Throughout his twenty-plus-year career in interiors, Josh Held has worked with some of the world’s best-known hospitality brands and has earned a reputation as a disruptive and innovative designer.
Today, on the occasion of joining Wimberly Interiors as Vice President and Director of Entertainment, he answers the Quick Six: a super-speedy interview series providing insight into the minds and lives of our talented team members.
What was the first design project you ever worked on?
My first significant hospitality design project was Rosa Mexicano in Lincoln Center – the first to expand beyond the original one on the Upper East Side in NYC. This one set a new precedent for the start of the now ubiquitous design and culinary experience. The look for the restaurant was centered around a water wall of cliff divers which has now been repeated as the company has expanded. This was one of the first times (pre-Instagram!) that I saw a design feature become a defining element for a brand.
What is the biggest career risk you’ve ever taken, and did it pay off?
When I first moved to New York I was working for a small architecture and interiors firm. It was a great group of people, but I felt like there was something else out there for me. There was an article in the New York Times about theatricality in hospitality design and I realized immediately that was what I needed to do. I quit my job and started on this journey. It has paid off in ways I never would have imagined.
A large part of your role in design is to shape urban and leisure destinations. What is your favorite place to visit?
This will probably not come as a surprise to anyone, but I love Las Vegas. There is nowhere else in the world where you have such a concentration of spectacular things to see and do. You can ride dune buggies in the hot, dusty desert, indulge in a very French dinner at Joel Robuchon followed by an over the top nightclub, and a fire-side Scorpion Bowl at the Peppermill right before realizing you are about to miss your flight!
What three things do you always take on a business trip?
- Five new podcasts because 14-hour flights;
- My Bose Revolve+ speaker because you never know when you need to start a party; and
- Multiple scarves because 14-hour flights and parties!
If you had to pick one design trend to make a comeback, or could predict a future trend, what would it be?
Late seventies/early eighties club glam! There was a raw beauty and harmony to the seemingly haphazard experimental layering of anything and everything. In some ways, nightlife has become too polished and refined and is missing some of the unpredictable, rough edges that gave it so much character.
One piece of advice to aspiring designers?
To be great designers, we need to be great seekers of experiences. We create design from our mind’s abstraction or interpretation of every new thing we see, or do, or feel. The more input we have, the more crayons we have in the box. So, get out there and do all the things!
You can read more about Josh Held and his role at Wimberly Interiors here.