What Level is Your Design Business?

Jill Cole: Sustaining a Prosperous Hospitality Design Firm in an Ever-Changing World

Episode 868 of A Well-Designed Business®
868: Jill Cole: Sustaining a Prosperous Hospitality Design Firm in an Ever-Changing World

Today With Jill Cole:

Welcome to A Well-Designed Business. Today I’m joined by Jill Cole, an icon of the hospitality interior design industry. At Cole Martinez Curtis and Associates, Jill has made a name for herself, designing fabulous hotel and resort interiors worldwide for over 40 years. She joins us to discuss how she has sustained this impactful and extensive career in an ever-changing world. This is a great conversation with one of the best in the business that touches on a little bit of everything, from finding inspiration to embracing tech and staying true to your core values.

Pick It Apart

[11:13] Jill talks her first hotel design, the Adolphis Hotel in Dallas, and how that motivated transitioning her firm from office and retail design into hospitality design

[18:17] Jill and LuAnn discuss designing high-end senior living, how it mimics luxury resorts and was another opportunity for Jill’s firm to consider when other interior design projects were slowing due to the financial collapse of 2009.

[23:58] LuAnn and Jill discuss embracing tech as an interior designer.

[30:30] LuAnn asks Jill how she understands design trends to inform and expand aesthetics.

[37:20] Jill talks about defining your personal and company values and staying true to them in the industry.

[44:16] Jill talks about hospitality interior design appealing to a broad market and the importance of knowing who you are serving as what your competitors are doing.

LuAnn Nigara and Jill Cole’s Ah-Ha Moments

“We spend, realistically, a large percentage of our lives working. I want people to feel good about it. I want you to be enthusiastic. I want you to enjoy your co-workers. I want you to enjoy the experience of dealing with each other, and feel good about what you’re doing.” – Jill Cole

“You have to absorb all things visual, and filter through that and interpret it in your own way, and spit out the latest trends…If all you’re doing for inspiration is looking at pictures of your competitors work, you’re not doing your job.” – Jill Cole

“When you do work and live in your values, then it builds that trust and reliability factor with the people that are orbiting you.” – LuAnn Nigara

More About Jill Cole:

Jill is Managing Principal and President of Cole Martinez Curtis and Associates. Since the l98l re-opening of the Adolphus Hotel, Jill has devoted herself exclusively to hotel, resort, and recreational design. Her particular focus is on the creation of projects that are responsive to their target markets and respective of their environment and location. For her work, she has received Gold Key, Designers Circle and ARDY awards for the interior design of such projects as the Adolphus, the Wigwam Resort and Country Club, Marriott’s Desert Springs Villas, Marriott’s Summit Watch at Park City, the Lodge at Pebble Beach, the Kea Lani and the Lodge at Sea Island. In l992, she was the only designer in the U.S. to receive the honor of professional membership by invitation from the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). She was also the l993 recipient of the prestigious Platinum Circle Award. Jill is a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC).

Jill’s work has appeared in Designers West, Architectural Digest, Hotels, Interior Design, Lodging Hospitality, Restaurant/Hotel Design International, Restaurant Hospitality, Interiors, and Travel & Leisure. Books in which she is featured include, California Design, International Hotel and Resort Design, and International Hotel Redesign. For PBC International, Jill wrote California Interiors, a popular reference on contemporary California design. She has also appeared on “The Designer’s Challenge” for HG-TV and “The World’s Ten Best Hotel Suites” for the Travel Channel.

Her university education is in art history, languages, and design at U.C.L.A., the Academy of Fine Arts, Rome; and Chouinard Institute. She is a California Certified Interior Designer and founding member of the CCIDC. Jill is an active contributor to the field of interior design education and has taught in the Environmental Design Department at UCLA. She was the only interior designer to sit on the board of U.C.L.A.’s prestigious Department of Architecture and Urban Planning. More recently, when she and her family moved to the Napa Valley, she served two terms on the board of the di Rosa Museum. She is frequently asked to speak to various groups and organizations on the value of interior design, its integration with art and architecture, and its affect on marketing.

Some of the notable hotel and resort projects she has completed include the Lodge at Sea Island, named by ZAGAT as the Best Small Hotel in the US and Best Golf Resort in North America by Golf Digest; the Hayman Island Resort in the Great Barrier Reef; the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale; the Hotel ERWIN in Venice, CA; the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa; the Fisher Island Club Spa and Porto Cervo Restaurant in Miami; Halls Chop House in Charleston and Greenville; the Bardessono Resort and Spa in Yountville, CA; the Chateau de la Cree in Santenay, France; Domaine Serene Winery in Dayton, OR and, the Canyon Ranch Retreat in Woodside, CA.

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Other Shows Mentioned:

#16: Charles Pavarini – Behind the Scenes of The Architectural Digest Design Show 2016 #276: Judi Kieffer: Steps to Build a Hospitality / Commercial Interior Design Firm #502: Lisa Haude: Paradigm Design Group: Success Strategies to Run a Luxury Hospitality Design Firm

#587: Darrell Long: The Best Design Comes From Within, Not Pinterest

#703: Leyden Lewis: The Road to AD100 and Elle Decor Top 125 Requires Innovation and Authentic Creativity

#840: Jean Stoffer: Work in Harmony Through Every Season of Life

#864: Hilaire Pickett Martin: Lesson From an Interior Design Operations Manager

Other Resources Mentioned:

Book: Paradise Now: The Extraordinary Life of Karl Lagerfeld by William Middleton

What Level is Your Design Business?