Part conjurer, guru, distiller and an agent provocateur

Yang Di
Isabel Pintado is a seasoned interior architecture professional, recognized in the industry for her excellence in design, business acumen and leadership. 
Yang Di
Part conjurer, guru, distiller and an agent provocateur
Courtesy of Wilson Associates / Ti Gong

Isabel Pintado

Who is she?

Isabel Pintado is senior vice president of Wilson Associates in Africa, China, Middle East, Thailand and regional managing director of Bangkok, Dubai, and Shanghai. Pintado is a seasoned interior architecture professional, recognized in the industry for her excellence in design, business acumen and leadership. She sees her role at Wilson Associates as many things: part conjurer, guru, therapist, agent provocateur, distiller, rebel and visionary. It is important that she opens the eyes of the team and partners to achieve their creative goals and achieve the quality that will continue to develop our industry regionally and beyond.

Tell us some of your works, and name the one you are most proud of. 

I believe it would be unfair to name just one project under our umbrella. I love the work I have undertaken with the different studios and the outcome. Our web page illustrates beautifully the enormous diversity of our work and how we customize each and every one of our projects to match our client’s needs as well as the location.

Part conjurer, guru, distiller and an agent provocateur
Courtesy of Wilson Associates / Ti Gong

Marriott Taghazout, Taghazout Bay, Morocco

Are you currently involved with any project? 

I am helping the team and Patrick Fung our Design Director for the Shanghai studio with two of the Winter Olympic Athletes Village site hotels. We have been fortunate to undertake two Kempinsky hotels. One is a 5-star comprising approximately 199 keys and the other is a 4-star with over 400 keys. Exciting time, lovely client with a truly helpful operator. As well as the above I am loving the designs we are producing for an EVEN hotel at their Chongli Site.

Describe your design style. 

I am quite eclectic and love richness in surfaces, patterns as well as colors. The way I design is to think first of the experience I want our guest to have walking through the space, what emotions our client wants to evoke and then, and only then, do I start creating a story that will inform my designs. Creating a strong concept is fundamental to my design process and this notion is something I make sure all our projects and designers undertake. In regard to aesthetics, there is not only one design direction that inspires me, I endeavor to create from scratch and provide clients with unique schemes that will date well with the passage of time.

Where are you most creative?

Surrounded my a diverse team.Brainstorming with my colleagues in the different offices I am responsible for Dubai, Bangkok and Shanghai is what brings my most creative self to the surface. I absolutely love the banter that comes from a team where true diversity of thinking exists.

What does your home mean to you? 

Rest, peace, health and family. I travel a large percentage of my time and being back home brings me a sense of peace which I truly treasure.

To some extent when I am away at clients’ presentations, events or working with the rest of the design studios I give all of me to the detriment of my inner peace. Being back home allows me to recharge as to then be able to share my energy with my colleagues again.

What do you collect? 

Everything and nothing! I tend to wear hats most of the time when outdoors and have a tendency to constantly and unconsciously be buying more and more of them.

Where would you like to go most in Shanghai? 

I must say I love the cafe culture in Shanghai. I truly enjoy trying out new places. The quality is outstanding and the creativity found in the small venues is truly outstanding.

Also there are a couple of hotels in town where I love to stay at such as The Middle House, The Puli and The Edition as well as a myriad of smaller venues.

What will be the next big design trend? 

The word trend and trends in themselves are something that I always aim to avoid. I believe what we as designers need to look at is social forecasting; what is the population looking for when the venue opens; what is the demographic going to look like and what are people after? And for me this is what true trends should be.

A particular look that is emulated from project to project is not a trend, they are simply copies of an original work that has truly studied what the market needs. True design should look inwards and produce original work, not replicate the work of others.

I believe the abstract concepts to factor in when designing in China for the future are basically two: To design for the internal market, design for Chinese clientele and for a much younger crowd.

The Chinese population is our future and we should address their needs when designing which is different from let’s say Europeans or other Asian countries.

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