“To take advantage of booming global economies and to geographically serve our clients better, we opened offices in locations around the world. This diversification helps us manage,” Wilson said. In 2008, 10 percent of the firm’s work was domestic and 90 percent international. Wilson Associates is currently working on projects in 24 countries worldwide, including those in South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The firm’s high-profile projects for 2009 include: The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; The Lotte Hotel, Moscow, Russia; The St. Regis Doha, Qatar; Park Hyatt Saadayat, Abu Dhabi, UAE and the St. Regis, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“The most valuable thing I have learned is to maintain an ‘attitude of gratitude,’” said Wilson. “In a service business like ours, we are all interdependent: my colleagues need and depend on one another; we depend upon our vendors and service providers, and our clients depend on us. I am grateful for the teamwork, creativity and commitment of my associates and I am grateful for the tremendous projects our clients entrust with us – projects that take us to all corners of the world designing places of incredible beauty and luxury.”
Be respectful of artistic traditions.
Wilson Associates’ believe the key to the firm’s success is its design philosophy, which encompasses an appreciation for the arts and traditions of the cultures in which the firm works. “We design for the client, for the market. No single style or ‘look’ can be attributed to us; instead, we create a custom project for each client,” Wilson said. “Before beginning a project, our design team researches the art and cultural influences, topography, building materials and construction capabilities that are unique to the project location. This process provides inspiration and broadens the design perspective,” she explained. Designers also incorporate a geographical influence through the use of local craftsmen, artisans and artists. The team goes one step further with the custom design of numerous architectural details, furniture, lighting, carpeting and fabrics.
Wilson has earned the respect of her colleagues and clients because she has built her business around a few key principles: “Create spectacular design, give back and success will follow,” Wilson believes. She puts this belief into practice as the chairman and founder of the Wilson Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit foundation, which she established to help fund education and healthcare programs for disadvantaged children, especially in rural South Africa, as well as in her service on numerous civic and community organizations.
Wilson Associates said it is committed to integrating the principles of sustainable design into all aspects of its practice and is recognized for its commitment to green design. The firm pledges to educate all employees and clients about sustainable design and to initiate a dialogue about environmental impact and sustainable alternatives both within the firm and with its clients and suppliers. It recently formed green teams in each office to better educate the staff on the latest eco-friendly design products/trends and to keep the conversation flowing through its global offices.
Thinking beyond the box and outside of the bottom line has contributed to Wilson Associates’ ongoing success. One of these endeavors was launched in 2007 as BluePlate, a specialty food & beverage studio that focuses on creating unique and exciting restaurant concepts worldwide. The studio provides clients with a full range of F&B related services ranging from food concepts and menu design, to tabletops and uniform design, to kitchen planning and financial projections. With professionals in food operations, management and culinary design, BluePlate creates a truly unique and entertaining dining experience for each client.
Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.