Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 55

GOLD KEY DESIGNER OF THE YEAR

G
E

M A L C O L M B E R G O N T H E E T H O S A N D S Y N E R G I E S T H AT
D R I V E H I S M U LT I D I S C I P L I N A RY F I R M T O C R E AT E
E XPERIENTIAL SPACES
By Alia Akkam and Meghan Dwyer

MALCOLM BERG

P H OTO S : N ATA L I A M A H E C H A , G A B R I E L R OT H , A N D M I C H A E L S TAVA R I D I S

A G U E S T R O O M AT T H E B E N

Grounded in the concept of experiential
design, Coral Gables, Florida-based EoA
Group (which stands for Edge of Architecture)
was named the 2020 Gold Key Designer of
the Year. The award is given to a firm that has
made a considerable impact on hospitality
design between July 1, 2019 and July 1, 2020.
EoA stands out with a number of eye-catching
projects in its home state.
Proper Grit at the Ben, an Autograph
Collection hotel in West Palm Beach, Florida,
snagged a 2020 Gold Key in the Restaurant
Casual Dining category, while the Ben, the
hotel that houses it, was named a finalist for
both Lobby Upscale and Guestroom Upscale.
EoA's Barbary Beach House Key West was a
finalist for Hotel Midscale as well.
Founder, president, and design director
Malcolm Berg established EoA, now 23 team
members strong, in 2008. Here, he delves
into the importance of storytelling and the
firm's signature and holistic fusion of design
disciplines.
What does experiential design mean to you?
It's incredibly cinematic and fluid, moving

from one space to the other. It's not about
creating beautiful vignettes; that's sculpture
or photography. We think that no matter
where you are in the process of moving
through a property, if you stop and look
around, that moment should be memorable.
That passage is what we call path as
destination. As you walk through a garden and
smell certain plants, you can't capture that
in a photograph. It's cinematic at a different
dimension. If we can get people to walk into a
site and look around, tilt their heads sideways,
wonder how we got away with something, and
smile, we've done well because we've brought
a little bit of intellectual, emotional, and
positive engagement.
Why is human connection vital to good design?
When I talk to my team about the things that
we do and why we do them, at the end of the
day we're a tribe. We like to gather around
a bonfire, cook something, and tell stories
and laugh. What will bring joy to our guests?
How do we make them feel like they want
to be there, as opposed to how do we make
something monumental but standoffish? The

LOL on the phone will never take over the role
of actually smiling back at someone. We're all
about empathetic design and understanding
what a property means. Not just for us, not
just for the client, but for the concierge, the
valet, the people working the back of house,
the managers, the investors, the neighbors.
You want to create these properties for the
neighborhood. It leads us to design stronger
spaces.
Why did you start EoA? I was doing
architecture, landscape, and interior design
at the same time, and the disciplines didn't
speak to each other anywhere near as much as
I wished they had. I wanted to do something
that was much more enveloping. How do
I bring them all together? EoA became a
distillation of all the disciplines into one
concise discipline: experiential design. Since
I had been taking a lot of hospitality design
projects and realized how unbelievably
challenging they were, that became my niche.
That's how I started-me, myself, and a beatup laptop. We don't have differentiators in
the office. I'd love to say that we're a bunch of
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Boutique Design - Winter 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Boutique Design - Winter 2020

Boutique Design - Winter 2020
Contents
From the Editor
Front of House
2020 Gold Key Winners and Finalists
Leading Edge
Products: 2020 BD Product Design Competition
Ad Index
Checking In
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - Boutique Design - Winter 2020
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - Cover2
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 1
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - Contents
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 3
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - From the Editor
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 5
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - Front of House
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 7
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 8
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 9
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 10
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 11
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 12
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 13
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 14
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 15
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 2020 Gold Key Winners and Finalists
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 17
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 18
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 19
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Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - Leading Edge
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 55
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 56
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 57
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 58
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - Products: 2020 BD Product Design Competition
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 60
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Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 77
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - Ad Index
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - 79
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - Checking In
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - Cover3
Boutique Design - Winter 2020 - Cover4
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