“As Ignite’s Hotel and Tourism Lead, I like to remind my clients that a hotel is much more than a place to stay: it’s a place where memories are made.”
AUDREY DE FILIPPIS ASSOCIATE audreydf@ignitearchitects.com

Good design is good business!

Connecting design with business and brand strategy was an important moment for me, early in my career. As an architecture undergraduate, I worked on a project for US department store JC Penney. I saw how interrelated the store’s design and business model were and things really began to click.

Later, I studied for an MBA. It’s an experience that’s honed my client-focus. I understand clients’ design needs from a business perspective.

As Ignite’s Hotel and Tourism Lead, I like to remind my clients that a hotel is much more than a place to stay: it’s a place where memories are made. Knowing what motivates guests is particularly valuable in terms of getting hotel design right. No hotel can cater to everyone. Great design works alongside branding to offer an experience that some people may walk away from, but others will be passionate about and remain loyal to.

Guest mobility and hotel adaptability are challenges for the industry. People are more mobile than ever and their expectations are high when they travel. The challenge for hotel design is to be able to adapt, to offer guests a new experience each time they stay. Some of the most innovative lifestyle brands are focussing on flexibility and being able to make small, incremental updates.

I’ve worked for global operators in the US, Europe and New Zealand, but a project I’m particularly proud of is the work I did for a small Seattle-based co-work space. I was able to step outside the ‘architect’ box and get involved in the strategy driving the design. I helped the client find the right property, price their co-work solutions, and I collaborated on brand development. The project was named Commercial Interior of the Year by US Commercial Real Estate Development Association NAIOP. I think that’s testament to the power of integrating design and business strategy.

I’m passionate about travel. I was born near Paris and my family moved to the US when I was young. I’m also a keen sailor – in Seattle I lived on a sailboat!

When I travel, I’m still very interested in how people adapt and use space. The way people interact in a public market, for example, is always interesting. Put that market on water in the Mekong Delta and that really intrigues me!