March 11, 2019

Cindy Allen Kicks off Giants of Design 2019 in Conversation With William Harris of AvroKO

The 2019 edition of Giants of Design kicked off yesterday in Savannah, Georgia. Editor-in-chief Cindy Allen officially welcomed the 150 design giants in attendance with a cocktail hour at the Perry Lane hotel’s rooftop lounge. A balmy breeze whistling through the palm trees was the perfect accompaniment to the evenings relaxed first event: an interview with AvroKO‘s principal and co-founder, William Harris.

AvroKO was the firm charged with the interior design of the Perry Lane’s bar, rooms, and rooftop. The hotel opened in 2018 and has since earned a place on Travel + Leisure’s 2019 “Best New Hotels in the World” list. Together, Cindy and Harris pulled back the curtain on how the New York City-based firm brought a premium four-star hotel teeming with down-home, southern hospitality to the streets of Savannah.

Editor in Chief Cindy Allen and William Harris from AvroKO opened Giants of Design with a Q&A about the design of the Perry Lane Hotel. Photography by Dylan Wilson.

“We’re so delighted we’re at the Perry Lane. It’s so beautiful.” said Cindy, welcoming Harris to the stage alongside her. “When I walked into my room, there were so many things I loved about it; from the color palette to all the personal touches, the eclectic mix of furniture, and particularly the matte finish of the marble. Tell us about how you gathered such an eclectic mix of design elements,” she entreated Harris.

“It was a very collaborative project,” he responded, adding, “Once you spend a lot of time in the city of Savannah and do the research, you realize that there’s a reason why Savannah is known as ‘the hostess city’. We really wanted to create a space that welcomed out-of-towners, but also still made Savannah locals feel welcome.”

From Left to Right: Rachel Long of Material Bank, Jenna Ter Horst of Haworth, Claire Eeles of RH Contract, Carol Sandman of AP+I Design. Photography by Dylan Wilson.

He continued, “There’s a great presence of antiquing here as an industry and sensibility. We wanted to bring that sense of ‘home’ that trickled down through the art and the other pieces. The art, for example, is all from locals or artists who have had a connection to Savannah College of Art and Design.”

“It meant so much that we found the right place to host Giants 2019 that had that sense of hospitality and warmth,” said Cindy.

After the Q&A, Cindy and Williams lingered and mingled well into the evening with the Giants on the rooftop. Savannah locals and far-from-home New Yorkers alike couldn’t get enough of the picturesque riverside sunset and temperate 75-degree, open-air environ.

> Check out full coverage from Giants of Design 2019

A special thanks to our Giants of Design 2019 sponsors.

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