BraytonHughes Design Studios, an internationally-acclaimed design firm based in San Francisco and a woman and minority owned business, is proud to announce the appointment of Janea Nakagawa as President. Joel Villalon, who has been with the firm from its beginnings, will be stepping down from presidency while remaining as the firm’s Executive Advisor. The transition coincides with the firm’s 30-year anniversary this July. With three decades of success around the globe, BraytonHughes has distinguished itself as a design firm through its meticulous attention to detail and thoughtful execution of approachable designs which have earned it numerous awards.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to step into presidency where I will continue the firm’s legacy of tapping into the unique strengths of our staff members to help further their careers and fuel the firm’s growth,” said Nakagawa.

Drawn to the entrepreneurial spirit of the firm, Nakagawa joined BraytonHughes in 2005 and became the first female principal in the firm’s history. Bringing her project management and corporate design expertise to the company, she has specialized in corporate, multi-family, and residential interiors projects for a diverse group of clients, including law firms, consulting groups, venture capitalists, and healthcare projects. She is also responsible for the firm’s day-to-day operations, including firm-wide contracts, staffing, and scheduling.

“Janea and I have been working together very collaboratively as principals, and I am extremely proud of the success the firm has seen under this leadership. There is no doubt in my mind that BraytonHughes will continue to thrive under her presidency,” said Villalon. “Together, we've always tried to create a space where everyone feels respected and nurtured in their growth as designers.”

Villalon joined BraytonHughes in 1992 at the beginning of its conception as a design firm. He became a principal in 2007 and later took over as president of the company in 2014. Since joining the firm, Villalon’s hand is evident in his team’s designs, with numerous projects having been recognized for design excellence, including Kukio Golf Clubhouse in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii; the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana; and Montage Big Sky in Big Sky Montana, one of the firm’s latest projects opening this winter.

Nakagawa and Villalon will continue to work closely together. A priority for the firm is continuing to develop the diversification of its portfolio, maintaining its roots in hospitality, residential, and corporate work and expanding further into other sectors. The diversity in the firm’s leadership, staff, and project portfolio allow BraytonHughes to adapt and pivot to the market, bringing in a range of perspectives for any project they are working on.