INTERIORS+DESIGN for architects

Architect and educator Wid Chapman, AIA, leads an award-winning New York firm that specializes in hospitality design. Founded in 2003 with a typical staff of six, the practice is a "preferred designer" for Starwood Hotels and Resorts and also creates compelling residences, restaurants, and student spaces worldwide. Keenly interested in the social qualities of these welcoming spaces and how they influence people's experiences and moods, the firm conducts "visual brainstorming" with its clients to jumpstart projects, aiming for an effective synthesis of programmatic desires and points of view with contextual site conditions, leading to an optimum architectural vision.

Chapman was literally born into the design profession. Raised in Boston, his father was an architect who studied with Walter Gropius at Harvard and later worked for him. His mother is an artist who studied with Josef Albers at Yale and later worked as Gropius's color consultant, which is how his parents met. And his two older sisters are architects.

Family trips to Europe in his youth proved especially inspiring to Chapman. Learning about the continent's ancient cities plans and urban growth fueled his interest in figure/ground and positive and negative space, key aspects of his practice today, which also inculcates an impactful interplay of rich colors and materials.

After spending two years in a small New England college, Chapman transferred to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to study architecture. His thesis was a master plan of Charlestown, MA, but he worked his way into interiors over time, eventually rising to become chair of interior design at Parsons School of Design (now Parsons the New School of Design). He has taught at the school for twenty years and currently serves on its adjunct faculty.

To date, Wid Chapman Architects has completed projects in locations including New York, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington State, the Dominican Republic, Korea, Malaysia, and Mexico. Its work has garnered widespread media attention, featured by esteemed outlets including Contract magazine, Crain's New York Business, Hospitality Design, Interior Design, New York Magazine, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, as well as Figaro Japan, Interiors India, International Design (I.D. ), Shotenkenchiku, and World Interiors News. It has also been showcased on New York's WABC TV. And the firm's designs for three Elixir juice bars in New York garnered an I.D. Magazine Annual Review Award.

In addition to its current project work, the firm is also exploring fresh ways that its expertise can converge to produce new benefits. An authority on lifestyle design, Chapman's co-authored books, Home Design in an Aging World (Fairchild) and Unassisted Living (Monacelli/Random House), begin to address residential design with a "hospitality" approach. Baby boomers, who came of age in a landmark consumer and design era, largely have the financial means to achieve their dreams, he believes. Discerning, savvy, and amenity-seeking, their desires are spilling over into hospital, retirement community, and assisted living facility design, where, in increasing numbers, they will be seeking like-minded compatriots for their golden years. Chapman is actively working to position his firm to be on the forefront of this burgeoning trend.