- Written by: Matt Dodge
- Produced by: Joe Atwood
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Rottet Studio is a leading architecture and design firm serving corporate, hospitality and residential clients around the globe. Founded in 2008 by Lauren Rottet, the company specializes in providing interior design solutions for some of the world’s most recognized companies and brands.
With U.S. offices in Houston, Los Angeles and New York and an international presence in Shanghai, Rottet Studio has quickly carved out a niche for itself in the last eight years. When Rottet was founded in 2008 it focused mostly on designing commercial buildings but when the recession came along, the company made a crucial pivot into the hospitality market.
“2008 was not an ideal time to start a company, but we adjusted our focus and have been immensely successful,” says Kyle Rottet, director of marketing at Rottet.
Despite its status as a comparatively small, boutique firm, Rottet Studio has found early success in the hospitality industry where it regularly competes against some of the largest names in the business. “We are not big machines like our competitors, but we go after the same projects nationally and internationally. We have the capability and background to understand larger, complex projects, but also care about the attention to detail and can connect with our clients on a more personal level,” says Rottet.
A leader in luxury
Rottet Studio’s high-end hospitality work can be found in some of the country’s most luxurious hotels, including The Surrey Hotel in New York City, The Beverley Hills Hotel Presidential Bungalows, the St. Regis Aspen Resort and the forthcoming Conrad Hotel at Washington, D.C.’s much anticipated CitiCenterDC development.
Part of the $950 million CityCenterDC development, the 350-room Conrad is a luxury offshoot of the Hilton brand and will include 70,000 square feet of large-format retail space. “It’s a very prominent project and we’re working with Herzog & de Meuron, one of the world’s top architects,” says Rottet.
In 2013, Rottet Studio expanded into an unusual sector of the hospitality market when it started working with Viking Cruises, an international travel company specializing in river-based cruises across Europe, Russia and China. “They said they wanted to do a cruise ship like no one else and needed a great design team,” says Rottet.
The design firm designed half of Viking’s ships in 2013 and took on the entire fleet in 2014 and 2015. The architecture and Rottet Studio also helped Viking to design its first oceangoing ship, the Viking Star, which launched in 2014. “It’s a completely unique ship. It is the first oceangoing vessel to have an infinity pool cantilevered off the aft deck,” says Rottet.
Rottet Studio had been making inroads in the Chinese market from its office in Shanghai, but decided to shift its focus to the South American market as of late. The company recently completed one Four Seasons resort in Bogota, Columbia, The Four Seasons Casa Medina with another on the way. “I’m sure that will open more doors for us in the South American region, which is exciting, because it’s expanding a lot right now,” says Rottet.
The decision to expand into the hospitality market has served Rottet well and allowed the company to make connections with more corporate and residential clients. “We just started doing residences because the hotels have been so successful that the people staying there wanted us to do their homes,” notes Rottet. “We don’t just focus on hospitality. Because of our roots, we can do everything from ground up all the way to the interior.”
On the corporate side, Rottet Studio has designed office space for notable clients, including United Talent Agency and Viacom in Los Angeles and the New York Stock Exchange. The company has integrated many of the lessons learned on the hospitality side of the business into the corporate world.
“We’re sort of bringing hospitality to the workplace,” explains Rottet. “For example, we’ve designed a breakaway meeting space that serves as a little impromptu meeting space. It resembles more of a small living room than a typical conference table; it’s a bit more casual, more relaxed.”
Success to the south
With a team of 60 employees across four locations, Rottet Studio performs a majority of its work in-house, subbing out only structural engineering, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and the occasional lighting design project. “We can also do our own architecture, but we will work with other architects as well,” says Rottet.
The company employs a trusted roster of subcontractors when working in familiar locations but will often sub out work to local firms when working in a new area. “Sometimes it’s nice to have locals who understand the local codes,” says Rottet.
Despite launching the company in the midst of the recession, Rottet Studio has grown every year. In its first year the firm was named Houston’s Fastest Growing Company, and recently made the Inc. 5000
Fastest-Growing list the past two years in a row. “The real challenge was adjusting our focus from commercial to hospitality and having to learn a whole new industry, but in the end it’s been extremely rewarding because it showed us we can do anything and now we’re not afraid to try new things,” says Rottet.
As the company continues to grow, Rottet says he sees significant potential in the South American market and is excited by the prospect of returning to the company’s roots. “I think South America is going to be a good market for us and we’re also going to be getting back into building design and construction; that’s where we see ourselves in five years,” he elaborates.
Rottet lauds the company culture at the firm, where employees feel more like family and friends than coworkers. “We participate in a lot of activities together from happy hours to ‘Barkitecture,’ an architectural event whereby dog houses are designed, constructed and sold to benefit homeless animals, and sand castle competitions,” he notes.
The company also participates in the annual Product Runway competition in Houston where local firms design high-fashion garments using nothing but building materials. “It’s sort of like Project Runway, but using carpets and tiles,” he adds.
At the end of the day, Rottet gets his biggest sense of pride from the consistent quality of the work turned out by the firm and the positive impact it has on the lives, careers and vacations of its clients. “We work hard to produce a superior product and people recognize that and recognize that it’s a good investment,” he says.
With projects in some of the world’s most glamourous cities, a presence on the high seas and an expanding footprint in the South American market, Rottet Studio is poised to reaming a leading boutique architecture and design firm, serving clients in the corporate, hospitality and residential sectors with high-end buildings and interior solutions for years to come.
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