“I’m a lucky guy [and] I truly love what I do,” says Gary Lee, president of Gary Lee Partners and Contract's
1992 Designer of the Year, during his keynote presentation at NeoCon® on June 12. Lee discussed his experiences as a mentor, the traits of a good designer and where he believes the industry is headed.
“It’s taken me many years as a mentor to accept that creative people are highly individual,” he says. He highlighted his aim to create a star vehicle for each of his designers so that they can be the best that they can be. “We do fight, we do eat together, we complete each other’s sentences—I live very vicariously through the visions of my designers,” he says.
Lee believes that to be a good designer, requires having a very strong point of view. Additionally, beyond creating things that look good, he explains, “good designers create things that feel good.” They pull inspiration from anything and everywhere—nature, fashion, other works and other designers.
As far as what lies ahead, Lee sees a bright, but challenging, future. "There are so many priorities to juggle in today's design world," he says. “But I think that our industry is smarter and more sophisticated than it’s ever been.”