Designer Profile: Jaana Ekman, Designer & Partner of Visionary Design Partners Helsinki Ltd.

Name: Jaana EkmanVisionary Design Partners Helsinki
Company: Visionary Design Partners Helsinki Ltd.
Position within company: Designer & Partner

Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
I have worked with design throughout my entire career starting in fashion. I started the Visionary Design Partners Helsinki or VDPHelsinki back in 2012 after working over a decade as a designer for a major hospitality and restaurant operator company which later became my client. Our studio is solely focused on hospitality projects.

To become an entrepreneur was the best decision, and an easy one. My very first introduction into the entrepreneurship and hospitality design happened well over two decades ago when I opened and designed my very own restaurant Café Europa which is still in operation today and the current operating company being our client.

The unique design decisions and holistic understanding of the the needs of daily operations in hospitality business, combined with our long experience and reputation as excellent partner to co-operate with has earned our position.

How would you describe your personal interior design style?
Warm, inviting and experimental with layers and attention to decorative details

Where does your design inspiration come from?
Well I get excited and inspired by many things. I try to keep my eyes and senses open for new stimulus and ideas. Travelling is essential and fashion feeds my imagination.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Sustainability, naturally, is one essential and important driver, especially in restaurant design as well authenticity to create lasting experiences. It’s not about how a space looks, but how it makes people feel.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.

  1. In the post Covid19 era, health & wellness aspects will impact
  2. Utilisation of tech to improve the experience
  3. Sustainability
  4. Recycling of materials
  5. CX is the king #customerexperience

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
Will it make the eventual customer feel emotionally happier and safe.

How important are The International Hotel & Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
Our primary operating market is relatively small in total, and being focused specifically on commercial hospitality projects getting noticed on international level in so highly considered awards makes us very humble and happy.

What projects are you currently working on?
We are working on multiple interesting projects currently of which include restaurants, bars, a nightclub and a hospitality project inside an entertainment arena.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
We would be interested in participating in some international hospitality projects.


Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:

Your most treasured possession? My 15 year old Minotti sofa

Your favourite holiday destination? Italy

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar? ME Hotel Milan, Le Coucou New York, Radetzky Café Milan

Your favourite book, film & song? The jewels of paradise by Donna Leon, Fellini´s Roma, everything from Jovanotti

Your favourite food and drink? Spaghetti Alle Vongole, SEI Chianti Classico by Querceto di Castellina

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? Lost on the pages of Vogue

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? Miserable

Visionary Design Partners Helsinki have been shortlisted for 3 Awards in The International Hotel and Property Awards 2020.

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