Peti Lau is a full-service interior design firm based in Los Angeles and New York that specializes in high-end residential and commercial projects. Peti Lau has created her own signature style, which she calls AristoFreakTM. Peti’s early career in Thailand, Mauritius, and Europe, as well as her travels as an expatriate, were all impacted by her passion for art and travel. Best Interior Designers had the opportunity to interview Peti Lau to get to know a little bit more about her career in the interior design industry.
How did you get involved in the interior design Industry?
I got my start as a designer without realizing or thinking that I could be a designer as a career. I was studying to be an opera singer when I was a teenager. When I decided I didn’t want to be that anymore, I spent the next 10 years of my life trying to figure out what and who I wanted to be. This included my exploration of traveling and living around the world as an ex-pat. I ended up living in Thailand and owning a restaurant, started several businesses, and then ended up working at a resort, where I was asked to design a small restaurant for the resort. It was there that I had a friend’s Dad who became my first client who had bought a villa on the island., and had asked me to design his new vacation home when he came into the restaurant I had designed. From there, I designed several homes in Thailand and Mauritius. After those projects were completed I decided to take the next step and apply to design school in New York City.
From there, the rest is history!
How would you describe your work style? Do you have any kind of signatures that help to identify your projects?
I created a signature style I coined AristoFreak™ – which I describe as eclectic, artful, and timeless. A redefinition of boldness that elevates romance and Boheme with a taste for the eclectic + cheeky. I like to believe that expresses my worldly inspirations with storytelling through varied colors, patterns, and textures to create an unexpected vibe in all of her spaces.
Being in love with our work is always the key to achieving better results. Are you in love with this job? What do you love most about being an interior designer?
I absolutely LOVE what I do and I don’t think I could really imagine doing anything else. What I love about this profession is that no project is ever the same and that I have the ability to create something really special for my clients. Whether it’s a private residence or a commercial space for others to experience. There is the ability to impact people’s lives in a way they didn’t even realize it could when you are in space.
What is your philosophy on design and life?
My philosophy on design and life are very similar. Be curious because that’s what makes you think outside the box. Be creative by problem-solving and using ways to come up with solutions. Lastly, do your best. Life and Design are about trial and error. You just have to put yourself out there and try. Sometimes it’s a hit and sometimes it’s not. But having enough courage to go for it, that’s the most important thing to both design and life. No fear and trust your gut. It never lies!
Keeping up to date on all the trends is essential for anyone who wants to conquer this market. In what ways do you keep current with new trends?
I keep up with current trends by building relationships with my colleagues. I think that’s the best way to stay connected, by learning from each other. It’s really important to build or have a strong community around you. It gives you a pulse on what’s new what’s next. If you ever get stuck having the ability to reach out to someone that you respect and value in the same industry is so important.
Secondly, Reading and watching design content around the world to see what others are doing out there. I love looking at design magazines outside of the US, like Elle Decoro r AD France, Italy, and China. I would say my favorite design magazine that I love to look at is The World of Interiors.
Which major international events do you attend/follow to get the latest novelties?
I love going to Paris for Maison Objet and Paris Deco Off. Especially love hitting Paul Serpette Market. That’s where I get a lot of my inspirations and really unique vintage and antiques. I learn so much every time I’m there. I also enjoy Salone in Milan. I have also attended Shanghai Art Fair. My favorite international event would be the Venice Biennale. I love that it alternates between Art and Architecture each year.
How would you describe your personal decorating style?
I would describe my personal decorating style as eclectic modern bohemian. I am inspired and also incorporate a lot of different artistic style periods mixed in with cultures and countries. I would say that’s where I really love to mix the different patterns and colors together to tell a unique and eclectic story.
I would say the same way is reflected also in the way that I dress, or express myself in my fashion.
All artists need some inspiration to work, and interior designers are artists too. So, what or who really inspires you?
I have so many artists that inspire me. If I had to choose, I would break it down by category. Architects, Interior Designers, Artists, and Musicians.
Architects, Frank Lloyd Wright. He is one of the reasons I decided to become an Interior Designer. I visited Talisen West in Arizona and was so inspired by his perspective that it made me think about “space” in a whole new way. Richard Neutra and Mies Van De Rhoe are the other top architects. They made me realize that I’m a classic modernist.
Interior Designers, I love David Hicks, Steven Gambrel, Dimore Studio
I love contemporary art. For Music, I love a wide range from Opera, Jazz to Electronic Dance music. I think it’s all about a vibe and how you are feeling.
I think that’s truly what art is about, expressing a vibe and transferring that energy to the next person.
Inspiration is something that pushes everyone to create unique things. What makes you see the world in a different way?
I think that when you have a wide spectrum of influences and diverse inspirations to pull from, that’s when it gets interesting. It’s the amalgamation and the juxtaposition of my many lives, experiences, cultures, and places I’ve lived in, traveled to that has given me a unique approach to life. From the highs and the lows, I’ve come to realize that we all actually want the same thing. No matter where or who we come from. We all want to be loved, respected, and feel safe to express our true nature.
Yet our perspectives may be the same, but we all want the same things. It’s how we express it is what makes us all feel connected, and that we are not alone.
If you had to pick one project around the world that you wish it was made by you, which one would it be?
My favorite hotel in Marrakesh is called El Fenn. I absolutely love that boutique hotel and I wish I was the designer!
How important is a perfect chemistry between you and your clients to achieve the best results?
It’s Crucial! I often say as much as the clients are investing to work with me, it is also an investment for me energetically to have the ability to translate the vision into a reality. Not only is it the trust between the clients and the designer, it’s also the ability to be able to communicate to each other how to get the job done. SO Chemistry is a crucial element in what makes a Project successful. The clients walk away remembering how they felt during the process was rather than the end result of the final product.
Choosing the best pieces to compose a project can be the secret to getting the best overall result. Although it seems easy, this is a delicate task and needs full attention on time to execute. Do you have some tips for those who do not know well how to start a challenge like this?
Interior Design is a service business. I think the most important aspect of the job besides the design itself, is how successful did the execution of the project perform. That means a formula is having a great team. A client that is open-minded and resources to be able to build the dream, a great architect and Interior designer together to create the vision and vibes, a great contractor to build and execute it, and a Project manager to keep the team focused.
Do you think working with teams in interior design is better or worse than working alone? Why?
Without a doubt, a team! You can’t do anything alone.
What has been your greatest accomplishment as a designer? What goals do you have for the future?
I think my greatest accomplishment as a designer is that I feel like I’m only just starting. Always working on being curious and learning from others.
What did you think about this interview with Peti Lau?