Boutique Experience & Design

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Summary of the interview at the 2017 Stay Boutique Leadership Conference with
John Sofio, President & Founder, Built, Inc.

John Sofio, founder and President of hospitality design group Built, Inc., takes inspiration from fashion trends when creating unique spaces like Bootsy Bellows, Shorebar, and Found Hotels. In fact, it was a Gucci ad that inspired the Chateau Marmont project, Ivory on Sunset. “Once we come up with the operations and story of the space, then we delve into finishes.” John shares. His detail-oriented team specializes in creating spaces that are familiar, but also new. They achieve this feeling by using a lot of handwork and vintage items in their projects.

Built, Inc does all the lighting design for their projects and will even create their own lighting fixtures to get a desired effect. With a dedication to creating unique spaces with a story behind them, John believes that “the character is the infusion of our soul put into the space.” When asked how John and his team come up with such great names for his projects, he acknowledged that they do take into mind the hotel’s opinion, but “It usually comes from the feeling of the space.”

“Boutique is more of a feeling, rather than just a space.” John states. With large hotel chains having a difficult time creating a home-like feeling for their guests, they are now taking cues from the smaller creatives. Being truthful to the design and sticking with it until the end is John’s advice for keeping decor cohesive throughout a space. When asked about what he thinks is the most underutilized space in a hotel, John named the lobby as number one. “It can be created as an experience beyond check-in,” he believes.

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