Jacu Strauss, creative director of the Lore Group - a design firm that specializes in luxury hospitality projects - is the designer behind many iconic hotels across the globe. His most recent project is the independent East London hotel One Hundred Shoreditch, and he is also responsible for the award-winning hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam, Riggs in Washington DC, and the Sea Containers London, which he worked on while part of Tom Dixon's team.
Strauss started his training in New Zealand, before returning to London to study at the Bartlett School of Architecture and Westminster University. After graduating he worked with iconic designer Tom Dixon before taking on his current role with the Lore Group.
H&G sat down with the designer to get an insight into his aesthetic, his inspiration, and what's in the works.
What is your design aesthetic?
'I like to start each project from scratch and scarcely apply a cookie cutter style. My interior design style doesn't really have a defined single aesthetic. There are some key aspects that are consistent with my work, one that stands out is my love of playing with contrasting elements: rough and smooth, dark and light, old and new, small and large.'
'People often describe my work as eclectic for this reason, and there is always a subtle playfulness. I'm a collector and I'm always on the lookout for beautiful, unusual and unique pieces.'
How did it all begin?
'I grew up in Africa in the Kalahari Desert surrounded by nature before training in Architecture in New Zealand and then onto UCL in London which led me to meet Tom Dixon. I then worked very closely with Tom Dixon for a number of years before joining the Lore Group.'
What kind of work does your firm do?
'Most recently we were behind the redesign and launch of One Hundred Shoreditch which launched last year, as well as the award-winning Dutch hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam, and boutique hotel Riggs Washington DC. In addition, as former senior designer at Tom Dixon’s Research Studio, I designed Sea Containers, including Lyaness bar.'
Who inspired you when you started? And who inspires you now?
'When I was younger I found inspiration in my surroundings, growing up in the Kalahari desert one had to create one’s own entertainment. This fuelled my creativity and my love of making things out of what I could collect from my immediate environment.
Art and their artists inspired me later on and I've always been fascinated by how empowering and emotional art and design can be. I was, and still am, a fan of artists including JWM Turner, Patrick Caulfield, Designers like Trix and Robert Haussmann and Tony Duquette, and Architects like Palladio, Lautner, and James Wines.'
What's next for you?
'Hotels are never finished so there is always something to do as they evolve and change with the world and we are always adapting to these progressions. Currently, we are working on a 5th Collector suite for the Pulitzer Hotel in Amsterdam that I am particularly excited about. And of course, searching for our next building to join our Lore family of hotels. Also doing art for a residential project in New York and working on an exciting office project on Park Avenue in New York.'
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I am the Head of Interiors at Homes & Gardens. I started off in the world of journalism in fashion and luxury travel and then landed my first interiors role at Real Homes and have been in the world of interior design ever since. Prior to my role at H&G I was the digital editor at Livingetc, from which I took a sabbatical to travel in my self-converted van (not as glamorous as decorating a home, but very satisfying). A year later, and with lots of technical DIY lessons learnt I am back to writing and editing, sometimes even from the comfort of my home on wheels.
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