Interview with Brooke Copani, Senior Associate of HBA International, US

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Brooke Copani

As Senior Associate of HBA International, Brooke’s diverse background allows her to build both public and private spaces that exemplifies personalised service and dynamic designs.

Brooke Copani | HBA International | MUSE Awards
Brooke Copani | HBA International | MUSE Awards

Interview with the 2019 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Brooke Copani

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

I was born in California, but raised in Buffalo, New York. Since earning my degree - a Bachelor of Design in Interior Design and Business Administration/Marketing from the University of Florida. in 2004, I’ve had the privilege of working with firms from San Francisco to NYC. As an NCIDQ certified professional, my diverse background and industry experience have helped me to build a distinctive project portfolio, specializing in interior architectural design for hospitality environments worldwide. My project history includes luxury resorts, boutique hotels, restaurants, themed nightclubs, corporate offices, and institutional public spaces.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

I’ve been drawn to creativity for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I dabbled in all forms of expression from painting and visual arts to music and writing. At the same time, I’ve also always been into math and sciences. I wasn’t really aware of interior design as a career option until college, when a roommate of mine was studying architecture. I was fascinated with the assignments she was working on, and how the exercises required a balance of both left- and right-brain thinking. I became particularly interested in the intersection between architecture and the human experience. To me this is the job of interior design – to synthesize architectural expression with brand and/or client objectives and translate that into human scale, enhancing the connections between the space and the individuals within it.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

Within the global presence that is HBA, our San Francisco office is a boutique studio that takes pride in providing our clients with design excellence, personalized service, and dynamic designs. We see each project as an opportunity to develop unique and creative solutions through close collaborations with our clients and stakeholders. We like to think of our office as small but nimble, while still maintaining the global support of our worldwide offices. We feel this unique combination of resources offers limitless potential.

As a design lead, I’m responsible for project management, interior architectural design, selection and specification of architectural and FF&E materials, and custom design of furniture and lighting. As a Senior Associate, I’m also responsible for guidance of our diverse and talented team of around 50 designers. Together we’re tasked to consistently bring an innovative approach to design solutions while fostering positive relationships with our clients and collaborators.

4What does “design” mean to you?

Design is creative problem solving. It goes beyond the basic act of expression, and in response to criteria endeavors to solve a problem or achieve an objective by employing the tools of both art and science.

5To you, what makes a “good” design?

An early mentor of mine once told me that a space should make you feel “better looking” when you’re in it. It sounds silly, but it’s something I recall to this day.

I believe good design should be invisible. It should feel natural. It shouldn’t call too much attention to itself, but rather serve to set the stage for our experiences to unfold. To me, a successful interior is one where you may or may not remember that stone on the floor, or those accessories on the ledge, but you remember the way you felt when you were there.

6What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The biggest challenge with this project – though equally exciting at the same time – was sourcing regional materials and manufacturers. From the beginning, it was important to our client that we source from within the region. As a design team, we took several research trips to learn and develop relationships with new vendors throughout Mexico. We were able to discover new (to us) and wonderful products, along with some of the challenges and the strengths in manufacturing furniture and lighting in Mexico. Ultimately, we began to amass a library of vendors, which really aided our process on subsequent projects in the region. We’re constantly learning and working to cultivate an international network of vendors to collaborate with.

7What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

First, it’s certainly not boring! I love the fact that no two work days are alike - each day brings a new set of challenges and opportunity for growth. The longer I do this work the more I’m continually amazed at just how much there is to learn.

Second, I love the idea that we are collectively responsible for shaping the future; that at a fundamental level we get to take an idea, visualize it, dissect, develop and cultivate it together until it ultimately becomes a reality, one that we can share and experience together. It’s kind of magical.

Last but not least, it’s the people that comprise this industry that make it so extraordinary. From designers to clients, vendors and other collaborators, the people we work with, and their passion for and approach to innovation never ceases to inspire.

Winning Entries

Hilton Guadalajara Midtown | 2019

'Hilton Guadalajara Midtown' - Interior design | HBA International | MUSE Awards
Opening in November 2018, the new build Hilton Midtown Guadalajara boasts almost 4,000 generous square meters of public space amenities...
(read more at Muse Awards)

HBA International

HBA is a Global Business with a focus on Local Services. HBA’s international presence, depth of experience and detailed industry knowledge enables its designers to identify interior design trends at their source.