Architecture and design firm Gensler is looking for a senior interior designer to dream up innovative ideas for commercial workspaces. Theresa Sheils, the studio director who will supervise this new hire, spoke to Capital Business about the job and the kind of person who would thrive with it. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Is it important for this person to have a particular design aesthetic?
We look for their design capabilities, first and foremost. Their ability to innovate. We don’t here at our firm have an aesthetic that is specifically defined for us. The way we approach projects is really by the needs of the client. So we’re not looking for a specific aesthetic as much as we are design sensibilities and an ability to think outside the box and innovate.
How much of the job is done solo, and how much of it is teamwork?
It’s almost 100 percent collaboration, and that’s not just with the team that’s here at Gensler, but with the engineers that work on the projects or with the clients themselves. It’s figuring out something that can really change the way they work on a day-to-day basis, or figuring out how they want to brand themselves or position themselves differently in an industry.
Given that focus on collaboration, what kind of personality would make someone a good fit at Gensler?
We’re looking for someone who is extremely client-savvy that can make the clients feel at ease. Client relationships are huge to us here. That’s what our work is all about. Really, these people have to become the trusted adviser to the client.
In terms of culture here at Gensler, the expectation for all of us is that we’re entrepreneurs. Beyond [specific] projects, the people that we look for and that will fit with us culturally are also very interested in research and things beyond the project, such as new trends and technology. So your ability not only to make your projects better, but also to be better informed for your clients, also make us better as a firm and always make us better as an industry. So someone who is very inquisitive and someone who is very excited to go beyond a task. We’re not a task-oriented firm.
What’s the hardest part of this job?
You have to be incredibly flexible. All clients are looking for something different, and you have to be able to adapt to the feedback from them. You have to figure out when to push them, when to say okay and when to move on from an idea.