Q+A Continued: Gulla Jónsdóttir

More from this Icelandic native on how she has developed such a hot hand in designing hospitality spaces

Gulla Jónsdóttir | Gulla Jónsdóttir Architecture + Design

Gulla Jónsdóttir, Gulla Jónsdóttir Architecture + Design. Photo: Erez Sabag

The cover story for our March edition is a Q+A with LA-based designer/architect Gulla Jónsdóttir, whose sensual, immersive spaces are creating buzz in a variety high-profile markets worldwide. Here are some further excerpts from that interview:

How would you describe your firm’s culture and creative process?

Our search for beauty and authenticity in architectural form and design is never ending. The creative process of starting a new project is thrilling and exciting to us. Architecture and design in any shape or form is truly our passion.

Kimpton La Peer Hotel | Laurie Joliet

Jónsdóttir’s recent design commissions include the Kimpton La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood. Photo: Laurie Joliet.

How are those beliefs and work philosophy reflected in the design/environment of your studios?

Our reputation centers on high quality design known for its sensuality and dynamism though full of form, our work is harmonized with their surroundings. Echoing beauty, yet integrating function, our design philosophy is staying true to our heart and creating memorable spaces that can enhance individual experiences.

You branched into furniture design a few years back--why?

To me, it’s a very fluid transformation from architecture and design into product and furniture design. There is no limitation to creativity so whether I'm designing a skyscraper, interiors or a piece of furniture it's only a matter of different scales and mindset.

Designing a hotel can take up to 5 years, while a piece of furniture is an instant gratification of design. I chose to do a limited edition collection of furniture so that each piece is special and not mass-produced. I’m not interested in mass marketing. I’m attracted to one of a kind projects and pieces.

Petal Chair | Gulla Jónsdóttir Architecture + Design

The Petal Chair, one of Jónsdóttir’s furniture designs. Photo: Courtesy of Gulla Jónsdóttir Architecture + Design

Shifting gears a bit here, to a “big-picture” question facing all designers: In your view, how are today’s clients different than those of, say, a decade ago, when it comes to their view of design’s role? What factors have driven that change? How has that impacted how you work?

Today, clients tend to be a bit more hands-on and involved throughout the design process. It may be from experience, or their interest in design, supported by their knowledge of the subject. We now also have to compete with the internet, which has become the primary source of information for people all over the world. This has pushed me to work even harder during the design development phase of my projects. I have to be sure that I deliver spaces that are unforeseen or completely out of the box, to keep my clients happy about the final installation.