Crafting Inspiring Spaces and Brands with Swoon, The Studio

Dive into the design minds of Swoon, the multi-disciplinary design studio known for their expertise in luxury branding, interior design, and art direction. 

On this episode of Leaning In, host Cassie King, Trademark’s Senior Director of Design & Placemaking, is joined by Kevin Thomas & Lauren Cadieux of Swoon, the studio. The conversation explores the studio’s signature approach that blends brand with interior design in their breathtaking residential, commercial, and historical projects like the Driskill Hotel and Galleria Dallas’ brand refresh and renovation.

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Swoon, the Studio


Terry Montesi:  Welcome to Leaning In, the commercial real estate podcast hosted by Trademark Property Company. Join me, Terry Montesi, CEO and founder of Trademark and other Trademark leaders as we talk to industry experts about the future of retail, multifamily, and mixed-use real estate. Thanks for checking us out. And now it’s time to lean in.

Cassie King:  Hello, I’m Cassie King, Trademark’s Senior Director of Design and Placemaking and today’s host on Leaning In. We have a pair of guests with us today: Kevin Thomas, a Principal at Swoon Studio, and his colleague, Lauren Cadieux, Associate Director of Interior Design and Architecture. Swoon, the Studio stands as a beacon in the design world, admired for its trailblazing approach to luxury branding, interior design, and art direction. In today’s dialogue, we’ll peel back the layers of their unique roles, explore the mechanics of their creative process, and revisit our collective experiences from projects such as the Galleria in Dallas.

Swoon, the Studio is a multidisciplinary design studio specializing in luxury branding, interior design, and art direction. Can you share more about your time at swoon and the work that is currently being done today?

Kevin Thomas:  Yeah. Swoon has been around for about 13 and a half years, a little over. And I was there from the beginning. So, Sam and I from the start. And yeah, so it’s really cool standing here, 13 and a half, looking back and just like seeing all of the places that we’ve gone and where we’ve come from.

Lauren Cadieux:  I’m Lauren Cadieux. I’m an architect and interior designer. I’ve been working with Swoon for two and a half years now. And I had actually worked with the full interiors team back in the day on the Virgin Hotel. So I like to say that I’ve known almost everybody there for about five years. But it used to be that they were my consultants, and now I am their coworker, which is super exciting. But the kind of work that we’re doing right now that we have on the books is quite a few incredible hospitality projects, historical renovations, for example, the Driskill Hotel in Austin, as well as a new hotel in San Antonio that is going to be a sister project to the Emma.

We also always have a lot of residential. We have a really good mix of experiential and residential and hospitality that happens all at the same time, which really allows us, I think, to be creative in so many different ways. And that’s paired with our incredible branding and holistic positioning as well as our photography studio, PS Swoon.

Cassie King:  I’m so excited that you guys have added that. We’ll get into that in a minute. But so just branching off of that, to better understand how Swoon operates and creates, we have a few questions about agency life. So first of all, how large is Swoon? And how often do you find yourselves wearing multiple hats?

Kevin Thomas:  So, we are 24 people. And I think generally everybody has their like defined title and kind of system of segmented place that they work. But I think one of the really cool things about Swoon is that we really encourage cross disciplinary discussions, brainstorming, and just we have the opportunity to work on a lot of different things by design. And I think that is one of the really cool things about Swoon.

Lauren Cadieux:  I think that all comes back to the fact that Sam, the founding partner and owner of the company, really started her journey in graphic design and iterated from there as more people came to her for her taste level on interiors and also experiences, which is a fun thing to think about. So, a lot of people that work at Swoon don’t necessarily have a traditional commercial design background or even education. There’s a lot of range there of people who’ve worked in music, people who worked in merchandising.

And what’s really fun is that we do collaborate all together. And there are moments where someone says, hey, I have an amazing idea. Can we try that for a rug design or for something that has to do with actual branding. And that feedback and that interaction just keeps everybody fed in a design way, and it also allows us to really flex and learn new things, which is, I think, ultimately what attracts us all to working in this. You have to love continuing to learn.

Cassie King:  You guys, I wouldn’t even- I don’t even like calling you an agency because it doesn’t feel- you don’t feel like an agency. It feels like a design house. It feels like, from the holistic collaboration that I’ve been privy to, it feels good to- Some people have been pulled into the room that weren’t even working on the project at the time.

Kevin Thomas:  Yeah, for sure.

Cassie King:  Because Sam or Kevin or Joslyn was like, “Oh, you need to come in here. You know about that.” And I love that, as a creative myself, being in the room and feeling that synergy and feeling that it’s more than collaboration because you know people so well that you almost can feel what they’re going to say because you all are so in tune with that. And that’s one of the main draws to working with you guys. It’s just it’s a creative fountain, I would say. And I can always trust that you guys are going to have the best answer that you have at the time. And then we go through the process, and then things evolve.

I would like to bring up in the holistic design that you guys have so many makers in house. Could you speak a little bit more to those talents that range past what people actually just go to work for?

Kevin Thomas:  Oh, man, it’s huge. I mean, I think definitely art in a broad sense, like everybody’s artistic and have many different outside creative outlets that they explore. Like, we’ll have project managers that are studying calligraphy design. We’ll have an interior designer that’s creating rope art that’s just this like gorgeous kind of intricate canvas of rope. And I’m trying to think, like pottery, just all these different facets of creativity outside of their typical lane, for sure.

Lauren Cadieux:  And lighting, I think that’s one thing that we really kind of enjoy getting into is even just assemblages at home of common everyday objects and then adding lighting from there is a really fun and interesting thing to do that ultimately does kind of come up in our projects in certain ways. I think the painting thing is a huge thing. We often do that for projects. When there’s art involved, we will put some of our own art in it, as well as curating.

But like there are some other things, I’m going to speak about myself for a second here. But there are some things too, for example, we do a lot with plants. And I know for myself, like I’ve been trying to learn about plant arrangement, ikebana, the Master Naturalist program in Texas where you actually learn about native plants and how those all can be used in your everyday life. There’s just so many different ways that people bring in artistry that is both practical but also just what brings them joy in their personal lives. And it all feeds into our work.

Cassie King:  I love that. Lauren, if you become a master gardener also, I’d like to talk about that.

Lauren Cadieux:  Yeah. Let’s do it. I would love that.

Cassie King:  So I mean, like I said, there’s such a draw to you guys. And I think it’s also because Trademark has a similar feel of we pull people in that have capabilities inside our network, that have certain specialties, specifically the marketing team and development team and those that have a lot of different hats. Like, I find myself being pulled in all the time to different meetings and giving them just like a one or two sentence and then leaving, like, what do you need? Okay, this. Let’s go.

We like to keep everybody in the loop. Communication is so important. And you guys have an open office environment too with a lot of glass. And that’s similar to what we have, which we think is very important. But I would say that, going back to not having like training about specifically what you’re doing, I started in landscape architecture and urban planning. And now I’m doing curation and art and furniture. And while it’s all connected, a lot of people don’t see that string that connects everything. So, it’s fun to be able to step back and see all of it at once and be able to push and pull where you need to. But it’s fun. And speaking of that, how do you find and retain your talent, especially in such a large metropolitan area?

Lauren Cadieux:  Before we answer that, I do just want to say I think we really appreciate the fact that, working with you, that you do have that range of backgrounds and that you are open to those kind of multilevel ways of communicating and thinking through problems. So, we’re very lucky to have clients, not just yourselves, but others that have that creativity themselves. And I think you can see that in the products that we make with people.

Kevin Thomas:  Like Lauren was saying kind of at the beginning of the call, I feel like a lot of people come from all these different facets of maybe not even like traditional design education. But I feel like that brings in so many different facets of a different way of thinking and a different way of approaching and solving issues or problems. So, I think that is such an interesting thing for us to be able to pull from. And then with that, I think just having that as one of the things that we can offer and like show to everybody coming into the studio, we’re open to working with different ways, different ways of thinking, and it’s not so compartmentalized and boxed up the way that we approach working on projects. So I think that’s a draw for sure.

Cassie King:  Yeah, most definitely people know that about you up top. They just know that’s what you’re about, rather than just like coming out of college or searching for another job. I think word of mouth with you guys is probably huge, too. And it’s probably a really acclaimed position to be able to like get that. It’s a win in the design community, I think. But okay, so you’ve said you have 24 people. Are most of your jobs, your creative jobs, in-house? Or do you subcontract out for anything?

Kevin Thomas:  Most of our stuff is in-house. I mean, I think we have a lot of really great vendors that we will work with, but we do a fair majority of the creative, if not all, in-house. And I think usually when we’re reaching out, it’s when we can’t do something internally where it’s like building a piece of furniture or doing something construction wise or something like that, where we’re needing to bring in a vendor that’s specialized in something to partner with.

Lauren Cadieux:  Yeah, I’d say that’s all I’ve seen for the most part. I think the only time we’re really outsourcing is when we’re making things that are custom. And that’s just a part of the whole process.

Kevin Thomas:  Yeah. And that’s also really fun to be able to collaborate with somebody, and you’re like pitching your idea, and they have creative problem-solving perspective that they’re coming at you with, you can kind of work together and kind of bang out something that’s really interesting and different and usually something different from where you started and better for it.

Cassie King:  Yeah, again, with the holistic collaboration, that’s awesome. How often would you say – this is a multi-part question – how often would you say you reuse vendors or bring in a new vendor?

Lauren Cadieux:  I mean, I think from what I’ve seen, it just changes so often. We have lots of vendors that we really love to work with. But life happens, people come in and out of the business, people change what they offer. So, we’re on a constant rotation. And we’ve been so lucky to also bring on more people who help and specialize particularly in that process of finding vendors and working with them to make sure our design intent is realized. And that is a never-ending process. So, I think when we find people that really come through and have creative vision and come in on time, we really hold on to them as long as we can. And we’re just always looking.

Cassie King:  Yeah, they get a star next to their name on the spreadsheet.

Lauren Cadieux:  They sure do.

 Cassie King:  Yeah, get highlighted, like I have those.

Kevin Thomas:  I think that’s a really good word, Lauren, like the relationship that we have with them. I think that’s really also another thing about Swoon, the Studio is like we really try to foster those relationships, whether it’s like through a client, through a vendor, and we find people that really care about what they’re doing and really have a passion for what they’re doing. And I feel like that is also a differentiator.

Cassie King:  Well, and to work with people, again, that you have this relationship with, and they’re growing, and you’re growing, and you both find yourself 13 and a half years later in a different place but can still utilize each other’s talents. I think that’s awesome. So beyond your current scope of projects, are there any past projects that personally stand out to you?

Kevin Thomas:  I’d like to speak to one that’s kind of a different one that we got to work on that was really special. So, the DMA, the Dallas Museum of Art here in town, we got to work with their in-house exhibition design team. And one of the big exhibits that we helped them with was the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit. I just feel like that was such an integral part of blending the design side like my traditional graphic design side of thinking and problem solving with an interior and kind of like that experiential design side of things.

And we got to basically design that whole experience and how you walk through and experience the different Gaultier collections. And each room had its own feel and look and lighting. And it was just a really interesting way to think about how to pass through space and how that space can make you feel and just being able to communicate those nuances whilst being able to like show off this great couture designer’s work. It was really an honor to work on.

Cassie King:  Getting to create things that evoke emotion in people is powerful. And I can understand how that would be something that you hold in a high respect in your memory, for sure.What about you, Lauren?

Lauren Cadieux:  Well, I haven’t been there nearly as long, so a lot of the projects I’ve been working on are not complete yet. They’re kind of in the works. But I can talk to you, being somebody who has joined Swoon, I remember meeting Katie and Anastasia and Joslyn and Sam, so many of these people who are just so integral to my day to day now, at the Adolphus Hotel and actually walking through that space with them and seeing everything that had been transformed. It’s just an incredible showcase of the work of a team that really didn’t start with a traditional hospitality or commercial design background tackling a space and creating something so magical because it has these residential touches, it has this art infusion with these incredible art pieces, and there’s a real cadence and nuance to all the spaces there where there’s almost a pause. There’re beautiful things to look at and all this history. And it’s really fun.

And I know that there’s one space in there now that I think is like one of our favorites, which is the rodeo bar. Everyone loves it so much. And it’s just fun to see the contrast because you have such a push pull of all of the ephemera, the taxidermy armadillo, and all of the kind of Western paraphernalia in rodeo bar with all this fantastic neon. We even went down – this is one of my favorite things – that we went down into the basement of the bar with chains and high heels and like locks and rakes and scratched the floor so that it would feel older to match what was upstairs. And that is such a funny and cool thing to get to spend time looking for old posters and records and taxidermy squirrels and things for a project.

Kevin Thomas:  That may have been stolen.

Lauren Cadieux:  Right, yeah. I know people really love the good taxidermy squirrel. It’s shocking how much people love taxidermy, but they act like they don’t.

Cassie King:  People don’t get out into the country in Texas enough.

Lauren Cadieux:  So, I mean, I just think that that is such a showcase of the range that Swoon has and just the experience that we all get to have and that we like to share with other people.

Cassie King:  I love it. I know that when we were looking at interior firms way back and branding and everything you guys do, it made so much sense under one house, under one roof. And the Adolphus kept rising to the top, everybody kept mentioning it. And I was like, wait a second, I was just there. Wait, the one that just got redone?

And I remember personally as a designer walking through and feeling those moments, feeling the pause, feeling the curation. And I haven’t been back to the rodeo bar yet. I will next time I’m in town. But I love that that’s open windows for you guys to the Drover and touching that and then now the Driskill and Hotel Emma’s soon to be sister cousin. I’m really excited to see about that, what that turns out as. But they’re doing something, hitting it on the nose and then getting other opportunities and letting that open the door.

And while you’re in the process, in the middle of it, it kind of scares you. And if anything scares you, it’s usually worth doing. So I can only imagine in the process of that, and I’ve talked to the girls about that, as I call them, to Sam and Jocelyn about it. I’ve talked to them about that and just how if y’all ever wanted to open a Swoon West that I was totally available to helping out with that. But now that I’ve moved to Colorado, that’s a no-go. But anyway.

Lauren Cadieux:  Well, next time you come, we should go and get a burger and a boilermaker.

Cassie King:  Deal. So, with your current project bucket list that we’ve mentioned, and naturally, the Galleria in Dallas comes to mind for us because that’s one of our projects, can you give our listeners a recap on what your involvement has been to date and where the team has come into play on the renovation?

Kevin Thomas:  Sure, yeah. So I think we started with the Galleria, and it was a little bit before the pandemic, actually. And we were tasked with rebranding and kind of reframing the brand of the Galleria Dallas and how that shift would happen. I think everybody was seeing a shift in how people shop and how people kind of approach shopping centers. And I think trying to find the answer to that is what we were tasked with. And I think a lot of people think of shopping now as like entertainment, and you want to go and have fine dining, you want, of course, to shop, you want a place to hang out with your family and kids.

So, there’s a lot more kind of social facets to a shopping center now that is expected, I think, than it was 10 or 15 years ago. And the Galleria is such a unique property that you have this like huge glass ceiling, you have the feeling of being outdoors while being comfortably in the air conditioning, which I think is such a rare opportunity for a space that large and just architecturally beautiful to really show off. But I think that that’s also one of the things that we pulled in from that outdoor aesthetic, we wanted to bring that inside. And thinking about how we can extend that brand inside through nature and greenery and things like that was really a great way to approach it.

Cassie King:  Yeah, we really did take some stabs early on before the pandemic within the branding and you guys bringing in that kind of topographical feel. So really you were putting kind of a grounding feeling on the wall. And I love the push pull the makers made of the barricades and really making it an experience rather than just a barricade with a 50 foot woman on it modeling something. Like we really changed that perception, I think. And while there aren’t shops behind some of those barricades, I don’t think that people are noticing that part. I think they’re noticing the change.

And it added a layer of hope I think during the pandemic. We also told that story on one of the barricades, really kind of trying to connect with the customer more, specifically through the masked times. That’s what I’m going to refer to it now as, the masked times.

Kevin Thomas:  I’m going to borrow that.

Cassie King:  But would you speak a little bit to how photography within you guys helping with marketing and how that arm of your company came to be?

Kevin Thomas:  Yeah, so interesting evolution because we’ve always loved the power of photography, obviously. And it’s one of those things where we have so many contacts, so many ways to kind of tell a story visually. And we had a photographer that was able to come in and build up the studio and create photoshoots for us. And we had a lot more control over how we were telling that story. With that in-house, that gave you a lot more flexibility to kind of solve things quickly and be a lot more nimble with your storytelling.

So, I feel like that was kind of where it started from. And it’s just taken off into its own thing. And in a lot of our projects we will do photography as a sole deliverable. And it also supplements every project that we work on. It’s an integral part to everything that we do. I think we’ll bring it in, in some way, in every project.

Cassie King:  I think that’s great. I think that was a natural progression for sure. And kind of bringing this back to a commercial real estate understanding for the listeners that come to talk about or listen about commercial real estate, so you guys working at the Galleria and working in so many different facets of it really helps the customer feel everything you said before, Kevin, about the experience of a shopping center. Bringing the outdoor in, a lot of people like outdoor malls more. The Galleria is gorgeous in skyline. Texas in the summer is always nicer inside. So, there’s that. But also just the multiple levels that you guys have helped us with.

So, it’s not only branding. It’s realizing the brand. It’s telling the story. It’s finding our voice. It’s finding out who our key customer is. All of that. And just a lot of people don’t know everything that goes into the story and the progression of where we are. So, all of that happened. And then not only your photography has now helped our branding and our marketing team really tell the story of who the Galleria is. We had these huge billboards during the pandemic tell the story of all of the we’re still here, it’s okay.

Kevin Thomas:  Yeah. And I think a lot of those we were like kind of opening a dialogue, which everybody I think wanted and needed at that time. So, that was kind of an interesting opportunity to have billboards out there at that point in time in the world where everybody’s kind of isolated and trying to figure out what the next step will look like. And we were wanting to come at it from a positive perspective that everybody’s here, we’re moving forward, the progression is positive at the end of the day. I think that was an interesting kind of thing that the Galleria and Trademark allowed us to kind of step out of the comfort zone of what a typical billboard would be at that time.

Cassie King:  For sure, I think all of us were stepping out of so many comfort zones that that almost brought comfort, because I can imagine being alone in my car and driving, and then seeing that and being like, oh, my God, okay. So we’ve gone through that. We all made it. We made it through together. And then now we have this light renovation that we’re doing right now. Would you guys speak to a little bit of what’s happening currently with the work you’re doing for us at the Galleria in Dallas?

Lauren Cadieux:  Yeah, totally. A lot of what we’re really working through with you guys right now is bringing in a new layering of softness and textures, materials, bringing in I would just call it a beautiful refresh of all of the touch points between shopping experiences so that when customers come through, they continue to have that same perception and understanding of the brand. There’s that connection to the outdoors even though you’re inside, there is an appreciation for beautiful true materials being expressed that you can enjoy.

And so we’ve had a lot of fun kind of balancing a lot of different needs, the functional, physical, you have a lot of people coming through a mall, with the beauty and the kind of restful experience that you want to have at a mall where you’re enjoying getting to be with family, with friends, looking at beautiful brands and buying things, shopping for events. It’s a really great partnership. And I think we’re so excited to see some of the custom pieces that also we’ve been developing with your team.

Cassie King:  I think that going past, not just furniture, so it’s a feeling like you want people to see the furniture, but you want people to just- it belongs, it looks like it belongs, it’s a vibe, it’s the trees and the furniture, all kind of- you want to go have a rest for a little while. And it’s a comfortable place, I mean, especially with the skylight. I think that we have all new carpet throughout the mall, the shopping center, pardon me. So, it feels good. It’s fresh. It smells good. So, giving the customer that immediate feel when they come in. And the touch points that you mentioned are mainly at the entrances, the ground floor and at the Westin corridor. So it’s a right when you walk in feeling. So, the anticipation of that getting installed is very exciting, which will happen this fall for anybody who’s listening.

Kevin Thomas:  Yeah, we’re excited about it. I think just having those little pockets of kind of comfortable places and interesting furniture and, like Lauren said, just bringing in natural elements and actual greenery, just helping to bring some life into the space for people to want to spend time and just enjoy being there.

Cassie King:  So we’ve just covered the next question, but I will just say, just to hit on it, how does all of this influence the customer perception of the brand?

Lauren Cadieux:  We did just touch on it, but to rehash it, it’s when people walk in, they are going to see what the Galleria stands for and what they care about which is making people feel welcomed to have kind of a true luxurious feel with furniture and lighting and an experience that is true on all levels. There is a genuine level of care here for everyone who comes through.

Cassie King:  I think that’s great. And as we continue to layer those to the second and the third floor, I think that’s really going to resonate through the whole center. So, one factor that comes to mind is how these spaces will be future proofed. What are some of the considerations that you’re thinking about when you look five or ten years from now and how that resonates keeping their brand relevant?

Lauren Cadieux:  I mean, Kevin, jump in if you want to. But I think that as a studio, we are very considerate of our work having range but also having a timelessness to it throughout. And so just like with any project, when we were approaching the Galleria, we were really looking at how this furniture and the lighting, the textures all interplay together, complementing the existing architecture, but also the branding positioning to make sure that in five years, if we walk through, that this still feels relevant and true and that there’s a classic-ness even if there are some unique profiles or some interesting planters, for example, that get integrated in. We never want to put in something that we feel is going to look dated or on trend. So, I think we’re always trying to balance that.

Cassie King:  Well and here, I think with the balance of nature brought in too, that never goes out of style.

Kevin Thomas:  So true. Even more important now.

Cassie King:  Yes. Okay, so we talked about this a little bit before in the range of your work. But for the listener, how do you approach the design process for different sectors? So we’re talking about retail, but what about residential, hospitality? How does that vary?

Kevin Thomas:  Personally, my point of view, I feel like all of those different sectors, I feel like we don’t necessarily approach all those in a different way fundamentally. I feel like at the start of a project, we kind of define that brand or that voice or that personality of whatever it is that we’re working on. And then from there, we always reference back to that or speak back to that document and that research that we do at the very beginning and make sure that that personality has kind of a life to itself and can evolve and change in whatever kind of sector you’re speaking in. So, I think telling that story in any sector is kind of the way that we approach it.

Cassie King:  So just, I’m personally interested in this from an interior design perspective when it’s residential, how often do you go into someone’s home and see a vision of what you know that it should be and how often do you change their mind if necessary?

Lauren Cadieux:  I mean, I think every time a designer walks into a space, they can see what could be. But we all come to it with different perspectives and different desires. And the neat thing is that when you’re working with a client, you’re kind of learning about them and seeing things through their eyes and then taking that and crafting into existence an expression of what they value. So I guess maybe to answer your question, every time that kind of happens in some way. And sometimes we get surprised because what we think it should have been or should be, we collaborate, and then it turns into something else.

And we fall in love with that. And we learn through that. And the joy is in having partnerships where we get freedom and the opportunity to be expressive of what we value and care about with people who also want that for themselves, too. So it’s a balancing act. But I guess to answer your question, I really do think it happens almost every single time because we always are coming at it and seeing things first as just us and then together.

Cassie King:  I love that. I love the value, folding in their values and learning who they are and realizing that that’s their home. They have to live with it after you’re gone.

Kevin Thomas:  Yeah, I think you always just like see something and you get excited and already start solving how you want to do things. But I think that’s so true, Lauren. That’s the fun part of like getting to know them and being able to help kind of figure out, like navigate that personality of their house for them and kind of help them through that.

Cassie King:  If it was only easier for us to do it for ourselves, but it is much more difficult. Oh, goodness. Well, that’s right. What is it – the cobblers children have holes in their shoes? How it works. So speaking of that, let’s talk about inspiration. Where do you find yourself pulling inspiration from? And have any of those ideas transpired into a project? Is it travel? Is it movies? Is it music? Is it all of the above?

Kevin Thomas:  Yeah, all of the above. Everything, definitely everything.

Lauren Cadieux:  I mean, we’re so nerdy. We constantly are sending each other snapshots from movies we’re watching or documentaries. And the other day, I took a picture from an old Sex in the City episode and sent it to somebody because there was like a little mirror that I was like, I’m obsessed. Just random, random things. And I don’t know, Kevin, if there’s something in particular that you’ve been pulling from, but I think we’ve been looking at a lot of history too, I think a lot of historical renovations, getting to kind of crawl through and really marinate in books about particular buildings or treasure troves of historical photos is one thing that’s really cool.

The amount of pattern work that we pull from or millwork that we pull from those is pretty cool and impressive. And then just walking through buildings today. I think we’re always taking pictures. I know I was just in Ohio, and I was taking a bunch of pictures in Columbus. I felt like there was so much to see.

Cassie King:  And I don’t think that we can turn it off. It’s one of those things that people that aren’t creatives don’t understand – why do you have so many folders saved on Instagram? And why do you take so many pictures of everything? Well, it’s because I might need it later. And I’ve got to send it to someone, like you said, Lauren. So, I don’t think you’re a nerd. I totally understand that.

Speaking personally, from working on projects like that, and there has to be a stopping point, which I feel it is really hard to because when you’re finding taxidermy squirrels in the middle of nowhere in a secondhand shop on the side of the road, things like that, then you look and your like I could spend hours in here. And you have to have a stopping point. And then you’ve moved on to another project. And you find something perfect for the project that’s finished. And I don’t know if that happens to you guys. But you’re like, oh, my goodness, this would have been great for this.  

Lauren Cadieux:  Yeah, it happens a lot.

Cassie King:  It’s just one of those things. If you find another armadillo, let me know. So looking towards the future, what trends or shifts do you anticipate in design, branding, or interior design?

Lauren Cadieux:  Well, I mean, I can say I do think that there’s going to be a continued push towards design that promotes health and integrates connection to the outdoors. And there’s going to have to be more and more of that as we continue to live with each other and really experience all the changes that happened from the masked times. I think it’s interesting to see how much people really have reevaluated what they value in a space. And so, I think that there’s just going to continue to be more of a desire to have workspaces and homes that are flexible and healthy.

Kevin Thomas:  Yeah, that’s beautiful.

Cassie King:  We add that in usually, and the crystal ball is hard to find for shifts in design. But I can say that from working with you guys, that a classic, an elevated elegance brought in with some flair isn’t going anywhere. So, I don’t know about a trend or a shift with that. But I think that that’s here to stay. What type of projects do you hope someone takes on more of in the future?

Lauren Cadieux:  For me, personally, I just would love to see us take on more and more experiential projects. I think Kevin’s example of working on the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition, things like that, where we get to really reconnect with fashion but also work with brands on bringing people together. And I think actually, some of the work that, Kevin, you’ve gotten to do on the Galleria is like that. And I think we would just love to have more and more of that.

Kevin Thomas:  Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think the studio is definitely reaching cross disciplinary. And I think that is what drives us I feel like. We’re always seeking out new ways to be creative and to express as a studio outside of what we’re currently doing. So yeah, I think more exhibition, more hospitality. I think residential is also really interesting. I think all those, all the facets really are what allow us to kind of see these different problems and figure out how to solve them best and how to make something meaningful. And I think something that at the end of the day even moves you, I think, is very important. So having that emotional reaction is kind of a driver of everything that we do at the studio.

Cassie King:  I love it. I think that that’s something that we share in common, especially in Trademark and the placemaking work we do that I get to work on. And I’ve said it before, but standing back like a fly on the wall and watching how people are utilizing a space or listening to them talk about it is really the reason why I love doing what we do. And it’s creating these spaces for other people, not for ourselves. It’s special to watch people talk about it and use it and you learn from that. And you learn how to either do better next time or repeat it. So, it’s fun.

And I wanted to thank you guys so much for joining us today. I always love talking to you guys. But this is so different to learn a little bit more. So, it’s great.

Kevin Thomas:  It was fun talking.

Lauren Cadieux:  Yeah, it’s great to get to work with you and speak with you.

Cassie King:  Thank you for listening to today’s episode of Leaning In. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss next month’s episode. To learn more about Trademark Property Company, visit trademarkproperty.com.

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