Monthly Column By Alys Bryan
Early Years ….
US born, Kate holds a Fine Art Degree from Skidmore College and a Masters Degree in Interior Design from The New School, Parsons Design, New York City.
Kate’s Current Role ….
Kate is a Principal in the London studio for Perkins+Will. With 17 years’ experience, she started as an interior designer and worked into a leadership role. Her passion is workplace transformation, developing the workplace strategy for a client, taking them through the journey of discovery of what that means for their people and their business and seeing it through to the design and delivery on site. “I love creating places that people want to be in and ensuring that we are leaving a lasting legacy of our work that is adaptable and able to change over time as the business evolves.”
What is the industry doing right now to positively impact the careers of women? And what can it do better?
I’m really proud of what our industry has achieved for women and minorities in general over the last 20 years, but we have so much further to go. I’m seeing more balance on projects, in organisations and within my office, ensuring equal opportunities but unconscious bias still exists.
I also think women in our industry need to support each other more, applaud accomplishments, generally celebrate! We need greater support for working mums, particularly in architecture and design. It’s an incredibly demanding industry, lots of late nights and stresses and, being a working mum, is really tough.
What are the current topics or trends within workplace design which excite you?
There are so many facets that are exciting right now: sustainability; diversity and inclusion; using smart building technology; and so many others. I think what interests me the most at the moment is understanding how people are going to use space and their emotional intelligence or EQ. The vast amount of changes this year has meant that so many people have struggled and will continue to be challenged as they transition into the ‘new normal’.
What would you name as a ‘must see’ or ‘must have’ industry resource?
Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Perkins+Will. Having launched the first interiors NetZero pledge in October 2020, our team and I are passionate about the impact that we have on our precious world. I think the most impactful documentary that I saw last year that was timely and pervasive was David Attenborough’s: A Life on Our Planet. I had a visceral reaction to this film, it hit home.