Lisa Simeone and Gina Deary
Principals, Simeone Deary Design Group, Chicago
Describe your office culture?
Our company was built on the premise that there is no substitute for great design, so we felt it was important for our culture to foster creativity, collaboration, and curiosity mixed with a healthy dose of humor. We have a team of inspired artists, authors, innovators, and visionaries who have many different points of view but together we are a community with a shared passion for design and architecture.
How do you go about constructing the right team?
Whether we are hiring an intern or an associate, our goal is always to look for the potential in each person and hire dedicated and hard-working individuals. The common denominator is that every person has a passion for design and architecture, and looks at the world in a creative and curious way.
What do you love about Chicago?
There is a lot to love about being in Chicago, and we feel that in some ways, the fact that it has flown under the radar-silently building itself as the next big city with amazing hotels, restaurants, and buildings that are architecturally significant-can be looked at as a metaphor of Simeone Deary’s growth and development as a company. We love that it is a hard-working city and a place that we can help foster change. Not to mention the warmth and friendliness of the people, which actually almost makes up for the weather!
Tell us about the pencil art installation at your office.
For our office, we felt it was important to have that art piece reflect who we are. Pencils are clean and precise instruments of design and our vision was to use them in a creative way. 56,000 pencils replicate our brand identity.
What would we find on your desk if we were to visit your office?
Lisa: Coffee, the latest magazines, piles of idea folders, my glasses, phone, and always trace paper and sharpies.
Gina: Lots and lots of books-it’s kind of a mess, but I know where everything is!
Do you have any personal collections?
Lisa: I have always been enamored by the beauty of intricate detailing, deeply textural fabrics, and innovative materials. Couture fashion weaves all of these, and my image collection-of both past and present-is quite significant. I find much of my design ideas in the fashion and editorial world where I am endlessly inspired.
Gina: Over the years, I have amassed an extensive collection of books. Books on architecture, design, food, cities and countries, hotels and restaurants around the world; books on history, art, and landscapes. To me, these books are solid and represent knowledge-things that are concrete and that which have strong roots. They really influence everything I do.