Since their founding in 1991 and 2002, respectively, the firm of KTGY Architecture + Planning and the interior design group of Simeone Deary Design Group have built rich project and service portfolios based on their singular approaches to space and experiential design, and comprehensive work ethics that leave no detail unturned.
KTGY is a primarily multi-family residential and mixed-use design firm that has worked in 44 states and operates seven offices across the country—garnering more than 600 awards along the way—while the Chicago-based Simeone Deary Design Group has taken its experiential interior design and brand positioning practice to luxury and boutique hospitality projects across country, from the Detroit Foundation Hotel in Michigan and LondonHouse Chicago hotel to Monarch Restaurant + Kessaku in Dallas. In an industry-altering development, Simeone Deary Design Group recently announced its new merger with KTGY to bring the architecture, planning, interiors, and positioning elements both firms are known for under one cross-continental roof, from Midwest to West Coast.
“We started talking about it probably about two years ago; our industry is really moving toward a combination of interior designers really understanding architecture, and the spaces are getting a lot more architectural,” said Gina Deary, owner and principal at Simeone Deary Design Group.
“We started talking about trying to find a firm that we could work with or create one in our own studio. Then we were approached by KTGY and it became a much bigger conversation. All of a sudden, it seemed that if we were considering this merger then we could look at architecture in a much bigger way and how it might help our firm move forward,” Deary added.
Though the Simeone Deary Design Group partners had not necessarily considered adding exterior architecture to their services far in advance of the merger, it became an obvious choice to partner with KTGY once both teams realized that their goals for skill expansion and alignment of people-first attitudes would make a harmonious pairing. Coincidentally, when the groups began speaking more seriously, it was through the unique lens of pandemic and its effect on the design world.
“I think the two important things were the culture and the vision,” said Lisa Simeone, owner and principal of Simeone Deary Design Group regarding the firms’ compatibilities. “Those are things you can’t learn and they’re inherent in the DNA [of a business]. Their culture is about their staff; they’re people first…Treating their people well, great client relationships, amazing growth, excellence in design. Those were things we didn’t want to compromise on, and they were there from the beginning.”
Besides the snug aligning of company values, the partners share a similar vision for stepping into a changing American design-scape with new skillsets that will enable their award-winning design capabilities to go the extra distance. As spaces are functioning more often as multi-purpose, multi-dimensional landings for increased wellbeing, inspiration, work, and play—and with the pandemic, often all at once—designers are tasked with tapping into the limitless potential of design to create in new ways.
For the Simeone Deary Design Group team, which is known for infusing widely traveled hospitality spaces with experiential design inspired by their surroundings, this looks like setting the stage for storied interiors with the beautiful function of architecture.
“Architecture should not be a complicated story. It’s a very big-picture installation within a city and the story that architecture really needs to align itself with is the communities around it, the future growth of the city, the best thing for the people there, and the product you want to sell,” Deary said.
“I think bringing that to the table, but still keeping that beautiful, clean approach to what a building should be and then our layers coming in to support that on a more human scale is when all the little stories can start to happen in the interior space, but it starts simply in the architecture,” Deary added.
The expanded KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group already has several projects in the works, including an art gallery in Los Angeles and a newly-pitched, mixed-use project in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, which would re-position a busy intersection as a sheltered neighborhood within the overall neighborhood, according to Simeone. With more projects on the horizon that will exercise the joint teams’ comprehensive new design scale, the KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group partners are looking forward to tapping into the world of residential design with their hospitable bent to create spaces that optimize new relationships between home, work, and community.
“Especially now, coming out of COVID where the residential market is exploding, the whole idea of home, work, staying, and going, are so interesting and our KTGY component is so busy, because of the residential market,” Simeone said. “Everybody is working from home, so us bringing our hospitality component to the home, and the whole positioning practice, has lent itself to opening doors in a really interesting way.”
Text: R. Collins
Photography: KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group