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 2022 jury-selected winners will be announced in June during a ceremony in New York, and all winners and finalists will be showcased in the magazine’s May/June issue.
The 2022 Judges
Ian Schrager Company
Asiya Chowdhury is the vice president of architecture and design for the Ian Schrager Company (ISC). She directs the design of EDITION hotels and provides creative lead for the design consultant teams: architects, interior, FF&E, lighting, landscape, and signage designers.
Chowdhury’s career spanning over more than 20 years has prepared her to lead the multidisciplinary design team and liaise with EDITION operations. Some of her current projects include EDITION hotels in Tokyo, Milan, Shanghai, and Sanya. Prior to joining ISC, Chowdhury was a vice president of design at Arquitectonica and a lead hospitality designer at Rockwell Group in New York.
She holds a master of architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a bachelor of architecture from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). She strives to create a bridge between cultures, and believes that a simple, sophisticated, and timeless approach is key to unique guest experience in hospitality design.
Chowdhury is a global traveler who is passionate about art, culture and literature. She lives in New York with her family and her Tibetan Lhasa Apso, Dalai Lama.
Davidson Hospitality Group
A 33-year company veteran, Davidson Hospitality Group president Thom Geshay has held many positions within the hospitality management group since 1987. His career began as a bellman, and he went on to hold jobs in nearly every segment of the industry—from operations and sales and marketing to real estate development.
Scott K. Hammons, vice president of design and construction for DiamondRock Hospitality, brings a wealth of tactical project execution and enterprise level program management to the table. DiamondRock’s D&C program oversees all creative repositionings, renovations, building infrastructure investments, and capital planning in a portfolio of 33 hotels (a balanced asset mixture of luxury, full service, branded, independent, urban lifestyle, and resort locations).
Since putting DiamondRock’s first internal D&C program together in 2016, the team has performed over 30 significant renovations in three quarters of the portfolio, including seven complete rebranding projects and several more in progress.
Prior to joining DRH, Hammons served in leadership roles with RLJ, HHM, and Hilton Worldwide. Nearly three decades ago, Hammons discovered his love for experiential hospitality at Mohonk Mountain House. Eventually a career in operations led to project management while working with Kimpton Hotels. He describes his role opening their first five DC area hotels as a tipping point in his career.
He also speaks fondly of experiences working on landmark projects in New York City and Washington, DC, such as the Waldorf Astoria New York, New York Hilton Midtown, Washington Hilton, and the famed Gramercy Park Hotel.
With over 25 years of expertise in hospitality design, Jefferson sits at the center of execution for brand, development, and operational points of view, leading Marriott’s global design studio for premium classic brands: Sheraton, Delta, Gaylord, and Marriott hotels. She is a champion for design and as a strategic business leader, she has been entrusted with leading numerous complex, high-value projects, transformational innovation initiatives, and key owner and franchisee relationships. An interior designer by trade, Dionne joined Marriott International in 1998 and has held a wide variety of roles across the company’s full and select service segments, prioritizing the joy of design with her work and life.
MGM Resorts International
Ari Kastrati is chief hospitality officer (CHO) for MGM Resorts International, a global hospitality and entertainment company. As CHO, Kastrati is responsible for driving non-gaming strategic operations, creating transformative guest-centric strategies, and curating innovative experiences that deliver long-term value for the company. He leads a diverse team representing divisions that include: resort/hotel, F+B, nightlife, retail, and guest experience. The company’s art and culture division and internal real estate efforts focused on leasing and development also fall under Kastrati’s purview.
Lisa McClung is an interior designer based in InterContinental Hotels Group’s New York City corporate office as part of the CIT Design & Construction team since 2012. She has been primarily involved in the renovation of the InterContinental New York Barclay, the Hotel Indigo Lower East Side, and the InterContinental Boston.
As senior interior designer, McClung’s roles range from crafting the project vision melding the interests of the brand, developer, and owner; the ongoing coordination of projects design direction from concept to completion; FF&E/OS&E development/execution; as well as design management. Lisa also supports the NYC development team on test fits and design studies of potential development sites and presentation materials.
Prior to joining IHG, McClung ran her own New York-based hospitality design services company, INT llc. Her earlier career was based in San Francisco, where she worked as a hospitality designer at BraytonHughes Design Studios and De Lisle, Philpotts & Staub Interiors. Her work includes a diverse range of hospitality projects from mixed-use large scale sites abroad to highly detailed boutique hotels, restaurants, and spas.
Larry Traxler is celebrating his 12th year as global head of design at Hilton—overseeing architecture, design, construction, and renovation for all 18 of Hilton’s luxury, lifestyle, full, and focused-service hotel brands. In addition, the 2021 Platinum Circle honoree also leads the design efforts behind each new brand launch—such as the recently announced LXR, Signia Hilton, and Motto by Hilton—as well as refresh initiatives for these brands. Traxler and his talented global design team work closely with developers, owners, operators, architects, and designers to ensure that the brand ethos and unique style of each Hilton-branded property is successfully realized within the global portfolio. His professional career began in the architectural design studio of Jordan Mozer & Associates and he holds a six-year professional bachelor of architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Traxler has amassed more than 30 years of international hospitality design experience at world-renowned design studios HBA and Wilson Associates, as well as leading the design functions for Hyatt Hotels and Ian Schrager prior to joining Hilton.
Determined by Design
As the design voice of impact and change, Kia Weatherspoon, NCIDQ, ASID, has spent 15 years defying every design stereotype. The most damaging: Interior design is a luxury reserved for a few. Her voice, advocacy for Design Equity™, and design practice have shifted the narrative, making interior design a standard for all. Weatherspoon is challenging the lack of these standards in economically challenged communities. Her presence and leadership have created ripples, prompting housing developers, agencies, and industry partners to not just take notice of her work–but to do better.
For over a decade Kia has led her firm, Determined by Design, to create equitable design outcomes for over 3,500 families, 25 communities, and designed over 165,000 square feet of interiors for affordable and low-income housing. Communities where the average median income was below $35,000/year per family. Communities that mirrored her, with 95 percent of residents being black and/or of color. Weatherspoon believes interior design should be in service to all people so every person and community is uplifted by spaces they inhabit. No matter the project type, her focus is elevating communities—requiring advocacy and empathy!
She serves on boards and councils at Moore College of Art & Design; Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ); Madame Architect; Van Alen Institute; and the Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA). She is the newly appointed Chief Development Officer for the Black Interior Designers Network (BIDN), and an Adjunct Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Lissoni & Partners
Stefano Giussani joined Lissoni Associati in Milan in 2004, becoming an integral part of the design team for projects both in Italy and abroad. In 2013, he was made partner, leading the firm’s interior design department for international projects, including Asia and the Middle East.
When Lissoni New York was founded in 2015 to serve as an extension of the Milan‐based interdisciplinary studio and to bring the interior design expertise of Piero Lissoni and his practice to the Americas, Giussani was appointed CEO and has propelled the establishment and rapid expansion of the firm. He defines the business development strategies, is responsible for client acquisition, develops and oversees projects for the American market, as well as hiring and managing the firm’s international design team based in New York. As the key figure for Lissoni in the Americas, Giussani also delivers lectures and talks, bringing the Lissoni design philosophy as applied to hospitality, commercial, and residential projects to an ever-wider audience. As CEO of Lissoni New York, he oversees projects spanning the American continent from Canada and the United States to Brazil.
Host Hotels & Resorts
Helen Jorgensen is vice president of design and procurement for Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., the largest lodging real estate investment trust and one of the largest owners of luxury and upper-upscale hotels. Jorgensen is LEED-accredited and is responsible for global strategic procurement, sourcing, and design management for the portfolio.
She holds a bachelor of science in business management and in mass communications from Towson University in Maryland, and received a certificate of graduate studies in administration and management from Harvard University. She is an advisory board member for Hospitality Design as well as a Platinum Circle honoree.