i+D - January/February 2020 - 41

ICONic Profile - By Ambrose Clancy

If you've stayed in a sumptuous hotel over the past
three or four decades, chances are you've checked into
a place influenced by Deborah Lloyd Forrest's striking,
ground-breaking work for the hospitality industry.
Known for her unerring color sense, Forrest creates
simple but ultrasophisticated spaces that achieve
comfort and luxury as first principles.

i+D: Has the industry changed for women
since you started?
DLF: Not for women per se. Interior design has
always been a really good path for women. There's
a lot more equality, and in residential design, there's
probably more women than men. I've never felt any
difficulty or discrimination in business.

In 1986, Forrest founded Deborah Lloyd Forrest
Associates, which she operated for more than a decade
before joining with Stephen Perkins to establish their
firm, ForrestPerkins, in 1998. ForrestPerkins provides
services to hotel and resort owners and operators
around the world. Some of Forrest's signature
accomplishments are The Empress Hotel in Victoria,
British Columbia, for Canadian Pacific Hotels and
Resorts (which is now Fairmont Hotels and Resorts);
The Royal York in Toronto; The Hotel Vancouver; and
designing the branding guide for Waldorf Astoria.

i+D: In general, how has the industry changed?
DLF: From the perspective of the hotel business, it's
changed a lot, not only in the type of design-which
is cyclical anyway-but also the role of the designer
has changed because of the number of people you
have to get to agree to things. When I first started
working, it was directly with the heads of the hotel
brands. There wasn't a lot of layers of decisionmaking. Hotel ownership has changed. Now there
are third-party operators and asset management
companies involved. There are more people-some
with experience and some without-and more
opinions. It doesn't make it wrong, but it does make
it more difficult.

Forrest has served on the Board of Directors of the
American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and,
in 2000, ASID elected her a fellow of the society.
In 2004, ASID named her Designer of Distinction and,
that same year, she was elected by Hospitality Design
magazine to its Platinum Circle. Four years ago,
ForrestPerkins joined forces with Perkins Eastman,
with almost 1,000 employees in 17 locations around
the globe.
Forrest holds an undergraduate degree from
the University of North Texas in English, with a minor
in French, and has a master's in English from UNT.
A native of Oklahoma City, she has spent most of
her life in Dallas, where she lives with her husband,
Tom Scott.
i+D: How did a scholar of English end up
as an interior designer?
DLF: Well, I don't have a degree in design. I taught
high school for several years and then apprenticed
with an amazing designer, also an ASID member,
Robert Preston Henry. That's how I got started. I
worked with him, and when I could qualify, I took
the NCIDQ and passed it the first time.
i+D: When you were a little girl, your family
took long road trips.
DLF: We'd drive from Oklahoma to Canada and
to the East Coast. And then my cousins and I
would go to visit my grandparents in California.

Image: Danilo Agutoli

i+D: Can you remember your first impression
of staying in a hotel or motel?
DLF: My first significant impression was on the
trip to Canada when I was, oh, about 7. We went
through Dearborn, Michigan. My father worked for
Ford Motor Company, which was based there. We
stayed in a hotel complex with small suites centered
around a beautiful setting. I remember arriving, and
there was this big, beautiful fruit basket wrapped in
cellophane. The sense of luxury really got me.
i+D: A fruit basket will open the eyes of
any 7-year-old.
DLF: Yes, but it was also a suite, with separate
bedrooms. We stayed in motels, and this was a
far cry from a motel.

i+D: Do you consider yourself an artist?
DLF: I do.
i+D: Craft can be taught, but art is something
else. You're known for your artistic use of color
in your work. Where did that come from?
DLF: My mother, and my mother's mother,
and my aunt. We were middle class, not wealthy
by any means, but they had a sense of style and an
understanding of fashion and a knowledge of what
was current, an instinct for what they wanted. It
seeped into my consciousness.
i+D: Ethical design standards have become
an integral part of the industry. Are some
designers just talking a good game but in fact
cutting corners?
DLF: I wouldn't know about others, but it's
important to our firm and our practice. We have
a commitment to sustainability. We build it into
every project we do. It's important to our young
people since they see a strong connection to the
environment with responsible design. They know
it gives their work purpose.
i+D: They come to you with that?
DLF: Yes. And we expect our vendors to
demonstrate that their products are sustainable and
documented. We also have to educate our clients
that sustainability is important, making the business
case for that. For a number of years, it cost more to
use sustainable products and processes, so we let our
clients know the business benefits in the long term.
i+D: What's your worst hotel experience
as a guest?
DLF: Oh, gosh. Conventioneers-in a big hotel.
When I was still in high school in Oklahoma, I
worked in a florist shop after school, and my boss,
who was a woman, took me to Dallas to go to the
Market Center. We stayed downtown at the Statler
Hilton. While getting on an elevator packed with

i+D - January/February 2020

conventioneers in their funny hats, one of them had
what wasn't a true cattle prod but it was some kind
of thing they began poking us with. It was awful.
The most horrible experience.
i+D: How often do you travel?
DLF: A lot. Probably 70 percent of the time. We
work all over the world. But also, my husband and
I travel for pleasure. We still get excited and enjoy
the anticipation of travel.
i+D: What are you reading?
DLF: I'm always reading; probably a book a week.
Currently, I'm reading A Great Improvisation
by Stacy Schiff. It's about Benjamin Franklin's time
in France when he was trying to get support for
the Revolution.
i+D: Paper or screen?
DLF: I have real books, for sure. I have a library
here in Dallas and at our home in Santa Fe with tons
of books. But I don't always have the opportunity
to read print books. When travelling a lot, it's easier
with my Kindle. On it I have the complete works
of Shakespeare, so I can occasionally read a play.
I have the Federalist Papers because, well, it's very
necessary right now, as well as the Constitution. It
may sound weird, but I do.
i+D: What delights you?
DLF: A beautiful day. Nature. I love being around
animals, especially cats.
i+D: What's your sport?
DLF: I'm not a sports person. But I walk three to
five miles a day.
i+D: That counts.
DLF: And, oh, I do Pilates.
i+D: How do you balance a sense of coziness
with modern design in hotels?
DLF: Our focus primarily is comfort. Guests
need to feel they're being drawn into a space that's
warm and inviting, no matter the style. I don't
like the word "coziness," as it doesn't connote
sophisticated design. But at the same time, that
sense of comfort, that everything you see and touch
intrigues you, something that feels in a way familiar
but is something you haven't experienced before,
that's our hallmark.
i+D: When you go to a hotel, what do you
immediately look for?
DLF: Everything.

is the editor of the Shelter Island Reporter
and a novelist, nonfiction author, and
journalist. His work has appeared in GQ,
The Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.



i+D - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - January/February 2020

i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover1
i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover2
i+D - January/February 2020 - 3
i+D - January/February 2020 - 4
i+D - January/February 2020 - 5
i+D - January/February 2020 - Contents
i+D - January/February 2020 - 7
i+D - January/February 2020 - 8
i+D - January/February 2020 - 9
i+D - January/February 2020 - 10
i+D - January/February 2020 - 11
i+D - January/February 2020 - 12
i+D - January/February 2020 - 13
i+D - January/February 2020 - 14
i+D - January/February 2020 - 15
i+D - January/February 2020 - 16
i+D - January/February 2020 - 17
i+D - January/February 2020 - 18
i+D - January/February 2020 - 19
i+D - January/February 2020 - 20
i+D - January/February 2020 - 21
i+D - January/February 2020 - 22
i+D - January/February 2020 - 23
i+D - January/February 2020 - 24
i+D - January/February 2020 - 25
i+D - January/February 2020 - 26
i+D - January/February 2020 - 27
i+D - January/February 2020 - 28
i+D - January/February 2020 - 29
i+D - January/February 2020 - 30
i+D - January/February 2020 - 31
i+D - January/February 2020 - 32
i+D - January/February 2020 - 33
i+D - January/February 2020 - 34
i+D - January/February 2020 - 35
i+D - January/February 2020 - 36
i+D - January/February 2020 - 37
i+D - January/February 2020 - 38
i+D - January/February 2020 - 39
i+D - January/February 2020 - 40
i+D - January/February 2020 - 41
i+D - January/February 2020 - 42
i+D - January/February 2020 - 43
i+D - January/February 2020 - 44
i+D - January/February 2020 - 45
i+D - January/February 2020 - 46
i+D - January/February 2020 - 47
i+D - January/February 2020 - 48
i+D - January/February 2020 - 49
i+D - January/February 2020 - 50
i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover3
i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover4