Boutique Design - April 2016 - 60

DAVID
LEVENTHAL

We have never seen a Native American architect or designer. There was almost
no diversity at the colleges where we've taught. For the few students from
diverse cultures who do study design or architecture, there's frequently the
feeling that they must be the best in the room.
Diversity is not only important; it's necessary. It can foster creative tension,
which is healthy in a design studio because it leads to collaboration. Diverse
design offices produce better results and create concepts that are robust and
complex, with layers of different cultural, cognitive and technical undertones.
When designers come from various cultural backgrounds, they approach
things in unique ways; they think differently. That's how to arrive at very out-ofthe-box thinking and to speak to the bigger, broader audience around the
world that is now every client's guest.
What needs to be done to increase diversity: One important step is to
create diversity outreach endowments for minority design scholarships.
Tuition and board costs at higher education institutions have increased
dramatically, which widens the gap of economically stressed high school
minority graduates who might otherwise consider this field of study.

I can't comment on the issue of diversity in the design industry in general, but I
can comment about my experience in particular. I'm a member of a group
called Social Venture Network (SVN). At the spring 2015 conference, I attended
a session hosted by Google about their internal work on unconscious bias. That
very enlightening session made me question the biases that I had and how they
were applied in hiring people to work on our projects. Part of the session was
about how diversity creates better results. 
A month later, I was looking for a designer who would help me create
impact for our new Treehouse, a new villa-like accommodation on the resort's
grounds. I decided to challenge my bias and move away from "white, male,
same age, etc." and look for diversity. I interviewed three women: one Latino,
one white and one African-American. The African-American woman, Kimshasa
Baldwin (principal, Deture Culsign, Architecture + Interiors), was the best
match (see her comments on page 56). She understood not only the design
direction and had a strong portfolio but she had worked in similar circumstances as ours (a very important part of the decision). Expectations were high,
and she exceeded them.
What he's doing to create change: We are proud that Playa Viva has a
woman as its general manager in a traditional male- (macho-) dominated
society.  As a Mexico-based company, obviously most all our employees are
Latino, but we make it our policy to hire from the nearby communities. I challenge the industry to look around and make sure that their teams, especially at
the highest levels, look like their customer base or what will become their
customer base over the next generation.

60

boutiquedesign.com APRIL 2016

CHRISTINE
SHANAHAN

Managing Director of
Design | Jonathan Nehmer
+ Associates | HVS Design,
Rockville, Maryland

COURTENAY
DEAN WALLACE
President, Designer,
e-Volutions Design,
Boston

C O U R T E S Y O F P L AYA V I VA ( L E V E N T H A L ) ; C O U R T E S Y O F C H R I S T I N E S H A N A H A N ,
C O U R T E N AY D E A N WA L L AC E ( S H A N A H A N , WA L L AC E FA M I LY )

Owner, Playa Viva,
Zihuatanejo, Mexico


http://www.boutiquedesign.com

Boutique Design - April 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Boutique Design - April 2016

Boutique Design - April 2016
Contents
From The Editor
In This Issue
The Buzz
Wall Power
Q+A: Steam Punk Dynamo
Hit Refresh
White Paper
Products: Bath + Spa
Products: Textiles
Exit Interview
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Boutique Design - April 2016
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Cover2
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 1
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 2
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 3
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Contents
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 5
Boutique Design - April 2016 - From The Editor
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 7
Boutique Design - April 2016 - In This Issue
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 9
Boutique Design - April 2016 - The Buzz
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 11
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 12
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 13
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 14
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 15
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 16
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 17
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 18
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 19
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 20
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 21
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 22
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 23
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Wall Power
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 25
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 26
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 27
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 28
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 29
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 30
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 31
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Q+A: Steam Punk Dynamo
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 33
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 34
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 35
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 36
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 37
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 38
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 39
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 40
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 41
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 42
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 43
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 44
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 45
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Hit Refresh
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 47
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 48
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 49
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 50
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 51
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 52
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 53
Boutique Design - April 2016 - White Paper
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 55
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 56
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 57
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 58
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 59
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 60
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 61
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 62
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 63
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Products: Bath + Spa
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 65
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 66
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 67
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 68
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 69
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 70
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 71
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Products: Textiles
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 73
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 74
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Boutique Design - April 2016 - 80
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 81
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 82
Boutique Design - April 2016 - 83
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Exit Interview
Boutique Design - April 2016 - Cover3
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