How I got my job: Linda Boronkay oversees all interior design for Soho House's members clubs. She reveals her career path into hospitality design for the Dezeen Jobs careers guide.
Dezeen Jobs: Describe what your role as design director at Soho House involves.
Linda Boronkay: I'm heading up all the projects the design team is working on at Soho House – from club spaces to townhouses, restaurants and private residential projects – from a design aesthetic point of view. Everything you see, feel and touch when you are in our spaces ultimately I'm responsible for.
Dezeen Jobs: Tell us about some of the projects you work on.
Linda Boronkay: We currently have about 30 projects in the making, all varying in scope and size. Some of the highlights are Soho House Hong Kong and Soho House Paris both opening in the next six months.
In the background, we are busy preparing many more clubhouses around Europe and looking at expanding more in Asia too. In the background I'm working closely together with our home range department, Soho Home, where we are developing new furniture and lighting pieces every few months for retail.
Dezeen Jobs: What do you enjoy most about working at Soho House?
Linda Boronkay: I just love the variety of projects we get to do at all times – it's a constant creative challenge.
It's also fascinating working alongside founder and CEO Nick Jones. He is a brilliant mind and you learn so much from him every day. He gives us a lot of creative freedom, but also provides his input where needed.
I also have the best team. Currently we are hitting about 100 people, ranging from interior designers, architects, project managers and a procurement team. They are the most enthusiastic, most fun, hardest working bunch I have ever worked with and there is a great team spirit in our studio. It's very much a can-do attitude that's very dynamic and infectious.
Dezeen Jobs: What other companies have you worked for?
Linda Boronkay: I started my own company after winning Britain's Best Emerging Interior Designer award while still at university. I did mainly residential work and was getting more interested in commercial.
A couple of years after that I started working at Tom Dixon, then at Martin Brudnizki, where I got my first taste for Soho House as a brand as we used to do a lot of work for them.
I moved to Sydney after that for two and a half years working for Woods Bagot. Then back in England, I was working for Tara Bernerd when I got the call from Soho House about the fantastic opportunity to head up their interior design team.
Dezeen Jobs: Tell us more about your interior design work.
Linda Boronkay: To fully explain my work I need to start with my upbringing and my parents; my father is a great architect and my mother has always been obsessed with objects. Mainly contemporary art and antiques, so I pretty much grew up in vintage markets and antique shops.
I hated it as a little girl, but it has definitely influenced me greatly and it's no wonder I grew up appreciating the beauty of history of furniture, lighting, art and decorative objects.
Today at Soho House I still use a lot of vintage references; we use antique pieces in our schemes and when designing bespoke that's usually our starting point as well.
I love the contrast between old and new and we love to mix different eras as well, as you would do when doing your own home. Contemporary art plays a big part in our schemes and gives a great juxtaposition to our residential aesthetic.
Dezeen Jobs: What did you study and do you think it's helped you get to where you are today?
Linda Boronkay: I studied fashion design at first and also worked as a model for years travelling the world. Having lived in all major cities from New York to Tokyo has influenced me greatly, which I rely on to this day.
Nowadays I travel just as much as back in those days and I'm absolutely fascinated by different cultures and history, so I'm very fortunate I still get to do that.
Modelling helped me understand and appreciate cultural differences, being empathetic and being able to adapt quickly. Fashion design taught me to tell a story, a concept through physical mediums by working with colours, fabrics and textures. It used to be clothes, now it's objects, finishes and lighting.
It's a bit like directing a movie for our members, about their experience through our spaces.
Dezeen Jobs: What would be the ideal candidate for a design role at Soho House?
Linda Boronkay: Someone who is truly passionate about what they do. Who is willing to learn and give it their all for a greater good; which is creating amazing experiences for customers including members, restaurant and hotel guests and residential clients. As long as you love what you do and want to always evolve, you will fit in our team.
Dezeen Jobs: What skills have been the most beneficial in your career?
Linda Boronkay: The ability to listen is essential. Staying focused and level headed at all times is necessary and being able to renew yourself project after project are all important skills.
What I also find increasingly beneficial is the ability to listen to your gut when it comes to design, as well as when leading a team of exceptionally talented people.
Emotional intelligence is just as important as academic intelligence.
Dezeen Jobs: What has been the most valuable lesson you've taken from working life?
Linda Boronkay: Sometimes taking a step back and disengaging from a project from a personal point of view can be very beneficial. When you are emotionally invested in something it's hard to see the forest from the tree, but taking a step back and objectively looking at things always gives a new and fresh perspective on things.
Dezeen Jobs: What advice would you give to young interior designers?
Linda Boronkay: Work hard, learn every day, invest in your future during your free time; read professional materials, go to exhibitions, do your research, get inspired through other mediums such as art, film, travel.
Stay curious and hungry for knowledge.