AJC Design specializes in hospitality design, residential and multi-family design projects for clients anywhere in the world. 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.
Creativity is Everything!™ is integrated into all of our studio capabilities and embedded in our signature design process. Our work is customized for each project and client’s needs, so that no two projects are the same, and every project reflects creativity, imagination and original thinking.
Each client relationship starts with generating a creative vision for the project through concept design, which builds the foundation for the rest of the project. We continue our creative journey through schematic design, design development, construction documentation, and construction administration, where the project is actualized.
Creativity is Everything!™ means being able to see possibilities no one else can see, to create what nobody else has created, at a budget that works for your needs first. We infuse Creativity is Everything!™ to transform empirical knowledge into sketches, renderings, construction documents, and custom FF&E designs that reflect our client’s vision, goals, and brand, as well as the social / historical context of the project’s physical location.
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.
Layout: Before I can go into the finer details of a quality spa, I pay attention to the layout of the facility in general. Are there long dark hallways? Are there pre and post treatment spaces? Are the rooms small enough to create security but not too small to create claustrophobia? For me, the layout should provide a level of privacy but not a feeling of being alone or forgotten about. A common mistake I see is a post treatment room big enough for 20 chaise lounges but only containing three.
Smells: Spas may have locker rooms but a locker room smell is never welcome in a spa. I believe the right aromatic scents are everything. Eucalyptus, lavender, and sage or citrus scents are typically my turn-off scents. And by turn-off” I mean, help me turn-off all the lists, to-do’s, shoulds, and other things running around in my head.
Towels & Linens: Because of the intimate nature of services, a spa should provide its guests with utterly clean and soft towels and linens. Like a luxury hotel guest room, the softness of towels and linens reinforce the quality and value of the service provider. Offering robes that feel like a towel you use to dry your dishes may save some dollars but is not going to win over your customers.
Amenities: When I talk about amenities, I’m really referring to the locker room experience. It is one of my absolute favorite pleasures to know that after a spa treatment, I can shower and take my time to get dressed, without having to bring anything with me (no hairdryer, no shampoo or conditioner, lotion, deodorant, Q-Tips or anything else). It also says a lot when the quality of the amenities is on par with the brand. For example, Molton Brown is way more luxurious than Neutrogena.
Colors: There is no one perfect color palette for a spa. I’ve seen some get away with an austere, all shades of white approach, and I’ve seen others that used different earthy shades or bright primary colors for every area of the space. The thing to remember about color is how much light it will reflect. Are there lots of windows or more lamps, or overhead lighting? In general, avoid bright bold colors like red, yellow, and orange, unless they are used sparingly to accessorize a space.
While I focused on five core design elements of spas, I have to say that service goes a very long way in creating a memorable spa experience. You can have the most elegant and opulent spa but if the people in the spa keep you waiting too long unattended, can’t look you in the eye, or pester you for add-on services, it can ruin the experience. I personally like to encounter staff who are personable, positive, but not pushy. Once you find a great spa that makes you want to linger for hours, you will be back! Self-care is one investment that your life depends on.