Last month, Hospitality Design (HD) magazine hosted more than 400 people at its 26th-annual Platinum Circle Awards Gala at New York's Conrad Hotel to honor a select group of industry experts with hospitality lifetime achievement awards. This year’s award honorees were M. Arthur Gensler Jr. of Gensler; Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality Group; Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studio; Adrian Zecha of Aman Resorts and David Rockwell of The Rockwell Group.
HD’s Editorial Director Michael Adams hosted the black-tie evening. “The festive atmosphere of this much-anticipated ceremony speaks volumes to this year’s caliber of talent,” says Adams. “Hearing about each honoree’s professional journey that led them here is so fascinating and a highlight of the evening—we’re already excited for next year’s lineup.”
A highlight of this year’s Platinum Circle Awards was a series of videos hosted on HD’s YouTube channel, featuring one-on-one interviews with the award recipients. The videos provide an insider’s glimpse into the honorees’ stories of personal and professional inspiration, triumph, struggle and growth.
Read on for more information about each of the honorees:
Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality Group, the restaurateur responsible for Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Café, discovered his hospitality calling while traveling through France as a child with his family. He speaks to the importance of design, stating “good design is as important as any other component in the entire restaurant experience.”
M. Arthur Gensler Jr.
M. Arthur Gensler Jr. of Gensler “always wanted to be an architect.” He's the founder of the largest architectural firm in the world. He attributes his success to his team. “One of the keys to our success is the amazing people I’ve worked with—they’re the best people to learn from.”
Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studio, responsible for award-winning design in hotels throughout the U.S., was an unsure college student who ultimately found architecture as the guiding light that led her to hospitality design. Rottet finds design inspiration in all aspects of life. “Walk away from what you’re doing, relax your mind and almost everything you see is an inspiration.”
Adrian Zecha of Aman Resorts also discovered the roots of his business by a “twist of fate.” His prominent collection of upscale resorts “really wasn’t meant to be a business,” says Zecha. “I was simply looking for a vacation home.”
The Rockwell Group’s founder David Rockwell recalls a key element of success throughout his professional journey, having started in 1984 at age 28: “Dialogue has always been essential to what we do,” he says. “The TED theater, Jet Blue terminal and Nobu restaurants and hotels have all been based on abstracting a language and narrative from the client.”