NYC interior designer Alejandra Munizaga may have just launched her own firm, but she is certainly not a new face on the design scene, having held roles at NBBJ, Swanke Hayden Connell Architects and Lindsay Newman Architecture and Design – as well as serving as a board member of the International Interior Design Association’s New York Chapter. Hospitality Interiors spoke with Alejandra to find out more about her plans for this exciting new Brooklyn-based studio …
At what point did you first realise your passion for the design world, and how did things take shape from there?
With a background in Fine Arts, I have been drawn to design and beautifully crafted spaces and objects since as far as I can remember.
I worked as an art instructor and artist for several years, and I came to realise I was hitting a wall – I had stopped feeling motivated. One day as I walked down the beach, it dawned on me: why not go back to school and study interior design? I had always loved space, and envisioned making a three-dimensional painting, so to speak.
I applied to school and a few months later was enrolled at the New York School of Interior Design to obtain a second degree. Since then, the design world has been my passion.
Who was inspirational to you early in your career, and why?
I have quite an unusual mix of inspirational sources. In terms of design, Scandinavian Modern Design has been the most influential movement to me. Designers such as Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner, and others. I love the clean lines, simplicity and minimalism of their designs.
In terms of architecture, Kengo Kuma, a Japanese architect who explores light, nature and materiality in his work, drawing from his cultural legacy. Kuma impressed me early on by his careful use of simple materials, imbuing them with a sense of nobility and balance within space.
And with regard to art, Andy Goldsworthy, a landscape artist from Scotland who uses natural and ephemeral materials to create sculptures in the landscape. He embodies my belief that we are at one with nature, in terms of time, fragility and interconnectedness.
Which areas of the world do you feel inspire you most in your design work?
I grew up travelling around the world, so I am inspired by many different areas, including the Far East, the Mediterranean, the Nordic countries and South America. I also love the tropics, with their fluid inside-outside relationship.
Was it always an aspiration of yours to set up your own company?
Yes! I wanted to gain some experience and decided … what the heck? The right time is when I say so, thus I took the leap!
What would you like Alejandra Munizaga Interiors to be known for?
Personalised attention, transparency, a focus on the client’s needs, welcoming, relaxed and unique environments.
What elements do you feel are most critical to designing for a hospitality environment?
Comfort, warmth, functionality, durability and uniqueness.
Have you got any hospitality projects in the pipeline that you’re able to share with us?
I do, but I cannot share about them at this time, since we are in early negotiation stages. I can say a cool project in Patagonia is a prospect!
What do you like to do with your downtime?
Running, yoga, surfing, spending time with friends and family, chilling with my dogs, reading and watching addictive TV series.
What is your greatest professional aspiration?
To be trusted and well respected in my field. I aspire to expand my studio over time and work on projects in NYC, Long Island and beyond. I always want to have fun with my work and prioritise my clients.