Interview with Virserius Studio

Winner of Interior Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Virserius Studio shares insights


Interview with Virserius Studio at Tuesday 25th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
TV : I was born and raised in Sweden, so I have a foundation in European design, but I have also been influenced by my years living in China, and by my current home, New York City. I am fluent in Mandarin, which I perfected in Shanghai when I was part of the management team that started the first Ikea in China. I then moved on to Jeffrey Beers in New York, before starting my own firm in 2003. My diverse educational and professional experiences have allowed me to appreciate different cultures and provide a unique understanding of the global interior design landscape, while incorporating these elements into my projects.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
TV : I am motivated by the potential of the concept of what a space can be, how the guest or patron will feel when they are in the space, the mood and perception – the life of the space itself.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
TV : I didn’t always want to to be a designer I was an undergrad in law and then went for a Bachelors of Art in Mandarin with strong focus on Asia, particularly China and its culture and business.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
TV : If you can travel, definitely do so, as it broadens your mind. Understand other cultures. Move out of the world of computers so that you physically start to understand proportions and scale, this is important!

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
TV : When I am very happy both over the design and the outcome and the fantastic benefit it gives the properties we work on and that we can actually show it in terms of actual revenue increase, which, obviously, makes for very happy clients and is very satisfying for us.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
TV : Great team work, honest conversations and fabulous outcome.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
TV : It's tough to say, as I've had some really great design experiences. In general, I enjoy hotel design work, especially when designing everything from a guest room/suite to the restaurant, the bar and the lounges as well as the meeting spaces. This means that you have to think about different experiences and expectations for all these very different spaces. That is fun and challenging all at the same time.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
TV : An actress, I think that would be so much fun. Or a singer, since I love to sing.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
TV : Something that tells a story, it can be your own or something that triggers an emotion within you.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
TV : A great team!

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
TV : We recently completed projects at these places: Hotel Bloom – Brussels, Belgium Marriot Charles De Gaulle - Paris Renaissance La Défense - Paris Double Tree Tower Bridge - London Double Tree Westminster - London Hilton Durban - Durban, South Africa We also have the new locations for Big Easy Winebar & Grill, a project we did that opened earlier this year in Durban, South Africa, but is now rolling out in Malaysia and in Miami, USA.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
TV : Design definitely informs a better society. I think we have an obligation to educate and make suggestions to clients that are both socially and environmentally responsible, in hope that they will support those suggestions when making a final decision.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
TV : We are working on a very cool project in Berlin, great owners and project management team that has a very open mind to how design should be approached, how they want to brand it and an overall great story.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
TV : That’s actually hard to say. I love to design different things all the time, and continuing to evolve. It is more interesting that way. I don’t fall into a niche, to be famous for just one type of design. It’s also more mentally stimulating to create new “pieces” all the time. I compare it to an artist who most likely would not paint the same piece over and over again.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
TV : I think we are seeing a more sophisticated and design aware end user so we designers have to pay attention to that, as well as how we use technology. Being user friendly is key.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
TV : For a hotel, a full hotel including all guest room and public spaces including restaurant, etc is usually a 12 to 24-month process from initial design concepts to a fully completed project.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
TV : We always start with a kick off meeting with ownership and brand-if we are working with a brand. Then we brainstorm internally each designer goes off on their own and a few days later we all meet again at the table to see what the research of the project brought back to the table in regards to inspiration. This time is spent on researching the property, the history of the area current situations as what is the area, is it a city block or a country side what is the property currently doing, what does the property aspire to do what is its strength/weakness . From this we go into the concept. So for us it’s important to have a narrative a story that the property can brand in different ways that also created a meaning for the guest and that will seep through all the design elements in a very interesting way. Sometime you can notice it sometimes it’s just here in the feeling of a space.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
TV : Listen and know what your capacity is, ask for help if you need. Designing is a team effort not single women’s/man’s work.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
TV : I don't believe in trends, personally. Design is not like fashion “that has four or six seasons”. Design needs to be aesthetically viable for a much longer time since brands and/or owners don’t redesign for every season.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
TV : CAD, Photoshop, Illustrator, 3D MAX, Powerpoint sometimes Final Cut depending on the presentation we do.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
TV : Is it a smartly organized and planned space? Does it have moments of surprise? Does the space invigorate?

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
TV : It's flattering and humbling to be recognized by juries of my peers and other respectable people in the design field. I am extremely grateful.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
TV : When you have a great team working towards the same goal and when you see that the effort and contribution everyone makes creates a very passionate project which in turns resonates directly with guests.