By Sarah Kusani, Abuja
Internationally Renowned Interior Designer, and Project/ Procurement Management Specialist, Mr. Gillis Grant, said his company Delta Designs International is set introduce innovations that will take Nigeria’s interior landscape to the next level.
Grant, who is an interior designer that has worked extensively in the hospitality and allied industries, said the essence of his theory as a designer is that a venue that is well-designed and functional will not only add to the customer experience, but will directly impact on maximizing potential revenues and return on investment (ROI).
He explains it is this attention to ROI that encourages him to regard himself as a “hostage negotiator”.
According to Grant who is recognized as a leading figure in the business of interior designs of hospitality facilities around the world, being a hostage negotiator in the industry means understanding his capacity as an operator that produces results directly related to the infrastructure, design and flow before him”.
“A designer’s job is to increase opportunities for maximizing potential; or in other words, to negotiate for greater financial yield for the customers”.
Described as a rare find when it comes to the interior designing business, Grant, an amazing expert who has also worked in the hospitality industry, feels that all too often hotels and restaurants are designed around aesthetics at the cost of functionality.
“Although there are many amazing architects designing incredible looking buildings and venues, very few, truly accommodate the flow patterns essential for maximizing an owner’s investment”, he says.
For industry stakeholders, this knowledge and practice of the interior design industry is not surprising, considering it is not often you meet someone who has 32 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, and, who with a boyish grin, regards and introduces himself first as a hostage negotiator.
“From a design perspective, I negotiate between the owner of the venue, on the one hand, and the architect and the contractor on the other. This us/them dichotomy can essentially apply to any property developments and office space where landlords and tenants face pretty much the same issues.
Grant says negotiation is inevitable in the business of world class interior/hospitality industry design business.
“Whichever party contracts me inevitably feels that they are being held to ransom by the other party”, he explains.
However, for an experienced designer like him, it is the experience of having been on all sides of all problems that enables him to quickly, easily and, most importantly, cost effectively, drill down to the fundamental issues at hand.
“A designer is a little like the specialist who must tend to all the medical problems that the general practitioner can’t handle”.
According to him, most of the problems can be summarized as unrealistic expectations in terms of the ability of the infrastructure to generate the expected returns. Sometimes owners expect yields that the venue just does not have capacity to generate, he points out.
“That is a fundamental problem. Without the infrastructure necessary to generate the required revenue, long term bad news for the owner is likely to result. That’s where a design ‘negotiator’ comes in”, he added.
He says this error of having the necessary, well designed infrastructure that can’t generate the required income is a massive problem out there in the hospitality and allied industries around Africa and some parts of the world, because the flow and functionality of any hospitality venue, or for that matter any retail venue, engender a beneficial experience for customers.
According to the Delta Designs International chief executive officer who says he is totally committed to creating a new world of opportunities for interior designers on the continent by spending a great deal of time asking customers how they measure their experience, the satisfaction in an experience is not specific, but a sense of well-being.
“It is an emotional experience where customers either get a warm fuzzy feeling, or they don’t”, he added.