Futura Interiors

The World of Design at Your Fingertips

Archive for February, 2010

Industry Peers

by Erline M. Altamira

Industry networking through my peers has shown importance from my personal experiences. We meet vendor representatives on a daily basis, hotel managers every few months, showroom managers when we shop at design centers, etc. The countless people we as designers end up meeting may one day give you an important referral or lead that most people wouldn’t hear. The word usually gets out that company X is looking for talent to help with a fast upcoming project or to replace a person who left.

Our network of people are also liaisons that give us the latest news before it is even posted on a company’s website or given to a headhunter. Those crucial days before the world knows is the leverage that may help you interview before anyone else. So, it is also our own responsibilities to keep up with out contacts and be genuine to the people we encounter. I thank the handful of generous people that have helped me through the years!!

The FI team is looking forward to meeting more people at the upcoming Pacific Design Center (PDC) Westweek. There will be many industry peers, panel speakers, new vendor products, etc. to help inspire us through this heartfelt time. I encourage you to make time (if you have not done so already) to head out to the PDC on 3/24-3/25 and help support Westweek.


How to Entertain in Style!

By: Cindy Lam

I am a big advocate on entertaining and hosting events from time to time and one of my favorite things to do is to create that ambience…or at least attempt to!  When planning your next get-together, try to stick to one theme or idea and run with it.  Make a statement and create a welcoming entryway.  Many people tend to focus on the interiors of the party and forget to add a little something on the outside.  You can create anticipation on what to expect the rest of the night by adding candles in hurricanes to create a walkway.   Having a beach themed party? Bring the beach to the party and add a little sand on the walkway. 

Create a focal point.  Whether it’s the dinner table you see when you walk in or the dessert bar after dinner, it’s important to create that “attention grabbing” area. Glassware is important to add interest.  Steer clear of the typical white paper plates and red plastic cups and think outside the box.  That also means staying away from Party City for that pack of brightly colored themed Sponge Bob Square Pants plates or an 80’s themed pack of cups!  Sometimes utilizing what you already have in the kitchen will work.  If you’re a big traveler like I am, I tend to gather things that I’ve collected from different places and use them as décor (candle holders, paintings, rugs, bowls and lamps etc).  Things do not have to match or come from the same store to be used altogether.  For instance, if you have mismatched china, utilize them.  Don’t have enough chairs? Don’t go out and buy them…gather different styles and use them as a design feature around your dinner table.  Allowing guest to pick their own seats or their own type of glassware could allow them to be interactive.  Get creative and use your Photoshop skills to create those place cards.  Another way to add style to your table is to dig into your grandma’s closet to find those ahhhmazing broaches and attach them to the name cards or use them to add a little sparkle on the napkin rings at each seat. 

Don’t forget to tap into your design principles when planning your next party!  We cannot forget about the importance of lighting, proper space planning, and the use of accessories.  Remember, the next time you’re entertaining, think about the basics of how you can engage your guest by utilizing their five senses!  Sight, smell, hear, taste and touch.  Lastly, have fun while you’re at it!!!

Inspiring Design Students

by Erline M. Altamira

A colleague and I presented “Opportunities in Design and the Hospitality Industry” to interior design and industrial design students at The Art Institute this past Tuesday. Our presentation covered a quick overview of what to expect in our design industry. It was interactive and we gave them a networking exercise to explain the important of knowing your resources and connecting with contacts.

It was definitely was rewarding and refreshing to see the un-jaded eyes entering our design world. From our personal background, to company’s introduction, to questions about sustainability, our conversation ended leaving the students with a better sense of what to expect during their internships and after graduation. We left them with a hope of a soon-to-be-better economy and our contact information for future questions that they may have been shy to ask.

Have a great weekend!!

Become a “Renaissance” Interior Designer

by Melody Saradpon

I’m an avid believer in that people are comprised of their life experiences; an individual’s unique set of talents, subcultural pursuits, and personal traits are instilled through a lifetime to help assist the person to make their mark on the world. I say this simply because introspectively, I realize that the combination I’ve been bestowed with has brought me here, where I can channel my artistic eye to help create interiors and environments that stir people. My background has definitely been an uncommon one; my original field of study was graphic design and fine arts, which in turn, further evolved into movie set design and then interior design. In addition, my favorite leisure activities are wordsmithing, puzzles, and studying fashion trends, which upon further inspection, has definitely helped contribute to my skills; for example, being able to articulate my thoughts, approaching a design problem logically, and being aware that design (regardless of the niche) begets even better design through applicable evolution.

However, by no means am I close to becoming a “Renaissance” designer; I simply use this term to inspire and encourage others to see that one’s composition of talents–and your savvy application of them–can really take you to new levels. Pursuing photography? Your acute design eye can recognize disharmony or the unbalanced quality of a space. Love to paint? You can channel your knowledge of color palettes to evoke an emotional response from your viewers. Constantly strive to obtain as much knowledge as possible, even though at the present time it may seem irrelevant, for you can never know when your firm needs an individual with that specific skill set!

The importance of Networking…

By: Cindy Lam

After attending a few events recently, I realized more and more that no matter where you go and what type of event you attend, networking is very important and beneficial to your career.  Networking offers another avenue to reach vendors, customers, future business partners; it allows you to present yourself and your networking objective in a much more personal way than an advertisement, promotion or an online resource can. 

Whether a student or an industry professional, networking can develop new relationships and build upon old ones. Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships and seeing how you can help others.  We all know that networking is worth your time and effort and can help you get ahead in the professional world.  Ask yourself what your goals are in participating networking events.  Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. 

The next time you are attending an event or seminar, remember, networking is work and you never know who you’ll meet.  Develop high quality relationships that can benefit you professionally.  Do your homework, read publications.  Catch up on the latest industry news and make connections.  Getting out and attending social gatherings professionally or personally will lead to meeting new people that can inspire you when you least expect it.  Making connections can produce a ripple effect.  Everyone you know is in your network!

Design Interns: A Valuable Commodity

by Erline M. Altamira

I always believe that interns are valuable and should be mentored to develop skills and become well rounded designers of tomorrow. I’m not talking about the diluted premature divas that think they will be “designing” before they learn their resources. I’m referring to the noble hard-working team playing interns that learn to aid designers, month after month even after their unpaid internships.

Valuable interns are capable individuals who have genuine passion for learning and are able to grasp the complex concepts we expect them to know as they start their first day. They absorb everything we teach them, learn from everything we expose them to, and are tolerant with the hectic last minute mission impossible tasks we give them daily.

I am currently offering three design intern positions this semester to work closely with the design director, project manager, and designers in our thriving firm. You will learn first hand the behind the scenes “glamour” of the interior design industry. From industry terminology, resourcing, software applications, in-house sustainability and product presentations, you will have the opportunity to absorb what they may not teach in school.

Go to our new website http://www.futurainteriors.com/ and check out our projects, past blogs, etc. before calling me at our Tustin location. Remember your first phone call is the initial interview. Be prepared on sending or coming in with a recent portfolio and resume. We are anxious to hearing and meeting you!!

The Hotel Experience

by Melody Saradpon

Revisiting the history of hotels is a very interesting experience; to follow the ever evolving relationship between visitor and interior space can definitely lend more insight to where the future of hospitality is heading. Nowadays, many hotels have varying niches that cater to the wide and diverse array of visitors; hidden destinatons for romantic getaways, a corporate setting for the travelling businessman, and the super luxurious accomodation for the rich and wealthy are just a few examples.

The current trend that’s surrounding the hospitality industry is increasing the actual hotel “experience” for visitors–this idea focuses more on how the hotel is less of a lodging facility, and more of a portal to another time or lifestyle. Also, many hotels are embracing the constantly advancing technology burst, and are incorporating many gadgets in their facilities; iPod docks, touch screens, and motion sensored bath tiles are just the tip of the iceberg. Many hotels are also integrating the concept of education and entertainment (also known as edutainment; meant to educate and amuse simultaneously) in their designs; installing a multidimensional accent wall made of recycled sewer pipes from the 1900s or constructing a rooftop garden bridge that extends to the adjacent building to stimulate guests.

These trends are very indicative of what’s to come, and it’s very exciting to see what 2010 and the future holds for us!