Creativity is Everything!™ is the mantra that has fueled AJC Design’s work since its inception in 2007. A vivid, unhindered imagination is at the core of every one of our compelling projects, no two which are the same. That’s why our company logo depicts a hardy walnut shell. While one half references our own passion for dreaming up one-of-a-kind designs and our dedication to making them a reality, the other is an ode to our clients, whose ideas and visions are just as integral to the design process.
Built on communication, this mutual, respectful relationship is the foundation for all of AJC Design’s intricate, timeless interiors. We are energetic and honest and keep our clients well informed, involved, and comfortable, learning and laughing along the way.
Alicia Cannon, founder and principal of New York-based AJC Design, flaunts a signature style that melds dramatic, pop-inspired pieces with tailored, classic settings, fostered by her collaborations with the likes of luxury brands and urban artists.
Cannon’s vast expertise spans full-service and luxury hotels, inviting private residences, and vibrant workplaces. Consider the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, awash in coastal Connecticut charm; the Lanes, a multi-use, ground-up Long Island City residential building capped with a rooftop terrace; or the Long Island headquarters of the brand-new Opal Wealth Advisors
In 2015 Cannon was named one of Hospitality Design’s Wave of the Future honourees, the same year that she won a Stevie Award Bronze, attesting to how she infuses each of her projects with both professionalism and ingenuity, her top priority always capturing and nurturing a client’s vision. That’s why the Woman Business Enterprise-certified designer loves spending ample time getting to know every single one of them personally and embarks on a true partnership to unite functionality and rich, aesthetic details.
Recent AJC Design work includes the Sheraton Mahwah in New Jersey, which draws on the hotel’s past as the former Ford Motor headquarters; the Sheraton Wilmington South hotel, complete with soaring atrium; the lobby at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio that calls to mind the Spanish Colonial era; and a design competition culminating in two guestroom schemes for the Bellagio in Las Vegas that telegraph the Italian village of Bellagio in Lake Como. AJC Design has also completed the Thayer Hotel in West Point, New York, Hotel Indigo in downtown Brooklyn, and the Westport Inn in Connecticut, and is currently working on the Renaissance New York Harlem Hotel, slated to open in 2020, as well as the Thayer Resort and Spa scheduled for 2022.
Cannon is a graduate of the Pratt Institute, where she cultivated her childhood passion for transforming humdrum interior spaces into enduring, matchless designs.
You wouldn’t know by looking at me that I knew how to fold a 5-pocket jean long before Marie Kondo came to the scene. My first job in high school as sales associate for the Gap Inc., had me making sure store displays looked like structurally-sound denim towers. Naturally, when I recently discovered the Gap brand was pulling out of malls because of eroding mall traffic and now, the pandemic push to online shopping, my first reaction was sadness. The mall was not just where I worked, it was where I hung out with friends and shopped till I dropped!
Malls have been a part of America since 1956, when the first indoor mall was opened in Minnesota. Not only did this ridiculously oversized horizontal building provide the ability for people to visit their favorite stores during any weather pattern, the Southdale Center had fountains, art installations, and yes, a courtyard with a bird sanctuary! Malls were vital spaces where people congregate to form relationships and create communities.
Fast forward to today, and social media platforms are where and how people connect. While malls are still staples in many suburban areas, their shape, construction, and contents are evolving drastically to reach the next generations of shoppers, digital natives. Now, malls have become microcities. They are mixed-use indoor/outdoor properties that are home to retail stores, supermarkets, coffee shops, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms. Speaking of home, many new malls like Assembly Row, include apartment complexes so that car-free and carefree living is entirely possible.
So what happens to the behemoth structures from my childhood years? If Generation Z prefers to shop local, and one-click online shopping is our next vaccine, do empty malls get demoed or repurposed? What can possibly revitalize them back to life? From what I’ve read, malls can be converted into so many things from medical offices, apartments, schools, libraries, churches and even fulfillment or distribution centers.
I can imagine, malls could be co-working spaces if offices remain shuttered, and have the opportunity to fill other latent needs in local communities, including affordable housing or homeless shelters. On the other extreme, malls can revert to being places of experiencing art and architecture, prompting a next generation of culture consumption instead of goods consumption.
Clearly, it won’t be easy to rebirth malls overnight. Some things planners have to consider before that happens includes rezoning the space and modifying tax brackets for the new inhabitants. While malls will look unrecognizable 10 years from now, my nostalgia for roaming around in large department stores, long corridors, and food courts will never go away.
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