Jennifer Paladino has joined Hospitality Design Guild’s Boca Raton studio as senior designer. She brings with her a wealth of experience in commercial, hospitality and residential projects from acclaimed firms such as Wimberly Interiors and The Gettys Group.

How did you first discover your passion for design?

As a child, I always liked creating things at home with my mom’s discarded items. I can’t remember where it came from, but since 2nd grade, I’ve said I wanted to study architecture and design. I continue to be inspired by my surroundings, the people I meet, places I visit, and interesting materials I find.

Could you tell me a little more about your professional background?

I started off working for a small commercial and high-end residential design firm that had a retail showroom attached to it. I was involved in all aspects of the business – sales, drawings, design, art shows, you name it.

During the recession, we all found ourselves wearing many hats and participating in multiple aspects of design in order to continue working, so I also collaborated with a landscape designer as well.

Eventually as the industry started to pick up, I moved into hospitality design and enjoyed it so much, I never looked back. 

What do you feel is the single most important thing that people should know about you, or your work?

The key to good design and a successful hotel is hospitality. As owners are looking for the ‘wow’ factor that will attract guests, and the entire hotel experience becomes more and more automated, we can’t forget that at the core of a good hotel is hospitality.

“I think the key to good design is to not forget that this industry is still HOSPITALITY at its core”

Not only in the service and guest experience, but in the design process, infusing every space and design consideration with hospitality will truly make the entire project successful.

I think that’s what I strive for every day, and why I’m so grateful to be part of the HDG team – hospitality is at our core and I’m working with a team that’s as passionate about that as I am.

What prompted you to join Hospitality Design Guild?

[HDG Executive Creative Director] Katherine’s vision. She really believes in building relationships and finding the right talent and resources for each specific project and client. 

What are you working on at the moment, and have you got any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re able to tell us about?

We’re working on an exciting hotel project on the West Coast. The concept is very modern and art-driven; it’s allowing the team to really stretch ourselves creatively and artistically. We’re also working with a developer on a completely new brand of hotel (that we can’t disclose just yet). 

What do you feel will be the key issues and challenges affecting the hospitality design industry in the coming years?

Part of ensuring we as designers keep hospitality at our core is remembering to design for the user and not give in too much to trends. For a while, we started to see the public areas of hotels become more like “communal spaces”; places for groups to gather or collaborate in the lobby, restaurants, and lounges.

“We’re working on an exciting hotel project on the West Coast – the concept is very modern and art-driven”

However, we’re increasingly seeing younger travelers look for more private working spaces inside the public areas, as the hotel lobby becomes more than just a space where guests come and go, and business and leisure travel merge with locals utilising the space as well. The big challenge is to offer both successfully, while still making the space inviting.

What are your passions outside of the design world?

I find myself exploring the neighborhoods, restaurants, bars, as well as the art and music where I live and travel. There’s nothing more rewarding than getting off the well-worn tourist path and discovering an authentic place that truly inspires you. I think about those places in my city that I visit most and why I keep coming back to them. I like finding the unique qualities about these areas and spaces and applying them to my design and space planning.