Interview with a Designer: Cristi Moore of Gensler Atlanta

interior designer cristi moore

We’re back with another look inside the creative mind of a designer. Our theme of “Where Hospitality Begins” was created to showcase the sides of the hotel industry that really come together to bring the idea of hospitality to life and to the guests. As one of the top FF&E companies, we are proud to be a part of the process, but it is the designer that really is responsible for creating the atmosphere.

Let’s take a look at this week’s conversation as we are talking with Cristi Moore from Gensler Atlanta.

What is your biggest inspiration when you’re designing, or where do you draw inspiration from?

‘Designing’ is a journey, a story. It’s about clearly identifying the project narrative and creating an experience through the creative use of both space and materiality. Inspiration comes from a plethora of images, textiles and materials, fashion, art, found objects, extensive research and of course, our clients. Even before spatial elements evolve, there is already an evident soul or vibe; an intuitive emotion evoking direction. Carefully curated and storied presentations infused with visuals of alluring ideation and imagery capture the story at inception – this is how each journey begins.

What is your favorite thing to design?

Various other practice areas desire the integration of a hospitality perspective; therefore my portfolio of experience has now expanded into Workplace, Senior (Ageless) Living, Residential, Multi-Family, and Museums. I’ll have to admit, I don’t think of projects in a certain category – my design approach doesn’t change and isn’t dependent upon or influenced by its category. Each project is really just an opportunity to transform a vision into a tangible experience; to create moments and details that truly speak to those that crave more than design from an aesthetic point of view – one that speaks and resonates emotionally.

Do you have a favorite vacation you have taken?

My mind just went around the world to try and decide a favorite but is slightly blurred because project work as given me the opportunity to travel to some incredible places too – although not vacations, still wonderful experiences. Whether it was work or pleasure, a few journeys that bring a smile include: Venice, Maldives, Hong Kong, Ireland, Maui, Bath, and Paris. And also most recently my own backyard (the Southeast) makes the list: New Orleans, Miami, Lagrange, and Cocoa Beach.

How has your profession changed the way you see other hotels when you travel, or has it?

Yes, I am very particular about hotels or overnight travel choices, especially for personal experiences. Ha! My girlfriends always designate me point person to determine and approve our girl’s trip destinations – it’s that important to me. It’s imperative to experience a variety of brands to expand your viewpoint for creative growth. And the things I notice aren’t typical – only a designer would… I’m so careful about what I do bring to other’s attention; otherwise they may think I’m too critical or a crazy person. I very much appreciate quality, thought in the details, simplicity, a layered approach – I notice and actually feel those moments that speak to the story and allow you to “just get” the “why”.

What is your favorite design space you’ve seen?

A ‘favorite design’ changes continuously – I mean, we are constantly seeing new designs daily; through our own projects, those within Gensler, other design firms, travel, showhouses, magazines, coffee table books, and social media. There is always another experience that captures my attention and I find that it’s not necessarily a better design or a favorite – it just provoked a different emotion. And if by favorite, we mean “preferred” – I have LOTS of favorites. One favorite can’t possibly be enough for a designer.

If you had an unlimited budget and completely free reign to do what you wanted, what would your dream design look like?

It would speak of authenticity and passion. It would be thoughtful and purposeful. It would inspire those who experienced it. Our client would be oh so happy and engage us for more work. To get more specific, a dream project opportunity would be a boutique, one-of-a-kind personality/brand/character with a strong story and be within a historical building or context – more about its unique story and less about how we can do it for less.

What is your favorite part about the hospitality industry?

The people – our experiences together.

How do you convey the idea of hospitality through design?

We approach hospitality as an opportunity to fulfill guests’ needs and desires while enhancing comfort and convenience. We work with hoteliers and draw on our insights into specific guest preferences, values, and behaviors to create hotels that are welcoming, versatile, and enduring. Our design approach intersects function and beauty with programmatic goals to deliver a memorable guest experience.

What does “Where Hospitality Begins” mean to you?

Hospitality wouldn’t exist without people. And in my opinion it was born in the South. When it comes to design, we “script” experiences for the guest to create a sense of drama, pleasure, comfort, and orientation. We develop engaging experiences via a holistic approach of brand strategy, interior design, communications and messaging, environmental graphic design, and signage and wayfinding, resulting in comprehensive environments that immerse people in the philosophy of the brand in both physical and digital environments. It’s all about wrapping our arms (design) around each guest.

Where Hospitality Begins

Thank you for joining us for this closer look at what is inspiring to hospitality designers. We have created a dedicated space for everything relating to our “Where Hospitality Begins” campaign. You can learn more by visiting that page here, and by following us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. If you have anything to add about what “Where Hospitality Begins” means to you, feel free to post about it, tag us, and tag #WhereHospitalityBegins so we can find it. We’d love to hear your stories.

As a part of this series, we have also interviewed Sara Shalls at Shalls Design Studio, and Jacob Royster and Michelle Tran of HBA San Francisco.

About Gensler

Gensler is an integrated architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm with 5,500+ professionals networked across 49 offices, providing global reach with local expertise.