Good enough was never good enough for me.
A public space that unfolds the nodes and nuances of our souls and desires and satisfies our safety and care requires a dazzling and utopian thinker: one that is observant, innovative, and is genuinely attentive to public behavior, social pleasures, and thoughtful relationships. Driven by excellence, Alessandro Munge, the founder of Toronto-based Studio Munge, adheres to these principles and elements to craft harmoniously unique visual stories that transform a space into becoming the “it” destination.
Dubbed as the Interior Designer of the year 2018, Alessandro Munge differentiates his creations by understanding observable behaviors and cultural inclinations. With an impressive roster of international clients, especially in the hospitality realm, Studio Munge evokes sophistication and beauty.
In anticipation of his latest projects such as Nobu Toronto, for celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor Robert De Niro (opening in 2020) to designing interiors for two Shangri-La Hotel and Resort locations in Nanning and Shanghai (opening in 2021), to the avant-garde interiors of the Lago restaurant by Spanish chef Julian Serrano on the top floor of the Bellagio juxtaposed Shanghai’s historic Puxi district, among many other global ventures, read below the exclusive interview:
Jupilings: How do you describe yourself-
AM: A naturally intuitive creative who cherishes authentic experiences through design.
Jupilings: How do you challenge yourself with every new project-
AM: I challenge myself with every new project by starting with a completely blank slate. Rather than following one formula or repurposing the same elements and concepts, I look at what we’ve done before, and push myself to form something completely different and new.
Jupilings: It is quite challenging to work on projects on the other side of the world, do you have ground rules on managing expectations that can be applied universally-
AM: No matter the country, area code, language or time zone, effective communication is detrimental to executing a project successfully. We always take the extra time necessary to have weekly or daily briefings to ensure everyone involved is working towards realistic timelines and a clear vision. From international site visits to long conference calls, our expert project management team has been key in managing expectations. Their expansive design and construction knowledge as well as their constant dialogue with contractors, suppliers, and clients helps us monitor progress and ensures the holistic execution of our design intent.
Jupilings: People, tastes, preferences… change, so what significant principles in your world of design are applied to make things and create concepts that are durable and time-tested-
AM: Our work is consistently concept-driven and developed around the emotional response we envision our end-users to experience within our spaces. Emotions are universal and timeless; they are not limited to trendy colours, finishes or forms. Whether our spaces align with your preferences or specific tastes, they will connect with you on a deeper level withstanding the test of time.
Jupilings: How do you motivate people working for you-
AM: Without the dedication of our almost 60 employees, Studio Munge would not be the dynamic force we are today. I want each member of that team to feel as excited to come into the studio as I do! Motivating every employee comes from leading by example, encouraging individuals to see their own potential while challenging their limitations, and building an inclusive, collaborative and inspiring work environment. Giving back and participating in events together fuels the fire; to name a few activities, we have shared lunches and engage with our community at design-centric events.
Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-
AM: Setbacks are an inevitable part of life. What’s important is how you prepare for, react to, and learn from them; it can make or break you. When dealing with the unexpected, remaining calm and collected as well as optimistic is crucial. It allows you to focus on the most effective and efficient solutions without compromising the design intent.
Jupilings: Who inspires you and why-
AM: For me, inspiration doesn’t come from one specific source. From one moment to the next, I’m inspired by new things and experiences all around me. These sparks of intrigue happen organically anytime anywhere I wander, like rough stone textures or the grooves in the sand made by the ocean tide. I’ve started to document more of those textures and moments on my own Instagram. It’s my way of keeping it all in one space and sharing those precious flashes of inspiration with my friends and community.
Jupilings: What is your signature personal style?
AM: My Italian roots and love for fashion and art play a huge part in my personal style. I like to keep things relaxed, clean, elevated and effortless. I love sneakers and detailed basics that are minimal with an edge.