5 things we learned to say “YES” from Kristina Zanic

Interior design icon Kristina Zanic participates in The Wood Couture podcast

Kristina shares her life and work experiences with Wood Couture co-founder Filippo Sona. We learn from its openness, its authenticity and its perseverance.

Wood Couture has just launched its new podcast with a series of interviews with big names in the hospitality, leisure and design industry. Filippo Sona, co-founder of Wood Couture and host of the show, meets rock stars in the industry to choose their brains, find out who they are, where they started, the passions that drive them and their views on some current issues.

The pilot episode stars Kristina Zanic, designer, icon and brilliant person, multiple award-winner. The full video is online Youtube and all podcast platforms, but we’ve rounded up 5 things we’ve learned to say YES from Kristina Zanic.

  1. Say yes to experience

Be open to new and unusual experiences and be daring enough to explore the unknown. Upon graduating from university, Kristina left her home country, Australia, to pursue her career. She continued to do this until the journey became part of her identity and her creative process. The same openness to different places and cultures has been perpetuated in her projects as well as the unique challenges she and her team face. Often, if not always, Kristina works in strange places, which leads her to meet people from a broader perspective. These experiences add a layer to her already incredible creativity in the way she conducts her business and in mentoring young professionals.

  1. Say yes to using emotions the right way

“Think before you speak or write this email” Kristina cautions against the pitfalls of saying or doing something to live up to the emotion as one of the tough lessons she had to learn. However, she also talks about using emotions to serve a purpose. Creatives design to evoke feelings and Kristina encourages design from your emotions as well as listening carefully to customer needs. Having empathy and consideration in working with the client’s wants and limitations and then the ultimate user experience has made for successful and award winning projects. As in the renovation of the Ritz Carlton Al Wadi in the United Arab Emirates, which won the hotel interior design of the year award in 2018

  1. Say yes to progress

When asked what makes her tick, Kristina explains how she believes in persevering with what life or work brings you and genuinely loving what you do. She remembers a time when the lack of building materials had made the project pivot to making things out of mud, and just going from there to make the project a success. Often times, the most rewarding things come from what struck us the most and it takes tenacity to keep moving forward towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Kristina instills the same in her team, business moves forward when everyone grows together. She encourages young professionals to spend more time learning and to continue learning in the vagaries of their professional life.

  1. Say yes to practicality

Kristina shares how she thinks words that value engineering are like swear words in the industry. Cost reduction exercises or trying to do too much without proper costs sometimes causes avoidable friction in a project. She recommends that clients know their budgets and be transparent about them from the start. This way designers and suppliers can work together to meet requirements, creating an ecosystem where the design vision is not watered down by “value engineering”. Kristina also considers the practical side for the end user – how people use and experience her designs, ensuring functionality when talking to clients about their needs. She describes how the design industry is still exploring spaces and always looking for ways to meet changing wants and needs. Sustainability, for example, is becoming an increasingly relevant consideration. Kristina’s team extends practicality to the execution of their designs by carefully integrating practices for less social and environmental impact.

  1. Say yes to the brotherhood

Throughout the interview, it was evident how genuine Kristina is, and it’s no wonder she is able to cultivate good relationships with her clients and staff. She jokes that her stature is naturally imposing, but says giving her honest opinions and sometimes challenging the client when appropriate helps her gain their respect and trust. Kristina maintains even more the relationships she has with her staff. She sees herself as a member of the team at the end of the day and doesn’t let being THE BOSS become a barrier to anyone approaching her to express ideas, seek advice or ask questions.

There is still so much more of the interview that you will love and be inspired by. We strongly recommend that you Check it out!


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