Name: Piotr Kalinowski
Position within company: CEO/Design Director
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
I have been designing for major hospitality and real estate clients in terms of interior design since 2012. I have worked with Accor Hotels, Hilton, IHG, Marriott and other Fortune500. My education is Architecture and Construction, but my love is Interior Design and after many years of work in Architecture and Construction, I have become interior designer.
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
My very best interest is to work around experience, and build authentic and engaging stories and designs, which can resonate with people’s genuine behaviour and imagination. I do not “stick” to one style, instead I always look for uniqueness and the redefinition of style with every project. I try to start from scratch with every project, first building engagement with the brand or client and look for interesting, unique value in their project – making it more connected with people and brand personas. It makes the design “like-able” and interesting, just like a human conversation. My motto is “Design is a language” and I like to talk a lot.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
From the process. The process of travelling, discovering places and people, exploring new cultures. Also from nostalgia being a major visual driver for discovery on Instagram and Web culture. I mainly use my design sense in observation to analyse and discover “freshness” and learn from it. This is my lifestyle of being authentic, honest and active person. Also what inspires me are relations with others. Family, my idols and mentors – people. This is most important for me in life.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Human. The design as an environment for people to work, travel and live with. I think people are discovering how well-designed spaces affect their mental health and wellbeing, and this is amazing. We see the acceleration of people’s willingness to care for themselves. Design is becoming very interesting, engaging, detailed and overall design is becoming better with every year. I love this process very much.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
Human and its recovery after Lockdown and design role in it. Human and his/her mental health and how the design can improve it. Workplace; Co-working and Co-living hybrid models in commercial real estate which can pop up as a result of Pandemic situation. And last but not least – The new world of hospitality – people in surrounding of travel, discovery and meeting each other.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
Authenticity. All projects inspired by authentic story in general scheme as well as in detail, wins. The end.
How important are The International Hotel & Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
In my opinion it is a great way to communicate great design ideas, it leads people to share their idea process and learn. People need to observe and learn, everyone. The awards are an occasion for learning and sharing.
What projects are you currently working on?
Four coastal and resort hotel projects, a few interesting urban hotels, as well as innovative offices for major mobile operators. Workplaces for IT companies as well. We also design a few boutique hotels and design furniture.
What was your favourite project to work on and why?
Currently it is a showroom and event space for one of the top mobile operators. We introduce experience, technology and engagement into one space, which will lead to interesting design choices and innovation.
What was your most challenging project to work on and why?
So far it was Ibis Styles Sarajevo – first hotel to design in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also in terms of time and scope. It was also very interesting and challenging, but challenges are always great.
Which products/services could you not live without when designing?
Slack. I love Slack and how it makes people feel more connected with each other, also working in home office. Also I very much like Google Sketchup, because it makes interior design simple, quick and there is more time for research and actual concept work.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
We are moving to our new big house. I want to polish my concept of innovative office – which we call #MIXDHouse. It will be also a part of co-working space, where we want to test and provide more seating spaces for people from outside the company. We want to make the house full of concept inspiration, work and meeting place. Also I want to make my company to be recognized for inspiring design work, professional process handlers, as well as super innovative environment. My next twelve months will be hard work, but I love what I am doing, so it will be tons of fun.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
I am a people person, a free mind and an optimist. My daily inspiration the fact that I am living, I am healthy and have a loving family. I love to design and live my life. This is my inspiration – the process of living.
Your most treasured possession? My action figures collection. Heroes from movies, games and pop culture.
Your favourite holiday destination? New York and Tokio. I am an urban animal.
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar? Ace Hotel Shoreditch London as well as Autor Rooms boutique hotel in Warsaw, Sofa restaurant in Wroclaw and Puro Hotel Bar in Gdansk.
Your favourite book, film & song? Book – Arthur C. Clark – 2001: Odyssey ; movie – Lost in Translation – Sophia Coppola, Song – Korn – Got The Life
Your favourite food and drink? I love pad thai and Hendrix gin
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? Play computer games, and after that go out with my kids for a walk and ice cream.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? Serial entrepreneur.
Anything else interesting?
I would like to thank everyone who is so important to me – my wife Hanna, my kids and my beloved team led by Katarzyna Majer-Hola and Anna Stachi as well as everyone, Pawel, Joanna, all my beloved designers. Also thankful for my clients, who gives me inspiration, freedom of creation and chance to do what I love. Thank you also for this recognition. #dowhatyoulove
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