As we celebrate our leading ladies of design during Women’s History Month, we take a minute to get to know Amy Jakubowski, Managing Director of Wilson Associates’ Los Angeles office. In just two weeks, Amy will be speaking on the BD|west panel “Power Players: Women Leaders in Hospitality” April 6, with other industry thought leaders, discussing the challenges, opportunities and trends facing the industry.
When did you first know you wanted to be a designer?
I always gravitated towards art from a young age (I loved to draw and color) but officially declared I was going to be an Interior Designer when I was 13 years old. My childhood friend’s father was an architect and my neighbor was a contractor. I was inspired with how artistic visions can come to life and form these amazing spaces we live in. I started taking courses in high school that focused me on design including college courses at FIT on Saturdays when I was 16.
Tell me something most people don’t know about you?
I used to skydive. I have 175 jumps under my belt, and who knows? Maybe I will do it again in the future or maybe finally get the pilot’s license I always wanted!
When I first moved out to the West Coast (from New York) I took two weeks and drove across the country by myself (and took a lot of photos!). Driving cross-country had always been on my bucket list, and I was making a big change in my life. What better way to take a deep breath and document this journey? I minored in photography in college and it continues to be a love of mine; I now have an incredible collection of photos from this momentous journey!
Where do you find design inspiration, and what’s the most rewarding part of the job?
I love photography, travel, fashion, music, art in all forms and find inspiration in all of these areas; it could be the most amazing color scheme born from nature or textures that I see in the urban streets – I observe everything.
I love seeing a sketch on a napkin come to life and enjoyed by people – shaping spaces and experiences never ceases to amaze me but I find mentoring one of my greatest rewards. I had such amazing mentors that got me where I am today and I hope to be that person for other young designers.
Tell me about your projects: What is some recent work/project that you’ve completed and are especially proud of?
I will always be proud of Revere, the New York Palace and the Intercontinental Barclay, as they were such significant projects.
What’s an upcoming project (on the boards) that you’re working on right now?
What I am most excited about are the projects we are currently working on: Viceroy Morocco and Conrad Doha, in particular.
Tell me about a recent trip you’ve been on?
In the last 6 months, I have been to Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Cyprus, Greece and Morocco and this does not include any of my domestic travels! Cyprus, Greece and Morocco were all new destinations for me. Greece with my girlfriends in September was a real highlight, and our adventures are always rather entertaining. We toured the Acropolis and even had a private boating adventure in Santori where we swam in the “hot springs” and saw the most incredible sunset (we even “held it” in our hands!). We learned “Yamis” – Greek for “cheers” in Mykonos. The trip was a real blend of history, culture, unique experiences, lots of laughs and great friends!
What’s rotating heavily in your playlist right now?
My playlist is an extremely eclectic collection of music spanning all decades and genres. My guilty pleasure includes listening to heavy metal bands, most from the ’80s, while I am having a workout in the gym. 🙂 But don’t be surprised if you find me listening to simple piano music as well. I love music and what I am listening to depends on my mood.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
It was the Four Seasons in New York which recently closed; it was amazing and I had been going there since I was 20. I’m glad I was able to have one last drink before it closed. I need to find a new favorite, but this may be a challenge as I love to try new places all the time!