The Judges Insight: Hans J. Galutera 21st September 2018 | IN DESIGN ADVICE | BY SBID

In keeping with the aim of global design excellence for the next generation, we gathered the world’s best experts across five competitive creative sectors to be judges in the SBID & BEOPEN Student Design Competition. On Tuesday 18th September, we rounded up this panel of esteemed professionals to discuss, deliberate and decide on our 15 fortunate finalists for each of the creative categories across Interior Design, Interior Decoration, Product Design, Art and Fashion. The finalists are set to be announced on Monday 29th October 2018!

We interviewed our judge; leading global hospitality Designer and Founder of HG DesignWorks, Hans J. Galutera to get insight on his experience within the industry. He shares his valuable advice for students and young designers alike who are about to embark on their journey into the diverse field of design.

design competition, The Judges Insight: Hans J. Galutera

Can you describe your current job?

Having worked on multiple public spaces on the largest cruise-liners and some of the most technological ships of the world, I am now focusing work on hotels –  primarily restaurants, bars and lounges which are currently in construction in my hometown Melbourne, Australia. I am also working on a number of luxury residential properties in New York City and Asbury Park New Jersey.W

What is your background and how did you get into interior design?

My background is in interior architectural design. I graduated from Melbourne College of Decoration in Australia and then further studied in the Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Interior Design Magna Cum Laude in FIT SUNY in New York City in the United States. I then apprenticed for prestigious high-end architectural design firms such as Daniel Romualdez Architects, CITE Design and Birch Coffey Design Associates. Shortly after in New York City Feb 2002, I established my own multidisciplinary firm with an Italian business partner to form BG Studio International Inc. which encompassed all aspects of design – from commercial and residential interiors to furniture, products, exhibitions, and graphics. In 2004, the studio began specializing in maritime hospitality design onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Enchantment of the Seas. This is the first ever lengthening project of a ship cut in half and rejoined to create revenue generating spaces for the second biggest owners of cruiseliners of the world. Since then, signature restaurants have been created for celebrity chefs on Celebrity Cruises Specialty Restaurants and largest ships of the world at the moment – Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas just to name a few. My most memorable and ultimate best design was the Penthouse Suite with the prize-winning Celebrity Cruises Reflection of the Seas for the Society of British International Design awarded at the House of Lords in London, UK.

Which people do you admire most in the industry and why?

It really depends but in terms of inspiration I am always drawn to iconic legendary designers. I am an avid admirer of French designers such as Jean Michel Frank who is often known as a minimalist, but his layering of rich textures and luxurious materials give a sense of maximalism that makes his work so interesting and complex; Andre Arbus furniture designer, sculptor and architect; Jean Prouve whose furniture is a wonderful blend of architecture and engineering; and America’s William Haines for his courageous story as an actor turned interior designer, and one of the progenitors of interior design’s Hollywood Regency period. There are so many!

design competition, The Judges Insight: Hans J. Galutera

How do you feel about being a judge for this new student design competition?

I think this design competition is quite unique as it combines all facets of creatives from fashion, product and interior design, but most importantly – the big cash prize which will really make a difference in a student’s life. It would be interesting to see the student’s career follow up and the amazing things that could potentially be life changing for the economy and perhaps the world with their design cleverness and solutions.

How did you find your judging experience?

The judging experience was very well organised as it is always a challenge to carefully vet and decide on multiple criteria, especially with the various design categories. Also I think having the judges reconvene and continue to debate the comparative merits of each design project is a wonderful way to reaffirm the final prize winner.

What advice would you give a young designer starting out in the industry?

Travel, Educate, Absorb Culture! Be humble and watch out for your ego. It is the number one obstacle that stops you as pride will always get in the way and then you head for a great big stumble. After over 20 years of doing this, I am still learning that. And finally, as the old cliche says – “do what you love and you will never work another day in your life…” 

If you had won £30,000 just after graduating from University, what would you have done with it?

If I had won that top prize, the first thing I would do is pay off my student loans and if there is any left then I’d book a holiday to my favourite vacation spot!

Click here to find out more about this year’s Designed for Business judging panel or visit our website, here, for further announcements and information about this inaugural student design competition!