Welcome! Today, we have Juan Carlos Rodriguez-Artigas on the show with us. Juan Carlos is an accomplished architect and interior designer with extensive experience in high-end hospitality, restaurant, commercial, and residential design. He is currently the design director of the London Studio of the global interior architecture firm, Wilson Associates. Juan Carlos's position is multi-faceted, and in today's episode, he discusses his role and responsibilities, as the firm's design director, where he oversees the day-to-day operations and projects of the London studio. In addition to creating beautiful projects, he has been in charge of the hiring and building of a cohesive and talented team, which he has then had to lead and guide. Also, a large part of his job involves finding, meeting, and creating opportunities for new business for the firm, and he explains that this all starts with relationships and with connecting to people. Tune in now to find out more.
Wilson Associates is a collection of 10 design firms around the world whose work encompasses interior architectural design, architecture, art consultancy, concept development, branding, and food and beverage design. Their portfolio includes some of the most prestigious hospitality projects in the world. Listen in today, to hear what Juan Carlos has to share.
Role & Responsibility:
Juan is an architect and interior designer with an extensive and
holistic international experience in high-end hospitality, restaurant,
commercial and residential design.
Combining strengths in architecture and interior design, Juan worked
eight years as an independent designer and creative consultant on
different high end commercial and residential projects in Spain and
He was Designer Director at Rockwell Group Europe, managing a
variety of projects in Asia and the Middle East for some of the most
prestigious hospitality brands.
He currently leads the recently open Wilson associates London office.
In charge of this edition sleep & eat theater.
Juan Carlos says:
“People ignore design that
College Degree in
Architecture at Universidad
Anahuac Mexico City, Mexico
Interior design degree/
Instituto Europeo di Design
Master degree in project
management & design
Universidad San Pablo Ceu
Links and resources:
Wilson Associates website: Wilson Associates’
Beyond the Basics:
I’ve always loved a challenge; opening an office for such as important and reputable firm like Wilson Associates in a city like London has been one of the most exciting and rewarding challenges in my career to date.
I don’t think we ever really know what we want to be, but we do begin doing things we love, and by finding our passion you realize it is something you want to do and be forever.
Don’t be afraid to fail; defend your ideas, but never fall in love with them and always listen to different points-of-views.
Some of my career accomplishments within design come from participating in projects like the recently opened W Suzhou and Hotel Ingles in Madrid, which opened Spring 2018. I have a special affection for high-end residential design, especially a recent penthouse project in Madrid before I entered the hospitality field.
Any project that ends with a shake of hands and smile from a client is an accomplishment. In hospitality, I find the most challenging part of the job is not only working as a designer but as a mediator between a hotel operator and ownership when they have very opposite visions for a project. It is our job to find that common ground and present an end result that pleases all parties.
I think the best thing you can spend your money on is travel; experiences stay with you forever. I like yoga, meditation and to hit the gym as much as I can. My guilty pleasures include tacos with tons of salsa verde. You can also put poison into strawberries with chocolate and I would never notice!
My favorite restaurant is a classic Spanish restaurant in Madrid called El Paraguas.
From a designer perspective, The Jane in Antwerp, Belgium is always worth visiting and I most recently visited a small boutique hotel in Paris called Maison Breguet that was just lovely. My favorite hotel and destination are a hidden place off the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico called Zipolite, but please don’t spread the word! Mallorca in Spain is also always a good idea.
Luis Barragan, Piet Boon, Carlo Scarpa, Lázaro Rosa Violán
Definitely an interior designer.
F&B, Changing trends in the hospitality area, hotel room experiences.
List three lessons, systems or business techniques you learned at previous positions in and out of the industry.
Name 2-3 challenges in running a design firm?
Do you have a superpower…what makes your firm different?
With 10 global offices in various parts of the world, our designers speak over 30 languages and offer backgrounds and cultures that complement one another. We live and think outside the box, enabling us to design for every kind of client and market. Although each office has its own identity to some degree, we all live under the Wilson Associates umbrella and work as a team.
Do you have a client onboarding process?
Having been in the business for nearly 50 years, we have a legacy for upholding the highest standard in client customer service. We analyze their needs and offer a wide range of services that make for a tailor-made and unique experience. As we’ve grown, we’ve continued to evolve and reinvent ourselves within the hospitality and F&B industries, while still maintaining that same level of top-notch service.
List the steps critical for successfully running a client project.
Have you ever received a piece of advice regarding running a business that was truly valuable?
The best contribution you can make to your client is to be as authentic as possible. Stay grounded and true to who you are. Also remain open to new ideas and sources, gathering as much data collection as possible, not just digital sources like Pinterest. I find looking outside interior design exhibitions and at the real world is the most inspiring. Inspiration does not necessarily come from beauty.