What she does: Lauren Rottet is a certified architect and designer who possesses a rare energy. She remembers only one time in her childhood complaining of boredom to her mother. Her mother's response: "How can you be bored when there's everything in the world to do, go out in the yard and dig a hole?" It was all it took to for Rottet to realize that there was always something to keep her occupied.
Since then, Rottet has been on a blazing course to success. She has received the Designer of the Year award, has become the first woman to ever be both a fellow of the American Institute of Architecture (FAIA) and a fellow of the International Interior Design Association (FIIDA), and she owns the international architecture and design firm Rottet Studio.
Rottet Studio has offices in New York, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Shanghai. They are best known for their corporate office design, but they are making a name for themselves designing hotels.
Rottet says there is always a contemporary edge to her work, "I love natural light and volume of planes," she says. "I could work in an all-white palette and deal with how light affects the various planes and spaces that we make... I never do something that is just retro."
Why she likes it: Rottet likes to stay busy, and her job allows her to do just that. "There are never two days that are alike," she says. A self-proclaimed workaholic, Rottet is very much involved in her firm's work. "I still design, conceive, and hand-sketch every single project we do," she says.
What inspires her: A large part of Rottet's design is inspired by the needs of her clients. When she designs an office space, she likes to talk to the owners of the company to get a feel for what their business is like and what their goal or focus is. "I know it sounds odd, but I get really excited about doing something that really fits well," she says.
Proudest moment: When asked about her huge list of awards and honors, Rottet modestly replies, "I don't look at things like that, but my team tells me it's a big deal."
She is more concerned with the quality of her work and the growth of her firm. "I did realize the other day that, you know, this is my firm, and we have lots of offices and we are actually doing really well. I have really amazing people that are doing great work, and I am really excited about that," she says.
What's next? When Rottet retires, she wants to bring design to the junior-high classroom. With the tentative title Every Child Should Know about Design, her program would introduce students to architecture, industrial design and urban planning. "I want to give them an exposure to what a house, building, or street could look like, how a city could form, and why that's important," she says.
For Rottet, design is just as essential to education as is American History. "If you step back and think about how important design really is to our everyday life, it's critical," she says. "You don't even know about it unless you happen to stumble upon it."
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