Best in Design
The HD Awards, presented by Hospitality Design magazine, celebrates the best of the best in projects and products, and honors the creative teams behind them. The jury-selected winners will be announced in a September 21st ceremony in New York, and all winners and finalists will be showcased in the magazine’s September issue.
The 26 Co
Aaron Anderson cofounded the 26 Co in 2020. Anderson is responsible for managing day-to-day operations, company strategy, business development, managing projects from time to time (which he loves), and ensuring company vision is on target. Since the 26 Co was established, the company is on track to manage over $90 million in capital projects MR. Anderson brings a well-versed background in construction, specializing in hospitality. Prior to founding the 26 Co., Anderson worked for public traded companies managing over $2.2 billion in assets. Anderson is skilled in client communication, contractor management, and has vast experience in full and select service hotel properties.
John Cooper’s career in hospitality spans more than 27 years in all phases of the hotel development and renovation process. Prior to his role as Chief Development Officer for AMS Hospitality, Cooper served as Senior Vice President of Design and Development at Rockbridge; Principal and Executive Vice President of Noble Development Group, LLC; and Vice President of Design and Construction of Stormont Trice Corporation (a predecessor to AMS Hospitality). Throughout his hotel career, Cooper has gained substantial experience in all aspects of the development, renovation, operation, programming, design, and ownership of hotels, conference centers, and resorts.
Verena Haller joined Standard International from Equinox Hotels, where she worked as SVP, dedicated to creating and defining the design and brand vision, as well as the guest experience for their new hotel concept. She originally started her career in Europe, working in multiple architectural offices, honing her skills before joining Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s interior design department. For over a decade, Haller has worked on design for leading brands such as the W, Four Seasons, and James hotels. Haller worked with Ian Schrager as EVP of architecture and design, working on and opening a variety of EDITION Hotels.
Currently thriving as the chief design officer for Standard International, she is helping to expand the Standard brand worldwide, leading all design and development efforts, while also curating and managing the collective of design talent in partnership with the brand. Haller directed the design of the Standard, London, the brand’s first international property, followed by the Standard, Maldives, and is actively involved in furthering the development of a rapid and dynamic global pipeline.
Nigel Hatcher brings more than 35 years of hospitality design experience to his position as vice president of design and project management for Marriott International’s luxury and lifestyle brands. His passionate, strategic leadership is focused on presenting revolutionary innovative ideas in line with the needs and expectations of today’s guests. Hatcher is currently overseeing over 100 new build/conversions and over 120 renovation projects in the luxury and lifestyle segments.
Prior to joining Marriott, Hatcher worked internationally with several leading UK design firms—Gregory Aberhard, Robinson Conn Partnership, and RPW Design—gaining a unique understanding and expertise for a variety of brands throughout the world. In addition, he was the design manager at the prestigious Harrods department store for the interior design department overseeing numerous luxury private residences, palaces, and hotel projects.
Alex Holloway + Na Li,
A London native, Alex Holloway is the founding partner and creative director of Holloway Li. Holloway studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture, before completing his studies at the Royal College of Art, graduating with distinction. At Holloway Li, he is responsible for the overall creative output and design direction of the company, and manages the studio’s London projects. He is also the driving force behind Holloway Li’s sustainability agenda and has been an invited guest speaker at a number of conference panels on this topic.
Originally from Nanjing in China, Na Li moved to the UK in 2002, and studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture. Li is a qualified architect and managing director of Holloway Li. She is responsible for business development, and manages the company’s international projects and clients. More recently, she has been focusing on developing the business’s offering for bespoke services for HNWI and investment vehicles.
Kimberly Jackson is a registered architect and a senior associate at AvroKO, serving as the managing director for AvroKO’s New York City interiors studio. She is a member of the AIA NY Diversity + Inclusion committee and the Hospitality Diversity Action Council, and she is an organizer for the Design as Protest Collective.
Jackson has designed and managed projects at all scales, and has led teams in the design, detailing, and documentation of a variety of program types including hospitality, retail, and corporate interiors. She also assisted her clients in developing and maintaining architectural and documentation standards for several brands. She has developed furniture, textiles, fixtures, and lighting product lines for local, national, and international brands.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Emily Keip is Vice President for Americas Design Services for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, where she holds responsibility for oversight of the Americas regional team handling new build and renovation projects for the company’s full-service brands. Emily joined Hyatt in 2007 as a Design Manager in the North American region, and transitioned into her current role in 2019, after serving as the Studio Head for Americas Design Services for the previous four years.
Prior to her role at Hyatt, Emily practiced architecture at various design firms focusing on high-end residential and hospitality projects. Emily is a registered architect and LEED-Accredited professional. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University.
As Senior Vice President – the Americas and Business Innovation at Design Hotels, Markus Schreyer is responsible for developing the collection’s hotel portfolio, supporting business for all member hotels, and working with the media and other potential partners, as well as expanding and building brand awareness and reach in North and South America. He leads global innovation efforts for the organization and introduces new unique services and experiences for travel and hospitality. Schreyer has more than 15 years of experience in global hospitality, where he held several senior roles in brand, digital, sales, loyalty, and partnership marketing. He holds a Master of Business Administration and a PhD in Innovation Management, and is a regular contributor to industry and innovation publications.
RLJ Lodging Trust
Meridith Zimmerman is the vice president of design and construction at RLJ Lodging Trust—a 101-Asset Public REIT located in Bethesda, Maryland—with the responsibility of overseeing annual capital project budgets, due diligence processes, renovation and conversion project execution, and contract compliance. Prior to joining RLJ 15 years ago, Zimmerman was in the architecture and construction division of Marriott International, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol/Library of Congress in their interior development department, and at Charles E. Smith Realty in their facilities design management division. Meridith holds a B.A. in Interior Design from USC and a master’s in architecture from Catholic University in Washington, DC.
Malene Barnett is an artist, activist, and authority on the cultural traditions and practices of art in the African diaspora and how it translates into her vision of the modern black experience.
As the founder of the Black Artists + Designers Guild, a global platform and curated collective of independent black artists, makers, and designers, Barnett seeks out new ways to define the black narrative and experience for a new generation, while bringing awareness to inequality. She’s also on the board for CERF+, an organization that provides emergency loans to artisans and craftspeople during natural disasters.
A founding principal at New York City design and architecture firm Workshop/APD, Matt Berman considers the built environment a player and protagonist in its inhabitants’ lives, with the ability to create a mood and catalyze more meaningful interactions and experiences. Since the firm’s inception in 1999, Berman has encouraged clients to demand more of their spaces—creating modern hotels, restaurants, high-end homes, luxury residential developments and institutional projects that engage the senses and invite inquiry at every scale. Today, he leads Workshop/APD’s growing hospitality practice, setting the scene for an ever-changing cast of characters with spaces that are interactive, engaging, and intrinsically tied to their unique locations.
A formative stint at ANY Magazine made Matt acutely aware of the implications of design at every scale, propelling him from architectural journalism to a career in architecture and design. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lehigh University and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University, and has served as a visiting professor at Pratt Institute.
Gina Deary + Sara Talleux,
Simeone Deary Design Group
With a vision to create an interior design firm that prioritizes artistry and develops industry talent, Gina Deary established Simeone Deary Design Group with Lisa Simeone in 2002. Deary, whose lifestyle design career spans more than 20 years, has developed an international reputation for curating culturally tuned designs that deliver forward-thinking prismatic drama. Clients commission Deary to attract desired users to their developments, and she leads with foundational knowledge of the local business environment and deep respect for each project city’s history and architecture. Large-scale art installations that celebrate regional industry and landscape are a hallmark of Deary’s work.
Principal at Simeone Deary Design Group, Sara Talleux connects with clients and communities to revitalize storied spaces. Guided by a passion for the perspectives and objectives of others, she harvests details of the past and guides hospitality brands and properties into the future. For Talleux, design is a visual and tactile conversation, one that creates a sense of place that subtly engages people. She extracts elements from her surroundings, with the intent of giving people choices in their lifestyle. A trusted creative with more than 20 years of experience, Talleux spearheads the development of conceptual designs and project work, as well as the management of client relationships.