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Sara Pepitone | January 24, 2012
Sydney Teegarden, senior interior designer at Dallas-based, Hospitality Giant Wilson Associates, spoke to us about honoring inner creativity, exotic locations, and hurricanes.
ID: What was the path to that led you to your current role?
ST: When I went to college in Austin, I was headed down a completely different path. I got a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, but I always knew I had a creative bone, and knew that I wanted to work in a creative industry. After I graduated, I immediately entered into a fast-paced program to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. While in school I began an internship with Wilson Associates and I never left.
ID: What projects are you currently working on?
ST: In the past year, I have worked on a Ritz Carlton guestroom renovation in Orlando, Florida and an 80,000-square-foot private residence in Abu Dhabi. Now I’m working on a large casino renovation in Macau, China.
ID: What's the project that you're most proud of?
ST: Mazagan Beach Resort in Morocco. I was on that project from conception to installation and there were many obstacles in the road, but the end product was something I was proud to be a part of.
ID: What was the greatest obstacle?
ST: This project was challenging mainly because of its remote location. When we first started working on this project, there was not even a road to the site.
ID: Sounds like you have projects in interesting and exotic locations. How much time do you spend there?
ST: It depends on the project. We toured throughout Morocco for two weeks visiting hotels, mosques, stone yards, and restaurants to really get a feel for indigenous materials and culture because the client sent us on a research trip prior to our conceptual design presentation. I also did a long trip to different areas of China touring furniture factories to evaluate the quality of production.
ID: Is there anything from one of these exotic locations that you've incorporated into your work?
ST: I worked on a hotel in Costa Rica and was able to visit the site before construction began. We photographed leaves, insects, and branches in the rainforest. We found several discreet patterns and textures in these photographs and used them for inspiration in our textile choice as well as floor stone and wall patterns.
ID: Where else do you go for inspiration?
ST: If you open up your mind, you can get inspiration from just about anything. I have traveled quite a bit, so I love to look through old photos when I'm looking to be inspired. Or I could just get out of the office and head to different areas of Dallas I haven't frequented.
ID: What's the most exciting design-related place or object in Dallas?
ST: The new Perot Nature and Science Museum, which is currently under construction. It’s scheduled to open in 2013 and is already looking amazing. The architecture is stunning and the renderings promise a very cool space.
ID: How about in Texas?
ST: Hurricane Ike came and went in September of 2008 and destroyed much of Galveston Island. Many of the tree canopies were ripped off, and the trees eventually ended up dying. A movement came about to create sculpture out of these dying tree stumps. They are truly amazing and beautiful. You can drive through this certain area of Galveston and it is incredible to see how these battered and bruised trees were transformed into beautiful works of art. What an amazing statement through art.
ID: What's the one thing they did not teach you in school that you now know is integral to interior design?
ST: Customer service! You can learn all of the technical information from a textbook or a classroom, but if you can't learn how to cater to your client and make them feel well taken care of, your technical knowledge won't be worth much.