Designer Crush: Riaz TaplinAuthor:Michelle Konstantinovsky
1. Who is your biggest role model?
Oz Erickson, Chairman of Emerald Funds who has been a mentor for decades. He really has demonstrated a commitment to growing his company through growing and benefiting the community around him. He has shown me the importance of thinking about health of the community as an integral part of building a great company.
2. Which movie or play do you wish you could have designed the set for?
Invictus because I would have loved to experience the feeling on the set. The movie is such an inspiration and shows that a combination of leadership and teamwork can accomplish virtually anything.
3. What is the best way to gauge a client’s personality before starting a project?
I find watching the way my clients interact with their partner or significant other very insightful – How balanced they are, to what degree they answer questions same way, even how nice they are to each other tells me a lot about what working with them will be like.
4. What new design elements are you excited to integrate into your work?
Greenwalls and incorporating other traditional outdoor features indoors. I am also excited about making the homes we build more sustainable.
5. How do you completely unwind?
I love playing tennis and try and play at least 3-4 morning a week.
6. If you hadn’t become a designer, which career would you have pursued?
Real Estate – I enjoy touching all aspects of the built environment and creating spaces that make people that they were intended for feel better about themselves whether it’s an office for a tycoon or an apartment rental for young couple. This is kind of a trick answer because I also do this.
7. What’s the worst pre-designer job you’ve ever had and why?
I was a waiter in London at an Indian restaurant and was fired in short order for getting into an argument with a customer for not tipping me
8. What’s your favorite recipe?
I love making a morning vegetable frittata for my guests at my house in Napa. The combination of eastern spices and fresh vegetable from my garden is very satisfying.
9. Create your perfect playlist for us.
I’m all about the ’80s!
10. Who is your designer crush?
I met Tadao Ando at his guest house in Osaka as part of a college class architecture trip. The one hour I spent with him defined my understanding of proportions and simplicity of good design for the rest of my career.
11. Would you rather shop new or vintage?
Vintage because everything I do is modern or minimal and i love the tension created when you combine vintage objects with modern architecture
12. First celebrity crush?
Nelson Mandela. My mom took me to hear him speak at the Oakland Coliseum soon after he got out of jail.
13. What’s your hidden talent?
I’m a good listener even though I talk a lot
14. Best restaurant in your area? Where is it?
Kokkari Estiatorio in the SF financial district. I love how warm the restaurant feels, comfortable not pretentious.
15. SF or LA?
SF. I love the Bay Area culture which primarily evaluates people based on merit. Merit here can take on multiple dimensions – social, economic, political – there is not a unified metric for what it takes to be successul. Anyone who understand their true skill set and is passionate about it can be successful here.
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