Becoming #FluentInDesign requires more than product and system knowledge. It’s about connecting building users, designers, and manufacturers to help them understand each others’ needs — the needs that define them and drive their work. But articulating inspiration isn’t always easy, and fluency takes practice. To fuel this conversation, we’re pleased to introduce a series of interviews with people engaged in this process every day. First up is Stacy Garcia, founder and Chief Inspiration Officer of Stacy Garcia, Inc.
Hunter Douglas Architectural: When are you brought into the design process? By whom, interior designers, manufacturers?
Stacy Garcia: We are a licensed brand, so I collaborate with a number of manufacturers to create products. All products are designed under our three brands, Stacy Garcia | New York, Stacy Garcia Commercial and Stay by Stacy Garcia.
HDA: How do you define “good” design?
SG: I believe design lives at the crossroads of art and commerce. Good design is attractive yet functional, meeting the needs of the consumer. Great design is intuitive and assured.
HDA: Do you have any design rules?
SG: Don’t hold back. If you have a vision in your head, go for it. And when you think you’ve gone too far, add one extra element.
HDA: As a designer, you are constantly challenged to keep things fresh and innovative. Where do you find inspiration? Who are some designers that you admire?
SG: Whether through my children, traveling, media, architecture or nature, I’m sure to find inspiration wherever I go. The community of designers that I am surrounded by constantly inspires me. I’m blessed to be around the best of the best—great energy, enthusiasm, and creativity.
SG: The forecasting process has a strong influence on the direction of our collections. We look at variables—economy, art, music, entertainment, and social media. Forecasting is the art of reflecting the influences and tastes of a particular society at a given point in time, all about getting into the mind of the consumer and making relevant decisions on their behalf.
HDA: What does your research tell you about color trends coming for hospitality?
SG: There is a lot going on in the world of color with influence coming from multiple sources. We love mineral tones; think Rose & Smokey Quartz, Jade and Calcite. We are also looking to the 70’s for color inspiration. Pastels will continue to build.
Accent metals and unique finishes are also becoming popular. They add a touch of sophistication and luxury to a scheme. Particularly, we see brass and warm golds as a new direction in metal for the luxury market.
In case goods, contrasting wood tones and finishes are up and coming design elements. We are moving away from dark espressos to more mid tone schemes. Smokey, torched woods paired with lighter oaks add a sense of character and identity to a space. In our upcoming partnership with Bernhardt Hospitality, The Foundry collection incorporates colored woods.
The concept of flexible furniture is also an important trend to take note of. Ottomans that double as seating, or desks that extend from media centers are a new introduction to the industry. They allow the hotel guest to modify a room to best suit their staying needs.
HDA: What trends are fading in the hospitality community?
SG: As trends evolve, we build and layer on those them. With grey being so heavily adopted in the market, we will continue to build on that trend, introducing colors and materials that compliment the grey story. Overall, we see a shift to warmer neutrals.
HDA: How does technology impact textile and furniture design?
SG: Technology is a factor that affects textile and furniture design. To key to incorporating technology is that it has to be well integrated into a guest experience. It has to be intuitive or it becomes a burden.
HDA: What are the most interesting developments in the design community at present?
SG: There is an increase in appetite for good design that is brought on by consumers traveling more extensively—they have become increasingly more design-savvy. I am noticing more design influence on social media. The “who’s who” of design have a social media account on every platform and it is becoming one of the main outlets of communication. Especially the older visual platforms like instagram & pinterest. It will be interesting to see where social media takes us next.
HDA: What are the top three biggest challenges you see designers facing today?
1. Uncharted territory. Staying dynamic and finding creative ways to evolve and keep the business moving in new directions. In a world of DIY and the hyper personalization, we are challenged with how to keep technical design expertise relevant.
2. Time! I think one challenge we are all facing is a lack of time. In the fast moving world of design, we tend to cut out the parts of the design process that are most rewarding. Make time to see your design process through. Don’t forget the inspiration and exploration part of the process and get your hands dirty one in awhile.
3.The new luxury. Design—although very important—is only one element of the luxury experience. Well-edited and well-selected pieces set the stage, but it’s not about gold toilets anymore. It’s about having an experience. In the hospitality industry for example, to achieve and maintain a five-star rating, a hotel has to focus on the level of service—a staff that anticipates your needs and addresses you by name.
HDA: What other industries do you follow? How do you apply those disciplines/learnings to your designs?
SG: I’m inspired by the amount of collaboration that happens within the music industry, how different genres of music and different sounds are mixed to make amazing music. Collaboration like that doesn’t happen often.
I also look to the food industry as a place to note experiential trends happening.
HDA: What is the most exciting project you are working on right now?
SG: Currently my team and I are getting ready for HD Expo in Las Vegas. We will be hosting a Trend Gallery in the lobby (#L4), which will illustrate three of my top trends for 2017.
Also, be on the look out new product from our Stacy Garcia | New York brand. We’ve begun the process of developing a residential textile line that will coordinate with Paper Muse, our first wallpaper collection under the Stacy Garcia | New York Label for York Wallcovering.
HDA: Out of all the different aspects of Stacy Garcia, Inc. what is your favorite to work on (fabric, wallcoverings, carpets, lighting, furniture, tiles)?
SG: Each product comes with its own set of design challenges, and therefore we have fun designing and navigating around these obstacles to create unique products. We style our fabric and wallpaper to layer together in an eclectic way.
SG: Design is both an art and a science. Design is all about personal preference and the use of human creativity. The expression of this creativity and your imagination are what makes design an art form. On the other hand, the study of the natural world and observations of the world around us really are the building blocks of design.
HDA: What is your personal motto?
SG: Stay Inspired.
HDA: How do social media and global conversations/engagements impact your design process?
SG: The world is getting smaller and smaller, the consumer has access to most places in the world at the touch of button. And like most out there, we use social media to gain inspiration or even as a form of escapism.
We use social media channels like twitter to share information bites, pinterest to track trends, and instagram to track brand engagement and invite our brand loyalists to be part of our design process by providing feedback.
Whether using social media as your tool for business marketing, or for design inspiration, the key is to dissect the noise and distill the critical information.
About Stacy Garcia, Inc.
Founded in 2004, Stacy Garcia is a leading global lifestyle brand with roots in hospitality design, offering inspired product collections across a number of categories including textiles, carpet, wallcovering, furniture and lighting. Renowned for its signature bold and colorful designs and in-depth trend forecasting, Stacy Garcia is the first and only design house to offer a complete design story for the hospitality industry.
Headquartered in New York, the privately held product design company is helmed by founder and Chief Inspiration Officer, Stacy Garcia, who sees design as an empowering form of communication and the brand as one that connects to a lifestyle less ordinary.
Stacy Garcia products are available through exclusive partners and showrooms worldwide. For more information, please visit www.StacyGarcia.com, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and read more on the Life-Styled.net blog.