For nearly two decades, 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 2023 honorees.
Vedi Aslanyan studied at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising where she received her AA and BA degrees in Interior Design. She then studied at Construction Management at Arizona State University. She has 10-plus years combined experience working in hospitality and high-end residential design. Vedi started her career in hospitality at sbe, where she managed design for the sbe brand portfolio (hotels, nightclubs, and restaurants). Now working for Dakota Development (former subsidiary for sbe), she oversees design for the Accor/Ennismore lifestyle hotel brands in North & Central America. Vedi works closely with interior designers and owners to deliver an on brand product.
Heather Ciszczon joined NuovoRE as vice president of development and design in 2019, having worked with the team in her previous roles at Two Roads Hospitality and Hyatt. Her experience in architecture, interior design, construction, project management, and operations allows Heather—now chief development officer—to bring multiple points of view to the developer/owner role. With 20-plus years in the industry, she leads teams collaboratively from project acquisition through opening at NuovoRE’s properties, focusing on creating one-of-a-kind assets that provide long-term meaningful social and community impact at each location.
Heather’s hospitality career got its start at Troon Golf, where she was responsible for the design and development of private and public golf clubs and spas across the U.S. Having collaborated with Oz Architects while at Troon, Heather transitioned to lead their interior design division and project manage hotel projects including Mountain Shadows Resort, the renovation at Royal Palms, the historic Hermosa Inn, and the Kukui’ula Resort.
The recession of 2008 provided Heather the time to pursue a graduate degree in construction management with a focus on collaboration methodologies. She also had the opportunity to work for two leading construction companies in Phoenix. She returned to hospitality, managing interior design for several Park City resort residential projects, as well as Tommy Bahama retail and restaurant projects in Scottsdale and Waikiki. Following her passion for hotel projects, Heather took a position with Two Roads Hospitality Denver, which led to her current role at NuovoRE.
Heather received both her Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Studies and Master’s Degree in Construction Management from Arizona State University. She is a LEED accredited professional, holds an NCIDQ certificate, and has served on the boards of IIDA chapters in Arizona and Colorado.
Internationally recognized, Studio Paolo Ferrari is a practice at the cutting edge of international design. Today, the studio works with prestige and emerging luxury brands or through private commissions on hospitality, retail, and residential projects, delivering highly considered guest experiences, through attention to detail and full immersion, into worlds both luxurious and distinct.
A distinctive, vision-forward approach has defined Ferrari’s output as he continues to collaborate with industry-leading clients all over the world. With the ever-expanding presence of the digital, Studio Paolo Ferrari believes in pursuing work where experiential worlds evoke a quality of awe. Through a user-centric design approach, which emphasizes ritual and artistry, Studio Paolo Ferrari occupies the rare space where timelessness and courageous invention coexist.
The studio is currently involved in projects throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Throughout his career, Ferrari has worked with luxury heavyweights including Accor, Raffles, St. Regis, 1 Hotels, Four Seasons, and LVMH.
Known as the Hospitality Sharp Shooter, Ashli Johnson brings nearly 20 years of leadership, consulting, and academic experience with top hospitality brands to her current role. A fierce champion for equity and inclusion in the hospitality industry, she founded of Hospitality Leaders Today – HLT100 as a leadership development program for Black collegiate students in 2016; Hospitality Hued as an accelerator for Black hospitality professionals in 2019; and additionally has served on several industry boards and led committees for organizations such as the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD), and the Latino Hotel Association (LHA).
Ashli has worked for, partnered with, and consulted on projects with leading brands, including Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, the Walt Disney Company, and Audi of America to name a few; in addition to hundreds of independent hospitality-focused entrepreneurs.
In academia, Ashli has taught and served in leadership roles for recognized hospitality programs, including Virginia State University, Georgetown University, and University of Central Florida; and served as the assistant dean of the University of Houston’s Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management prior to leading educational programming for AAHOA.
In 2022, Ashli was appointed as Inaugural executive director of the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership at Howard University, where she continues the work of creating a more equitable and inclusive hospitality industry for Black professionals. In this first of its kind role, Ashli is tasked with building a pipeline of Black executive level talent and entrepreneurs to lead the hospitality industry.
Ashli is a proud hospitality graduate of the University of West Florida and holds a Master’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Florida International University.
As head of creative of Hyatt’s in-house creative atelier, Reverie Studio, Kat leads all digital, social, graphic, and interior design direction, as well as brand image, for Dream Hotels’ portfolio of brands. She brings Dream Hotels’ brands to life through strategic storytelling and placemaking with a holistic design lens, while amplifying Dream Hotels’ messaging at every turn in a visually inundated culture. As a leader, she believes in collaborating with and championing for her team.
With more than 20 years of design experience, Kat brings keen design direction and branding expertise to Dream Hotels brands, having worked on a diverse client range from branding and interior design projects in high-end residential, hospitality, higher education, to commercial projects for Jean-Georges Hospitality Group, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Harvard University, and Extell Development Corporation, as well as Dream Nashville during her time at Meyer Davis Studio.
Kat earned her M.Arch from Princeton University and B.A. from Columbia University. She has held teaching positions at UPenn’s School of Design and Columbia University’s GSAPP assisting Bjarke Ingels of globally renowned architecture firm, BIG.
Kerrie Murphy currently serves as vice president of design for SH Hotels & Resorts, responsible for overseeing the design and development of the 1 Hotels brand. She began her career in the industry at New York-based firm Stonehill Taylor, where she worked on designing hotel properties throughout the U.S. She pivoted to the brand side a few years later, joining Two Roads Hospitality as a design associate focusing on the Thompson, tommie, and Alila brands.
After the acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality in 2018, Kerrie became part of Hyatt Hotel’s Lifestyle Design Studio, where she managed brands in the Boundless Portfolio for the Americas region. Kerrie previously worked in high-end residential and for fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi before beginning her career in the hospitality industry. Kerrie holds a bachelor’s degree in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University.
Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP, senior associate at Adjaye Associates, has been on the team for a variety of mixed-use, commercial, cultural, and residential projects in the U.S., Saudi Arabia, India, and UAE. Pascale is the 315th living African American female architect in the U.S. Pascale has given lectures at institutions, such as the National Museum of African American History & Culture and the United Nations Visitor Centre. She has lectured and engaged students at universities and colleges all over the nation.
She is the founder and executive director of Beyond the Built Environment (BBE), positioned to uniquely address the inequitable disparities in architecture by providing a holistic platform aimed to support numerous stages of the architecture pipeline. BBE elevates the identities and contributions of women and BIPOC designers through exhibitions, curated lectures, and documentaries that testify to the provided value of their built work and its spatial impact.
She has been recognized for her contributions to the industry with several awards, including the prestigious 2021 AIA Whitney M. Young. Jr Award for her advocacy efforts and ascended to the AIA College of Fellows, the youngest African American to receive that honor in 165 years. In 2020, Pascale was voted President-Elect of the National Organization of Minority Architects, the fifth woman to hold this position of leadership in the organization’s 50-year legacy.
Pascale holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.
Australian born, raised in Greece and now based in London, Constantina’s work emphasizes the joy of discovery of the location, its history, and its culture. Having led the European arm of a major international hospitality design studio for 15 years, Constantina has worked on award-winning hotel projects around the globe and founded Studio LOST, a collective of designers and thinkers in early 2020.
From luxury hotel resorts to exclusive spas, Constantina’s talents have been integral to the success of destinations, such as the multi-award-winning Royal Senses Resort and Spa, a Curio Collection by Hilton that scooped four awards at the 2022 HD Awards as well as the first-ever Gold Key award for wellness.
Current upcoming works from Studio LOST include a new-build lifestyle hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland; a new-build eco hotel in KSA; a renovation of a luxury beach resort in Italy; new hospitality concepts in Greece and Cyprus, among others.
A constant traveller and sought after speaker at industry events, Constantina savors her time by the sea and is a frequent visitor to countries and exotic destinations that keep inspiring her.