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Travel Diaries – Doug Kulig, Paris and Morocco

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"Working with people of many different cultures who speak other languages can pose challenges for some. As designers, we are fortunate that our work allows us to communicate beyond words and takes us to some of the most beautiful locations in the world."

Taking the red-eye from Miami to Paris, I arrived following my eight-hour flight to be greeted with a bright Parisian morning. No time to rest, I went straight to the hotel for a quick shower before heading off to my first meeting of the trip held at the client's office. We were asked to present our thoughts on the first concept design proposal for a resort project in Tangier. Our design ideas were well-received, and the meeting evolved into an all-day workshop. It’s always productive when we treat these beginning meetings like a conversation, gathering input from the entire team and fine-tuning the design. At the end of my extended day, I retired satisfied with the day’s progress to one of the world's smallest hotel rooms, the likes of which only Paris can conjure.

My next day in Paris was spent in another day-long workshop for the Tangier resort project. After engaging with the client and design team members until everyone was aligned, the meeting was concluded with a signature on the contract awarding us the project after a two-month process. We had had a few hours to kill before the flight, so I set out in search of some of the most refined French cooking to celebrate the win. I managed to track down an excellent plate of octopus in a corner bistro before flying on to Rabat in Morocco. Arriving late at night, I had the challenge of negotiating in French with the taxi drivers to take us to the hotel. Fortunately, the printout of the hotel reservation saved us to make it our stay so we could rest before another full day.

Early in the morning, we met with our consultants for another Moroccan hotel project located in Saida. Our workshop took place at the Villa de Mandarin, a beautiful garden and hotel. Taking inspiration from the striking setting, we worked through our design exercise. The entire seminar took place in French, with the occasional concessionary moments in English. The linguistic challenge gave me time to focus on sketching some design issues. The use of sketches overcame all of the language barriers, and the outcome gave us the momentum we needed to move onto the next stage of the hotel's design. Following the workshop, we took on the Moroccan highways, driving from Rabat to Casablanca for our flight the following day.

Four cities, three flights, and three workshops over four days of traveling left me feeling thankful, accomplished, and exhausted. It was time to begin our journey back to the states. We embarked on our last flight that took a brief layover from Casablanca to Madrid before finally landing back home in Miami, our little slice of paradise. A day of rest and it's back to the office to leverage my latest travels and collaborations as design inspiration.