Weller Development Partners Founder and President, Marc Weller, and Matt Rienzo, Chief Marketing Officer, host From the Ground Up with Marc Weller – an industry leading podcast focused on real estate professionals, their career journeys, lessons learned, and trends in the industry. Below is a recap of a recent interview with Nina Grondin, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Curioso. Be sure to subscribe and listen to the podcast for more from Nina, Marc and Matt. Transforming Places and Spaces with Nina Grondin of Curioso
Get to Know Nina Grondin + Curioso
Nina Grondin is the Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Curioso, an interior design firm that creates memorable and unique experiences for humans. She and her business partner, Dan Pierce, lead a team of 35 multidisciplinary designers at Curioso with diverse backgrounds working together to create meaningful and transformative spaces.
Curioso has two main offices located in Chicago and Merida, Mexico. Nina has a strong passion for Chicago and involvement with civic engagement and reshaping the narrative about Chicago. She wants people to come and experience the great city of Chicago!
The second location for Curioso’s office is in Merida, Mexico, that was established while the company was working on a large resort project in the Yucatan peninsula. The duality of cultures, natural landscapes, and spirit between Chicago and Merida brings a unique perspective to Curioso. During the podcast, Nina shared details on why she is so passionate about both locations, but Chicago will always be home.
Drive human Emotion and Experience
Nina had a very unique career journey from economics to finance to eventually design. She pursued various degrees and interests across different universities in the country before being inspired to study interior design. Her interests in human psychology, finance, economics and interior design all contribute significantly to her current success. “The left brain and the right brain work together,” Nina remarked, explaining how her education plays a vital role in her career. She believes that design decisions, such as the lighting in a restaurant, can significantly impact human emotions and experiences.
This belief is a key focus for her company, Curioso, where they encourage people to be present and be curious about their surroundings when traveling or exploring new areas. During the podcast, she discussed how her study of psychology complemented her interior design degree, allowing her to better understand human behavior and translate those insights into design ideas that become spaces that impact how people live and connect with one another.
Six Senses Grand Bahama Collab
Weller Development Partners is collaborating closely with Nina and her team at Curioso to develop a one-of-a-kind experience at the Six Senses developments in Grand Bahama and Napa. Nina said, “Six Senses is unique because it is an experience brand. It is all about what is going to be memorable and delightful and what will make you feel connected… all while teaching you about sustainability.”
Only 70 miles off the coast of South Florida, Six Senses Grand Bahama will become an easily accessible luxury vacation experience. During the podcast, the Weller team and Nina talked about the impact this project will have on the Grand Bahamas and how it excites them. From restoring the natural landscape to revitalizing the economy and creating a destination —this project is aiming to transform Grand Bahama and provided boost to tourism on the island.
Curioso places a huge importance on being present during all aspects of a project and focuses on designing for an immersive, all-sensory experience (taste, smell, vision, hearing, and touch. For Six Senses, the Curioso team is focused on designing for a luxury experience brand that also teaches its guests about sustainability and local and global stewardship. The key elements to a new project are good people and purpose. Nina and her team are excited about creating value add opportunities for communities and contributing to the local economies.
Establish the North Star
For successful and meaningful projects, Nina recommends establishing a North Star for the project and being a good listener. It takes a team of passionate people who love the places where they are from to bring meaningful and impactful design experiences. Curioso practices Method Designing, similar to method acting, but for design where Nina and her team immerse themselves in the culture and the communities where they work. From understanding the materials of a place to working with local craftspeople, it’s important to embrace the unknown but never losing sight of that North Star. Listen firsthand as Nina reminds those inspired to start careers in interior design to, “have a vision and stay true to course…” For the full podcast, listen here: Transforming Places and Spaces with Nina Grondin of Curioso