studio Hatch, San Francisco Who: Rebecca Brownlee McEfee and Kate Hanzo When: Hanzo and McEfee worked together for four years at Design Atelier when they realized their skill sets melded together perfectly. When a handful of freelance projects came their way in 2012, they decided the time was ripe to start their own firm, and Studio Hatch was born. Why: During the early stages of Studio Hatch, there was buzz the economy was coming back, but the industry had not fully begun its recovery from recession lows and the duo still struggled to find hospitality work. Being in San Francisco, however, made them accessible to the tech industry. The chance to design the offices of a local tech startup looking for an atypical and innovative design helped the pair find a niche market in that world. Those type of projects Photography by EVA KOLENKO Designers who forged their own paths during the economic downturn are now enjoying success 1. The HotelTonight offices were designed to reflect a boutique hotel lobby. 1 "have been keeping us very busy for the last couple of years," McEffee says. Lessons Learned: Having started the firm as the recession was lifting, Hanzo and McEfee are still cautious about growing the company. "We have been riding the ebbs and flows in workload and realizing how quickly things change," McEffee says. For example, having been on the verge of hiring more staff a couple of times, they had to hold off when projects were placed on hold. "The learning curve feels very steep," she adds. Success Stories: After creating successful office spaces, it was only a few months ago that Hanzo and McEfee felt they were making some headway in the hospitality world when they were awarded their first two hotel jobs. "We each had close to 10 years experience with hotels and restaurants at our previous firms, so starting on a boutique property again felt comfortable but very exciting," Hanzo explains. The step Photography by EVA KOLENKO away from hospitality "brought us a refreshing outlook on materials and finishes, and function, and we're excited to bring some of what we've learned [in commercial design] back" to the hotel world, she explains. Projects on the Boards: Motel Mylo, San Francisco LIA Motel, San Francisco Artis Coffee prototype design, various U.S. cities July 2014 061

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hospitality Design - July 2014

Hospitality Design - July 2014
Online TOC
From the Editor
State of the Industry
Eastern Canada
Radical Innovation in Hospitality Award
5 Questions for Jason Pomeranc
Emma Gardner
IIDA/HD Product Design Competition
HD Americas Preview
From the Show Director
Keynote Speaker
Conference Highlights
The Power of Story
Ad Index
Back Space

Hospitality Design - July 2014