Singapore’s Newest Jewel

Singapore welcomes it’s newest luxury resort,

(Photo: RENDY ARYANTO/Visual Verve Studios)

(Photos: RENDY ARYANTO/Visual Verve Studios)

the JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts. The dual-tower hotel was designed by London-based architecture firm Foster and Partners, while its interiors are by famed French designer Philippe Starck.

It seeks to seamlessly interweave historic and newly constructed buildings, and houses a multi-million dollar collection of more than 30 works and installations by high-profile artists. In addition to its sleek, state-of-the-art accommodations by Starck, the hotel will feature a total of nine dining options.

Interiors by Philippe Starck

Interiors by Philippe Starck

Cool off in the hotel's pool

Cool off in the hotel’s pool

Article and pictures taken from boutique,

(December 2016) posted on Fri Dec 16, 2016

NEWH Scholarship Opportunity

NEWH – The Hospitality Industry Network has made available a $4000.00 scholarship. Sponsored by Symmons, it will be for either undergrad or grad students who’s primary interest is in Hospitality Design.

Click here for more information:


Light Fixture Design Competition


The annual Robert Bruce Thompson Student Design Competition has just been announced for 2017. The challenge: Design a light fixture for the lobby of a new modern art museum. This competition, open to all students, will run now until the submission deadline March 24th 2017.

The first prize will be $5,000.00

Second prize will be $2,500.00

Third prize will be $1000.00

There is a display of past winners going back to 2003 as well as an1stplace_indexpic expanded description of the design problem and the application form on the website

If you have any questions, please reach out to Mark Miller at

Tom Collom


Tom Collom is a successful designer, architect, entrepreneur Tom Collomand developer here in San Francisco. You may be familiar with some of his work, Market on Market is the latest. He also has Small Foods, a new concept in convenience markets, on 2nd street. He came to 601 Brannan recently to share his real world experience with our students when trying to create a retail food space.

Tom discusses the process of inspiration

Tom discusses the process of inspiration

Recently our own Luna Sibai sat down with Tom after his presentation in the Atrium.

Tom and Luna

Tom and Luna

Luna: How are you feeling today?

Tom: I’m good…I always wanted someone like me, with experience to meet when I was a student. I didn’t get that at the University of California. I felt that when I went out into the real world to get a job, I really didn’t have a clue about how the real world worked. It was like sink or swim…I’ve accumulated 30 years experience doing this and I think to be able to pass that information on is a great benefit to the community, to fellow designers and budding architects. I think it’s great that the Academy of Art wants this and sees its importance.

L: Do you have a signature style?

T: At heart I’m a modernist, I love modern design although I appreciate all design. I see the validity of why people design in different styles and in different ways. It keeps things interesting. At my core, I love modern, clean, simple. I think it’s more a timeless approach and not so much a fashion statement as a way to think about design. We should be able to look back in 10, 20, 30 years and it still seems fresh. It hasn’t gone out of style or fashion like say post modernism which was all the rage when I was going to school. A lot of people’s projects were starting to get this postmodern look because they were trying to be in with the current fashion of architecture. I see those projects now and they don’t look so good.

L: Where do you draw inspiration from? Is there a specific area that either it be from the environment or a memory or something that you’ve read that does the trick?

T: I’m an extremely visual person so I’m most inspired visually rather than say reading, even though I love reading. I would say in an art museum looking at a sculpture or a painting. It might be a relationship between things that I’ve never noticed or observed and found exciting.

L: Does Small Foods or The Market have an art piece from which you drew inspiration?


Small Foods On 2nd St.

Small Foods On 2nd St.

T: Well to say for the Small Foods design… it was really about recognizing that the spimg_0470bace itself was beautiful. Why mess with it? Just take away the stuff that didn’t belong and expose the bones and structure of the building. It has great industrial sash windows and allows for great natural light. The key is making it work for what it’s intended to do. It’s not so much a design project but maybe making it more functional and bringing its soul forth. And the Market was again another building that used to be a furniture mart so when I was a young designer would go there and look at the tables and chairs. Later it moved near the design center. The building became vacant and sort of just sat there. When Shorenstein purchased the building and they started cleaning it up and bring it back to life, they sand blasted all the concrete and took floors out to let light in and the beauty was revealed. It was sort of like Small Foods in that we didn’t “over design” it but just let the natural beauty come out. It was important for us to let the windows be exposed as much as possible. In many grocery stores they cover all the windows because they want maximum display area for the merchandise on the perimeter. We have food stations around the perimeter to let in light and display the tall merchandise in the center.

One of the many Food Stations (this one is Sushi) at The Market on Market

One of the many Food Stations (this one is Sushi) at The Market on Market

L: So I see that your key way of designing is simple is better

T: Oh definitely and it’s less expensive. (Laughing) I’ve learned that there’s budgets.

L: What got you into design and what pushed you into that direction?

T: That’s a good question… I didn’t really have a good high school experience I didn’t really like it that much and my passion was skiing. I thought I wanted to be a skier in the Olympics so I moved to Lake Tahoe and skied a lot. My roommates where on the US ski team but I got bored with that so I thought I should do something with my mind. There was a little local college where I was living in Incline village and they focused on environmental design and alternative energy. I decided to enroll and many of the courses was taught by architects and engineers. I started to go to classes and found it absolutely fascinating. When they would hand out blue prints for us to analyze and do energy calculations and solar design I was hooked! That’s what triggered me to go towards architecture. Before that, we had no architects or designers in my family so I guess it was all just coming out naturally.

L: So nothing was pushed onto you?

T: Nope nothing. My dad’s a doctor and medicine was not an interest at all to me. He would take me to the hospital and I would think “No no I don’t like this” and “I hate this place.” I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I kind of “fell into” interior architecture.

L: Do any interior designers inspire you?

T: I don’t think I can name specifically only an interior designer that’s inspiring to me… I look at everything…I tend to look at architects who are doing exciting projects like Santiago Calatrava. He’s an engineer and an architect so just by virtue of creating these great buildings that are beautiful outside as well inside because they are so connected. The shell is one thing and the interior is another and these integrated spaces both parts of the work are inspiring.

L: I see that you mostly design in the SF area, where else would you like to design?

T: Well we kind of have done a lot of projects that were mostly stores so it doesn’t really let you stretch your wings. I would say potentially in some of the European countries where they seem to be pushing the envelope in terms of design. There are lot of exciting things going on in Germany and in the Netherlands and Paris and London. It seems there is more appreciation for good design. When I was in London not too long ago, I saw some of the new high rises that went up like The Shard or what they call the Gherkin pickle, the Norman Foster design. Those are great buildings. I think that’s a credit to London. I think San Francisco unfortunately doesn’t have that many particularly interesting high rise buildings. Chicago is another great city with a lot of great architecture. Don’t get me wrong, San Francisco has been wonderful to me but I would still love to do a project in another city.

L: This is to help the students a bit and that’s what do you look for when hiring an Intern?

T: Number one enthusiasm. People sometimes try to fake it but I can detect that pretty quickly. If a student comes to me and they show passion for what they’re doing and that they have found what they love, that means a lot to me. I know that they aren’t going to know everything and they will need some help and couching but as long as they have that core love then you can’t go wrong. I found it really frustrating when I was looking for a job after I graduated that I didn’t have any experience. I hoped in some firms I could just help around the office and let their knowledge rub off on me. But I felt a lot of resistance to that. I found it very frustrating so I never forgot that. Often a newly graduated student will come by and they exude this enthusiasm and their projects seem really interesting. I can see they thought a lot about them so I try to give them a chance. Yeah it may take a little bit more effort on my part but I feel it is worth it. I’d rather have that than someone who is burnt out and just doing a job. I find, yeah they may be good at auto cad but that’s about it.

L: Last questing is what is something you never thought you would be doing in your career?

The Market on Market

The Market on Market

T: Being in the food business! I never in a million years thought that! I’m also very entrepreneurial so after having a couple of jobs out of school for three or four years, I immediately wanted to have my own company. I also love lighting and lighting design so I started my own company. I guess food is just another entrepreneurial pursuit that maybe was back there in my mind somewhere and just kind of came out in this way. Surprisingly I do love the business side of say, a food store for example. It’s very interesting and a completely different world that lets me work different parts of my brain. Really, I’m now a client of myself so I’m also the operator yelling at myself “why did you do that” or “awe that’s terrible” so it’s been an interesting experience to see it full circle. Now when I think back on clients who were frustrated with me when I didn’t listen to them because I had a “vision” for what their space could look like I get it! Sometimes I would push so hard to implement my vision. I hope now I am a better listener to my clients because I appreciate that these places are hard to operate. They know what works and what doesn’t so I wouldn’t necessarily push a design so hard when a client pushes back.

L: Thank you so much for sitting here and sharing with me.

T: Thank YOU for listing.

CitySCENE at Black Cat

Recently a few of our students had the opportunity to help at an event sponsored by CitySCENE for Hospitality Design magazine. The gathering brought together designers from all over the Bay Area and vendors such as Moz – Metals and Architectural products, Williams Sonoma and Shaw Hospitality Group among others. In addition to helping out stuffing gift bags and checking in attendees, our students had the chance to mingle and meet the attendees. Afterwards the organizer of the event said “Thank you! Musa, Moneet, Le, Felix, and Mariacristina were a great help to us on Tuesday. I put them to WORK, too, and they exceeded my expectations. You have a great group of students…I hope I get the chance to work with them again!”

Well done everyone.

Serving at the event were:

Musa Do, Mariacristina Andrisani, Le Feng, Moneet Walia and Felix Torresnieves


Pictured left to right: Moneet Walia Musa Do Le Feng Felix Torresnieves

Pictured left to right:
Moneet Walia Musa Do Le Feng Felix Torresnieves

Felix Torresnieves Le Feng Mariacristina Andrisani

Felix Torresnieves Le Feng Mariacristina Andrisani

DIFFA 2016


money series: hudreds of green dollar texture

Yea I thought that would get your attention.

The wonderful people at Houzz, the online design community, are making available a significant scholarship opportunity for Interior Design and Architecture students.


Who couldn’t use a bit of help with school next semester?

Check out their website and go to this link to see how you can apply.

Do it soon, do it today, DO IT NOW!

Holiday Card Contest

holidays_card_570What a chance to showcase your artistic skills? Good at watercolors? Pastels? Pen and ink? Maybe Adobe Illustrator? Well here’s your opportunity!!

The IAD Department is presenting all current IAD students with a chance to design our Winter Holiday card this year. All you have to do is create an image that will be professionally printed as the Holiday card that will go out to designs firms all over the Bay Area.

The winner, chosen by a blind panel, will receive a Starbucks gift card and have their name printed on the back of the card as the artist.

The simple rules are as follows:

  • The image must be all original work.
  • Any medium can be used, either computer or hand drawn/rendered
  • A high quality scanned/digital image at 150dpi minimum
  • Created/saved in CMYK if computer generated
  • Submitted as a TIFF, PNG, or Jpeg
  • Original images should be not smaller than 5” x 7”
  • Must creatively express IAD department, AAU, and/or the winter holiday season
  • Image only. No text.
  • Submission deadline is November 11th.
  • One submission per student
  • Must include student’s name/ID number on the email NOT on the image.

Email submissions to

Attach images as a separate file. Do not embed images into the email.

Any submissions not conforming to the guidelines will not be considered.

If you have any questions, contact Mark Miller at


Gary Hutton

gary_editedA successful designer can come from anywhere, a big city, a small town, even an apple orchard in Northern California. Such is the case with this month’s featured designer, Gary Hutton. As an art student at UC Davis in the 70’s, his exposure to significant artists informed and shaped his view on design that he continues to express with style and panache today.

After graduating from design school, his first project, a restaurant on Union Square, garnered him attention from San Francisco society and established his bona fides early in his career. Having that project published in Interior Design Magazine in 1979 certainly didn’t hurt!

In addition to continuing his cutting edge design work for clients, Gary branched out into designing furniture in 1986. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, he must feel quite flattered indeed. According to his website “his signature Ciao Table has been copied and reproduced by some of the biggest home retailers in America.”

His first book Art House, (Assouline, New York), will be unveiled at the Fall Art & Antiques Show at Ft. Mason on October 28th.

Our own Assel Abilova (Graduating SP 2017) caught up with Gary at his studio to ask him a few questions.

Assel: Your office looks amazing! _mg_5592

(Gary looking through files) Gary:  This is what it looked like before we got here. The skylight really excited me. This was originally a warehouse. It was used for flowers, eggs, even at one point a Chinese noodle factory. This building didn’t even have an address. There wasn’t any phone service._mg_5567

A: Could you describe your signature interior design style as it shows in the office? 

G: The work we do is primarily contemporary.  We’ve done some traditional work in the past, but it is not my passion.


A: I understand you also design furniture? How did that develop?

G: I was doing an interior design project and I couldn’t find what I needed, so I made it. Because, my first degree was in art practice and sculpture, I had an understanding about the materials needed. Then I found people who could make it for me. It sort of evolve into a furniture line from there.

A:  Where do you draw your decor inspiration from?

G: Fine art. My best client, Chara Schreyer, is a serious contemporary art collector. We’ve spent a lot of time looking at her art collection and being inspired by that.

A: Who is your favorite designer, architect?

G: I greatly admire, Orlando Diaz. I also admire Clodagh in New York. Zak Rouge from Paris he is very terrific, his work is very beautiful and lyrical. And there are so many great designers here in the Bay Area.

A: I understand that you taught classes at the Academy a few years ago. What did you enjoy most about that experience?

G: I really enjoyed the interaction with the students. Sitting down one on one, talking about the projects. That was fun.

A: What are some of your favorite sources for products here in the area?
G: There so many great resources in the Bay Area. Incredible Stone are wonderful people to work with. Lusy Artwork in Berkley with their bronze work. And there are all sorts of resources in the Design Center. There are wood workers and wallpapers, just a lot here in the area.

A: Any cool new projects you can tell me about?

G: We’ve just finished my book! It’s not available yet though. It will be in stores by the end of November. The book is about my client Chara and myself. We’ve worked together almost 40 years. It is about her art collection and the 5 houses I designed for her, 3 in the Bay Area and 2 in Los Angeles.  Her collection is amazing. It is so wonderful to work with her amazing pieces of art. In Los Angeles, we had a problem with sound proofing, so we came up with the idea of covering the walls with brushes.

A: If you could not be a designer, who would you be or what would you do?

G: I don’t know. (laughing). Probably a cook. It is my hobby.

A: What is your favorite cuisine then?

G: Italian.

A: What skills are you looking for when hiring interns and designers?

G: Computer skills are obviously very important. But more important is curiosity. People who are curious about things, and want to find out. We try to go about things (see things) in a different way. For example brushes on walls in the LA house. We had to a lot of research. We wanted to know and find out how things work. Not just using a flat carpet, and stripes on a chair. That’s perfectly fine, but it is not how we would design. In an apartment here in San Francisco, we used toilet paper rolls as screen, and the floors were white epoxy. It was around 10 years ago, nobody had done it before. Ultimately it’s about doing a lot of research and solving problems.

A: What’s your advice for aspiring interior designers?

G: Be curious! There is so much information right now! You’ve got to get out and experience!

A: Thank you so much.

G: My pleasure.

Museum House

‘Museum House is a complete renovation in Los Angeles, that was designed with a focus on housing an extraordinary collection of contemporary art while maintaining an accessible domestic quality. From a media room with sound absorbing brush panels to a custom dining table made of white Japanese glass and polished stainless steel, Gary Hutton Design shows that functional relationships needn’t be boring or expected.’




Check out all the amazing designs from Mr. Hutton on his website

Look for his new book Art House, (Assouline, New York), in bookstores in November.

Pictures provided by Gary Hutton Designs and used by permission

Silent Auction – Make Some Noise!

Imagine “The Imagine Bus Project.” A non profit organization that helps young people involved in the juvenile justice system, find new purpose through art.

The mission statement from their website reads:

Through arts education and community partnerships, The Imagine Bus Project engages and inspires incarcerated youth, and youth impacted by the juvenile justice system. We enable self-expression and positive personal development so that young people can successfully re-enter their communities and find a path to a fulfilling future.

Our own IAD club is partnering with “The Imagine Bus Project” to help raise money for young people in the program. 20 students and faculty members each created a unique tote bag. It’s YOUR job to bid on the bags and help us raise money for this worthwhile outreach. The winning bid on each bag  will get both that tote bag AND even more importantly, the knowledge that he or she has contributed to changing a troubled youth’s life.

Find the bags on your right just as you pass the double doors on the first floor of 601 Brannan.

I mean REALLY… where else can you change the world and get a “designer” bag for such a low price??

The Coach store has nothing on these beauties

The Coach store has nothing on these beauties