Name: Christian Schnyder
Position within company: Principal/Owner
Website: Beleco Design
. Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
I have a bachelor’s degree in architecture and interior design from my native Switzerland. I got my master’s degree in architecture in Los Angeles at SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture). As so often in life, I came to interior design by accident and knew that it was what I wanted to do, especially after discovering the field of hospitality design.
. How would you describe your personal design style?
I don’t have a specific style. Being eclectic is probably the best way to describe it. We usually say that we don’t have a specific style, but a story. Each project and client is unique and requires a tailored approach and solution. We’ll always strive for a clean and edited solution to any issue or challenge coming our way.
. Where does your design inspiration come from?
Since we are story driven, anything can be the narrative. Sometimes it’s fashion, where we get inspired by patterns, materials or how and outfit is put together. Sometimes it’s a great shot found in a magazine or online that tells the story we want to tell. Maybe it’s a colour or a window display we walked by on our way to dinner. Inspiration can be found anywhere when you walk through life with an open mind and open eyes.
. In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I don’t think we’re quite done with the rustic, modern craftsman approach to design. But I do believe we are moving towards cleaner design that is not afraid of using colour, something that makes us rather happy.
. Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2017 and beyond.
1. Incorporate the Instagram moment
2. Understated elegance
4. Sense of Place
5. Does the design inspire and lift the spirit?
. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design, what would it be?
. How important are The International Hotel and Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
For us, this is a very important award. Being included on a list of high quality projects and talented design firms validates our hard work and recognises our contribution to the field. Something that is important for future clients and to the members of our design community.
. What projects are you currently working on?
1. Brand conversion for a Curio Hotel (by Hilton), called The Darcy, in Washington DC.
2. Hotel renovation for the JW Marriot hotel in Denver
3. Guestroom renovation of the Renaissance hotel in Sonoma
. What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
We’d like to continue to grow the company and get the chance to tap into new hotel full service boutique and luxury brands. Nurturing our relationships with our existing clients is important… and have some fun while we’re at it.
. Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession?
bright orange mohair blanket by Hermes.
Your favourite holiday destination?
Switzerland, where family is.
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
The Puli hotel in Shanghai.
Your favourite book / film / song?
If it feels romantic, tells a story and engages to make me feel good, I’m in!
Your favourite food and drink?
I’m a cheap date. A plate of delicious spaghetti carbonara and nice glass of Chardonnay (not too oaky or buttery, please) make me happy!
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Doing design research on a new project and come up with the story we want to tell.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A therapist or being involved in conflict resolution or diplomacy. Sometimes being a designer seems to relate to these professions.