Art Gensler founded his award winning firm in 1965 and is widely credited with elevating the practice of interior design to professional standing. Art will sit down with Cheryl Durst, IIDA executive vice president and CEO, at NeoCon to share some of the unanticipated opportunities that have helped shape his career. We had the opportunity to chat with him about his career, his thoughts on the industry, and some of his favorites things about Chicago.

Do you remember your first NeoCon experience?

I remember the vastness of the show. All the terrific showrooms and displays of new products.

What inspires you when you’re in Chicago?

Chicago is an architect’s town. The many great historic buildings that have influenced the recent history of architecture, both in Chicago and the surrounding areas.

What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

I visited the Wright buildings with my family and it was an inspiring experience.

Who/what has had the biggest influence on your work/career?

The amazingly talented and interesting people I get to meet and work with every day. From some of the most successful legends of the industry, to the creative people in our offices, I never tire of learning from each of them.

How do you see the commercial design industry evolving in the future?

Every year, our clients are learning more about the value and power of design. We work in a rapidly changing environment, which allows us an opportunity for design to create more memorable, creative, productive and sustainable solutions.

What’s something that will always remain important to designing a space?

The solution must reflect and respond to the client and the human experience at large. It is not about us and designers, but about those who will use and interact with the space.

Is there anything else in particular you’d like to share with the NeoCon community?

We live in a rapidly changing world. From technology to the way people work, the landscape is changing. This is a time for the industry, designers, manufacturers, contractors and suppliers, and even building departments to become flexible enough that we can rapidly respond to these changing needs.

Hyatt’s new headquarters Designed by Gensler

Tied to Chicago’s architectural heritage, Hyatt’s new headquarters creates a new architectural landmark that floats above the confluence of two branches of the Chicago River and reflects a new model of workplace strategy. Image Credit: Rafael Gamo