For more than a decade, Hospitality Design magazine has annually honored a handful of designers, architects, brand executives, and owners as our Wave of the Future—those who are young enough to be considered visionary, but tested enough to be accomplished. Here are the 2020 honorees.
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.
Kristen Cochran began her career in Houston, Texas, where she worked with several high-end residential design firms. She later moved to New York to follow her passion and new opportunities. New York residential interior design work led to designing boutique hotels, then a position with Starwood Hotels in early 2012.
In late 2013, Cochran joined Meyer Davis as their Senior Designer, where she worked on the 1 Hotel South Beach, Miami, Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, and Four Seasons Houston. Five years later, Cochran accepted an opportunity with Ian Schrager as a Vice President of Architecture and Design. At Ian Schrager Company, she has been involved with two monumental openings of EDITION hotels in New York (2018) and West Hollywood (2019), while also leading the creative direction of future projects.
Kristen has degrees in Fine Arts, Interior Design and Architecture from the University of Houston. She currently lives in Greenwich Village with her husband Luke and their Siberian Husky.
In 2011, Li Xiang founded X+Living Architectural Design in Shanghai, and been building her design team working at the cutting edge of art, fashion, and business ever since. She has gained cross-field achievements by exploring interior design as an architect, creating many design works with commercial and aesthetic values in the culture, retail, hotel, and other industries. Her high-profile design work has become the benchmark in aesthetic design and strategic design, and won international recognition with a series of top international awards. Xiang is the first Chinese designer to be invited as a jury member of the Frame Awards, the first and only global interior-design awards.
Rachael Harvey is a cofounder of the Environments team for Airbnb. She is interested in how architecture—both big and small—impacts our experience in space. Over the last six-plus years, the team has designed offices around the world, as well as major events. Recent projects include defining thoughtful design for Airbnb Plus and collaborating with developers to create apartment communities designed for home-sharing.
Harvey earned a Bachelors of Architecture, with honors from California College of the Arts. Her work has been recognized by Architizer, FX, and received Cannes Lion Silver for Branded Environment. She won the “Young Gun” prize in 2016 from the Art Directors Club of New York.
Combining her background in both interior design and architecture, Sarah Klymson is the Global Vice President of Product and Brand Development for Hyatt Hotels Corporation. In this role, Klymson focuses on the development of both branded design experiences, and the creation of new product for the full range of Hyatt’s portfolio. She is also responsible for leading Hyatt’s integration into adjacent spaces in the health and wellness industry with the acquisition of both Miraval and Exhale. During her time at Hyatt, Sarah has also overseen the Design Services Studio in the American region, and been responsible for implementing the brand tenants on all new hotel construction, conversion, and renovation projects.
Throughout her career Klymson has specialized in developing creative solutions and strategies for retail, hospitality, and luxury brands. Her range in experience includes starting her career at a boutique design firm with a focused on high-end residential to working at firms, such as Gensler Chicago, where she was responsible for creating creative strategies for large brands to update their approach to corporate interiors. Klymson took this understanding of brand integration into her role working for McDonald’s as the lead architect of the Global Concept & Design team.
Klymson holds both a Bachelor’s degree in interior design and a Master’s in Architecture—allowing her a unique perspective into the design industry. She is also a registered architect and a LEED-Accredited professional.
Rami Zeidan founded Life House in 2017 to create a curated travel experience designed to cultivate more meaningful experiences and make those experiences more easily accessible. After a seasoned career in the luxury and boutique hotel space and through a lifetime of connected personal experiences growing up with his immigrant parents in Minnesota, Zeidan saw an opportunity to create more than a beautiful boutique hotel, but a collection of locally rooted houses that bring people together to develop a better sense of their belonging to the universe and everyone else’s.
Jenny Bukovec joined Life House in 2018 to build the brand’s in-house design and creative agency in order to allow the brand to grow, while staying true to its authenticity and mission. Her previous experience at leading hospitality firms—including Rockwell Group, AvroKO, and Wilson Associates—and a few years in the experiential marketing realm have been met with the same vision to bring deeper meaning to people’s lives through hospitality and exposure through travel.
Julien Albertini has been pivotal in broadening Asthetíque’s multidisciplinary practice. With over 10 years of design and construction experience, Albertini has complied a strong list of clients from Calvin Klein and DKNY to 1 Hotels and Silverstein Properties. This spectrum of his experience includes base building design, building renovations, residential design, as well as hospitality and retail developments. Albertini believes in and promotes a holistic design approach to shape a strong user experience. His broad design and construction background, intuitive understanding of consumer tastes and ability to incorporate environmental, architectural, and graphic design solutions helps Asthetíque create projects that are as cohesive as they are comprehensive.
Before moving to New York, Alina Pimkina reached the pinnacle of the design industry in Russia, where she founded a full-service hospitality design company after serving as the Creative Director for the leading restaurant developer in Russia. Throughout her career, which also includes time as an Art Director at BBDO and MTV, Pimkina has worked closely with project owners, investors, and partners, including Mercedes, Nike, MasterCard, and IKEA. She believes interior design should be a process that brings joy to everyone, and her projects share in our rigor to challenge the norm and to deliver something truly visionary.
Rashana Zaklit leads the San Francisco Hospitality Studio for global design firm Gensler. After working for the practice in Los Angeles, she moved to San Francisco and saw an opportunity to forge a new path for Gensler and birth a specialty-focused team delivering boutique, cutting-edge interior design for hospitality. With a core belief in collaboration and imagination, she has successfully created a team of eclectic and fresh hospitality designers and strategists. Zaklit has raised the profile of hospitality at Gensler—working with the likes of Virgin Hotels, Marriott, Hyatt, St. Regis Hotels, Four Seasons, among others.
Prior to joining Gensler in 2011, Zaklit spent her early career at WATG (now Wimberly Interiors), where she focused on 4- and 5-star international large-scale resort work, touching locations such as Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Cebu, Panama, and Guangzhou. With over 16 years experience, Zaklit has incredibly strong relationships with developers, hotel owners, and community organizations.
Zaklit has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior architecture from California State University, Long Beach, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for NEWH’s San Francisco Chapter.