In this exclusive interview with the luxury design brand KOKET, the award-winning, top interior designer John Robert Wiltgen talks about his home decoration choices in the Trump Tower decoration. This Chicago all-star of interior design explained KOKET his philosophy behind the scenes.
KOKET Love Happens: Making a balance, what were the best moments of 2015 for you and your company?
John Robert Wiltgen: To answer your question, completing a project for a client with a 2,700 square foot terrace 23 floors above Lincoln Park, installing the rooftop bar at a new Hyatt Centric, starting several new exciting projects, our holiday office party – a daylong junket to the New York CitySantaCon.
KOKET Love Happens: To be in love with our work is always the key to achieve better results. Are you in love with this job?
John Robert Wiltgen: Yes. The clients were amazing to work with. They were open to trying new things. This home is very different from their other ones. They were very decisive.
(An award-winning bathroom, designed by JRWD in Bucktown, Chicago)
KOKET Love Happens: What do you love most about being an interior designer?
John Robert Wiltgen: At John Robert Wiltgen Design we are more than just interior designers. We will prepare all of the construction documents for the residences we are creating from the ground up and / or remodeling. Then we will select the finishes, furniture and furnishings for the home. Finally we will help assemble an art collection which is integrated with the rest of the project.
KOKET Love Happens: Do you have a favorite project or a favorite story about one of your projects?
John Robert Wiltgen: My favorite project was a home in Lagos, Nigeria. It was an exotic destination and a totally different culture. We had body guards follow us around everywhere we went. For many different reasons it was like being in a James Bond movie. We had to present our drawings to their version of a building department. There were like 6 or 8 government officials that sat in on our presentation and when we informed them that the home (which is over 40,000 square feet) would have bullet proof windows everyone asked “…for what kind of bullets?” It was like going to Harvard.
KOKET Love Happens: How important is a perfect chemistry between you and your clients to achieve the best results?
John Robert Wiltgen: I always tell people that a job can only be as good as our clients allow it to be.
KOKET Love Happens: We have to tell you, we loved to see the Intuition Table by KOKET in your Trump Tower project. This table is costumized. Could you tell us what was the inspiration for this change is?
John Robert Wiltgen: We are always inspired by extraordinary products our vendors create but sometimes they don’t meet the size and/or finish requirements for an installation. So many times we start with the already designed version, then modify it to suit our needs.
KOKET Love Happens: This project also won the Crystal Key Award. Could you tell us how it felt?
John Robert Wiltgen: The Crystal Key Award recognizes exceptional innovation and creativity and is awarded by a prestigious consortium of builders. Everyone in my office was extremely proud. We work as a team and share in the 15 minutes of fame.
KOKET Love Happens: How would you describe your work style? Do you have any kind “signatures” that help to identify your projects?
John Robert Wiltgen: Good artwork and accessories. Whether they are part of our client’s inventory or we found them for our clients. Over the years we have placed a fabulous Picasso, two (2) Monet paintings, a large Botero bronze, and a suite of Warhols – just to name a few museum quality pieces. The perfect lighting is needed to illuminate the art – which we will create as needed.
KOKET Love Happens: All artists need some inspiration to work, and interior designer are artists too. So, what or who really inspires you?
John Robert Wiltgen: Travel is a huge inspiration. I have traveled with my family, friends, and clients all around the world. The destinations, hotels, and private tours have exposed us to so much and that, often times, becomes a reference point for us.
KOKET Love Happens: If you had to pick one project around the world that you wish it had been made it by you, which would it be?
John Robert Wiltgen: The actual palace at the Kempinski Palace Hotel in Istanbul. It is amazingly beautiful. One year I was there with a bunch of friends and was able to host a dinner party in the lobby of the palace. It was surreal. The service. The 170 year old interior. The exterior. The Bosphorous Fireworks. Tell me when you want me to stop. I cannot say enough about it.
KOKET Love Happens: Choose the best pieces to compose a project can be the secret to getting the best overall result. Although it seems easy, this is a delicate task and needs full attention on time to execute it. Do you have some tips for those who do not know well how to start a challenge like this?
John Robert Wiltgen: Hire a professional.
KOKET Love Happens: What are your favorite brands, those that can never miss in one of your projects?
For more information visit John Robert Wiltgen Design’s Website.