Today we’d like to introduce you to Sormeh Rienne.
Hi Sormeh, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
(Formerly Sormeh Azad) I was born and raised in Partille, Sweden. I moved to the United States when I was fifteen years old. After high school, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design with a concentration in Architecture from the University of Colorado Boulder. It was during my time at CU that I cultivated the design and architecture experience I would later employ at Sormeh Rienne. I also founded the University’s Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter and participating in several design/build competitions focused on the built environment in Boulder specifically but also the surrounding areas.
Upon completion of my program, I spent a semester furthering my education in Copenhagen, Denmark; a city full of both modern design and classic architecture. I consider this time to be among my most formative and inspiring experiences as a designer. Living abroad shaped and influenced my voice as a Designer in ways that I am still discovering today.
I truly believe that design has the ability to create change and impact on a global scale. My philosophy is such that if we create an environment that fosters a transformative experience then the people having said experience may be the ones that go out and create change in the world. For example, while I am not a surgeon, a surgeon may spend time in one of the establishments I designed, where they might have a wonderful evening drenched in relaxation, and that experience may very well contribute to an energetic boost in their innate abilities.
I got my start in Los Angeles in 2011 where I had a direct hand in many of Los Angeles’s most prolific venues including The Nice Guy and SHOREbar. At the end of 2017, I began designing a hotel – The Guild Hotel, which is a 162 room, 90,000 sqft hotel housed within a 1924 YMCA building.
I have had a vast amount of experience in design from conception through the completion of construction and have focused on interior design in conjunction with my architecture degree to truly bring to life the creation of space. Currently, I am working on a very exciting resort and residential development, as well as five restaurants and a handful of smaller projects.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No, it hasn’t been easy and there have been plenty of very difficult days. However, I’ve always tried to maintain a strong and persistent attitude, knowing that while everything may not have been easy as I was going through it, I will say with truthfulness that it has all worked in my favor to put me where I am today.
Not everyone wants the best for you, but I committed to myself to view their efforts, good or bad, as working in my favor and something that I could use to my advantage. I’ve learned through many situations that it is the hard times that give way to the great times, and there is no getting around the fact that there will be hard times, but keeping your eye on the lessons you’re learning as you’re going through things builds your foundation and puts you in a position to seize the great things.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
It is our appreciation of value, our desire for something special. We create it and consume it. This transfer of value, the communal trade-off, is as traditional as the first markets. A handshake. Sormeh Rienne’s mission is to create that value by doing what is so highly prized: conveying your emotions into an experience so that your expression becomes the experience. A collaboration of ideas and intentions, Sormeh Rienne carries a sense of purpose to create value in the form of physical spaces; turning emotions into environments and environments into emotions.
We specialize in hospitality spaces. We are most known for our restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, and nightclubs, but that doesn’t keep us from turning out one-off specialty food stands or branding concepts. Our clientele range in style and personality but they all have one thing in common, an interest to bring something of passion to the world. A desire for creative expression is in us all, and our mission is to put your expression into form for others to experience and enjoy. We are a multi-disciplinary design house that derives fulfillment from collaboration and pushes through on a project from conception to completion.
What sets us apart is that we keep our portfolio of projects very exclusive and limited, allowing us to be holistic in each project and flexible to take on additional roles such as branding/identity, construction management, and owner representation if needed.
We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
As cliche as it might sound, I have certainly learned to appreciate the life I have and the health and well-being of those I love. It’s absolutely tragic to see the toll the virus has had on people around the world.
Industry specifically though, while we quickly adapted to online communications, I have learned to value human interaction. Meetings with clients were often some of the most enjoyable parts of the process and have now been reduced to digital presentations. While this is great at communicating ideas, it has taken the humanistic quality out of the work a bit. I am grateful to be working with so many amazing clients, and our hearts are with those who have been negatively impacted by the crisis.
Dylan and Jeni, Haley Hill, Sormeh Rienne