Photo by Bill Hughes
Adam D. Tihany is widely regarded as one of the world’s preeminent hospitality designers and an early pioneer of the restaurant design profession. Adam Tihany has been designing restaurants and hotels for more than 35 years, building quite the portfolio of luxury properties.
Tihany is known around the globe for creating unique, luxury interior design for hotels and restaurants His outstanding contribution to the world of design has been recognized with numerous honors and awards including an Honorary Doctorate from the New York School of Interior Design and induction into the Interior Design Hall of Fame. A recognized expert in luxury, Tihany frequently writes for international lifestyle, design and travel magazines and publications.
Tihany third’s book, Tihany: Iconic Hotel and Restaurant Interiors, will be published by Rizzoli , March 2014 and the Best Design Books interview the famous designer about his life, inspirations and the latest book.
-What does inspire you?
I draw inspiration from art, film, theater, poetry, music, food, and wine. I study human behavior as it greatly influences my work.
-What projects are you working on right now?
We are designing 2 Four Seasons hotel projects in Dubai and several signature restaurants at The Broadmoor and The Breakers, some of the best-known hotels in the US. We are working on the total restoration of the iconic, Beverly Hills Hotel as well as the renovation of Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg. Additionally, we are currently completing the redesign of the main restaurant at Hotel Cipriani in Venice, set to re-open in March.
-You do a lot of hospitality design. What do you like the most? Doing restaurants or doing hotels?
I like both. I love the hospitality business as a whole and enjoy every aspect of it.
-What did you learn from owning a restaurant?
I see a restaurant from the customer side and the operator side. It is as important to take care of your staff and give them a well-designed work environment as it is to give your customer a beautiful dining room.
-You have your third book “Tihany: Iconic Hotel and Restaurant Interiors” coming out in March. What can we expect from the book?
The book showcases a selection of my most iconic projects, some of which played a pivotal role in shaping the way people experience restaurants and hotels. It also tells the story of how I became the first person in the U.S. to call himself a restaurant designer.
-You designed restaurants and luxury hotels for more than 35 years. If you had to choose one project, what would you choose?
That is like asking which one of your children is your favorite. Impossible to answer.
-What brought you to have your own restaurant? Was it a personal desire or a professional ambition?
I had previously met Chef Francesco Antonucci, a chef born in Venice, at DDL Foodshow through Dino DeLaurentiis. Francesco and I clicked right away and became friends. One day he told me of his dream to open a Venetian restaurant called Remi and asked me to help find investors. In a moment of madness I said, “Why don’t we do it ourselves?” and we did.
-Which are the trends for Interior design this year for the contract areas?
I try not to pay too much attention to trend. I leave the trend predictions to the professional “predictors”.
-In which way can Interior Design influence the success of a hotel or restaurant business?
The design of a restaurant or hotel is essential to the success and overall experience of a restaurant or hotel. Like in a play, the design is the equivalent of a set for the actors (service) and the food (the dialogue). People do not go to restaurants or hotels because they are hungry or need a bed to sleep in. They go for an experience. Design sets the stage for those experiences.
-Tell me, what is left for you to reach in the future?
Many exciting things. I especially enjoy sharing my knowledge with students. I am currently the Art Director of the Culinary Institute of America and often give lectures at the school and other universities. I will continue to work on dream projects that I am passionate and excited about. I also look forward to doing more collaboration with my colleagues in product design and am working on new ideas in this realm.