Q&A: Ines Klemm, the Color Guru

Ines Klemm holds a diploma in Architecture & Design from the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart and founded her company Latrace (www.latrace.cc) in 2010. By predicting emotional links based on the principles of sensorial perception and colour energy, Ines assists companies to create design schemes and improve their brand perception. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh on “Colour Energy and Wellbeing: the Lessons of the Orient” and lectures at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and Institut Paul Bocuse.

Q: What types of design projects are you working on?

A: Latrace works in three related areas: colour consulting, interior design, and strategic concept development for both business and residential clients. Amongst the latest projects are a new hospitality concept for Yangon, Myanmar, numerous residential projects including colour, interior, and furniture design, as well as architectural work and presentations at the international colour associations and Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.

Q: What does your firm add to the design process that others miss?

A: The focus of Latrace is on creating emotional links between people, spaces, and brands. Research is conducted by sourcing origins, tracing memories, and evaluating the customer’s needs on a sensorial level. The application of our methodical process enables the conscious planning of what others think, feel, and decide unconsciously and is based on the oriental and occidental understanding of harmony and wellbeing. In other words: meaning and identity creation precede the design process and inform choice of shapes, materials, and further design elements.

Q: The development of hotel- residential properties is a major trend. Why do you think they are so appealing to homeowners?

A: The hotel, as building typology, is deeply embedded in human memory, not least because the idea of travelling relates to another deeply-engraved characteristic of human nature, which is exploration. Curiosity is the driving force behind adventures and explorations and, in the realm of such emotional forces, it is not surprising that the dynamics of travelling and the hotel as a home become the logical choice of cosmopolitan homeowners. That is why, resulting from a deeper understanding of luxury, comfort, and home, this experience will have to reinvent itself again and again.

Q: What are your guiding principles when designing for residences?

A: First and above all is the strategic creation of wellbeing because the feeling of home is related to the feeling of happiness, security, comfort. Each project initially follows a purely methodical approach in order to define the sensory experience, which is then converted into a specific and individual colour range and other sensorial output. By including the client in this process, the design of the resulting space is emotionally connected and reflects the identity of its user visually as well as emotionally and creates the sensation of home.

Q: How is the design of secondary or holiday homes different than primary residences?

A: Design reflects HOW a person uses, understands, and anticipates a particular place. Therefore, differentiation comes naturally within a new context and is effected by differentiated geographical location, cultural imprints, and rituals performed. The identity key is in finding out WHY a person would like to live in a particular place. The answers are in the memories connected to it and in the emotional response it triggers, awakens, or dilutes.

Q: What has been your favorite property to work on so far?

A: My favourite property to work on was a hotel concept in Yangon that was presented to the Minister of Hospitality and Tourism of Myanmar. The Myanmar people reflect the ancient oriental understanding of holistic happiness and wellbeing, which is one of my key research areas. The encounters with the people was a deeply touching and emotional experience and, at the same time, a unique business opportunity.

Q: What are you working on next?

A: Amongst my next projects are the design of a 3D-printed award, a five-senses showcase for an international luxury conference, and the art direction and design of a project that includes branding, architecture, and interior design for a shared residential and retail user mix.

Q: Where do you think the mixed-use hotel-residential trend is going?

A: I believe the trend is going back to the roots of both home and hotel, although the original idea of shelter changed with regards to comfort, luxury, and variety. Yet, essential human needs are unchanged and one of the key challenges for the hotel-residence is to promote the co-existence of privacy and community, contemplation and exploration, as well as security and curiosity. That is why for a holistic and sensorial experience-creation it is more important than ever to understand why people are doing what they are doing and how deeply embedded their memories are of a certain place, person, or service.

Q: When travelling, what is your favorite hotel service/amenity?

A: My most favourite hotel service is to see a genuine smile and to feel the passion of a hotel employee because this kind of joy is contagious. My most favourite amenities are fragrant body lotion, silk fabrics, and differentiated light.

Q: If you could own a residence at any hotel in the world, which would it be?

A: The Chedi in Muscat, Oman because it makes me feel complete through the holistic experience of the elements of nature and rituals with regards to water, wind, fire, and earth. This place is soothing in every imaginable way.