DesignCurial in Conversation: Straight Designs’ Solomon Mansoor

We find out more about Straight Designs, the US-based interior and exterior design firm that has been making waves in the multi-unit property industry.

Los Angeles-based design firm Straight Designs is well known across the USA’s coasts for its unique, custom designs and high end amenities. Focusing on interior and exterior multi-unit design, the studio has previously been responsible for projects including the historic 1927 Roosevelt Lofts in LA, and The Waterline in Portland.

Whether working on a luxury development or on retirement housing, Straight Designs always maintains a focus on creating lively, unique spaces for their clients. The studio prides itself on its ability to always “succeed their initial renderings”, and also creates bespoke furnishings and lighting for each of is projects. We spoke to the Straight Design’s principal designer, Solomon Mansoor, to find out more about the studio and its work:

How did Straight Designs begin? 

I first started the company with two "Doing Business As" names; the first was ‘Kinky Designs’ and the second was ‘Straight Designs’. The name ‘Straight Designs’ proved to bring [us] more success as a company, encompassing our brand style, and became the only business name that we moved forward with as a team.

Ever since, our mission to implement and deliver a unique vision for every project - through clean and approachable design with calculated embellishment - has been our top priority. Straight Designs really started on a bet, but like many good stories do, sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and follow your passion!

What inspires your designs?  

Any shape, composition, or moment I see inspires an idea that can be interpreted in a more unique or personal way.  Sometimes designs are born of necessity, but at Straight Designs, we really aim to design for experience and personality. Inspiration is endless, no matter what form it comes in, and that’s something we like to consider and pull from.

Favourite part of the design process? 

I would have to say that my favourite part of the design process is pulling all of the unique details and elements of a space together; [we want to] create something that provides an experience for the people living or enjoying it, rather than just a “look". We also love those very first planning stages where we are able to think about the big picture, and find details that are unique, to create that feeling and evoke that desired emotion.

Most challenging part of the design process?

Logistics in design and project development is absolutely one of the trickiest parts of the task. The design and inspiration is ever-flowing, but that is only half of the challenge; every project has various steps that need to be taken in order to be successfully executed. Understanding and nurturing the logistics of the design process is just as important - if not more - to the final product.

For example, all the major details of our team’s conceptual vision are first fleshed out through AutoCAD; this provides the general floor plan and furniture placement, along with a sense of traffic flow. Once this is finalised, the furniture, finishes, and fixtures are specified through SketchUp, which will be rendered with lighting and textures through Vray and Photoshop. All of these steps are reviewed along the way to [make sure the] renderings are as true to our vision as possible. Ultimately, the goal is to [not only] manifest the vision, but exceed it.

How did you get into the luxury residential market? 

Our team’s goal has always been to improve upon the standards we are producing or working with. I personally really like cost efficiency, and think it is a crucial factor in design and the business. We won't buy an expensive fabric unless it really does provide a tangible or tactile difference that warrants the purchase.

Otherwise, we simply love to build or commission pieces that are well made, and pay the fabricator to put up with our need for perfection and the special touches that help stamp our signature. To us, this is what allows us to be a part of such a luxury market. Luxury isn’t necessarily equivalent to cost, but rather quality and consistency. Providing luxury designs for our clients stems from our desire to provide a “luxury” experience through whatever materials or details that might warrant.

What’s next for Straight Designs?

We are very excited about a new subsidiary business that we just started with Straight Designs’ partners, Andrew Baek and Jules Escalona. It’s called "A Design Alibi", a special arm servicing residences and smaller project needs in the Multi-Family industry.

Finally, what makes Straight Designs stand out? 

Without a doubt, the number one aspect of Straight Designs that stands out is our immense attention to detail.  We pride ourselves in being prepared to lose sometimes, as long as the client gets "beyond" their expectation. While this is an approach than many might stray away from, we believe in understanding that the process might not always work right away with a client.

Instead of being stuck in our ways, we feel it’s necessary to communicate openly with our clients, alter things along the way, and never feel as though it’s an inconvenience to change the plan; in the end, we want our clients to be overly impressed and satisfied with the final product. We will never nickel and dime the client - we always think "big picture”.

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