Hospitality design industry veteran Michael Suomi has launched Suomi Design Works, a Manhattan-based hotel design studio.
Driven by a desire to respond to what he sees as the industry’s ever-expanding need for a high-level of creativity combined with deep expertise, Suomi Design Works will exclusively design hotels.
“Today’s hotel wouldn’t be recognizable to a time traveler from the ’90s,” said Suomi. “Now we design hotels for a well-defined guest seeking uniquely crafted activities in a space that reflects local culture and tastes. Hotel owners have hundreds of brands to choose from and can equally thrive without a brand at all. With a wealth of options, hotel guests’ personal brand can be defined by where they stay when traveling for work or pleasure. We are in an era that celebrates variety and a high level of creativity over sameness.”
With more than 30 years of architectural and interior design experience, Suomi built his career at prominent hospitality-focused firms including Chicago-based Jordan Mozer and Associates and New York-based Rockwell Group. For the past 15 years, he has been principal/VP of New York-based Stonehill Taylor, where he pioneered and helmed the interior design division. There, Suomi developed and led a hospitality-focused team to create hotel experiences in accordance to his long-held design philosophy: to root designs in a strong conceptual narrative. Each project was the result of an intense research process into a project’s location, history, influences and target clientele, resulting in a completely bespoke hotel, crafted through an exceptionally personalized process.
At Stonehill, Suomi and his team designed award-winning interiors and brands for hotels including the Eliza Jane, New Orleans; the Limelight Hotel, Aspen, CO; and the recently opened mid-century marvel—the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport.
Suomi Design Works’ clientele and future projects may vary in size, scope and location, but Suomi says they will all have one thing in common: “Our clients are owners, developers and brands with vision.”
Noting that the hotel industry has historically moved slowly to adapt and utilize new technologies or processes such as blockchain and manufacturing on demand, Suomi has developed a design process to help his clients benefit from out-of-industry innovations. Suomi is always on the look out for “design catalysts”—experts from disciplines ranging from fashion and industrial design to science and technology—to help energize his team’s creative process with new ways of seeing cutting-edge science and technical know-how.