Heathfield & Co interviews Steffi Backhouse & David Clixby, GA Design International

GA Design is a leading Interior and Architectural Design practice specialising in Hospitality Design worldwide. Over the last three decades they have worked closely with a wide variety of hotel operators, developers and architects on a range of five star new construction, renovation and design & build projects. Past and current clients include Starwood, Four Seasons, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Mandarin Oriental, Hilton, and Marriott. GA Design have offices in London, Budapest, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai and are united by a vision that great design should create value for clients. The London studio is a community of interior architects and designers who bring creativity and talents to the drawing board. This expertise and experience in an International field, combined with the unique hotel background of the principals, enables GA Design to produce innovative designs of the highest quality. Their studios in Budapest, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai support the London operations as well as working independently on equally challenging projects.

In our latest interview, we discuss with GA Design’s Steffi Backhouse and David Clixby, the use of a range of Heathfield & Co lighting at the Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam. We also get their insight on the biggest factors to consider when designing hospitality interiors, and which well-known public space they would love to be able to redesign.

What do you think makes GA Design International unique?

All our projects are vastly diverse in terms of budget and style and we are recognised worldwide for the quality of our work and our ability to respond to different environments incorporating local architecture and cultural references into our concepts. We adapt our approach and style based upon the target audience, with no ‘house-style’ unlike other design firms.

You recently worked on the interiors of the Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam and sourced a number of products from Heathfield & Co. What is it about these particular products that you think complemented the interiors of this hotel so well?

We were looking for a range of finishes to add to the layering of the design. Glass in various colours was a particular favourite due to its jewel like nature adding a level of luxury to the spaces.

Mia table lamp at the Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam

Mia table lamp at the Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam

Sophia table lamp at the Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam

What is usually the first step in the creative process when you get a new brief or client?

Each project is different and we research the location, history and other interesting features from the brief, to create a specific narrative on which to build the design.

What do you think are the biggest factors to consider when designing interiors purely for hospitality projects?

We need to give the guest a new experience and create drama as they move through the hotel. Beginning the journey at the entry and allowing the spaces to slowly reveal themselves. Obviously we also need to ensure all the furniture and lighting is of high quality and will enhance the interior scheme standing the test of time.

What hospitality interior trends do you think have, or will emerge as being particularly significant for this year?

The wonderful thing about hospitality design is the wide range and scope of designs coming to fruition globally. There doesn’t seem to be a strong style to any particular direction currently if you look at what is opening at the moment.

What is your personal favourite Heathfield & Co product(s) to date and why so?

It’s hard to choose one as the designs suit many different situations! The glass ones are probably some of the best as they add a little sparkle.

Is there any well known or public space that you would love to be able to redesign?

BBC Television Centre Shepherds Bush – GA Design have had the opportunity to work in some incredible buildings developing new hotels such as St Pancras Renaissance & Corinthia London in the recent past. This could be another great project!

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London

How would you describe your favourite style of hospitality interior design?

We custom our designs to meet the client brief and each project presents new opportunities depending on the hotel location so there is no specific favoured style.

What is your favourite type of project to work on? (E.g. urban hotels, resort hotels, spas, restaurants etc).

We specialise in Hospitality and there are endless possibilities in our projects to keep us focussed on this area of work.