The Design Diaries
— Nini Andrade Silva

Interview by

Vidula Kotian

If you, like us, have walked into a hotel and immediately fallen in love with the interiors, music, food, or what not, and wondered about the person behind said amazing thing, then this series is for you. We’ve interviewed various creative luminaries in hospitality, and we hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as we have.

DESIGN STATS: Award-winning hotel projects all over the world
SIGNATURE STYLE: Fluid interiors and curvaceous furniture
HIGHLIGHTS: “Grau de Oficial da Ordem do Infante D. Henrique,” an honorary title by the Portuguese government
WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Her paintings are part of contemporary art museums around the world; designed the “CR7” chair for fellow Funchal-native Cristiano Ronaldo
MUST SEE: TED Talk  
DESIGN HOTELS MEMBERS: Vila Foz Hotel & Spa, Furnas Boutique Hotel, Azor Hotel, B.O.G Hotel

Q: Who or what are your biggest influences?
The impact in my designs came from my life, family who gave me the power to believe in myself, trips, books I read, people I met around the world, food I tasted, different cultures I experienced, friends, movies, etc…. Everything inspires me—from the moment I get a new project my imagination starts to fly, back to my experiences, through different cultures I got to know over the years and, sometimes, small details. Actually, even these tiny things can lead to the most daring and different ideas, resulting in wonderful projects.

Q: Have you ever changed your mind about anything aesthetics-wise?
Yes, I’ve changed my mind many times. It is the natural evolution of a creative process. My team knows me as “the last-minute girl” and this means that, throughout the development of a project, my ideas are maturing in my head and gaining new forms and shapes. We are not static beings, so the design cannot be either!

Q: Describe your dream project, real or fantasy.
For a while now, my dream project has been to create a hotel whose interior design is completely digital and based on multimedia content. I would reduce the physical decorative elements and instead rely on digital projections that would change according to the different seasons. I really believe that our emotions can be translated into design. To this end, there is undoubtedly the eternal search for the essence, whether the site, the materials, the theme, the target audience, etc. The mixture of these different elements can be the recipe to draft up a project and succeed. I have been storytelling, for a long time…

Q: What’s the last thing you read that made you feel something?
This sentence by a Japanese artist: “I can’t say thank you enough to my clients who keep my imagination alive.” And to be honest, this is so true for my life…I can never say thanks enough!

Q: Without thinking too hard, which do you choose:
— Wood or concrete? Concrete
— Beach or mountain? Beach
— Modern or classic? Modern
— Morning or evening? Morning
— City or country? City
— Jazz or classical? Classical
— Drama or comedy? Comedy
— Dancing or hiking? Dancing

Q: What are you currently working on?
At the moment, we are working on interior design projects all over the world in hospitality, private homes, and commercial spaces. As an example, we are doing a private mansion in Japan and a big brand hotel in Brazil. There are ongoing hotel projects in Europe, and we have released an exclusive collection of furniture, “Garota do Calhau Collection”, inspired by the organic shape of the stones from Madeira’s beaches. These pieces are amazing because of the size and the shape.

Q: Is there a building or product that strikes you as particularly well-designed or innovative?
There are so many incredible things in the world, but the last building I saw that I really loved was the National Museum of Qatar by Jean Nouvelle, because it is so unique! I must confess that when I visited the project, I was designing a hotel in Dubai inspired by desert roses so when I saw the Nouvelle project, I immediately fell in love because the source of inspiration was the same.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019