For most of her life, Shelly Lynch-Sparks has been inspired by beautiful interiors. Her father was a contractor, and she practically grew up on job sites, watching spaces transform through renovations. It’s no wonder that she found a love for all things interior design. After majoring in Art for her undergraduate degree, Lynch-Sparks found herself backpacking through Europe, becoming enamored by the continent’s ubiquitous beautiful architecture. She completed a fine art’s program in Spain before returning to the states, adding a Master’s degree from Parsons to her resume. After spending a few years working at interior design firms, she branched out on started her own design firm, HYPHEN & CO.. We sat down with Lynch-Sparks in our new office (which she helped design) to learn more about her work, and how design and hospitality are so very intertwined.
Here are five lessons we learned from Shelly.
“Every time I go to a new place, I see the identities of the culture—whether it’s in the furniture, textiles, carpet, throw pillows, or the color of paint being used. Anywhere you go, it’s like seeing someone else’s canvas but it’s identified through culture and history. Seeing that in different spaces around the world has inspired me almost in everything I do.”
“Essentially hotels are built to be destroyed…Well, not to get destroyed but to get lived in a lot more. Everything gets used more over time in comparison to a normal space. I design commercial spaces, but hotels are just a different breed because everything from the fabric to the sheets to the functionality between people matters. You have to think about all of the themes of a guests experience. Working with all of these elements is a little more hands on than a commercial office space because you really have to think about how people are going to enjoy their stay and the hospitality behind it. If something goes wrong, you need to make sure that the guest is the most comfortable at all times.”
“Our design work always starts with a cup of coffee and a conversation. From this, we learn where clients are coming from, what their brand is like and what inspires them…We take that conversation and we bring it to life. We put it down on a piece of paper with images, and we share them with our clients and say This is what we’re thinking. Tell us if we’re on the same page as you, and if we can go in this direction.”
“Being able to identify the history of both the brand and the space in general is a very important part for the interior designer to play. The designers need to be able to take a look at the history of the brand and space, and celebrate it in some way, shape, or form…Design and brand coincide. As an interior designer, we help brands find their identity. A lot of the times, we work alongside a brand’s creative director or marketing director to really dig deep into their core values to bring out the design and celebrate the attributes of a brand in a cool, fun and chic way that’s also functional.”
“It took a while to get here, and I think that it’s been so great. All the journeys that I’ve had because I’ve tried to get as much experience as I can working in all different facets. When I left my previous firm to start my own company, Hyphen, I was so ready to take all my cards and play them in a careful way. I took a bit of a risk and said ‘I’m going to do something on my own.’ I work with such amazing people and brands. As a small business owner and start-up, I love celebrating all those milestones that I’ve seen my clients celebrate because I know how that feels.”
For more from Shelly Lynch-Sparks, visit the HYPHEN & CO. website.
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