The BCFA Annual Luncheon was held at the beginning of November. As per tradition the BCFA and Panaz award a member of the contract design community the Lifetime Achievement honour.
The Panaz BCFA Lifetime Achievement award recognises those who have made a significant contribution to the contract furnishing industry and their companies. This years winner was Olga Polizzi for her services to interior design. Olga is Director of Design and Deputy Chairman of Rocco Forte Hotels and we asked Olga to tell us about herself, how she got into design and her involvement in the hospitality design industry.Tell us a little about yourself?
I am Deputy Chairman and Director of Design for Rocco Forte Hotels which means I oversee all of the design for each of our 11 current properties and all future projects of which we have quite a few at the moment. We have two new hotels opening next year, Hotel de la Ville our second hotel in Rome, and a property in Shanghai. I also own two small hotels of my own in the West Country of England, Hotel Tresanton and Endsleigh.
Can you tell us how did you get into design?
After A levels, I went to Art School in Rome and then I fell into design. My father, Lord Forte, ran one of the biggest hotel and catering companies of his time, and so after completing my studies I started in the Design and Building Department at Trusthouse Forte. It was a large department, with a team of about 30 people, including architects, designers and project managers.
What has been your favorite project of your career?
The last one I work on is always my favourite because I am always searching to create the perfect hotel and think the latest may be the one! I have a soft spot for Hotel Amigo in Brussels and of course Brown’s in Mayfair, London.
What has been your inspiration throughout your career?
My father, who was a true hotelier.
How have you seen the ‘hotel’ change over the years?
Hotels are much more accessible nowadays. Young and old, wealthy and not so wealthy, there is a hotel for everyone – but working within the luxury hotel industry, service is always paramount and this has not changed.
What advice would you give to budding design students hoping to make it within this industry?
It is not easy to break into the design world. As in all spheres, hard work and perseverance combined with skill, taste and passion are necessary for success.
And finally, what does it mean to win this award?
It is a huge honour to win this award, and I am so grateful to the British Contract Furnishing Association. It is always wonderful to be recognised within your industry and by people who you admire and work with.
Congratulations to Olga for winning this award, you can read our full review of the BCFA Annual Luncheon here