Natalia Platanovitch, Senior Interior Designer/Project Manager of JOI Design
In ‘5 Minutes With’, Can Faik speaks to Natalia Platanovitch, Senior Interior Designer/Project Manager of JOI Design…
Tell me about your role at JOI Design?
I’m part of a wonderfully creative team who work together to create to world-class interiors for hotels around the world. As a Senior Designer, I have the privilege of working closely with clients to fulfil their wishes and exceed their expectations.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are currently working on a number of projects, including new Fraser Suites in Hamburg, Moxy Frankfurt, the renovation of Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg, and the development of Hapimag Resort Cavallino Venedig.
I myself am currently working on a private boutique hotel in Norderney (one of the East Frisian Islands), Hotel Courtyard Hamburg Airport, Lindner Park-Hotel Hagenbeck and Boutique Hotel Innsbruck.
How important is the journey when it comes to designing a new hotel?
The journey is vital, both in terms of how we arrive at our design concept and with regards to the physical and emotional paths along which we direct guests. Both begin with us listening to our client so that we grow in our understanding of what he or she wants and also what their prospective guests expect and desire. The topics we discuss include brand values, the evolution of the property’s offerings through design and the type of guest the hotel wishes to attract. Once we have conducted an in-depth analysis of the client’s vision, we are able to start considering the creative. It is important to us that we tell a story through our design and make the guest feel like they are on a journey of discovery from the moment they enter through the front door to the moment they leave. This, we would argue, is essential to the success of a hotel in today’s ever-changing and competitive environment.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight of my career so far was designing Premier Inn’s first ever hotel outside the UK, in Frankfurt. I was tasked with developing a completely new design that interpreted British culture in a quirky, modern way that would be appealing to the German marketplace whilst still remaining true to the operator’s strong brand identity. It was wonderful to see the completed project and I felt really privileged to have the confidence of our directors at JOI-Design in allowing me to work independently on such a project.
Have you noticed any particular trends in hotel design?
Guests are becoming more and more interested in new experiences and authenticity, wanting a hotel to provide an insight into the local culture as well as the comforting familiarity of home. Hotels are therefore putting great emphasis on public spaces and F&B venues in a bid to attract the locals. When successful, the lobby in particular takes on a vibrant, engaging and welcoming atmosphere. Guests like this because it makes them feel ‘in the know’ and part of a genuine community, and they too will want to while away the hours there.
How important are public spaces in hotels?
Reception and the surrounding public areas are the “business card” of the hotel; they are amongst the first impressions made and are therefore of enormous importance. What we have noticed in recent years is that these are no longer separated into zones. Hotels are instead now offering guests and visitors multi-functioning spaces in which they can work, meet with friends, grab a bite to eat and enjoy a drink, or simply sit in comfort and soak up the atmosphere. This versatility opens the public areas up as destinations in themselves to be enjoyed at any time of day by both those staying in the hotel as well as visiting locals.
Number of meetings attended each week?
That’s a difficult question to answer as it very much depends on the week in question. There are times when I feel like I am constantly rushing around, visiting clients, sites and suppliers, and there are other periods when my only meetings are with my colleagues at JOI-Design.
What is your favourite city?
I used to think that it was Paris, as I lived there for three years and fully embraced “le style de vie Parisien”. However, my allegiance changed when I visited London for the first time. I love its multiculturalism, progressive nature and the ceaseless choice of experiences ranging from design and culture to shopping and dining out.
What is your favourite hotel?
The Andaz Amsterdam is a hotel that really fascinates me. It is incredibly trendy and stylish, and benefits from incredible views over the canal. Its positioning and the way in which it is designed means that there is always something to discover both within the property and in its surroundings. It is a hotel that encourages curiosity and incites exploration.
Tell us about your last three trips?
I was recently on holiday in Cape Town – an unforgettable experience where I indulged in delicious food and revelled in the beauty of the landscape. There is so much joy in the city and the people are wonderful; it was a real delight to be able to experience it first-hand.
I went to New York for the first time too, which was incredibly exciting. The whole place was alive with creativity and innovation and this is reflected in the hotel scene, which has to cater to the fascinating – and sometimes wonderfully bizarre – New Yorkers.
My third trip was a welcome return to London for a business meeting. As it is my favourite city, I always relish the opportunity to visit.
There are so many incredible designers at the moment that it is hard to pick just one. I hugely respect Patricia Urquiola; it seems that any project she has a hand in is destined to succeed. She is a truly brilliant designer. Marcel Wanders is another who fascinates me and I am lucky enough to be visiting his atelier in the next few days.
As a Russian woman, of course I have to choose a drink containing vodka! Maybe a Moscow Mule, but saying that, I’m also partial to a gin and tonic or a glass of good red wine.
What projects will you hope to be working on in the future?
We are happy to have been involved with admirable brands such as Hilton, Le Méridien, Hyatt, Marriott and Capri by Fraser on a number of their projects. We look forward to continuing our relationships with them but also welcome the prospect of working with new clients.
Personally, I would love to work on some five-star properties but am equally excited just to see what the future will bring.
What would be your dream project?
I have two dreams. One is to design my own home where I will l raise a family with my future husband; the other is to work on a celebrated club. I believe both would be exhilarating in very different ways.