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Q&A With Michelle Wildenhaus | Hospitality Design

What inspires you/your company?

We keep an eye on travel, fashion and home furnishing trends. From the craft world, the root of all textiles, we look at hand knitting, patterns from indigenous people, and the updates from technology that influence design.

What do you like most about the hospitality industry today?

I’m always interested in the collaborative innovations that occur when design and materials collide to move the industry forward, be it visual, technical, or the actual construction of the hotels.

What are your company’s greatest lessons learned?

Only make promises that you can keep; if something goes wrong, find the solutions and work in partnership with designers, purchasers and property ownership to get the job clone. “The doors must open on time!”

What are the benefits of working in the hospitality industry?

Having worked in the industry since 1982 (OMG!), the level of innovation I’ve seen over the years is amazing … truly mind boggling. The bonus is the people that were clients and are now friends!

Tell us about some of your recent product collaborations

Our recent collaboration with Stone Hill Taylor for the St. Kate Arts Hotel in Milwaukee resulted in one of the most unique patterns that we have developed. This was a great collaboration between artist, design team, and manufacturer. We would love to do it again soon!

What is the collaboration process like with clients?

We usually start with direction provided by the designer,·, working back and forth to reach the perfect balance between their vision and what is technically possible. When the design and production teams effectively collaborate, and each is willing to be a bit experimental, the result often exceeds expectations.

What trends are you paying attention to?

The development of new, small brands, or brands within larger companies, that bring a unique vision to market. The designers that drive these brands arc often willing to take a risk and go beyond the “usual” design package. This is exciting when you offer a custom opportunity, as we do.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to people starting out in the hospitality industry?

Recognize that everyone you encounter may play a part in your professional development. You never know when one of the amazing people you meet along the way will circle back into your life!


Q&A With Michelle Wildenhaus | Hospitality Design 1 Hospitality Design March April 2020 76 77 Page 1