Jasmine Lam, An Exclusive Interior Designer Interview
“Good design means having the ability to balance comfort with luxury; pairing the practical and the functional with beauty is essential,” says the Miami Beach-based interior designer Jasmine Lam. This simple yet powerful statement certainly sums up her mastery of the interior design trade! Read on for Lh’s exclusive interview with the fabulous Jasmine Lam, along with a peek at her beautiful work!
Lh Exclusive Interview with Jasmine Lam
Love Happens: What first sparked your love for design?
Jasmine Lam: I think I have always loved design. I have a father who is an architect and was very passionate about his work. We spent every weekend and family vacation looking at architecture and design.
Lh: What motivated you to start your own design business?
Jasmine: I started my design career at Gensler NY which is a very large firm. It was a great place to learn all the proper design standards and methods, and I had some great mentors there. I left Gensler in 2001, and economy was not great and with the September 11th attack, everything got worst. I was lucky to have friends who saw the design of my apartment and asked me to design their home. The work just snowballed from this and I kept getting more and more projects.
Lh: You spent your earlier career doing commercial design, but today it appears you are more focused on residential. Do you have a preference for one of the design sectors over the other?
Jasmine: Residential design has allowed me to focus on an exorbitant amount of details. We source furniture makers, antiques, and artisan work all around the globe. The beauty of our residential projects is elevated by our global sourcing. We are lucky to design mostly high-end projects and consider collectible furniture and fine art.
In commercial projects, the scale allows you to make a big impact with the design. Whether a project is residential or commercial, the success of the project has to do with how much the client believes in your vision and/or if the client is willing to go for innovative design. There is a phrase “you are only as good as your client” so choose clients wisely.
Lh: Was there a specific moment when you thought to yourself my career is really taking off?
Jasmine: I am not sure if there is a specific moment that defines when you are reaching another step in a design career. For me, the satisfaction of the project coming together at the end is huge! When we are styling for a photo shoot, I have a lot of excitement and adrenaline about the project. Winning 2 awards in 2017 with NY Cottages & Gardens Magazine for Best Interior Design and Best Small Space design was great recognition as well. I come from the mentality that there is always room to improve with your career.
Lh: Many interior designers aspire to have their own product collections, do you have any desire or plans to do this? If not, kindly tell us why.
Jasmine: Yes, I definitely want to build a line of home products. We often design bespoke furniture and home accessories for projects, and clients have noted that we should make these available in a home line. This includes a bed linens line, leather home accessories line, a paint line, and a furniture line. Often our designs result from the lack of finding something out in the market, or as a result of finding a better or more economical way of producing an item.
Lh: What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring designer/entrepreneur looking to make it?
- Know your strengths and focus on building your business based on this strength.
- Being an entrepreneur will require a lot more time and energy but if you are really passionate about being an entrepreneur, it will be worth it and it will pay off.
- Learn from your failures and keep trying to improve. It best to always keep your client’s interests paramount. There is always room for improvement.
Lh: What do you believe is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since the creation of your business?
Jasmine: I think as a woman business owner you must learn to be strong and stand up for yourself, especially in a construction environment which is mostly male-dominated. Look for ways to create functional spaces that also have great beauty and dynamic design, but always remember to look after the client’s budget. The client will always respect you when they know you are thinking about how their money is being spent.
Lh: Are there any locations you dream of working in that you have not yet had the opportunity yet?
Jasmine: As an interior designer working in many urban cities, I have longed to design a space that would have nature incorporated into the interior design. It has always been exciting to design indoor and outdoor spaces that blend together. We are in the very early stages of working on a private island project in Brazil. This is certainly a dream project!
What’s next? Exciting projects? Other ventures?
Jasmine: This past year, I moved to Miami Beach after living in NYC for over 20 years. It is exciting to learn about a new city that has many star architects designing buildings and is art-forward. I also hope to continue designing projects in NYC, China, Europe, and South America.
A Peek Inside the Fabulous and Inspiring Mind of Jasmine Lam with the Lh Design Questionnaire
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Having the ability to travel around the world and learn about architecture, art, and culture is wonderful. Then couple this with learning about different cuisines and having the ability to meet new, kind people, is, for me, perfect happiness.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Shopping in Paris, and then going out for an amazing meal and drink great wine.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I don’t really have one greatest achievement… maybe I am still waiting to achieve it!
What profession does your alter ego have?
I think I would be a movie producer (actually my first career was a movie agent), fashion designer, artist, or chef.
The project you will never forget.
I recently designed a room in the Holiday House NY 2019 showhouse. It was my first time participating in this type of event where you have 4-5 weeks to design an entire room that is widely covered by the press and the general public. It was nerve-racking but also very satisfying to have such a successful result.
Your favorite business tool or resource.
Well, I think the conversion app on my cell phone is so important. Since we work on projects around the world, we are always converting imperial to metric. Google Translate is also amazing. You can travel anywhere and use the app to communicate.
The most timeless design.
My favorite house in the world is Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre in Paris which was built from 1928 to 1932. It was the first glass house ever built. It is so innovative, beautiful, and relevant even today.
The biggest business faux pas.
I think the biggest business faux pas is not writing well, not being authentic nor clear in your communication.
Believe in yourself!
Love happens when…
You take care of yourself first.
Interview by Anna Beck Bimba
Feature Image: Manhattan One57 Project Designed by Jasmine Lam (Photo by Marietta Leung)